Finish Details

DETAILS - random pictures from my collection and from the work of others. Hardware, seats, various ways of accomplishing the bike that perhaps aren't quite in the drawngs.

Seats and Covers

I am of course here to argue that 'MY' seat cover passes the most rigorous comfort testing imaginable.But there are other ways to skin a .... well, look:

Both of these panels are laced into a seat frame. John (with the stripes) sews a panel along the edge of his fabric panel and threads a 14 ga copper wire into the pocket. The lacing is poked through the vinyl/cotton fabric with a soldering iron. Dick (white seat) did something similar, but look what he added on the back:

Dick stitched a pocket into his seat! Cool!Some other seat covering schemes:


This perhaps a clearer view of my simple seat clamp -

This is a seat mount Carl made - he is using some machine collars and a couple of bits of flat bar:

Other seat braces -

An alternate way to terminate a seat brace.

Matt's use of a 60's polyethylene kitchen chair for a bike seat. There are lots of different ways to make a seat!This is one of my seats mounted on a commercial bike. We (me and various owners) have done this several times - adapted the sling seat onto other bikes. It's been seen on a Tour Easy, on the EZ-1 and EZ-3, on a Ryan tandem, a couple of RANS bikes, on an Actionbent highracer, on a few trikes. A few homebuilders with very divergent ideas have bought this frame and altered if for their own purposes. It's a good seat, great for touring comfort. And it's not proud, it will fit on anything.

Rear Dropouts.

Just to clear up some confusions. Some of the older bikes, particularly the ones we often salvage for recycling in this way, do not have the integrated deraileur hanging fitting on the right, rear drop out. The bikes use a hanger, often built in to the component deraileur. The hanger slides into the outside of the axle slot in the right rear drop out, and looks like this when installed.

The hanger can be had as a separate piece, and modern, 'hanger-less' deraileurs can be used on bikes where the integrated fitting doesn't exist.

The newer deraileur mounts into a tab on the dropout in a threaded, 10mm hole, like this:

The advantage is that nothing is in the axle slot to interfere with mounting your wheel.

Chain Idler.

Some folks carve up skateboard wheels for idlers - it's nice to use the bearing, etc. This is a simple way to make a return side idler to carry the weight of your chain. The return side is the bottom chain - out of the deraileur and running back to your front chain rings. The drive side, under all the tension of your pedaling legs, is the top chain. If you need an idler on the drive side for some reason - get the one with bearings and mount it very solidly. This idler is for the return chain ONLY!

This is the idler you see in place on all my bikes. I use a jockey wheel salvaged from a donor bike deraileur, with a couple of plastic washers 'sandwiching' the cog to keep the chain from jumping. All this is mounted on 1/4" threaded rod, and bolted across the two bottom rails of the bike.Simple, cheap, effective.A crude, 'exploded' view:

In most jockey wheels you will find a steel bushing inside the plastic wheel. This bushing typically is for a 6mm shaft, which is slightly smaller than that 1/4" threaded rod. (Drill the bushing out a little bit - it will work just fine!)

I've been asked, where do I find those nice 2 1/4" plastic washers?

'I find them in the trash can,' I say.

UPDATE in 2019 - I no longer drill an idler shaft through both bottom rails on the bike frame. I braze a separate steel tab on the right lower rail - this provides a mounting position for the jockey wheel idler or for for other upscale options.

Like in the photo here. 1 x 1/8" steel bar, about 1 1/4" long, with a 1/4" hole drilled to one side. Braze on parallel to the bike center plane, you can mount the jockey wheel idler on that.


First, unless you already KNOW you want a fairing, ride your bike a while without one. It's a great bike, and unless the offshore wind is always in your face you may not need to add a fairing. If you do want to add one, there are lots of places to get one - few of them adapt well (as straight commercial sales) to a home built bike. The WISIL page references an article for a do it yourself heated, blown plastic bubble fairing. I have not been so brave. Of course you can take most thin clear sheet plastics and build a respectable two dimensional windshield/fairing with relative ease.

I think this is ingenious and simple. Thin sheet plastic shaped mechanically into an eccentric cone, mounted as a fairing. For the truly budget minded (or for a Madonna fan) this is a seminal idea!I am not such a fan myself, nor am I adventurous in blowing thermobubbles. The fairing you see on my bike is a commercial one, made by Zzipper, ( the people who make fairings for the Easy Racers bikes (among others).

If you look on Karl's order page you will see he sells 'Experimenter's Kits' - I buy the Long Bubble kit. What you get is the uncut fairing, with some trim and glue to finish the edge yourself. Of course you have to make the mounting brackets too. These are the brackets I use - The brackets are made of 1/8" steel rod. At each of the mounting points (Zzipper supplies the plastic bolts and wing nuts, I braze on a 3/8" flat washer. The top "M" brace is hose clamped onto the steering stem. the bottom 'wicket' has some 1/4" nuts braze onto the ends of the rods, this is bolted in the mounting holes on the front dropouts.

But I think you should learn with your bike whether you want a fairing or not. It isn't an automatic answer.


Here is a variation for bending a rear triangle -

Some clamps, a bit of pipe, and a Workmate bench - simple.John (he of the striped seat cover above) built a wonderful jig for assembling a seat frame -

I think Darby's workstand is wonderful. You can of course buy a bike workstand from Park Tools, spend $100 in a bike shop, etc. What you see here (behind the pretty bike frame) is ingenious. Darby took a carpenter's pipe clamp, a $10 device made to fit with 1" black plumbing pipe, and fitted it onto the end of a short, horizontal stub of pipe threaded at both ends - you can buy this stub in your Ace Hardware store too, along with the cast iron elbow fitting and the longer 'stand' pipe. Support that any way you can - Darby bolted his stand to an old, rolling TV cart. But a simple flange and a plywood plate on the floor would do. The $25 bike stand, and it's got a padded clamp too!Brake Studs

Modern Cantilever or V-brakes require studs brazed onto your bike frame as mounting points.

I've learned to do this. Below is the very simple jig I use to set these studs with. Here is the placement I prefer for these studs - sort of where they were on the seat stays from that donor bike you used. The old studs on that frame are, of course, out of position after the rear triangle is bent for our bike frame. So these are new studs, newly brazed in place. This simple jig of 3/4" square tube has a 5/16" hole drilled on one side, and an extended (if crudely done) 5/16" slot on the other end. A brake stud can be bolted in using the tight tolerance of a 1/4" flat washer on the bottom on both sides - using the slot to adjust the separation of the two studs on the fork (or on the seat stays at the back of a bike frame). Let gravity hold it long enough to get a spot braze in place, then fillet braze around each stud.

If you are building a Mach 2, you will add a lot of rake to your front fork. That is a challenge when you go to add brake studs (the donor bike studs are waaaaaay out of place, cut them off). The studs for a 20" wheel go where you see them here. If you just mount them on the surface of the fork blade (radially to the curve), they would be in the position shown here by the purple line. The V brake levers will not clear the frame itself! You have to 'carve' the studs to land off kilter to the fork's curved surface - parallel to the upper section of the fork. I know because I did it wrong the first time. :-)This is Richard's "Radio Flyer" bike. I just think it's really cool the way he detailed the lugs in his paint job.

Last for now - I 'decorate' my steering riser like this. Usually I only use the one water bottle cage, the second one is there if I am going a really long way between stops.

Some folks like the water bladder packs for hydration - you can hang one of those from your seat back. I don't like cleaning those things, and I really don't mind stopping to tip the bottle once in a while.Besides, the seat back makes a great place for bumper stickers....