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29er Free Radical Conversion, Pedal Give and Shifting

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  • thom chiaramonte
    I have completed a conversion of a 29er to a longbike using a current gen Free Radical kit and lots of tweaking. I m documenting the build to post here for
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 20, 2012
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      I have completed a conversion of a 29er to a longbike using a current gen Free Radical kit and lots of tweaking. I'm documenting the build to post here for others to use, as the number of 29er builds around the net is pretty small, though members here have talked about them here and there which have been helpful to me.

      Before I do, I have a few general questions for the Free Radical users here, regardless of frame size.

      1. Pedal Give: Here's what I notice. If I put the afterburners on, with or without load, I get a sensation at the cranks that reminds me of that dreaded feeling of crank spindles starting to strip, if you've ever been unfortunate enough to experience it; in other words, the feeling of being able to rotate the crank arm on the spindle itself rather than using the crank arm, as designed, to be a rigid connection with the spindle. Before you strip your spindle you'll feel the slip a bit, and then very quickly, depending on metal to metal types, you lose the spindle, rounding it and your crank drops. Anyway, that's the sensation. A little bit of give when I push hard on the pedals. I've been told that this is from the length of chain and lack of real tensioning, so I'm feeling the tautness of the chain under forced effort there. Is that other people's experience as well? SOmething to try to adapt to? It's unnerving to say the least.

      2. Shifting Issues: I've found that some of my gears towards the lower end of my cassette seem to be prone to jumping on the xtracycle. I've had them adjusted and readjusted and they test fine in the shop, but I get out on the road and would have a jump here and there, both up and down the cassette (so not fixable by limits as it's not just up or just down)… again I've been told that the lack of chain tension can contribute to this, but I thought I'd see if you experience something similar. I will say this: I have a short-term solution for a FAP-replacement which is still being finessed (see below) and one drawback to that scratch-built assembly is that as the bolts start to loosen slightly it CAN allow the tongue to shift towards one side or the other of the stays, taking the Free Radical frame out of alignment with the main frame a bit. I would strongly suspect that when this occurs, my shifting falls apart as the components are no longer properly aligned. I tighten these bolts before each ride, but until I replace that FAP-assembly I won't know if this is the only culprit to the shifting drops. I certainly believe it contributes to the severity.

      Lastly, as those of you who have converted a 29er may know, one of the hitches, so to speak, is the FAP: the stays are too long on the frame so the tongue of the Free Radical falls short of the usual FAP location. I am looking for a local fabricator to help me build a long-term solution to this mounting point, but in the short-term, I am using plates above and below with dual bolts holding the sandwich together. Does anyone have a lead on a fabricator who has made a FAP-replacement for 29ers specifically for other bike projects? I'd be interested if so, as my local guy is backed up.

      I'll post my conversion once I have that FAP sorted out!
      thom
    • Brian Livelsberger
      I strongly suspect that you are right -- any shifting of the tongue would mean that the chain alignment is changing and putting the gear adjustment out of
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 20, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        I strongly suspect that you are right -- any shifting of the tongue would mean that the chain alignment is changing and putting the gear adjustment out of whack. This is confirmed by your report that it shifts fine in the shop. On a shop stand with the pedals being turned by hand there is negligible load pulling the tongue to the side, thus the gear jump issue disappears there. I suspect that the tongue shifting would also explain the sensation of "pedal give". If you apply force to the pedals and the tongue shifts, you should feel "give" in the pedals as force and pedal rotation that would otherwise be applied to forward motion are transferred instead to lateral motion in the tongue. I'd say lock down the tongue / FAP issue and see if that doesn't solve both the shifting and pedal give problems.

        Regards,
        Brian.

        On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM, thom chiaramonte <thom@...> wrote:
        I have completed a conversion of a 29er to a longbike using a current gen Free Radical kit and lots of tweaking. I'm documenting the build to post here for others to use, as the number of 29er builds around the net is pretty small, though members here have talked about them here and there which have been helpful to me.

        Before I do, I have a few general questions for the Free Radical users here, regardless of frame size.

