View Full Version : High Roller is underway

05-31-2009, 07:51 PM
So, once I got my head out of... an unnamed orifice (see this thread http://forum.atomiczombie.com/showthread.php?t=2517)... I began construction.

Here are the frame bits of the donor. Looks like it came straight from the chain to the thrift with only some dings to show for it.
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_zY_O4oZFP1s/SiMS2BuDC0I/AAAAAAAAA1Y/mWUKHbAZAmg/s144/IMG_5559.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/EL22LnNHEbY2gfo0RsE2ig?feat=directlink)

Close up of the rear. Note the funky configuration and dropouts. I decided to use the top chain stay (?) as the rear forks.
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_zY_O4oZFP1s/SiMS2Y7cu-I/AAAAAAAAA1c/ytEGmvnE1dE/s144/IMG_5560.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/cIT_-yXWtHpMXI0ZQ7AmFg?feat=directlink)

Got the main boom and head tube installed, tried out the 26" wheel and decided, there was no way in the world I would like riding with my feet that far above my butt (sorry no pic... of the bike... or butt...). So, we swapped it out with a 20" fork and wheel, and yes, that is much better.
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_zY_O4oZFP1s/SiMS2mZ5isI/AAAAAAAAA1g/PRjDHWxqkko/s144/IMG_5561.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/tTqHql-y-vqcoebZtCWLSg?feat=directlink)

It was at this point that I realized I forgot to check the angle of the head tube! Well, I got the protractor out already determined to cut the blame thing off and low and behold it is almost on the money (~75 degrees). How in the world? Then I realized it must be that funky chain stay. Note the dropout angles up a bit from the tubes instead of the whole thing curving down as per the plans.
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_zY_O4oZFP1s/SiMS3JOFPOI/AAAAAAAAA1o/rxiCFrj_-Ms/s144/IMG_5563.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/DK8hQ-BQ4CmlskgBCFsaKw?feat=directlink)

Of course that also probably explains why the 26" looked so blasted high. Meh. The 20" wheel is growing on me.
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_zY_O4oZFP1s/SiMS2wACnNI/AAAAAAAAA1k/w01fr6zUM28/s144/IMG_5562.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/IvrdyoPzM9kU9VN9FRXNbA?feat=directlink)

Stay tuned.

05-31-2009, 08:25 PM
Looking good. I guess the head wasn't stuck that far. Isn't it cool when you think you messed up the head tube angle and it turns out allright:rolleyes4:
When I mess up on the build I try to think it through and if one option is to tear the bad out and do it right, don't waste time just do it. After that the lost time will be in the past and you will think of it as a learning experience.

every thing looks great, wont be long at this rate. It doesn't take to long for this build.

This was mine http://forum.atomiczombie.com/showthread.php?t=1629

And another one (same church, wrong pew) http://forum.atomiczombie.com/showthread.php?t=2134


06-01-2009, 12:11 AM
Looking good so far, and it's great that the head tube angle worked out well for you. Make sure to follow Brad's advice and triangulate that back end with the extra stays.

As for the 20" front wheel, some of the best known short wheel base bikes have the smaller front end so you're in great company.

06-11-2009, 07:06 PM
@pcorbet: Yep, it sure was nice I didn't have to fiddle with the HT again. LOVE your 24" HR.

@comreich: Will do (or have done, keep readin' ;) )

Structurally, the High Roller is complete. May still need to tweak things here and there. Deciding what to do for the seat. Still not happy with the stand either.

Here's what I tried first for the kickstand:
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_zY_O4oZFP1s/SjGKK-8rJTI/AAAAAAAAA3o/4zA3nWJha38/s144/IMG_5565.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/nlEygTWiChdht9_9YDI3mA?feat=directlink)

It worked fine, I was just concerned about it attaching to the bottom of that funky dropout like that. I was afraid of knocking it over and torquing the dropout out of whack.

So. I tried this aluminum one:
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_zY_O4oZFP1s/SjGKMIJoDHI/AAAAAAAAA3w/Vv9e0pMifDY/s144/IMG_5568.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/r2pmFhxN3hBSrNZM9yM3QA?feat=directlink)
And while it works and looks fine, you can see it is already bent. Fah.

