Picture of Handy Tricks 7: Bike Mods and Projects
Handy Tricks Seven! Things to do to and with bicycles!

To see even more handy tricks, check out the rest of the saga at
Handy Tricks 9: Oodles of random tricks
and Handy Tricks 8: Island Handy Tricks
and Fifty Handy Tricks.
and 40 More Handy Tricks
and Australian Handy Tricks
and Guatemalan Handy Tricks
and Yet More Handy Tricks
and Handy Tricks Six!
For a bunch of things that didn't work, check out How Not To.

First trick: Improvised Freewheel Removal Wrench
Every brand of freewheel has a different pattern of grooves inside it. If you don't have the right wrench you usually can't take it apart. Unless you can improvise one. This method works well for the most common shimano freewheels.
Remove the axle from the wheel.
Insert the biggest hex wrench you can find into the freewheel. Pound some nails or a big staple as seen here into the grooves to lock the wrench in place. Unscrew the freewheel. Wiggle the nails out.

To learn about why you'd use this tool, what the real one looks like, and everything else about bicycle mechanics, look at Sheldon Brown's site and Park Tool.

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Step 1: Chain Whips

Picture of Chain Whips
These two fancy "chain whip" wrenches are used to disassemble a freewheel. The "freewheel" is the cone-shaped cluster of sprockets on the rear wheel. The little sprocket unscrews and the others pull off, with spacers between them.

To make a chain whip, use your "chain breaker" tool to take a chain apart making two pieces of chain with as many links as seen here. Then drill three holes in a piece of steel bar and grind a curved divot where the short chunk of chain rests. Use the chain breaker to attach the chunks of chain to the steel bar, and you're in business. If your breaker doesn't reach to attach the chains to your wrench, just pound the pins in place with a hammer.

You probably don't need two of these, but it's easier that way and they're quick to make.
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MT-LB5 years ago
one of the first things in the manual for my welder says "do not run circuit through bearings"

This was my first thought when I saw the pis! When we covered welding at mechanics school they made it clear not to run current through the bearing of an axle or piston like on a backhoe.

Bidul MT-LB5 years ago
Even if it seems to be a great idea at first sight, heavy current isgoing to "solder" balls in the ball-bearing.
Use any other paint-free metalic area on the frame (seat support, for instance)
3366carlos1 year ago
very nice, be careful when cutting with the rotary tool (as shown in the spoke screwdriver), you can easily cut your finger off and it would cost at least 5K usd to have it fixed. Cut away from your body and use a vice.
Rich19531 year ago
Connecting the welding clamp to the pedals is not advisable,
You are risking welding the bearings in place, make the pedals impossible to turh
mysss3 years ago
Seems like it might be a bit too easy to squish the tubing, impacting the integrity of your frame?
Like everyone else has said, there are plenty of chain tensioner devices. The idler gear thing seems like it works fairly well, as I own an old Schwinn Twinn tandem and that's what it uses -just a cog on a bearing with a bolt holding it to a slotted bracket- and it moves on a vertical axis where you can tension it to the desired level.
dstras4 years ago
yah - safety first, no?

I want them to be resourceful and dig making/modding your own tools, _BUT_ I wouldn't want my students (or kids) taking shop tips from this -- lets model sensible tool use. Please. You don't need OSHA to tell you that this is not good practice.
Wait, was that the bicycle wizard?
jwolski4 years ago
Great idea!
jwolski4 years ago
Be sure to use the safety guards that come with your tools. Those cutoff disks can break and send chunks of it flying. Judging by the sparks coming off of that disk, the pieces will fly right at the user's face.

As others mentioned, this is also an easy way to lose a finger. Please be careful people.
mwwdesign6 years ago
Interesting black outfit. Where is it from/what is it for?
Apparently David Carradine is an avid cyclist when not acting. Killer.

Kraken Fan #69
sarliaee5 years ago
you've got a new rear fender too!
sarliaee5 years ago
please strip the frame before painiting, you'd hate to get paint on those moving parts.
sarliaee5 years ago
a little more expensive but plenty of companies make chain tension devices.
loving the cheap bike mods anyway.
harigast5 years ago
lose a finger doing this? that thing isnt a light saber. if anyone has used one alot you know that you cant really chop off a finger unless you wanted to.
CUT-OFF wheel on an air tool? Admittedly not as cool as a lightsabre, but you can seriously injure yourself.  They are designed to cut through metal which is a fair bit tougher than your finger.

Loose, they'll hurt and can give you a good gash.  If your finger is pinned between the wheel and oh, say a chuck in a drill, yes, you could easily cut it off faster than you can say "get a ziplock bag and start the car".

Just be careful, secure your work [vise, clamped to the edge of a table... anything] and wear eye protection.
paulocr6 years ago
The ones with small front wheel are factory made. This model go back to the fifties and perhaps even before that. They are slowly disappearing and motorcycles are taking over.
believe it or not back where I come from some people do some similar stuff to motorcicles so they can carry even heavier loads. for instance, back in my town some people rent laundry machines, the company delivers them by motorcicle with racks on it just like in the picture.
I would recommend finding a junk seatpost. Drill a hole through it side-to-side about two inches from the top, stick a bolt through, and weld it in place.

Now remove your seat, stick the ground-post in, and clamp your ground on the bolt. Voila! Nice clean ground without paint damage.
csorrows5 years ago
I have never heard that stuff called "unistrut" before.
Hycro csorrows5 years ago
Looking in the last picture there, it kinda reminds me of the corner reinforcements for drywall--those things you put on projecting corners, only even has the "long" holes like those corner reinforcements...
Would the spoke nut screwdriver eliminate the need for a set of spoke wrenches?
guerrilla.15 years ago
actually these are an extension of the Californian low rider car culture. from what I understand these are anything from lightly modified to full on custom construction.
sharlston5 years ago
hi tim please reply to this comment do you need any more tricks for this ible cos i work in a bike shop is west yorkshire and i know loads of nifty little tricks
TimAnderson (author)  sharlston5 years ago
please! actually since you have a bunch, do your own ible and I'll link to it!
well i only have 3 or 4 so ill tell you them and just credit me a bit ya know the little 3 in 1 oil cans with the red nozzle when oiling small parts i attach a oil can straw to the end for those nifty places i always put duct tape round the inside of the tyre to prevent big punctures when im gonna throw away a old bike i always strip it for spare parts like cdbales and chains if you need pictures ill reply with them
csorrows5 years ago
There are holes in your shirt...
csorrows5 years ago
To put it simply, DO NOT DO THIS!
strangebike5 years ago
awesome fella but about the quickest way to loose a finger use a vice or grips or just not shower your silly self with the waste as you cut. always show the safest way to do things or some other person following your instructions may well loose the finger you were lucky enough to keep. other then that great mutant waste bikes !!!
goeon5 years ago
great! 5*ed and faved, the chain whip idea was great
g.petinati5 years ago
Grey_Wolfe6 years ago
Probably would be more effective if they were actually bolted down. Something about a bike rack that itself can be stolen doesn't incite me to lock my bike to it, lol. Other than that issue, they look like they'd probably work pretty good. And it discourages stripping, too.
*Probably work pretty well, I should say.
my school once had racks rebared into the concrete of the playground,but they removed it since no bikes are allowed and kids jump on it
Interesting to have bike rack and not allow bikes. lol
dagwoody5 years ago
Behind the scenes of the new sequel "Bridges of Madison county 2"
mdlmusic5 years ago
What a great idea! I picked up a mallard squeaky toy at WalMart for $5.00 and wired it to my handlebars with twist ties. Got quite a few strange looks when I honked it as I came up behind pedestrians.
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