street party bikes


 

     NEWS   9/29/09

    Here's a pic of the beach cruiser I bought to replace a similar, but less comfortable 24" stretch lowrider. I put the new seat on the day before yesterday. The bike was supposed to have twisted cranks along with a new sprocket I already had, but Street Lowrider never sent it with my order.

 

Click on image to enlarge.

    I got rid of my all chrome stretch lowrider because it's banana seat was always making my "fun zone" fall asleep after just 15 minutes of riding. I bought a replacement kick stand for it and bought new Stingray handlebars, sold it and bought this Micargi Cougar with the money more or less breaking even in the trade. 

    The picture is dark because I wanted to get a picture of the chemical "glow sticks" I used for riding the bike in a parade on it's very 1st day out of doors. The bike might not look quite as cool as the lowrider, but it's much more comfortable, doesn't have forks that squeak (the seat does a little) and has much better torque for pulling the trailer as I can get my legs almost straight. The seat is just a little higher than recommended on the seat post.

    I kept the twisted handlebars & fork braces from the lowrider. The chrome on the beach cruiser is a little nicer, but I've gone from 144 spokes per wheel to 72. The wheels don't look quite as trick, but they're MUCH easier to clean. The one thing I don't like about the new bike is that the fork braces are too long for the front wheel making installing it impossible because the fender hits the bottom of the steering tube. I tried re-drilling new holes to lower the fender, but that didn't work either, so I think I'll just spring for $8 each twisted fender braces next spring and new fenders too. I'm not liking the holes in the fenders for the rear reflector I don't want and the fenders are so wide, it will be a tight fit with the twisted fork braces up front. 

     I'm in the process of waiting for some upgrade parts. for the moment, I've tightened the springer fork up just before the bolt touches the stem which pushes the front wheel foreward an inch or two. I'll be taking it off and replacing it with an extended twisted spring cage. I'll also be getting a blue crushed velvet springer seat with chrome parts, twisted chrome pedals, a new sprocket, and twisted cranks. I'd been looking for the particular sprocket I bought a year or two and when I finally found one, went on an early upgrade spree. I was going to settle for a plain chrome unit. 

 

I'll upload some photos of the upgraded bike soon when it's rebuilt. I MIGHT even be able to fit the front fender on the bike now as when the front fork is pushed foreward it clears the steering tube a little more. When I get the extended spring cage and loosen the spring up as well, the front spring might move foreward another inch. I might not need new fender braces after all, just to get the front wheel ahead of the steering tube half an inch. I't's looking like a fender might even fit now when I put a brace on the wheel bolts after stretching the bike.

 

    I had trouble trying to get the Homedics Light Therapy Cubes I wanted for the trailer because they're discontinued, but I've found some NEW toys to take their place... namely some 12v LED disco projectors I got on sale for just $30 each at my local Spencer's Gifts. Here's a pic of the four units and another showing some of the patterns the project.

 

  

     It was hard getting a good pic because the 4 lights liked to all spin at once every time I took a pic. Basically, they project red, green & blue in every color combination and blink or rotate slowly creating an effect similar to disco balls, but with small groups of lights swirling around each other & changing direction. The effect looks really nice when the lights overlap as one gets better light coverage. Sometimes as many as 3 at a time of them might be turned off in blink mode, but at least one is doing something at all times. I'd say the effects are cooler than the simple blinking ground effects LEDs I orginally planned even if there are only 3 colors because the rotating mirror dish inside gives the lights motion.

 

Have a new 8gb WAV player for 2009, my Cowon iAudio U5.

  Right now I'm using it with Sennheiser HD-202 sealed DJ headphones. It has a very detailed and transparent sound with nice bass as long as it's tiny little amp isn't pushed over 35 out of 40 where it gets really bright and even a little shrill sounding. At 30, it will play the bass heaviest dub you can throw at it very relaxed. I also listen to it with all of the enhancement effects turned off except for a little bit of bass boost and some top octave rolloff on the EQ if I'm listening at 35. The EQ might prove REALLY useful on my V2.0 bike system for this year. CD skipping (and breaking right after warranty expiration) shouldn't be a problem anymore. I did freakout a minute last year when the player stopped working when it was just a month or two old, but after reading my owner's manual, I reset it and it went right  back to working fine without losing any tracks.