And my chain kept jumping off the derailleur idler, so I yanked it off and added on another pulley. These are "clothesline" pulleys from the hardware store. My only concern is that they use bushings instead of bearings.
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_zY_O4oZFP1s/SjGKMhd13fI/AAAAAAAAA30/fSFinEUbQ9I/s144/IMG_5570.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/nowH38R37IdiPLmhYu5caQ?feat=directlink)

Oh, and here's the full image of the HR:
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_zY_O4oZFP1s/SjGKLSQHs1I/AAAAAAAAA3s/xBiz97SCSQg/s144/IMG_5566.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/nGRFDlYICfIyP3_XsLM7Zg?feat=directlink)

And the cockpits-eye view:
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_zY_O4oZFP1s/SjGKNzkc9pI/AAAAAAAAA34/PhXWsYfU06s/s144/IMG_5571.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/8GOoMLAoncLbxjcNfKN8mw?feat=directlink)

I guess I should mention that I did have to do the bottom bracket twice. I forgot to check for the left and right side the first time. Sheesh.

This is also the 2nd version of the steerer. The first one was straight up which was fine, but a little twitchy. This one angles back a bit and seems much better.


06-11-2009, 07:40 PM
And my chain kept jumping off the derailleur idler, so I yanked it off and added on another pulley. These are "clothesline" pulleys from the hardware store. My only concern is that they use bushings instead of bearings.


Hi Geoffrey,
I made some simple guards for some idler pulleys on one of my machines.
Very simple from thin sheet.
From the side something like this. Wide enough for the pulley.
/ \
_|_|_ <chain runs through here, the bottom flaps on either side are bent down as a guide into the channel, the top angled bit is drilled and bolted to the pulley bolt each side.
A couple of washers to get clearance to allow the puller to still turn.
I will sort a photo out if required.

John Lewis
06-12-2009, 07:22 AM
Here is my chain guide/guard on my SWB. Might give you some ideas.

John Lewis


06-12-2009, 09:26 AM
What I would up using was a old steel front reflector mount. I chopped in down to form an L and then mounted it to the back of the idler mount tab like this __| with the pullery over the flat part.

06-12-2009, 02:33 PM
Looking good there Geoffrey. I envy you guys with little or no chain/fork or chain/brake cable interference.

With a couple hundred miles on mine already I can tell you that your first upgrade is likely to be tires. The bike really starts to fly with narrower rubber :)

Oh, and I'll get in on the act as well. The chain keeper I fashioned was from a small (3" I think) angle bracket I picked up from the dollar store.

06-12-2009, 02:44 PM
Thanks everyone. I don't think I was clear on the idler issues. I had a problem initially with the return idler set up as per the plan using a hacked up derailleur. I couldn't get the angle of the chain just right so that's when I went for the second pulley (that's the one in the picture). In testing so far, it hasn't come off so I may not even need a keeper.

Again, my main concern with this setup is the fact that the pulley's use bushings. Hmm... I wonder if there is enough material in there if I drilled out the center and put in a bearing...

06-12-2009, 08:52 PM
A very simple idler can be made from 3 circles cut from a thick plastic cutting board, 2 large and 1 smaller diameter.
Bolt them together with 3 small bolts and nuts, drill a hole through the middle the size of the bolt its going to spin on.
Works very well and is quiet.

06-14-2009, 01:19 PM
I wanted to do something different with my seat (all the aluminum/skateboard/laminated ply seats are giving me a complex) so I thought I'd try my hand at upholstering.

First, I needed to pad the seat so I cut some blanks from a piece of bed roll foam (the kind of stuff that you take camping and put under your sleeping bag). Once the blanks were cut out, my daughter and I did a bit of trial and error to see what felt right. My daughter's contributions consisted of asking me what I was doing and why (hey she's 5, I'm just glad she's interested). Once we were done with the fitting I glued up the seat and back using spray adhesive. Sorry about the no pics.

Since I had my daughter working, I thought I'd get my wife involved as well, so I asked her if she could embroider something for me. She said sure, so I quickly whipped up a pattern for the machine.

Anyway, here's the completed seat:
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_zY_O4oZFP1s/SjUsx9WV2oI/AAAAAAAAA5E/e5uslivbdgM/s144/IMG_5583.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/pRyZW8lHraQPLniFqNvrtA?feat=directlink)

And a close-up of the design (my tribute to Atomic Zombie):
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_zY_O4oZFP1s/SjUsyZ3COEI/AAAAAAAAA5I/rPacIfISXpo/s144/IMG_5581.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ZBgYG7uLmZDGBc5UCAe_fw?feat=directlink)

I tried to find this AZ logo on the site and was stymied so I just did it from memory. I hope it's close (and I hope the powers-that-be approve!).


06-14-2009, 04:57 PM
That's Brilliant!

