Riding an Alexander Rocket Bike
That's a good-looking Road Master you got there!
You must have quite a pile of trade/sell parts!Here were some of my original plans for how Dumpster Diamond was supposed to look. Originally, I planned to paint the bike a light grey with black details and orange pinstripes, topped off with a gloss clear coat. I was going to try to add each modification to the bike in stages, with stage 1 just keeping the bike fairly stock.
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The tank would've probably been shaped like a diamond when viewed from above. It would also have been painted grey with black and orange details, which I still have yet to figure out.
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The number plates would've been about the same as they are now, just painted light grey with black and orange numbers. Obviously, I skipped a couple stages and went ahead and had the number plates made.
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Here's where I would've really taken this bike over the top: a pair of stealth cup holders disguised as a small V-twin engine, cradled by an equally phony extended down tube. I wanted to add an optical illusion with this fake engine to couple with the classic auditorial illusion of sticking some playing cards against the spokes to make it sound like a motorcycle. Why? Because I thought it'd be funny to watch people try and figure out why anyone would be pedaling a motorized bicycle while the "engine's" running. I still haven't figured out how to make the cup holders fully functional while looking like a believable engine, but I'm still working on it.
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After an unfortunate accident involved with a brass wire wheel and a power drill, I had to take a critical amount of time off from working on my bike, which meant I had to scale back some of my original plans for my bike. I figured I could still add some black details on top of a bare metal frame, but it didn't take long for me to realize that would still be too much work with the little time I had left before the deadline for the RRBBO. Still, I like the placement of the diamond scallops on this design better than the first design, so I'll definitely want to keep this design in mind when I redo this bike.
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When I found that the only way to finish this bike was to leave the whole bike bare metal with just a satin clear, I drew up this design. I knew I could spice up the chain guard with a vinyl decal, but sadly, I ran out of time to make a decal for the tank. Still, I at least made the tank trail past the seat pole like I originally wanted, so I'm pretty proud of that.
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One last idea I had to save for a later date: a custom "reversible" triple tree fork with truss rods. I briefly played around with the idea using some scrap conduit and one steer tube off another fork I had in my "sell/trade" pile. The idea is to use the open tops of the fork tubes to hold a pair of steer tubes, cut to line up with the top of the main steer tube, and shaped at the bottom to match the diameter of the fork tubes on either side. The three steer tubes (one real, 2 dummies) would then have a matching set of nuts and washers on the threaded portions, and 3 identical handlebar stems to mimic the triple tree forks of some 1920s board track motorcycles. Tying it all together would be some custom truss rods based off said board track motorcycles, but mounted via nuts, bolts and a little tension. I wasn't sure if I wanted the truss rods to be straight like what I usually see on those earlier motorcycles, or curved to match the slope of the bottom of the fork.View attachment 1295127
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Thank you Mickeyc! Yeah, I still need to go back and work on my designs again. I've had some more ideas for this bike since the Build Off ended back in September. Here are some pictures of where I got the triple tree fork idea from:You certainly have an inventive mind. Like the many variations of paint, up to you to decide which you like better, after all, it's your creation. Can't say I've ever seen a triple tree fork, but it sure would be interesting!
Rock on my friend!!
Thanks! Pardon me for asking, but how is this uncharted territory for you as a Dutchman?
Okay, that makes sense. Where you're at, bikes are/were more of a practical appliance, whereas here in the States, bikes are/were more of a fun luxury item. I can see why cruiser bikes and custom bikes may not be as common in areas where bikes are still a primary mode of transportation. You need something reliable, predictable, and easy to pedal to get you from point A to B. Thanks for sharing! I learned something new today.I guess it has to do with the big difference in bike culture between our countries. Here in Holland (and most of Europe) cars weren't available cheaply enough until the 1960's to take over the role of the bicycle as an important means of personal transport. Where in the US bikes were relegated to the toy and sports departments shortly after WWI, here in Europe they were, and still are, serious adult business, which led to different, less playful types of bicycles being popular.
