Thursday, September 17, 2009

Say Hello to GREEN BEAN!!!!my stretchcruiser buddy!!!

This is good ol' GREEN BEAN.I built him about 5 or 6 years ago and he has been a very reliable,comfortable,friend and companion ever since. I named him green bean because his particular shade of olive drab ( I got the paint from Andy + Bax ) reminded me of those awful tasting canned green beans,kinda dark and scary!! They look like they might have been in that can since THE BIG ONE ( WW-2 )!!!!!!!!!!!! I really like the rugged look of military vehicles, in fact if I ever have a motor vehicle again it would hafta be one of those 6 wheel drive soft top troop transport jobbies ( there is one at a car lot on n.e. 16th + Sandy!! ). I probably would only take it camping,or maybe just use it like a fort for my grand kids!! I bet they would love it!!!!! My Dad ( Robert John Stapleton ) actually learned how to drive in one of these things IN WW-2!!!!!! And you thought you had it tough in drivers ed class!!! At least nobody was shootin' atcha'!!! Well,I guess that depends on where you live!!!!!! Anyhoo, back to Green Bean,as I mentioned in an earlier post,his front triangle is from an old 50's Marshall-Wells hardware store balloon tire bike. The rest of the frame I pieced together from cheapo mountain bike frames and forks. He has a double fork,double brake setup in the front.I thought I'd try something different,oh dopey me!!!!! It works really well in some ways,and in some ways it doesn't !! Stops GREAT in dry conditions,you can even skid the front wheel! When it's wet or there is loose gravel or wet leaves,WATCH OUT DADDIO, you might end up on the ground and leavin' a skid mark with your flesh!!!!!!!! I forgot something important!! THERE IS NO WEIGHT OVER THE FRONT WHEEL!!!!!!!! It's all in the back where my fat butt is!!!! Oh well, live and learn ( as my MOMMY, Donna C. Stapleton is fond of saying ).I won't make that mistake again.This is a great example of putting ones ideas to work , DO NOT BE AFRAID TO JUST TRY SOMETHING!!!!! If it doesn't work out,try to think of things that might improve on your original attempt,just keep at it until you get the results you're after!! You WILL LEARN a great deal along the way and end up with something to be proud of!!! After all there is NOTHING better than makin' your own stuff and ridin' it on down the road!!!!!!! Green Beans got a decent set of fat fenders that I had laying around at the time I built him.He also has a nice wide springer seat and a cut down banana seat sissy bar with a little pad I made with plywood,T-nuts,and some upholstery material I snagged out of a dumpster. Gotta have one of these if you actually RIDE your stretchcruiser,otherwise yer butt just keeps slidin' towards the back of the seat and all that ferocious leg power is dissipated!!!!!! NOT GOOD!! He also has 18 gears although I rarely use any more than the middle six,I,m a slow joe!! G-B has a nice big HONKER!!!!!! I went to the Foster Auto Parts wreckin' yard and scored a Ford van horn,mounted it on a crossbar I made for his handlebars. I then got a small 12 volt battery ( I think it's the type used in emergency lighting systems )and put that under the seat. The wires and cables are all run through the frame,and there's a nice big horn button right next to the shifter!!! When those dang cars pull out in front of me I BLAST 'EM REAL GOOD!!!!!! Any questions,comments,or criticism (positive or negative ) please e-mail me at -I,d love to hear what you have to say!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why bolt together tallbikes you say???