I almost always use old skateboard wheels. There's a skateboard store near my house and I hit the guys there up for old wheels. They charge me a buck each for them and they include the ball bearings. I just mount them on a bold with washers to keep them from spinning, mount the assembly in a drill press and cut a chain groove in each one. Takes about 15 minutes to make a pulley and costs next to nothing.

A very simple idler can be made from 3 circles cut from a thick plastic cutting board, 2 large and 1 smaller diameter.
Bolt them together with 3 small bolts and nuts, drill a hole through the middle the size of the bolt its going to spin on.
Works very well and is quiet.

06-14-2009, 05:00 PM
The seat looks TERRIFIC Giver. Your daughter does good work:jester:

Radical Brad
06-14-2009, 07:26 PM
Hey, great work... and thanks for the ad space!!


06-14-2009, 10:23 PM
John Lewis did those chain guilds start life as rollerblade wheels?

TheGiver real nice seat, nice lines.

06-14-2009, 11:37 PM
Geoffery that seat is fan-damn-tastic! Makes my snowboard seat look, well, home built. Props to your wife for the embroidery.

John Lewis
06-15-2009, 07:46 AM
John Lewis did those chain guilds start life as rollerblade wheels?

TheGiver real nice seat, nice lines.

How did you guess?:jester:

Yes I was given a couple of sets of unused rollerblades. They were sacrificed to the bents.

John Lewis

06-15-2009, 07:12 PM
@mkane53: Thanks man. I'll let her know she got the AZ seal of approval.

@brad: Thank you sensei, and it's the least I can do. Your books and plans are an inspiration and constant resource.

@SupplySgt: Thanks, though I can't take credit for the lines. The dimensions are straight outta the plan

@comreich: Thank you, and while your skateboard seat may look homebuilt, it also screams awesome-tacular.

Last coat of paint is drying as we speak... er... as I type... I should get a final pic in a day or three.


06-17-2009, 08:59 PM
It's all over but the tweaking:
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_zY_O4oZFP1s/SjmHr-h8xyI/AAAAAAAAA58/SIrJKlm-VjA/s144/IMG_5585.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/yn6-lIViE5OUg_GeYNMD0Q?feat=directlink)

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_zY_O4oZFP1s/SjmHsOMve0I/AAAAAAAAA6E/jw4q3hgKja4/s144/IMG_5587.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/LCURq8en6uVlzNWvUJRCQA?feat=directlink)


And here's a short clip of the official maiden ride (all the test rides while unpainted don't count, of course)
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/HDzzK8H1VSo45AO93DOMAw?feat=directlink Note the Flintstone stop is just habit :)

06-17-2009, 09:19 PM
Dude! Fantastic build. Ride it in good health.

These HighRollers are FAST. You're gonna love riding that baby.

Odd Man Out
06-17-2009, 09:54 PM
Great build -- looks like either you could lower the handlebars so you would not have to eat them on impact OR mount a small chinrest on them to provide the ultimate in comfort...


06-17-2009, 10:21 PM
A set of "Tweener" type bars like the Bacchettas have would go really nice on that bike and still allow you to get your knees through to pedal. Check out the ones Comreich made from an old chair:


Great looking build.

06-17-2009, 10:47 PM
Wow. I think the bars look about perfect ... elbows tucked in at his sides ... what's not to like? I made the bars on my HR movable fore and aft while riding but the height is probably about the same.

06-17-2009, 10:49 PM
Geoff - the smile says it all! Good job.

I was wondering why your tires had such deep tread on them till I watched your video and saw you driving all over the lawn.:jester: LOL.:jester:

I do agree with the others about your handlebars though. But since comfort is such a personal thing I wouldn't tell you that any one way was the best. After you ride it a little you may decide that a little lower will help with circulation in your hands on a longer ride (I think comreich had this issue). I am going to shorten the goose-neck on my HR a couple of inches (it will give me about an inch more fat-boy space and bring my hands just a little lower).:jester:

Good Job and thanks for sharing the photos and the video.


Radical Brad
06-18-2009, 12:04 AM
Nice looking ride, thanks for the photos!


06-18-2009, 12:44 AM
Yep, had numb hands on a number of the first rides. But after 600+ miles on the HighRoller and my LWB I don't have a problem. I've learned to keep a light touch on the bars and move my hands around a bit to minimize the pressure on the nerves.

And thanks Trikeman for pointing out my tweener bars. I had a chance to ride a Bacchetta this past weekend and I think I like my handlebars better :)

06-18-2009, 12:49 AM
VERY NICE. You put that together in a jiffy.

