Friday, 23 September 2011

Mixte Low-Rider Project

A trip into the distant past in preparation for some new projects this year:
Most things that I did before 2006 I’ve not documented. Usually I just get on with stuff without taking photos or remembering how I overcame a problem. When I’m working on something new I have very few plans to work from and the project kind of evolves. This project was the first one I kept details about. The plan was to use a mixte style cycle frame and build it as low as possible. I decided beforehand that the project needed to be done as cheap as possible and using mostly things I’ve found or had rather than buying new. I truly believe that
‘cash stifles creativity’
I’ve tried to build things from all new parts but I can’t seem to get a flow, it doesn’t work for me. Sometimes I see a part at a bike jumble, scrap yard or in a skip and it sparks a plan and a direction to follow. For me, there’s strength in financial limitations when creating something. When I hit a problem, the first port of call is the pile of crap in the garage not Chain Reaction.
So, I found a mixte framed complete bike by the side of the road with a seriously buckled wheel and this became the base for the lowrider. Bill ‘Kaiser’ Pollard in Northampton is the genius behind using a mixte frame as the base for a custom bike, at that time in 2006, I just wanted to go a step further.

After a serious hacking, the original frame consisted of just the twin down tubes and the seat tube. I used some old front forks for the rear. I decided against the original ones that came with the bike as I had this pair of old Reynolds 531 touring forks which had a nicer long curve to them and would give the bike a lower profile. The rest of the main frame was made from a shop clothes rail that I’d had for a few years. It made for a nicely curved down tube without the need to do any major tube bending. It was also used to make the seat post. In the photo you can see that the castors were still attached from the clothes rail at this stage!

The bike roughly mocked up prior to final welding stages
The paint is red flake over black which was done by Phil Gay at Autocraft in Hull for the cost of one very nice Schwinn Cruiser .
The seat was made from the foot rest (base) of an old scooter and appears to be made out of some form of resin. I shaped and glued a piece of stainless steel over the top and bolted through with some shiny coach bolts. It’s not as uncomfortable as you might think.

Sadly the bike is no more. It became a victim of the floods in 2007 and the water damage rusted it from the inside out. It finally snapped at the steerer tube. Of course, nothing to do with the beyond physics angle of the forks and the massive pressure it put on the frame that forced it to peel itself in two!! It was a good fun project.