Bike Build Step #5

Wheels, Chain, Etc.

It has been a little while since I did a bike build update, and I have added quite a bit since the front forks were installed.  I wanted to wait until I had all of the remaining components but unfortunately, shipping delays have pushed my last two items out a little further.  So my beastly, single speed, hard tail commuter completion is close but no cigar, or no handlebar for that matter.

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When I left off, I had just finished installing the front forks, so picking up from there:

Wheels

My old frame is designed for 26” wheels as is my new front fork, so I am sticking with that.  I ordered and received a Mango 26” Cruiser Bike Wheel Set. I am trying to go as minimal and simple as possible, a dream set up.  Little to no maintenance required, next to no failure points. After all, I am a hygge-list, minimal yet functional design and aesthetically pleasing.  So I opted for the rear wheel to have a coaster brake hub, yes you heard me right, a coaster brake, instant flash back to making skid marks down my parents driveway on my first ever BMX.

Installed on those coaster brake cruiser wheels are 26” x 2.125” tires with tubes.  The tread is suitable for road and gravel riding, the most common terrain that I will be riding either during my daily commute or out on family rides.

Installing the wheels sets is pretty self-explanatory, there are no disc or rim brakes to worry about, no cables, no levers, no problem.  I attached the front wheel to the fork securely. I attach the rear wheel, but just finger tighten the nuts so that I can adjust the positioning accordingly for when I install the chain.

Headset Stem, Shim & Spacers

If you recall, my frame has a 1” steerer tube, and the front forks that I installed were 1” and threaded.

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I am converting this to a more common 1 ⅛” headset stem.  In order to do this I needed to add a 1” to 1 ⅛” adapter shim.  The threaded steerer tube is already secured in place so all I am looking to do here is add a spacer (1” diameter, the tube is 1” and the shim will bump into the spacer) and the shim to elevate the stem to the end of the steerer tube.  Once I have the desired height worked out, I slide the stem over the shim and tighten down the Allen screws, alternating between the two to keep a constant even pressure to prevent stripping them out. I aligned the stem as straight as I can for now, but will likely have to readjust once I get the handlebar attached.  I have links to the same or similar items that I used at the bottom of this article.

Saddle, Seat post & Clamp

The next and quickest installation is a new seat post, seat and clamp.  I love the look of streamlined, brown leather saddles. I was able to find a great synthetic saddle by Charge Bikes that fit the bill.  I also received my new 27.2 mm diameter seat post that is 350 mm long to allow for plenty of height adjustment options. The seat post clamp adds a little white highlighting to go along with my forks and headset as well, aesthetic bonus.

I attach the saddle to the seat post, install the seat post clamp and slide the seat post into a rough estimate of the height that I will want it at and tighten the clamp down.

Chain

Installing the chain is a big step that I have been looking forward to.  I picked up a ½” x ⅛’ KHE chain with 112 links. It is highlighted with white face plates to match the design that I am going for.

I was a little stressed about being able to get it sized just right to avoid having to install a chain tensioner.  Like I mentioned before, clean and simple, less parts and less points of failure. The drop outs on my frame (the slots that the rear wheel slides into) are not horizontal, but they are not vertical either, so I was optimistic that I could make it work.

After wrapping the chain around the chainrings, I used a small metal hook to hold it in place, you can also shape a paperclip to do the same thing.  I pulled tight and moved the rear wheel around the dropouts to get a perfect size. Marking my target chain link, I used a chain breaker tool from my bike multi-tool to shorten the chain to the proper link, reinstalled a master link, made sure the tension was perfect and tightened the rear wheel in place.

After a couple test spins on the cranks, checking the tension all of the way around the oval chainring I was satisfied.  Perfect fit!

**NOTE**  If you have a narrow / wide crank ring, be sure to align your chain properly to match the narrow then wide teeth to the narrow then wide openings in your chain.  If this is off the chain will stick and bind while you spin the crank. **

Alas, this is where I had to stop.  Upon receipt of my handlebar and headset cap I will install and complete my build.  Which will then be IMMEDIATELY followed by my first test ride, I can hardly wait!

Tools Used For This Step:

Adjustable Wrench

Tire Pump

Allen Wrench

Chain Breaker

Pliers

Flat Head Screwdriver

Total Cost For This Step: $242.86 (222.77 Euro)

Mango 26” Coaster Wheelset with Tires and Tubes – $119.95 (110.03 Euro)

Truvativ 60mm, 1-⅛” Hussefelt Stem – $31.95 (29.31 Euro)

Jili Online Bicycle Stem Shim 1” to 1-⅛” Adapter – $3.99 (3.66 Euro)

1” Alloy Bike Headset Spacer Kit – $9.90 (9.08 Euro)

Charge Spoon Saddle – $29.48 (27.04 Euro)

CYSKY 27.2 mm Seat post – $17.88 (16.40 Euro)

Fouriers MTB Seat Post Clamp – $15.59 (14.30 Euro)

KHE Bicycle Chain – $14.12 (12.95 Euro)

**All parts are linked to the same or similar items on Amazon**

Bike Build Riding Total: $439.43 (403.07 Euro)

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