There are several reasons why I started to build bolt togethers. The main reason at 1st was that I no longer had an appropriate place to do welding. We live in a studio apartment (that's where I build the bolt togethers ),and all that FIRE and stuff would be a real hazard!!!!!!!! I tryed a few different methods that worked but had some basic flaws that couldn't be overlooked. I even built a 20" wheeled,12-speed,double banana seat tandem bolt together ( known as THE BANANDEM )!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Then I came up with THE method that really really worked!! The key elements are the upside down bottom frame, and the small ( 16" ) front wheel. The upside down frame provides a solid place to join the top and bottom frames together. The bottom brackets join together , this is where most of the stress of the weight and motion of the rider is absorbed. Another advantage is that by mounting the cranks in the bottom frame,all the stress from pedaling is taken by the bottom frame in a normal fashion ( using it's factory welds undisturbed ). I join them by first aligning the head tubes of the 2 frames,then mark,drill,and bolt them ( the bottom brackets ) together with 1 bolt! Another advantage to the upside down frame is that it actually lengthens the wheelbase ( the distance between the centers of the wheels ),even when using the small fork and wheel. Using a 16" or 20" fork and a 16" wheel gives you several MAJOR advantages also. It corrects the steering/head tube angle ( generally 70 degrees on most bikes,but you can go plus or minus 3 degrees with no ill affects ),AND rotates the ENTIRE frame(s) assembly DOWN in front!! This moves the seat ahead of the centerline of the rear wheel AND makes the whole bike much more difficult to wheelie towards the rear involuntarily ( a common malady on most conventional tallbikes ). This way it has to rotate many,many more degrees to get to that scary tipping point. VOILA!!! You've got stock bike steering response AND excellent overall stability!!! I can even get away with using a banana seat, usually a BIG NO-NO on a tallbike that hasn't had the bottom frame extended in the rear. PLUS the appearance of the cut down handlebar steering connector and the big and little wheel combo ups the FREAK factor considerably!!!!!!!! Also adding a second rear triangle onto the bottom rear triangle ( I use 2 forks joined together by an axle and a piece of tubing ) ties the whole thing together and makes it very strong where it needs to be strong,underneath that HEAVY rider!!!! Some people have questioned whether the handlebar connector is strong enough, IT IS!! and i'll explain how/why. There is actually very little stress on the front/upper frame,most of it is taken up by that bottom ( un-cut!! ) frame and fork. You may have noticed I use step through frames on the top AND I can even get away with removing the top tube if the downtube is a large diameter , most modern frames,even the cheapos,are made this way now. AW YES !!! The HACKSAW is such a beautiful tool!!! Using it helps to build up my BYTHONS!!!!!!!!! If you saw me you'd know that that's a JOKE!!!!!!!!!! And, OH YEAH!! There are two other Mucho Importante reasons to do a bolt together tallbike!! #1- you can quickly and easily disassemble all or part of it for repairs,storage,or transport,or to use the parts on a new project. #2 You can build the whole thing with oh so common hand tools and a 4 1/2" hand held grinder!!! EEEEE--ZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!! This would make a great Parent/kid ( or kids ) project,don't ya think??!!!! Learn how to use those tools in the garage/shed and have a bunch "O" fun tooling around on the finished product!!!! YEEEEHAAAAAWWW!!!!!!! After all where DO little freakbikers/tallbikers come from??!!!! NOT JUST YO MOMMA!!!!!!!!!!!! Any questions,comments,criticisms ( positive or negative ) E-mail me at - I'd really like to hear what you have to say!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Before going through this procedure please read my previous post about wheel discs. This post is just to explain how I make mine,you might be able to use some of my ideas and add a few of your own to come up with something you like better. Well,here we go!!STEP ONE-find a couple of pieces of cardboard that are as big as your wheels. STEP TWO-get a piece of wood to make a scribing tool as pictured, the one I used is 13"x 1 1/4" x 1/8". Put a 2" sheetrock screw close to one end. Now measure from the screw to mark off these distances for the outside diameters of the discs. Measure and mark as follows-for 16" wheels:5 1/2" for 20":7 5/8" for 24":9 3/8" for 26":10 3/8". Now using a 3/8" drill bit, drill one hole at each one of your marks. Now mark off 1 ", 2 ", and 3" from the screw and using the same drill bit,drill holes at each of those marks. These are for the inner openings by the hubs of your wheels. Now get a Sharpie and push it through the appropriate hole for the size of wheels you're using STEP THREE-push the screw of your scribing tool into the center of the cardboard until the tip of the pen touches. Now rotate the pen around to make a full circle. Repeat this for the inside opening, to determine what size inner hole you need,measure the distance of the spokes where they first intersect from the hub to the axle center, double that figure, and make a center hole that's slightly larger ( don,t make them too small or the disc won't fit through the spokes!! ). The 1" mark on the tool makes a 2" center hole, the 2" mark makes a 4" center hole, get it? STEP FOUR- if you are going to cut out additional holes or patterns for artsy purposes, draw them in now. Also draw in a split line so you can thread the finished disc through the spokes. STEP FIVE-cut out all your circles, art patterns,and the split. I use an Xacto knife for this step. Also,using scissors cut an additional 1/8" from one side of the split, this compensates for the thickness of the sticker material. STEP SIX- decide which material you want for the basic or background color and cut it into 1"x1/2" pieces. Now apply those pieces around all the inside and outside edges overlapping each piece. STEP SEVEN- now fill in all the remaining area where the cardboard shows with random cut up pieces of your background material. STEP EIGHT- now put on any additional colors and shapes of stickers to finsh the look that you want. STEP NINE-take a hand held hair dryer ( set on high ), hold it close to the disc and the surfaces on both sides smoothing out the bumps and wrinkles with your fingers as you go. This shrinks and melts the sticker material to the cardboard and to itself,and it conforms to whatever shape it's in. DON"T BY-PASS THIS STEP!!!! If you do the sticker material will peel back and un-stick, this also seals everything up and makes it water proof. STEP TEN-take the finished disc and rotate it through the spokes starting at the opening where the air valve stem is. Keep feeding it around until the split comes back around to the valve stem again. STEP ELEVEN- put the wheels back on the bike,spin them and make sure the disc is centered. Then dab on 5 or 6 spots of silicone adhesive ( clear ) at the outer ends of the spokes where they touch the discs. YOUR DONE!!!!!! NOW GO OUT AND MAKE SPINNY SHADOWS ON THE STREETS!!!!!! WHEEL DISCS A GO-GO BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Any questions,comments,criticisms ( positive or negative ) -E-mail me at -I'd love to hear what you have to say!!!!!!!