        1. Pedal Give: Here's what I notice. If I put the afterburners on, with or without load, I get a sensation at the cranks that reminds me of that dreaded feeling of crank spindles starting to strip, if you've ever been unfortunate enough to experience it; in other words, the feeling of being able to rotate the crank arm on the spindle itself rather than using the crank arm, as designed, to be a rigid connection with the spindle. Before you strip your spindle you'll feel the slip a bit, and then very quickly, depending on metal to metal types, you lose the spindle, rounding it and your crank drops. Anyway, that's the sensation. A little bit of give when I push hard on the pedals. I've been told that this is from the length of chain and lack of real tensioning, so I'm feeling the tautness of the chain under forced effort there. Is that other people's experience as well? SOmething to try to adapt to? It's unnerving to say the least.

        2. Shifting Issues: I've found that some of my gears towards the lower end of my cassette seem to be prone to jumping on the xtracycle. I've had them adjusted and readjusted and they test fine in the shop, but I get out on the road and would have a jump here and there, both up and down the cassette (so not fixable by limits as it's not just up or just down)… again I've been told that the lack of chain tension can contribute to this, but I thought I'd see if you experience something similar. I will say this: I have a short-term solution for a FAP-replacement which is still being finessed (see below) and one drawback to that scratch-built assembly is that as the bolts start to loosen slightly it CAN allow the tongue to shift towards one side or the other of the stays, taking the Free Radical frame out of alignment with the main frame a bit. I would strongly suspect that when this occurs, my shifting falls apart as the components are no longer properly aligned. I tighten these bolts before each ride, but until I replace that FAP-assembly I won't know if this is the only culprit to the shifting drops. I certainly believe it contributes to the severity.

        Lastly, as those of you who have converted a 29er may know, one of the hitches, so to speak, is the FAP: the stays are too long on the frame so the tongue of the Free Radical falls short of the usual FAP location. I am looking for a local fabricator to help me build a long-term solution to this mounting point, but in the short-term, I am using plates above and below with dual bolts holding the sandwich together. Does anyone have a lead on a fabricator who has made a FAP-replacement for 29ers specifically for other bike projects? I'd be interested if so, as my local guy is backed up.

        I'll post my conversion once I have that FAP sorted out!
        thom

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      • Devian Gilbert
        starting from the obvious: assuming new chain(s) that match drivetrain. when I had first converted a Cdale F900, the bike was in the perfect condition for a
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 20, 2012
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          starting from the obvious:
          assuming new chain(s) that match drivetrain.

          when I had first converted a Cdale F900, the bike was in the perfect condition for a utility bike morph.  that being... it was a worn out bike.  Which provided some issues.  of course a new chain and cogset did not like to play well a very worn XT middle ring.  the solution was to rebuild the bike.

          if things are flexing...
          significantly speaking, its not the change of chain line alignment which would cause skipping.  it would require a fair amount of flex to get that result.

          but rather, the change in derailleur cable tension.  that is to say, in order to move the derailleur in a shifting direction, that requires something to pull the derailleur.  in this case, possibly there is something that moves the cable.  However, if the cable housing is 1 complete piece, it would not suspect the cable/housing from moving the rear derailleur.

          instead I'd look to the dropout/axel interface.

          possibly the "B" screw setting for the rear derailleur, taking note to get the top pulley close to the cogset.
          If I recall correctly, I had used an Avid Rollamajig to help with the cable/housing-derailleur interface.

          with the tongue of the FR not being the correct placement I can only imagine how this would play out.

          a 29er conversion is very interesting;  I'm curious to your parts choice(s), bike, etc...

          hope this helps

          d-

          On Jun 20, 2012, at 11:37 AM, Brian Livelsberger wrote:

           

          I strongly suspect that you are right -- any shifting of the tongue would mean that the chain alignment is changing and putting the gear adjustment out of whack. This is confirmed by your report that it shifts fine in the shop. On a shop stand with the pedals being turned by hand there is negligible load pulling the tongue to the side, thus the gear jump issue disappears there. I suspect that the tongue shifting would also explain the sensation of "pedal give". If you apply force to the pedals and the tongue shifts, you should feel "give" in the pedals as force and pedal rotation that would otherwise be applied to forward motion are transferred instead to lateral motion in the tongue. I'd say lock down the tongue / FAP issue and see if that doesn't solve both the shifting and pedal give problems.

