Daily Archives: August 11, 2013

A slight miscalculation for a Wreck-Free Sunday

The fill-in bike is ready. It has lights, a new seat and has been adjusted to fit me comfortably. It doesn’t have fenders and the only tires I had for it were off the enormous stack of knobbies I have so the rolling resistance is huge. The tires will throw junk from the road up onto my legs, so I’ll have to start shaving them again. And that miscalculation? I still don’t have a helmet or rear view mirrors, so I can’t ride yet. Yep, that is a big “Whoops!” on my part. I have just been so used to having a wearable helmet with mirrors on it (for at least 5 years now with the 2 helmets) that I didn’t think to order a new one when I was at the LBS buying bike parts the other day. And after I buy the helmet I have to make and install new mirrors on it. That will take a couple of days after I get the helmet in my hands.

In the meantime I have been trying to get the metal I need to make the new bike as I have almost all the other parts either on hand or on order. The frustrating part is I can’t get responses from local metal supply houses on if they even carry the sizes and shapes of tubing I need. I may have to bypass local to buy from the Internets (and pay shipping and send my money outside my local area).

To distract myself from the depressing business of trying to build a very custom bike from scratch and scrap I went back to the T-Bucket. I measured the difference in height between my shoulders and the back of a T body, and I will have to drop the seating area by about 2″ plus the compressed thickness of the seat cushion to put the top of the body above my shoulders so the shoulder harness doesn’t compress my spine in a wreck. This will mean I can use the “shorty” windshield from Speedway as well as using the 30° layback windshield posts to lower the profile of the car. This also lowers the center of gravity for better handling all the way around. Left and right naturally, that’s the first thing people think about when the word “handling” is brought up when the topic is motor vehicles, but also braking and to a lesser degree acceleration.

One of the things I like about the straight tube axle I picked for the Bucket is there is a natural anti-dive built into the suspension that works exactly like the anti-squat on a live rear axle. This allows me to build in bigger brakes in front for racing and also so that I can use brakes going downhill without having to worry about brake fade. The car will weigh about 1600 pounds in street trim and a half-tank of gas, but the front brakes I’m using were originally designed for a 4000 pound luxury car. They didn’t fade in that application, so I’m pretty sure they won’t fade in mine. Also I will have completely free and unimpeded airflow to the brakes that means I’m doubly assured against brake fade. Like I said before, it’s the details now.

Speaking of details I have to figure out someplace to tuck the battery away but still be able to get to it. I’m thinking I could use the crossmember for the driveshaft loop to mount the battery box on the passenger side of the car just in front of the rear axle, and under the passenger seat. This moves weight to the back and away from the driver’s side of the car, both of which are generally considered as good for a 2-seat car with not a lot of weight, as the driver moves the center of gravity of the car to the left because the driver is such a large percentage of the car’s weight.

And while I was working on the blog post I was also watching the Cup race from Watkin’s Glen while Kyle Busch got a gift by being in the pits when the caution came out after a wreck before Marcus Ambrose made his pit stop. Marcus was running away from the pack when the caution came out, which trapped him deep in the pack. And then the #9 Stanley Tools car broke the track bar mount and lost control in a turn and wiped the nose off the car. That finished ruining his day. All in all it was a very good race from start to finish.

PSA, Opus