Friday, September 4, 2015

The Bicycle That Grows

Dear Reyhan,
First of all Dad would like to tell you and your little sister how lucky we are to have both of you.
You know, the moment where I finally able to balance myself is the second most exciting moment I've ever have involving bicycles. The first, was watching you finally able to master the ability to propel yourself forward and defy gravity with two wheels.

You outgrow your first set of wheels so fast. It's scary how time treats us. So I figured out that it will be great if I can provide you with something you can grow together with, all the way until you're finally able to ride a full-sized bicycle. I want it to be durable and adaptable. I want something special for you, and your sister when the time finally comes.
Given these briefs, I set to work making a few sketches. 20" wheels and low bottom bracket height will enable you to put your feet firmly on the ground. Short wheelbase will give you the agility and snappy handling to keep you on your toes. Disc brakes will be used on both ends of the bicycle, to give you total control. This dictates the use of 135mm MTB hubs, opening the possibility of making it a multispeed if the need arises. Dad will make you a 20" MTB that will proportionally suits you properly.

Knowing that I can't deal with frame building myself, I let one of my friends shape the frame out of Reynolds 520 steel tubes for you. He's among the best in business so you can have a piece of mind.

That doesn't mean I didn't do my homework. I built the wheels from Shimano mountain hubs laced through custom-cut double butted stainless steel spokes to a pair of BMX rims. Knowing that the bottom bracket will sit way down low, I cut and rethread a set of aluminium crank arms, shortening them from 155mm to 130mm. Since you might not be using multiple cogs at the back for the moment, I figured out the chainstay length so you can use 34/17T gearing ratio on vertical dropouts without having to resort for chain tensioners. Not just the handlebars, those hand grips are also shortened to fit your hands better. Lastly, I fabricate mounting for the front brake caliper and had it welded to the fork.

Ready for gears. Spacers and 17T cog for now.
Spot the accents.
34/17T ratio with "magic gearing". Not magic really, pure mathematics.
FR-5 levers with reach screw set all the way in.
5-spoked Shimano SLX rotors to mimic the 5-spider crank arm.
One thing that I can't provide you for the time being are top notch parts for your bicycle. I terribly sorry. So you'll have to settle with brake calipers taken from my first modern MTB (they even predates my marriage!), a pair of old flat pedals (but they're using needle bearings!), and saddle taken from my old singlespeed I used to ride to and back from campus. Black is your colour of choice... but since I insist that a children's bicycle should not be black, I chased it with a coat of xirallic gold for a good measure. I'm glad you're approve of it.

The question that Dad's keep getting was, will it be cheaper to get an off-the shelf bicycle? Well, it might be. But I'll let the next picture speak for itself.

Oh, by the way. I'm asking for your permission in advanced. When you finally graduated from this bicycle, will it be fine to paint it pink as per your sister's request?



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