Thursday, November 12, 2009
TALLBIKE STEERING COUPLERS !!!!!!!!! wutt da hekk izzat ??!!!!
Steering couplers are the things that connect the bottom frames fork to the top frames handlebars ( or steering wheel !!!! ) !!! Yep you gotta' control that front wheel REAL GOOD from way up there !!! Here are 3 different ways of doing just that. One is a weld together only method,the other 2 are bolt together style. The welded one is as shown on the big blue bike. This is done by welding a tube to the inside or outside of each frames headtubes.By doing this you create ONE VERY LONG HEADTUBE !!!!You then measure from the top of the top frames head tube to the bottom of the bottom frames head tube,add 1 1/4". Then slide a piece of tubing inside the fork,cut off the top part of another fork (THE TUBE THAT HAS THE THREADS ON IT ) ,then cut the tubing so that the 3 pieces are the same overall length ( plus the 1 1/4" )of the measurement you made on the head tube distance ( see drawing to clarify ).Remember to leave room for your handlebar stem to be installed at the top. Measure them up,clamp them in a piece of angle iron to keep them straight,and weld them up one side at a time.Let the welds cool before unclamping them so they stay straight.Also grind the welds so it will fit flush in the angle iron when welding the other side. Again let it cool before un clamping. You then assemble like a regular fork,it's just a WHOLE LOT LONGER !!!!!! This method looks the cleanest but has a couple of flaws. That long tube welded in the middle of the fork actually flexes when you hit a bump with the front wheel !!! This COULD cause the bearings near the bottom of the fork to wear out prematurely because they are rocking back and forth in a way they weren't designed to do.This method does work though, I have been riding the blue bike for years with no problems so far but it's not the best way to go.The following methods use ALL the bearings from BOTH headsets,MUCH BEEFIER !!!! NO MORE FLEXXO !!!!! The second setup is made from 2 identicle handle bar stems,a cut down pair of bars ( either drop down or 3-speed roadster type ),A frame seat post clamp,and 1 or 3 slotted spacer tubes ( depending on the type of stems you're using ). This type is shown on the two green bikes and the red one. First you find a fork that fits your top frame AND is able to fit a h-bar stem in the BOTTOM of the fork crown. I have been using forks from old Huffy 3 and 10 speeds for this because the hole in the bottom of the crown fits a 21.1 stem with no modification necessary ( another option here is to use an upside down fork,I'll show how to mount h-bars OR make a steering wheel out of it in my next post ). You then cut off the fork legs, mount BOTH stems and measure the distance between the centers of the handlebar mounting holes.Now you take the handlebar you're using and bend the ends ( THE PLACES WHERE YOUR HANDS GO) so they are parallel eachother. Now measure the distance between the centers of the h-bar TIPS.Subtract the distance from the other figure and then cut that much out of the center of the h-bar,GET IT !! You're cutting down the handlebar JUST ENOUGH so it will fit into the 2 stems. You're probably thinking "Yeah but it's cut in TWO !!". Okay to put the 2 halves BACK TOGETHER cut a 2" piece if tubing that is just the right diameter to slide over the h-bar tubing.Cut a 1/8" slot length wise into that.Slide both h-bar pieces into that and put the seat post clamp on and tighten it down. VOILA,you've got a solid cut down handlebar that fits between the 2 stems !!! Okay now if you're using BMX 4 bolt stems you can just bolt everything together now. If you're using regular stems you need to make 2 more split spacer tubes like the one you made to connect the 2 h-bar halves.The ends of the handlebars should be pushed in as far as possible.Then you can cut off the excess that is sticking out the other end.I also cap them off w/bar tape plugs.The third coupler type shown is the one I covered in PART B of my SURF WOODY project post. WHEN USING THE SEAT POST CLAMPS ALWAYS MAKE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT THE CLAMP IS TIGHTENING DOWN ON THE TUBING,NOT ON ITSELF !!!!! Use a smaller clamp to make sure all the pieces STAY TOGETHER !!!! Any questions,comments,criticisms ( positive or negative ),please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org I'd love to hear what you have to say!!!!