    I'm pissed off that I had to lose almost the price of one player to ship the matching B&W pair of Zen Stones I originally bought that are SUPPOSED to play WAVs, but there's no fine print that says "but only at the exact sample rate and bit depth that the player records with it's microphone".  I should have expected as much after having the same problem with their MUVO player that the package said worked with Windows 98, but didn't work with my 98 SE + unofficial updates system. 
    I will NEVER deal with Creative Labs again. They gave me all kinds of runaround over a return RMA and ONLY accepted them back after I emailed their rep back with their OWN tech's comments that the Zen Stones won't play uncompressed WAVs and a comment thanking him for repeating the lie that they will in print in a previous email. I wonder how so many corporations stay in business when they're so hostile to customers.

    The first Creative Labs fiasco with the Muvo is what lead me to buying the Sony CD player in the system pics that broke IMMEDIATELY after the warranty expired when it's spindle started grinding against the case. It sounds like a manufacturing defect to me, but to Sony it sounds like "Thanks for your money! See ya sucker!" Really, it's more like "See ya Sony, I've had enough of crappy products from you like my VCR whose power button is inside the player, the boombox I bought that buzzed like a kazoo if you turned it half way up with bass boost, or the $700 field recording cassette deck that's missing 3-4 case screws from you never quite fixing it under warranty.

    I digress. I expect the Cowon to sound just as nice amplified as it does with quality headphones. Now I'd really like to hear it on higher end open air phones from Sennheiser, AKG,  Beyer. I think I'll stop by the local pro audio store and see how my DJ phones fare against reference cans.

 

Old "Deep Thought" plan

 (Just click on any photo for a larger version.)

    This was a design I wanted to build, but can't as the "color changing light cubes" on the sides arediscontinued. I wasn't able to get the trailer rolling because upgrades to the railing system at my apartment kept me from being able to get the trailer out of the door and I couldn't find any storage units to keep it in that would let me get it out for partying after 8:00 much less return it after 2:00 AM. I'm planning on moving next year just so I can FINALLY use the gear I've already had a year that's collecting dust.


    I'm also planning on a much simpler design like I originally intended with nothing but fabric and the front & back plasmaspheres on the lower part of the trailer, but will add a light tower for the 4 LED projectors along with EL wire and/or LED color changing lights. The tower will be a 4 foot tall cardboard tube used for pouring concrete. It's cheaper and lighter than wood, and at about a foot in diameter, leaves plenty of room inside for wiring. On top of that will be a pedistal for the LED projectors and possibly lasers too.

 

 The Parts

    This is the gear that will be in the bike trailer when it's built. It consists of 4 NHT Superzeros for mains, a 10" Goldwood sub in a sealed enclosure, a pair of 140wpc Power Acoustik "Plasmasphere" amps powered by an 800 amp Bi-Mart battery that will be trickle charged by the smart charger in the photo. The trailer I'll be putting all of this on is a "Pronto Deluxe". The material in the background is going to be stretched over the frame to make an outer shell. The Photo doesn't do it justice, it's much brighter reflecting than the photo indicates.

    I've created a page with earlier mock ups of possible final designs as well as a pic of the frame partially assembled with components inside so you can get a better idea of what's going to happen with all of these parts when I'm done, but I might not actually finish that exact build. You can link to the page HERE. 

    I've already tested the amps and they have great sound, especially for the $40 each + shipping I paid for them on closeout. They aren't as hyper-detailed as my class D Panasonic home theater receiver or the Sonic Impact on my MTB system, but they have a nice liquid sound with better HF extension than the hideous NAD receiver I used to own. If I were to describe their sound it would be dynamic and playful which is just right for a street party system. Strangely though, the two amps are different colors! One is a classy looking titanium and the other is more smokey but all that anyone will see will be their plasma spheres.

powertools. I had all of the lumber cut to size when I bought it. 