          Regards,
          Brian.

          On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM, thom chiaramonte <thom@...> wrote:
          I have completed a conversion of a 29er to a longbike using a current gen Free Radical kit and lots of tweaking. I'm documenting the build to post here for others to use, as the number of 29er builds around the net is pretty small, though members here have talked about them here and there which have been helpful to me.

          Before I do, I have a few general questions for the Free Radical users here, regardless of frame size.

          1. Pedal Give: Here's what I notice. If I put the afterburners on, with or without load, I get a sensation at the cranks that reminds me of that dreaded feeling of crank spindles starting to strip, if you've ever been unfortunate enough to experience it; in other words, the feeling of being able to rotate the crank arm on the spindle itself rather than using the crank arm, as designed, to be a rigid connection with the spindle. Before you strip your spindle you'll feel the slip a bit, and then very quickly, depending on metal to metal types, you lose the spindle, rounding it and your crank drops. Anyway, that's the sensation. A little bit of give when I push hard on the pedals. I've been told that this is from the length of chain and lack of real tensioning, so I'm feeling the tautness of the chain under forced effort there. Is that other people's experience as well? SOmething to try to adapt to? It's unnerving to say the least.

          2. Shifting Issues: I've found that some of my gears towards the lower end of my cassette seem to be prone to jumping on the xtracycle. I've had them adjusted and readjusted and they test fine in the shop, but I get out on the road and would have a jump here and there, both up and down the cassette (so not fixable by limits as it's not just up or just down)… again I've been told that the lack of chain tension can contribute to this, but I thought I'd see if you experience something similar. I will say this: I have a short-term solution for a FAP-replacement which is still being finessed (see below) and one drawback to that scratch-built assembly is that as the bolts start to loosen slightly it CAN allow the tongue to shift towards one side or the other of the stays, taking the Free Radical frame out of alignment with the main frame a bit. I would strongly suspect that when this occurs, my shifting falls apart as the components are no longer properly aligned. I tighten these bolts before each ride, but until I replace that FAP-assembly I won't know if this is the only culprit to the shifting drops. I certainly believe it contributes to the severity.

          Lastly, as those of you who have converted a 29er may know, one of the hitches, so to speak, is the FAP: the stays are too long on the frame so the tongue of the Free Radical falls short of the usual FAP location. I am looking for a local fabricator to help me build a long-term solution to this mounting point, but in the short-term, I am using plates above and below with dual bolts holding the sandwich together. Does anyone have a lead on a fabricator who has made a FAP-replacement for 29ers specifically for other bike projects? I'd be interested if so, as my local guy is backed up.

          I'll post my conversion once I have that FAP sorted out!
          thom

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        • thom chiaramonte
          Thanks to Devian and Brian. My local fabricator and I have been trading design concepts for an efficient but effective FAP replacement to replace my short-term
          Message 4 of 6 , Jun 21, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            Thanks to Devian and Brian.
            My local fabricator and I have been trading design concepts for an efficient but effective FAP replacement to replace my short-term solution. I expect to have a field visit with them next week and will report on the resulting design and implementation. 
            On Jun 20, 2012, at 12:15 PM, Devian Gilbert wrote:

             

            starting from the obvious:
            assuming new chain(s) that match drivetrain.

            when I had first converted a Cdale F900, the bike was in the perfect condition for a utility bike morph.  that being... it was a worn out bike.  Which provided some issues.  of course a new chain and cogset did not like to play well a very worn XT middle ring.  the solution was to rebuild the bike.

            if things are flexing...
            significantly speaking, its not the change of chain line alignment which would cause skipping.  it would require a fair amount of flex to get that result.

