Friday, 24 January 2014

And now for something completely different - a custom beach cruiser build


Yup, like most everyone we love a ride on a kool bicycle. Gone for now are the loud motorcycles, and flat out mountain bikes for scaring yourself off road. These days, much like paddling, we're content to slow down and enjoy the ride. My first foray into the world of the ultra comfortable, sprung saddle and fat tired bike was this green Haro Railer XS. Not a cheap bike, all aluminum and tig welded, with gold anodized rims, stem and crank you either love it or hate it. Lots of people give it a thumbs up. 

Patterned off of the balloon tired bikes of the 30s, 40s and 50s, the frame is styled similarly but the components are a mix of bmx, dirt jumper, mountain bike and cruiser. 

Haro made a few versions, this one unfortuately besides being accented in pink, is a single speed, and that just doesnt work for any kind of hills although its fine at the beach.

Styling runs all over with these, from mild to wild. An internet search for 'custom beach cruiser' will display just how far and in how many directions they can be built.

Key to moving them around are the newer internal hubs from companies like Shimano. Improvements on the old English Sturmey Archers, they are updated and shift flawlessly. The Railer has the one on the right, with a drum/band brake. Not as confidence inspiring, as its the only brake you tend to think of contingencies on fast downhills when getting ready to stop. The model on the left has the more robust coaster brake. 

Shifting gear for the Nexus hubs, 3 position twist grip and actuator

A great looking retro styled model from Nirve

Another awesome variation

Enter our subject bike, found on Kijiji for a song. Aluminum framed, quality build from long time Canadian company Norco, it will provide frame, wheels, 3spd hub and forks. 

Not a real looker, but it does have some nice inserts we will use later for the theme we are going for. PeeWee Herman bars will have to go...

Wheels - can'd decide if we will go back with whitewalls or some other combination of blackwall or stripe. 

Knocked down in 1/ 2 hour, we have plans for the plain paint finish



Headbadge and decals have to go, along with all bearing cups and races before the blaster

Off to the next step, bye bye green. Wonder whoever thought pink stickers would look good on forest green.

Powdercoated inserts

Forks, also flat black and powdercoated

Even did the stem to the insertion point. Powdercoating adds thickness when it bakes on to form a film, so threads must be plugged and/or parts protected where clearances would be lost, such as the quill stem inserted into the fork tube.

Gloss Burgundy frame, flash does not display true colour which is darker

Closer to true colour, no flash

Front end, inserts, and bars will all be flat black

Time for reassembly. Stay tuned for the theme, as it gets ready for presentation to its new owner
Headset races back in 

Headset assembled, new vbrakes on. Candy red low rise bars on order along with new whitewalls. Next up are wheels, then the crank , chain seat and lets go riding....
Frame inserts need to be put back in and custom graphics applied

Progress! ignore the fingerprints on the flat black, assembly makes greasy hands. 
Big difference from the original, again below for contrast. 

Progress! Red anodized downhill bars arrived, along with new whitewalls

Nice and wide, and moderate rise. Way better than '50s PeeWee Herman pullbacks

Couldnt resist a quick mock up with the old wheels and tires

Now on to cranks, wheels, seat and controls and to wait for spring...

Had to put a coloured chain on it - cranks shined up, final assembly not far off.

Almost done, black post and clamp and cruiser seat, ready for graphics and shifter/cable assembly and final tuning


Custom all the way, will be a great summer cruiser and there wont be another one like it. On to its new owner soon, once the vinyl graphics are done.


Finished, just waiting for the graphics. 

Mechanically completed and tuned, ready to ride.

Still cold out, but feels like spring. Too much salt on the roads for a run though...

Long way from the pile of parts we started with, and now a one of a kind cruiser. Spring cant come fast enough, so we can move this on to its unsuspecting new owner. 

Looking good in the sun

Next to my factory stock Haro cruiser. I like my build better....


1 comment:

Simone Palmer said...

Great job on the custom bike! I would really like to have one here in Southern California for the beach and wilderness trails! <3