BICYCLE/FREAKBIKE WHEEL DISCS!!! super neato fun things!!!!

I love WHEEL DISCS!!!!!!!! They are fun to make and it helps me to satisfy my artsy side! When I used to build custom cars one of the most important things you do to make them look good and set them apart from the rest is to add a purty set of wheels. I had seen wheel covers on racing bicycles and thought that I could do my own low tech, no bucks version using scrounged recyclables. Sure enough they turned out great and didn't cost a dime!! I make them out of cardboard and cut up pieces of sign tape, there's a place near where I live that prints up bumper stickers,band stickers,etc. and I snag the scraps/mistakes out of their dumpster. I cut out holes and different patterns because it looks cool AND because the openings make keen spinning shadows on the road beside you when you're riding on a sunny day!! I will show you how I make mine on the next episode of " As the Freakbike Turns " Any questions,comments,criticisms, ( positive or negative ) E-mail me at -I'd really like to hear what you have to say!!!!!!!!

Meet SCUZZO!! a rusty, crusty old gentleman with a lotta' soul!!

This is SCUZZO, he is a rusty old bicycle with a heart of gold! His frame is a 50's Schwinn Deluxe that I found partially buried in the ground under an old compost pile 24 years ago. It is badly rusted and has deep pits all over it but you can still see all of the red accents and pinstriping!! He may have been a Black Phantom,has the same sort of paint layout. I decided to bring him back to life when I found a set of rusty chrome cruiser wheels complete with a useable but scungy set of fat whitewalls.The fender set is from another old bomber, no idea what brand, but they are deliciously crusty and you can see the striping on them too. I like the look of the ripped up hunks of reflector tape and I added the broken vintage reflector,perfect match!! The fender braces are also twisted up and rusty and have several coats of different color paint. I put on a cool old vintagey 3-spring seat with plenty of rust and naturally screwed up,chewed up upholstery!! Let's see....oh yeah! I added some ugly old cruiser bars,a pair of thoroughly disgusting white (?) grips, a bent, rusty chainguard, some equally grungy running gear pieces and VOILA!!!!!-Scuzzo is born again!!!!!!!! God bless him!! I love this sort of build!! I mean why NOT do just the opposite of what most folks do? Instead of making it as PURTY as you can why not make it as UUUGLY as possible!! Old Scuzzo looks like crap but he rides great!! Not at all what one would expect. I plan to do a tall bike like this,make it so twisted and rusty that people will be afraid to get too close to it!!! Strip off most or all of the paint and leave it outside every winter just too see how ugly things can get!! Try it yourself, build your OWN Scuzzo!! Start today!! UGLY CAN BE BEAUTEEFUL!!!!!!!!!!! AND DON'T THROW AWAY ALL THOSE OLD BENT, RUSTY, AND UGLY OLD PARTS- MAKE SUMTHIN' SCARY SCUZZY AND COOL OUT OF THEM!!!!!!!!! THEN RIDE THAT FRANKENSTEIN ON DOWN THE ROAD!!!!!!!!! Any questions,comments,criticisms, ( positive or negative ) -E-mail me at -I'd love to hear what you have to say!!!!!!!