|Still rideable with your standard touring tires, but it gets more challenging down the trail.|
Having ridden portable bike #13 for about 6 years, I came to the point where I needed to make a new one from scratch. The event that was a catalyst for this was my ride on the OC&E trail I did last year. The largest tires the bike fits are 50mm (2.0). It just wasn’t a large enough footprint to ride on the surfaces I encountered on the trail. A bigger tire would make the gravely and loose sections easier to negotiate. So I figured I would make a new one with bigger tire clearance; having signed up for the Oregon outback ride (although I cannot make the group ride this year). It will be easier to take Amtrak with this bike, just fold it up and put it in the luggage area as I board the train.
The new fork would be an inch taller. The rear triangle would need extra space. The new design would increase the folded size slightly, but it would allow for the fattest tires out there for the BMX size- 20×2.4 (or 406-62). Outfitted with narrower 406-50 schwalbe big apple tires, the folded size would be 28x11x21 (that includes racks and fenders) on the new bike. With the super-fat 20×2.35 BMX tires installed the folded bike gets about a half inch wider and taller, but the same width. It still meets the 62″ length/height/width requirements for airline baggage and Greyhound bus, with 2″ to spare.
|Demolition 20.2.35 tire on a CR18 rim with a 74mm Phil Wood 32 hole front hub. The new fork (not yet finished) offers plenty of clearance.|
|2.0 wide Schwalbe big apple tire on left; 2.35 inch Demolition Machete tire on right. A significantly bigger cushion of air. A bigger apple.|
|Side view comparison. 2.0 on left, 2.35 on right.|
I will also stiffen up the main boom structure connecting the seat tube to the forks/handlebars. Existing tubes were butted (9/6/9) and I thought it was a bit flexy when riding a heavy front load while speeding downhill. There will be other refinements as well.
|jigging up the fork. I ended up giving it a 20 mm offset.|
|Bike plan drawn up life size on a piece of drywall.|
After making the fork, I drew up a plan for the frame. 72 degree head and seat tubes. Bottom bracket height 10.5 inches with the smallest tires I intend to run (40mm)
|making some smaller parts. This is the lower clamp. 1 1/4 .058 tube with the tangs; 1 3/8 clamp silver brazed around it, and slotted. There is no way you can over tighten this thing.|
|Above, seat tube/bottom bracket, with extension for swing arm. Below upper boom tube connected to head tube extending below, rust covered. And the clamps, awaiting to be brazed on.|
|Everything lines up…|
|just about to braze the seat tube area.|
Flat tables and fancy machinery is not necessary for building steel bikes, unless you are a pro who does it for a living. To check for parallel, I sight tubes lined up against the daylight coming in the window, just like Norman Taylor did when making Jack Taylor frames in the 80s. There is a great BBC documentary, part of which is devoted to the Taylors and their frame building.
|main hinge area here|
|Lots of clearance with these 2.35″ tires. Whether the chain clears the tire when in the biggest cassette cog is to be seen. (postscript: the chain does clear the tire).|
|angles distorted by phone camera. Or the photographer. Head and seat tube are parallel.|
|measuring frame angles..|
|seatstays, or the equivalent, are installed now|
|A tube is needed to connect the seat and chainstays. It doesn’t need to be very big.|
I spent an hour working on this 1/2″ tube. Bent it with heat to match the tire curve. It was an eighth of an inch too short though, to my chagrin. So I made another one, with greater concentration on the task at hand.
|new curved connecting tube in place|
|disc brake supporting tubes in place before brazing|
|after tacking. Now I remove the wheel to finish brazing|
|Brazing is finished.|
|What a messy workbench. This is how I set up brazing the cantilever bosses on the fork.|
|setting up for brazing a small supporting tube onto the fork crown|
|Making a set-screw attachment for the front fender struts.|
|front fender and rack installed. It took a whole day to do this.|
|still need front derailleur and rear fender/rack setup|
|Front dérailleur needs to be more rearward because of the smaller wheel.|
|setting up to braze on small connector pieces|
|Bike is in the bag here at a greyhound bus station. Next to it are 2 grocery sacks full of camping stuff that I will take on board with me. The tent, toolbag, and a few other items are in the bike bag as well.|
|I remove the left pedal and put it in the crank arm backwards, before I put it in the bag|
|bike is inside bag|
Bikepacking with a folder. The bigger tires make a huge difference, rocky and gravelled roads are much more rideable and pleasant. I lower the PSI to 20 and it’s full speed ahead. Huge front bag holds food, stove, and misc items. One gallon of water in 2 bottles straddles the top-tube. Sleeping bag and clothes in dry sack on top of rack. Tent and inflatable pad in burgundy bag underneath. Tools in blue bag above crankset.
|New rack is 5″ wide and very long. Inner tubes work really well to tie stuff down. 4 posts pointing down near each corner provide a place to lash the tube to. Rear light is in a protected spot.|
|Fort Rock was the end of the line for us due to time constraints and commitments.|
|On the OC&E. When herding cattle, always wear a helmet|
|ready to head out from Klamath Falls|
|Tim riding the Pugsley on the OC&E with 2.4 Maxxis tires. They rode over almost everything without issue.|
|Our first campsite along Five Mile Creek during the oregon outback ride.|
A few mixed photos from our trip above. We left the route at fort rock because of prior commitments. I will return to finish the route soon, probably from north to south, and will use the folder again. While there were some short sections that made me pine for a fatbike, overall the folder did perform admirably with the 20×2.35 tires. Its a good size tire for all around mixed riding on road or trail and it was a huge improvement over the 2.0 tires I used last year.
|Returning to Portland the quick way, we took McKenzie pass over the cascades. It was closed to motor vehicles but was opened for bikes/peds. It was an awesome ride.|
Addendum: Crooked river to the finish
I took the cobreeze bus from Portland out to Bend to ride another section of the outback ride. While the drivers are nice, the business office is not and I do not recommend them. Being able to bag the bike and get on the bus made the trip very easy. The driver had no idea there was a bike in the bag; it was just another piece of luggage.
|From Bend, I rode 30 miles to the Crooked river; here descending towards Prineville reservoir.|
|My first camp at trout creek, in the Ochoco mts.|
|a bough shelter somebody made, near my camp|
|following the dirt roads and double-tracks towards Ashville|
|Gravel roads after Shankio; riding by wheat fields as far as the eye can see. Imagine a lot of headwinds as well.|
|Another camp in a cemetery near Grass Valley. There was a lot of wind so I didn’t bother using a tent.|
|Along Old Moody road, after finishing the ride at the Deschutes river. A U shaped valley overlooking the Columbia river.|
|I rode all the way back home to Portland thru the columbia gorge.|
|My last campground near Wyeth. Wild camping near a tiny hidden cemetery. Cemeteries can make good spots for camping if you do not fear the spirits.|
I am looking forward to finishing the last 60 miles of the route I have not ridden thru the Deschutes forest sometime this year.