 

    Eventually, I'll be updating this site with more links to sites that have kustom bikes and places to get kustom parts like lowrider gear along with cool tech for street party bikes like EL wire etc. and some mockups I've one for custom trikes etc. I might eventually move everything to MySpace too if I ever figure out how to post the mp3 mixes I originally intended to so that it's easier to find and more people can add their ideas and links.

    I will be expanding this site more and more as time permits for all of you out there interested in street party bike systems. This original bike will be moved to an archive page when the trailer is completed.

    By spring, I will have EVERYTHING I want installed. I might still add a couple last minute ideas before then. 

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My original 10wpc mountain bike system.

It's retired now.

    These are a few photos of my old street party bike. It's an early 90s Huffy Revolution that has seen a few parts replacements over the years to keep rolling but it still gets me where I need to go. The sound system starts with a generic Coby CD player with 60 second anti-skip protection. It replaces a black Sony that died right after it's warranty expired because the spindle started grinding and Sony refused to fix or replace it. Screw you Sony! The Coby died too after I dropped it once, but that was my fault.

Zero emission ride!

 

    The player was velcroed to some dollar store bungee cords for extra shock protection and I never experienced a skip while riding. The bungee cords also held down a dollar store wire basket which held the Sonic Impact Class T amplifier. It's rated at 15 watts per channel and uses 8 AAA batteries with a decent run time of several hours at volume. For $30, it was a nice little amp and sounded crystal clear sadly, they're discontinued and the price for a Dayton rebrand of the amp is $45 and mine died at the end of last year. First the plastic speaker binding posts started to fall apart and then the amp just started overloading and shutting down after a couple minutes use. I'd never another one for a portable system, only a permanent installation like PC sound. There are starting to be a lot of similar little class D amps out. There's one in an aluminum case called a Lepai being sold on eBay (don't get me started on those SOBs!) for peanuts as well as more "high end" units going for up to $150.

I keep the grille cloths on when I ride

 

    The speakers were mounted in Banjo saddle bags with a green camping pad cut up to secure them. They're a pair of old Mission M-71s that I had lying around and that fit in the saddlebags. The cabinets are a little resonant with only 1/2" thick cabinets, but they have excellent tweeters with great speed and extension. The woofers are 5 1/4" and can't move a lot of deep bass air, especially with the foam plugs in the ports at the bottom of the saddlebags, but what bass there is is clear and punchy.

Close-up of the system version 1.0 

    More than once when I've ridden around with the system playing, at full volume around dance clubs, I've gotten comments like "That bike is TIGHT!"  I just tried a pair of ALLEGEDLY 93dB efficient Pyle outdoor speakers with 6 1/2" woofers, but they sounded no louder than my tiny 4 1/2" NHT Superzeros which actually sound like they have MORE bass. I also couldn't find any 50wpc or higher class D amplifier modules for "system 2.0" as the only ones I could find would only accept PayPal which is a branch of eBay who can kiss my hairy buttocks! LOL

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My former bike with a system mock up.

Prototype system for my stretch lowryder

    This sound system doesn't actually exist and the bike is sold. I just edited the photo to get a look at a possible "stylin' ride" but it turns out to be impractical because this is a hard bike to ride for long periods of time without the family jewels going numb and falling asleep.  Just the bike gets a lot of attention though when I do ride it occasionally.

 

    I hope you found this web page interesting or even inspiring towards hooking your own bike up with a stereo system. Bikes are so much cooler than motor vehicles says this tree hugger and custom bikes are a great way  to emphasize that point. Surf around more, and you'll see a few other examples of bike stereos including radical builds with car batteries and several hundred watt amplifiers. I might possibly go that route too by building a trailer with 4 X 8" woofers. I like the quick tight sounding bass you get from smaller woofers in sealed enclosures myself. A trailer would allow me to use a 12v battery and use an amp with enough power to play outside nightclubs without getting drowned out.

 

    Check out the link below for even more wild megawatt bike systems, custom bikes, tricycles, DIY systems and DJ rigs etc. 

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MORE street party bikes & systems

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