            but rather, the change in derailleur cable tension.  that is to say, in order to move the derailleur in a shifting direction, that requires something to pull the derailleur.  in this case, possibly there is something that moves the cable.  However, if the cable housing is 1 complete piece, it would not suspect the cable/housing from moving the rear derailleur.

            instead I'd look to the dropout/axel interface.

            possibly the "B" screw setting for the rear derailleur, taking note to get the top pulley close to the cogset.
            If I recall correctly, I had used an Avid Rollamajig to help with the cable/housing-derailleur interface.

            with the tongue of the FR not being the correct placement I can only imagine how this would play out.

            a 29er conversion is very interesting;  I'm curious to your parts choice(s), bike, etc...

            hope this helps

            d-

            On Jun 20, 2012, at 11:37 AM, Brian Livelsberger wrote:

             

            I strongly suspect that you are right -- any shifting of the tongue would mean that the chain alignment is changing and putting the gear adjustment out of whack. This is confirmed by your report that it shifts fine in the shop. On a shop stand with the pedals being turned by hand there is negligible load pulling the tongue to the side, thus the gear jump issue disappears there. I suspect that the tongue shifting would also explain the sensation of "pedal give". If you apply force to the pedals and the tongue shifts, you should feel "give" in the pedals as force and pedal rotation that would otherwise be applied to forward motion are transferred instead to lateral motion in the tongue. I'd say lock down the tongue / FAP issue and see if that doesn't solve both the shifting and pedal give problems.

            Regards,
            Brian.

            On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM, thom chiaramonte <thom@...> wrote:
            I have completed a conversion of a 29er to a longbike using a current gen Free Radical kit and lots of tweaking. I'm documenting the build to post here for others to use, as the number of 29er builds around the net is pretty small, though members here have talked about them here and there which have been helpful to me.

            Before I do, I have a few general questions for the Free Radical users here, regardless of frame size.

            1. Pedal Give: Here's what I notice. If I put the afterburners on, with or without load, I get a sensation at the cranks that reminds me of that dreaded feeling of crank spindles starting to strip, if you've ever been unfortunate enough to experience it; in other words, the feeling of being able to rotate the crank arm on the spindle itself rather than using the crank arm, as designed, to be a rigid connection with the spindle. Before you strip your spindle you'll feel the slip a bit, and then very quickly, depending on metal to metal types, you lose the spindle, rounding it and your crank drops. Anyway, that's the sensation. A little bit of give when I push hard on the pedals. I've been told that this is from the length of chain and lack of real tensioning, so I'm feeling the tautness of the chain under forced effort there. Is that other people's experience as well? SOmething to try to adapt to? It's unnerving to say the least.

            2. Shifting Issues: I've found that some of my gears towards the lower end of my cassette seem to be prone to jumping on the xtracycle. I've had them adjusted and readjusted and they test fine in the shop, but I get out on the road and would have a jump here and there, both up and down the cassette (so not fixable by limits as it's not just up or just down)… again I've been told that the lack of chain tension can contribute to this, but I thought I'd see if you experience something similar. I will say this: I have a short-term solution for a FAP-replacement which is still being finessed (see below) and one drawback to that scratch-built assembly is that as the bolts start to loosen slightly it CAN allow the tongue to shift towards one side or the other of the stays, taking the Free Radical frame out of alignment with the main frame a bit. I would strongly suspect that when this occurs, my shifting falls apart as the components are no longer properly aligned. I tighten these bolts before each ride, but until I replace that FAP-assembly I won't know if this is the only culprit to the shifting drops. I certainly believe it contributes to the severity.

            Lastly, as those of you who have converted a 29er may know, one of the hitches, so to speak, is the FAP: the stays are too long on the frame so the tongue of the Free Radical falls short of the usual FAP location. I am looking for a local fabricator to help me build a long-term solution to this mounting point, but in the short-term, I am using plates above and below with dual bolts holding the sandwich together. Does anyone have a lead on a fabricator who has made a FAP-replacement for 29ers specifically for other bike projects? I'd be interested if so, as my local guy is backed up.

