Taking a Bicycle Apart
Building custom bicycles is a great hobby that can be learned by anyone with a desire to create. The skills needed to dismantle, alter and repair bicycle components can be easily learned, and the parts and tools you will need are quite inexpensive. Discarded or worn out bicycles offer many good parts and can often be found at local scrap yards, city dumps, or yard sales for a few dollars.
Even if you plan to build a custom creation using all new parts, this hobby will seem inexpensive compared to many, as you can purchase a brand new bicycle with decent components at a store for less than a hundred dollars.
The great thing about hacking and welding bicycles is that you will be working with all steel components, which are much stronger, more common, and much less expensive than high grade aluminum or carbon fiber bicycle parts. If you have never torn a bicycle apart before, then this basic introduction will show you all you need in order to complete a total bicycle autopsy in minutes, stripping an entire cycle down to the individual parts using only a few basic hand tools.
There will be some very useful tips and tricks presented that may save you a lot of frustration, especially if you are just starting out, so read through this entire section before embarking on any of the upcoming projects at www.atomiczombie.com and www.chopzone.com .
Step 1: Start with a typical all-steel suspension mountain bicycle
Figure 1 shows the most commonly available and inexpensive mountain bike available today, the all-steel frame suspension mountain bike from the local hardware store. This cycle cost me $120, and was used to make the StreetFox tadpole trike. The components are medium quality, and include aluminum rims, cantilever brakes, and suspension on both the front forks and rear triangle. Because the frame is made of steel, it can be easily cut and welded using any welder.
Often a bicycle like this can be found at a yard sale for a few dollars, although there may be a bit of rust on the frame, worn out tires, and the odd seized brake cable – nothing that we can’t easily fix or replace. OK, now grab your toolbox, and let’s tear this bicycle down to the individual parts.