Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cruiser Finale'

I've been tinkering with this cruiser project for quite some time now and I think the photo above is the final product. I have a pile of parts left over from, springer forks to half moon handlebars. The bike started out as a 1950's Colson, private branded for a MPLS hardware chain. I bought the complete bike for 20 dollars at a garage sale outside of Wilton WI. I rode that version of this bike for a decade. Pictured below.

Almost a year ago, I busted the bike down to the bare frame and sent it out to be stripped and then powder coated. New wheels with a 3 speed rear hub...a new springer fork and handlebars got bolted on after some sweet vynil graphics were expertly applied by my friend Cory up at his sign company in Slinger, WI. The bike looked very cool at this point, but the fork was so noodly that it was a bit scary to ride.

I rode the springer for most of the spring and summer and then the hardest part of the restoration took place, when I sought to replace the headset and fork. These older cruisers all have 1" stertubes, but the ID of the headsets are one of maybe 3 different specs. My colson's head tube measured 33mm in diameter, so after much contemplation disguised as confusion, I shared my dilema with Jim at Ben's Cyclery and he told me that they had the tool to ream my head tube to 34mm, which is a modern day 1 1/8" headset spec! Another, new headset, fork, and stem later, my chopper was born!

I tooled around a bit in MKE on the bike with the full chopper effect and decided to cut the ride short and take her home and ended up trimming 4" off of the fork legs. The new fork was everything that I had hoped.  The new front end was sturdy and bomber. The bike now rode beautifully, downhill and tracked like a big cat.......but what goes down, must go up and Twin Lakes is hilly. Climbing was awkward, due to my hand position being so far back towards my hips. I could slide my hands a good, 5" forward on the moon bars and grind out the climbs, so I started looking at bars all over the internet.

I ordered a set of bars from Soma and then spied a set of these Sadio 420 bars on a photo in Flickr. I emailed, Earl at Ben's and he had them in stock. I bolted these suckers on and as soon as I straddled the bike and rolled down the drive, I knew this was going to work. Perfect climbing leverage out of the saddle, is how I would describe the effect that these bars had on the ride. Not as cool looking as the half moons, but functional and bad ass! I've now got a cruiser that I could ride anywhere around my house....I think I could ride this bike off road now! So it was a long and winding road that left many used parts in its wake, but the cruiser project is DONE!

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