            I'll post my conversion once I have that FAP sorted out!
            thom

            ------------------------------------

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          • jj velvetackbar
            My wife has a bike where the kickstand plate cracked and then broke off, leaving the FAP unsupported. The donorcycle was a steel Electra, so it was just a
            Message 5 of 6 , Jun 21, 2012
            • 0 Attachment
              My wife has a bike where the kickstand plate cracked and then broke off, leaving the FAP unsupported. The donorcycle was a steel Electra, so it was just a shoddy weld at the bottom.

              After discussion with Todd from CleverCycles, I went out, bought 1" U tubing, aluminum, and with a little Dremel love, crafted this solution.

              http://velvetackbar.com/node/10
              a few others here:

              http://velvetackbar.com/image/tid/2

              there was enough support that punching a hole for the tongue was not an issue. I have been checking for fatigue over the last year and all is good.

              I STRONGLY recommend doing this outdoors, but otherwise, no critical warnings. Its a simple 5$ solution.

              JJ

              On Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 2:44 PM, thom chiaramonte <thom@...> wrote:
               

              Thanks to Devian and Brian.

              My local fabricator and I have been trading design concepts for an efficient but effective FAP replacement to replace my short-term solution. I expect to have a field visit with them next week and will report on the resulting design and implementation. 

              On Jun 20, 2012, at 12:15 PM, Devian Gilbert wrote:

               

              starting from the obvious:
              assuming new chain(s) that match drivetrain.

              when I had first converted a Cdale F900, the bike was in the perfect condition for a utility bike morph.  that being... it was a worn out bike.  Which provided some issues.  of course a new chain and cogset did not like to play well a very worn XT middle ring.  the solution was to rebuild the bike.

              if things are flexing...
              significantly speaking, its not the change of chain line alignment which would cause skipping.  it would require a fair amount of flex to get that result.

              but rather, the change in derailleur cable tension.  that is to say, in order to move the derailleur in a shifting direction, that requires something to pull the derailleur.  in this case, possibly there is something that moves the cable.  However, if the cable housing is 1 complete piece, it would not suspect the cable/housing from moving the rear derailleur.

              instead I'd look to the dropout/axel interface.

              possibly the "B" screw setting for the rear derailleur, taking note to get the top pulley close to the cogset.
              If I recall correctly, I had used an Avid Rollamajig to help with the cable/housing-derailleur interface.

              with the tongue of the FR not being the correct placement I can only imagine how this would play out.

              a 29er conversion is very interesting;  I'm curious to your parts choice(s), bike, etc...

              hope this helps

              d-

              On Jun 20, 2012, at 11:37 AM, Brian Livelsberger wrote:

               

              I strongly suspect that you are right -- any shifting of the tongue would mean that the chain alignment is changing and putting the gear adjustment out of whack. This is confirmed by your report that it shifts fine in the shop. On a shop stand with the pedals being turned by hand there is negligible load pulling the tongue to the side, thus the gear jump issue disappears there. I suspect that the tongue shifting would also explain the sensation of "pedal give". If you apply force to the pedals and the tongue shifts, you should feel "give" in the pedals as force and pedal rotation that would otherwise be applied to forward motion are transferred instead to lateral motion in the tongue. I'd say lock down the tongue / FAP issue and see if that doesn't solve both the shifting and pedal give problems.

              Regards,
              Brian.

              On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM, thom chiaramonte <thom@...> wrote:
              I have completed a conversion of a 29er to a longbike using a current gen Free Radical kit and lots of tweaking. I'm documenting the build to post here for others to use, as the number of 29er builds around the net is pretty small, though members here have talked about them here and there which have been helpful to me.

              Before I do, I have a few general questions for the Free Radical users here, regardless of frame size.

