Friends of mine have his and hers 'comfort' cruisers with the bottom bracket well forward of the seat post, and I admired the style. I volunteered to participate in a community event that combined healthy lifestyles, creative 3-D art, and recycling called "The Visalia Bike Project".
Artists, activists, cyclists, and zanies joined to prepare "Kinetic Sculpture" entries for the St. Patrick's Day parade.
(The second photo shows another of my three creations, in the background).
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Two curvy-style full-size girl's bikes were welded together into an extremely long wheelbase cruiser.
This crank-forward bike is essentially a stretched cruiser/comfort bike with the seat moved rearward on the bike. This allows a lower seat height, and the pilot can sit with feet on the ground.
There are THREE creations in this series of Instructables. The others are:
"THE VAPORIZER" - - "THE SPIN-DOCTOR"
Please take a look at them all, and let me know what you think and how to make them better. Thanks!!
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Step 1: TOOLS & MATERIALS
standard bike maintenance tools - wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, vicegrips, hammer
a chain repair tool (to disassemble & assemble bicycle chains)
hacksaw & electric angle-grinder
grinding wheel & abrasive flap sanding wheel
welding gear (or a friendly somewhat crazy nearby welder)
two curved-frame girl's bicycles and misc parts - (if you don't have access to a "bike pile", then search for discarded dumpster-cycles and yard sales)
hydrogen peroxide (to cause rust)
colorful spray paint
(optional but recommended = beer)
Step 2: 60s HUFFY + 80s MURRAY = EXTREME STRETCH-FRAME
The 60s HUFFY (rust) had been been behind a barn for about 40 years; it was so rusted that nothing moved. The 80s MURRAY (maroon) was salvaged from a neighbor's yard cleanup. Both were made in the good ol' U.S.A.
After they were disassembled, I hacksawed the Huffy head-tube in half from top to bottom. It was hammered to fit around the maroon seat post. (2nd photo)
Most of the Murray's rear triangle was hacksawed off. The project began to take shape when the frames were vice-gripped and welded together. (3rd photo) Cut and welds were smoothed with an angle grinder.
A 26" coaster brake and a 16" front wheel were originally planned, but plans change, of course.
Step 3: STRETCH-ING THE DRIVE TRAIN (& Its Consequences)
The center-to-center distance between the new bottom bracket and the rear axle is 39", more than twice that of a regular bike. It was all but impossible to tension this new heavy 3X chain against the single-speed wheel. The tension issue was solved with a mountain bike rear wheel and derailleur, but this necessitated three thin derailleur chains and a thin front crank set - and never mind adding shifters.
This "solution" caused another issue - stopping! The stretch-frame had no provision for rim brakes, either front or rear. A front fork with a simple caliper brake was painted and swapped in. (2nd photo)
Meanwhile, the maroon paint was removed with an abrasive flap wheel on an angle grinder, and the frame was forced to get rusty by applying peroxide. (3rd photo) The orange rust was later darkened with a light rub of mineral oil.
Step 4: ACCESSORIZE
There's quite a distance from the banana seat to the head tube and front fork. Each donor-cycle measured 43" from axle-to-axle, and this creation is now 63". One of my soon-to-be-famous "Handlebar Stem Extenders" was cobbled together from a crashed Huffy BMX front end. The stem extender was tilted back (toward the rider) in order to reach the handlebars.
A torn-up cheapo springer set was re-purposed to serve as a "saddle horn". (2nd photo) Since there was an extra seat tube, why not. Later, a brass handle from a fireplace poker adorned the piece. As sinister as this appears, it poses no real danger to the rider.
The accessories were rattle-canned and posed. (3rd photo) Although I would have preferred the look of the drop bars, they simply weren't long enough to make this artwork rideable, and I returned to the original ape-hangers from the Huffy.
Step 5: ROADWORTHY & PARADE-WORTHY
A sumo squeaky went on the handlebars, reflectors and a cable lock were added, and this baby was ready for Downtown (with the author).
On parade day, the team's volunteer pilot (in blue) (photos 3, 5 & 6) enjoyed doing "donuts" to demonstrate the mobility of the "RUSTBUCKET", and to show off a bit. It was all for the glory!