06-18-2009, 08:45 PM
Thanks for the kind words everyone! Now I just gotta get my bent legs again (as you may can tell from the video, my wife doesn't call me a hillbilly for nothin')

re: handlebars - Thanks for the suggestions, but I actually like 'em a bit high like that. I had plenty of knee room, but where they ended up was the most comfortable. My arm circulation is fine, it's my toes that tend to fall asleep :sleep1:

@GregLWB: :) You know, it was almost shocking how easy it was to ride in that jungle of a lawn I have. I recall trying that with the Marauder and it did NOT like it. Once I get a little more time on it, I'm pretty sure I'll make that turn completely in the driveway :rolleyes4:. I actually do intend on swapping them out for some slicks.

Oh, on my first painted ride through the neighborhood, I got that incredibly satisfying reaction when a couple boys rode their walmart rides past me. All the chatter between them stopped, mouths hung open, and after we passed I heard "Did you see that bike!" "Wow". :jester:

Yeeeeep. Very satisfying.

06-25-2009, 11:29 PM
Hey Giver, now that you've been mashing the pedals on the new ride for a week or so, how do you like it? Any ride reports, things you wish you'd have done differently, things your really like, etc?

06-26-2009, 09:45 AM
Hey Mike. The first thing I have to say is that I am SO not in shape.

Bike related? The thing feels fast. My neighborhood is nothing if not hilly and I run out of gears on the downhill.

I have GOT to get rid of those knobby fat tires.

The back and shoulder-rest of the seat still feel great, but the bottom of it gets to me after a while. I can't say if that is the seat causing the discomfort or my hip cramping up, or a combo of the two.

I really do like the handlebar position. Feels comfy although I do have the tendency to pull on them as I climb a hill.

I do not like the grip shifters (first time I've had those). My hands get kind of sweaty and it makes them hard to twist.

After the tires, I think my next upgrade would need to be the crankset. When you pick the bike up, it feels incredibly front-heavy!

What would I do differently? I'm really liking how it rides, but I don't like the look of the small tire on the front as much as the larger one in the plans. If I were to make another one, I would work on the geometry at the rear so I could have the larger front wheel but still keep my feet at about the same angle as they are now.


06-26-2009, 11:20 AM
Giver, I hear you on the twist-shifters. My setup for the cable stop in the front also makes shifting the front derailleur difficult, so couple that with sweaty hands and it can be a bit of a trick. I could wear gloves, but the tan lines are so unattractive :jester:

If/when you upgrade tires, see if you can source Tom Ritchey Slicks like these:
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=84552444177 6201&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302693841&bmUID=1246029290703

These only ship in Canada, but an LBS in Georgia should be able to get them for you. They're great tires for the price, but make sure that your rims are 26x1.5 or narrower.

I was thinking along similar lines for the lowered positioning with a 26" wheel, and if I had $3k I'd buy a RANS XStream (been following the RAAM coverage at BROL :)) So I've been thinking of how to build something like an EasyRacers Javelin with dual 26" wheels. I think the elevated BB is better for me, but I love the ride of my LWB so the Javelin-clone would be closer to the best of both worlds.

06-26-2009, 07:24 PM
Excellent update Geoffrey.

Well, if you keep riding, you'll be amazed at how quickly you get in shape ... at least in decent riding shape.

When you change out the tires for something narrow and smooth, you won't BELIEVE how much better it will ride. You can get decent tires relatively inexpensively. I tend to buy the kevlar belted ones, but then I ride a lot of heavily trafficed roads and consequently dodging glass, etc.

I've had really good luck with these: Metro K Tires (http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1070099_-1_23000_20000_23014) but there are lots of good tires out there.

I have grip shifters on my HighRoller and don't much like them either. I want to change them out with Trigger/Speed Shifters - which I really like.

Your comment about increasing the size of the front tire is interesting because I built mine with dual 700C's and I'm debating building an alternate - 20" fork for the front of mine because I really like the way yours looks. Maybe it's just a grass is always greener situation.

Thanks again for the update.

07-02-2009, 02:33 PM
Hey guys, thanks for the tire tips. I'll look into them once decide to stop pinching pennies. I did manage to find a pretty good Bontrager cruiser tire in my junk pile, so that's what I'm using now.

Yeah, still don't like the twisty shifters...

@mkane53: re changing to a 20" fork... Hah! It certainly could be a case of lawn envy for me :)

The hills are already getting a little easier.


07-13-2009, 08:25 PM
That is a nice seat. I can build a seat but I can't make a cover to save my life. I'm gonna hire it done next time. My current ride has a vinyl covered seat with black duct tape on the corners and it don't look bad till you get close up, but the next will be canvas so it breaths. Kudos to your upholsterer!