              1. Pedal Give: Here's what I notice. If I put the afterburners on, with or without load, I get a sensation at the cranks that reminds me of that dreaded feeling of crank spindles starting to strip, if you've ever been unfortunate enough to experience it; in other words, the feeling of being able to rotate the crank arm on the spindle itself rather than using the crank arm, as designed, to be a rigid connection with the spindle. Before you strip your spindle you'll feel the slip a bit, and then very quickly, depending on metal to metal types, you lose the spindle, rounding it and your crank drops. Anyway, that's the sensation. A little bit of give when I push hard on the pedals. I've been told that this is from the length of chain and lack of real tensioning, so I'm feeling the tautness of the chain under forced effort there. Is that other people's experience as well? SOmething to try to adapt to? It's unnerving to say the least.

              2. Shifting Issues: I've found that some of my gears towards the lower end of my cassette seem to be prone to jumping on the xtracycle. I've had them adjusted and readjusted and they test fine in the shop, but I get out on the road and would have a jump here and there, both up and down the cassette (so not fixable by limits as it's not just up or just down)… again I've been told that the lack of chain tension can contribute to this, but I thought I'd see if you experience something similar. I will say this: I have a short-term solution for a FAP-replacement which is still being finessed (see below) and one drawback to that scratch-built assembly is that as the bolts start to loosen slightly it CAN allow the tongue to shift towards one side or the other of the stays, taking the Free Radical frame out of alignment with the main frame a bit. I would strongly suspect that when this occurs, my shifting falls apart as the components are no longer properly aligned. I tighten these bolts before each ride, but until I replace that FAP-assembly I won't know if this is the only culprit to the shifting drops. I certainly believe it contributes to the severity.

              Lastly, as those of you who have converted a 29er may know, one of the hitches, so to speak, is the FAP: the stays are too long on the frame so the tongue of the Free Radical falls short of the usual FAP location. I am looking for a local fabricator to help me build a long-term solution to this mounting point, but in the short-term, I am using plates above and below with dual bolts holding the sandwich together. Does anyone have a lead on a fabricator who has made a FAP-replacement for 29ers specifically for other bike projects? I'd be interested if so, as my local guy is backed up.

              I'll post my conversion once I have that FAP sorted out!
              thom

              ------------------------------------

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            • Brian Livelsberger
              Me like! :) Brian. On Jun 21, 2012 7:41 PM, jj velvetackbar wrote:   My wife has a bike where the kickstand plate cracked and then
              Message 6 of 6 , Jun 21, 2012
              • 0 Attachment
                Me like! :) Brian.




                On Jun 21, 2012 7:41 PM, jj velvetackbar <jj@...> wrote:

                 

                My wife has a bike where the kickstand plate cracked and then broke off, leaving the FAP unsupported. The donorcycle was a steel Electra, so it was just a shoddy weld at the bottom.

                After discussion with Todd from CleverCycles, I went out, bought 1" U tubing, aluminum, and with a little Dremel love, crafted this solution.

                http://velvetackbar.com/node/10
                a few others here:

                http://velvetackbar.com/image/tid/2

                there was enough support that punching a hole for the tongue was not an issue. I have been checking for fatigue over the last year and all is good.

                I STRONGLY recommend doing this outdoors, but otherwise, no critical warnings. Its a simple 5$ solution.

                JJ

                On Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 2:44 PM, thom chiaramonte <thom@...> wrote:
                 

                Thanks to Devian and Brian.

                My local fabricator and I have been trading design concepts for an efficient but effective FAP replacement to replace my short-term solution. I expect to have a field visit with them next week and will report on the resulting design and implementation. 

                On Jun 20, 2012, at 12:15 PM, Devian Gilbert wrote:

                 

                starting from the obvious:
                assuming new chain(s) that match drivetrain.

                when I had first converted a Cdale F900, the bike was in the perfect condition for a utility bike morph.  that being... it was a worn out bike.  Which provided some issues.  of course a new chain and cogset did not like to play well a very worn XT middle ring.  the solution was to rebuild the bike.

                if things are flexing...
                significantly speaking, its not the change of chain line alignment which would cause skipping.  it would require a fair amount of flex to get that result.

