Sunday, December 6, 2009

Progress on the DL-1

I've been kind of turning over names for the DL-1 in the back of my head.
Robert was kind of obvious because he was wearing a name badge!
But nothing I thought up was really sticking until I finally hit on it:


One part eccentric aunt,  one part classical goddess,  dignified,  brainy,  a bit reserved...

I haven't been riding her much yet- I did a lot of work scrubbing at the chrome and disassembling, cleaning and reassembling the brakes.  I replaced the tires with new Schwalbe marathons.  I did keep the original tires (deep in the storage under the stairs) in case anyone ever wants a "mint" bike.

Storage has been a problem.  I need a lot of carrying capacity on my bikes in general and I knew that a saddlebag alone wasn't going to cut it.  For starters, I put a basket on.  This was a basket that I had tried and rejected for Robert-  I really like the basket's color and shape with this bike- its pale color works especially works well with the cream grips, which before I wasn't completely sold on.

It isn't recommended to hang a basket from the handlebars of a rod brake bike, because it has the tendency to interfere with the mechanism.   A "basket support"  is a common item in countries where rod brake bikes are common, and they cost about $15.  I couldn't find anything domestically, so I made my own out of a bar of aluminum from Home Depot,  bent and cut to size, with holes for the axle to pass through.

 Now that I know it works, I need to fine tune it aesthetically.  I might actually get a smaller bar,  or might paint this one black.  I also definitely need to trim and round off the ends.   Or maybe I'll get the Scientist to try to find one next time he speaks in Europe (He just told me he's going to Switzerland in January.)

The main thing that's outstanding on the DL is the chain guard and the front fender.
There was enough rust on the front fender that I decided to sand it down and repaint it.  Unfortunately I sanded first and researched painting techniques later.  After reading the bike forums, I decided that I should use professional automotive paint instead of regular spray paint.  And when I went to the auto body supply, they told me that it would be cheaper and better to just get it powder coated.  So I went home and made sure that it was completely sanded down to bare metal and very smooth, and took it back to the paint shop, where they promised to hand it off to a powder coater who I met last time I was there.  He thought that if I was willing to wait until the next time he did a batch of black, it would be $20.  Not bad.

While I was at it, I decided to get the chain guard powder coated too.
I got this chain guard from Yellow Jersey Cycles in Madison,  It's supposed to fit a 28" wheel roadster, although I'm going to have to do some futzing to make it fit, I'm afraid.  On their web site they say that "quality ranges from acceptable to poor-  great was not an option" , and while it was definitely acceptable, I was worried that the paint job wouldn't survive very well.   So I sanded it down to bare metal,  hopefully well enough that the finish will be OK once it's powder coated.

I actually did a lot of the "sanding" with a brass wire brush attachment that fits into my drill.  I got a good tip that if the bristles of the wire brush (or the metal of the brillo pad) are softer than the metal you are trying to clean up, they won't scratch the harder metal.  I'm sure you could push it to extremes, but I've found that the brass wire brush does a great job of stripping paint off steel without doing too much damage to the steel itself.

So,  I'm hoping to get the pieces back in a couple of weeks, and then reassemble  Minerva and have her completely ready to go, well before nice biking weather in the spring.


  1. Wait, so are you re-coating the chainguard black? Or powder coating the entire bicycle a different colour like the reddish one you mentioned earlier?

    If you decide to re-coat the entire frame, talk to somervillain (the person whose contact info I sent you); he gets his bikes powdercoated for under $100.

  2. This bike will be all black, I'm looking at having another frame coated red.

  3. Nice work! This will be a real beauty when you're done.

  4. yep, i have gotten three bikes powdercoated for under $100 each, and the quality has been outstanding except for one bike which was done in black (see my flickr sets; go to my profile to get to the link). apparently black is a difficult color to powdercoat as it has to go on thick, and this can promote rippling and the "dipped" effect which hides details of certain elements such as lug outlines.

    i'm curious where cycler is getting her powdercoating done??? if it's not considerably more expensive, i'd prefer to go local rather than all the way down in plymouth for my powdercoating projects! i also have a lot of little parts to be powdercoated, and it's simply not worth my time (or money) to drive them down to plymouth.

    and cycler, kudos on your basket support! nicely done! in many ways i prefer home-brew solutions to commercial ones, for not only the satisfaction they provide but because of the uniqueness of the end products!

  5. I'm getting the fender and chain case done by Fine Finish of Lynn. It's a bit random, the owner of FF was in Stone Auto Body supply in Watertown when I was discussing catalyzed paint finishes with the salesman. He offered to do the fender for $20 if I wasn't in a hurry.
    I dropped the fender off at Stone and he will pick it up next time he's there. This is kind of a test to see if I wanted him to do my frame. I'm leaning a bit towards having Geekhouse/ Sugarcoat do it, partly because they're local, and partly because they have bike experience and won't accidentally gunk up threads and other important bits. I had a bit of communication with the guy down in Plymouth a year or so ago, and I haven't ruled him out either. I figured if I could save money by stripping it myself, I could pay a bit more for the paint job.

    I'm almost done stripping that frame- more in a post to come.

  6. I am pretty obsessed with bike baskets and this one is truly stunning! I need a good basket for my Breezer and this one is exactly what I am looking for. A Basil basket perhaps?

  7. SRAB- Sorry it's a no-name from a Cambridge institution "the Door Store" It's a college studenty furniture place kind of like pier one.
    I bought it a couple of years ago for Robert, but it just didn't work, so it's been holding electrical cords for a while.
    I needed some carrying capacity for Minerva, and it seemed to work perfectly.