In the world I grew up in a bicycle either needed to be appropriate for daily transportation and last a lifetime, or be fast enough to win the Tour de France.
These cruiser / klunker type frames were never really considered here, and neither was the idea of rat-rodding. Both concepts were alien to me, until I joined forums like this one, with a predominantly American audience.
Your dumpster pic would make a nice canvas picture for your shop. JimRoyHere is the bike I built for my first ever Rat Rod Bikes.com Build Off. It's a 1950 Snyder-built Montgomery Ward/Hawthorne frame with Western Flyer pedals I bought at the 2019 Springfield, MO swap meet for $20. The fork seen in the pictures wasn't included with it, I just had it and thought it'd look good with the original paint.
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As it turned out, this frame was BENT. The seat pole in particular was really bent.
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I took this frame to a couple bike shops around town to see if anyone could straighten it out for me. One recommended this guy at a radiator repair shop, so I took it there. In hindsight, I should never have done business with that guy, because all he did was bend it in a different direction, and he messed up nearly every other part I brought to him. I was not happy.
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Since the original paint and patina was ruined when this guy burnt off a fair portion of the paint, I decided to try and wire-brush everything down to bare metal to see how it looked. In the process, I found this cool diamond design hiding underneath some of the surface. While it didn't return after the initial build, I plan to bring this design element back when I rebuild this bike again later.
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I mocked up some parts and made some rough plywood tank inserts to try and get a feel for the direction of this bike. It was about this point that I decided to go for a sort of board track racer vibe.
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My dad had a bunch of these halo lights from a Sonic drive thru he wasn't using, which I felt would make perfect number plates for my bike.
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I took everything to my dad's welder buds, who did a much better job of fixing this bike than the first guy. They cut out the mangled seat pole and welded in a replacement from a junk frame I had, bobbed the rear fender, made one good set of forks from two bad forks, cut the number plates, and tweaked the chain guard to fit better.
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I then had all the parts sandblasted down to bare metal, then I wire-brushed everything to shine it up. I then hit everything with a few layers of some satin clear coat spray paint, and began putting the bike back together.
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On literally the last two days of the build off, I put together this custom wood tank out of some scrap pine boards I got for free off Craigslist. I don't have a bandsaw, so I just used a jigsaw and my dad's belt sander to shape it. I had never done this before, so this first tank... could look better, but it came out okay for my first try.
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I was one of the last, if not the last, guy to finish my bike before the deadline, but I got it done. It's not perfect, it's not done like I had originally planned, but it's done.
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One of the other details that I added to the bike before I finished it were these custom decals for the chain guard and number plates I designed in Adobe Illustrator. I got the name "Dumpster Diamond" from a combination of the diamond I found hiding under some of the paint, and the fact that multiple people who saw this bike before I started on it asked if I had found it in a dumpster, or have said it belonged in a dumpster. Those people made me determined to take this "dumpster bike" and turn it into something beautiful, and I like to think I've succeeded.
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The picture that helped me finish in 17th place out of 68 finished entries in my class. I wanted to do something a little funny and poke my head out of a dumpster like I was Oscar the Grouch, with my bike sitting in front of the dumpster like I found it in there.
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I've still got plans for this bike and how to make it even better, but for now, I just want to fix a couple things to make it ride a little better.
For the full build, here's my build thread: https://ratrodbikes.com/forum/index...er-build-off-with-a-postwar-hawthorne.111100/
For the finished build thread, look here: https://ratrodbikes.com/forum/index.php?threads/dumpster-diamond-is-done.112194/
Yeah, I'll probably edit it better in Photoshop (I didn't have much time left in the competition when I originally edited it, hence why it looks so rough,) and hang it up somewhere. I don't have a shop, but I might stick it in the garage or my bedroom.Your dumpster pic would make a nice canvas picture for your shop. JimRoy