                but rather, the change in derailleur cable tension.  that is to say, in order to move the derailleur in a shifting direction, that requires something to pull the derailleur.  in this case, possibly there is something that moves the cable.  However, if the cable housing is 1 complete piece, it would not suspect the cable/housing from moving the rear derailleur.

                instead I'd look to the dropout/axel interface.

                possibly the "B" screw setting for the rear derailleur, taking note to get the top pulley close to the cogset.
                If I recall correctly, I had used an Avid Rollamajig to help with the cable/housing-derailleur interface.

                with the tongue of the FR not being the correct placement I can only imagine how this would play out.

                a 29er conversion is very interesting;  I'm curious to your parts choice(s), bike, etc...

                hope this helps

                d-

                On Jun 20, 2012, at 11:37 AM, Brian Livelsberger wrote:

                 

                I strongly suspect that you are right -- any shifting of the tongue would mean that the chain alignment is changing and putting the gear adjustment out of whack. This is confirmed by your report that it shifts fine in the shop. On a shop stand with the pedals being turned by hand there is negligible load pulling the tongue to the side, thus the gear jump issue disappears there. I suspect that the tongue shifting would also explain the sensation of "pedal give". If you apply force to the pedals and the tongue shifts, you should feel "give" in the pedals as force and pedal rotation that would otherwise be applied to forward motion are transferred instead to lateral motion in the tongue. I'd say lock down the tongue / FAP issue and see if that doesn't solve both the shifting and pedal give problems.

                Regards,
                Brian.

                On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM, thom chiaramonte <thom@...> wrote:
                I have completed a conversion of a 29er to a longbike using a current gen Free Radical kit and lots of tweaking. I'm documenting the build to post here for others to use, as the number of 29er builds around the net is pretty small, though members here have talked about them here and there which have been helpful to me.

                Before I do, I have a few general questions for the Free Radical users here, regardless of frame size.

                1. Pedal Give: Here's what I notice. If I put the afterburners on, with or without load, I get a sensation at the cranks that reminds me of that dreaded feeling of crank spindles starting to strip, if you've ever been unfortunate enough to experience it; in other words, the feeling of being able to rotate the crank arm on the spindle itself rather than using the crank arm, as designed, to be a rigid connection with the spindle. Before you strip your spindle you'll feel the slip a bit, and then very quickly, depending on metal to metal types, you lose the spindle, rounding it and your crank drops. Anyway, that's the sensation. A little bit of give when I push hard on the pedals. I've been told that this is from the length of chain and lack of real tensioning, so I'm feeling the tautness of the chain under forced effort there. Is that other people's experience as well? SOmething to try to adapt to? It's unnerving to say the least.

                2. Shifting Issues: I've found that some of my gears towards the lower end of my cassette seem to be prone to jumping on the xtracycle. I've had them adjusted and readjusted and they test fine in the shop, but I get out on the road and would have a jump here and there, both up and down the cassette (so not fixable by limits as it's not just up or just down)… again I've been told that the lack of chain tension can contribute to this, but I thought I'd see if you experience something similar. I will say this: I have a short-term solution for a FAP-replacement which is still being finessed (see below) and one drawback to that scratch-built assembly is that as the bolts start to loosen slightly it CAN allow the tongue to shift towards one side or the other of the stays, taking the Free Radical frame out of alignment with the main frame a bit. I would strongly suspect that when this occurs, my shifting falls apart as the components are no longer properly aligned. I tighten these bolts before each ride, but until I replace that FAP-assembly I won't know if this is the only culprit to the shifting drops. I certainly believe it contributes to the severity.

                Lastly, as those of you who have converted a 29er may know, one of the hitches, so to speak, is the FAP: the stays are too long on the frame so the tongue of the Free Radical falls short of the usual FAP location. I am looking for a local fabricator to help me build a long-term solution to this mounting point, but in the short-term, I am using plates above and below with dual bolts holding the sandwich together. Does anyone have a lead on a fabricator who has made a FAP-replacement for 29ers specifically for other bike projects? I'd be interested if so, as my local guy is backed up.

                I'll post my conversion once I have that FAP sorted out!
                thom

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