DIY: Converting Mountain Bike Into Hybrid Bike

complete

The cyclo-cross is a hybrid bike. Basically it is just a road bike with wider tyres for off-road cycling and is limited in its adventure off-road due to the drop handlebar.  The next class of bicycle, a notch up from cyclo-cross for a more adventurous off-road cycling, is known as hybrid bike and instead of the drop handlebar it is fitted with flat or riser bar. This is the generally accepted classification but there are statements that say a hybrid bike is anything in-between a road bike and a mountain bike. So, It is just a matter of how close the bike is to either the road bike or the mountain bike.

That said, I have just completed converting a 29er Mongoose Hogan Pro brand mountain bike into a hybrid bike. It has a nice frame size which is just right for me. This hybrid bike is still capable of a good sprint on road but the cyclo-cross is better and of course for off-road cycling, the hybrid is better suited than the cyclo-cross.  As with the cyclo-cross built just recently, all bearings excluding pedal bearings but including the jockey pulleys on the rear derailleur are sealed bearing only that I have yet to receive delivery of the jockey pulleys meant for the hybrid bike.  Also, both bike fitted with composite aluminium/carbon fork.

This is a similar mountain bike except for its colour (Picture from mudah.my)

The base bike is similar to this mountain bike except for its colour (Picture from mudah.my). I only retain the frame, seatpost, seatpost clip, saddle, rear & front derailleurs, bike stand, disc brake calipers & rotors and front white reflector mount.  Could use the straight bar & stem but I prefer a riser bar and the stem diameter is just too big for the riser bar. Replace the 8 speed freewheel with a 10 speed cassette and a bigger 3 speed crankset

Here's the reflector mount converted to hold the headlight

Here’s the reflector mount converted to hold the headlight

Riser bar, 80mm stem, 2/3 x10 speed shifters and non-premium brake levers

Riser bar, 80mm stem, 2/3 x 10 speed shifters and non-premium brake levers

Advise on lacing followed strictly, not only the valve is in clear space but it is also facing the logo on the hub

Advice on lacing followed strictly, not only the valve is in clear space, it is also facing the logo on the alloy hub. Wheels fitted with 700x38C tyres

kickstand

Cut away 3/4 of the hollow iron rod, had a hollow aluminium rod inserted held by a small bolt to make it lighter and adjustable

Here's the previous cyclo-cross sporting a bigger crankset (53T) and bigger wheels fitted with 700x28C for now. The front fork should be able to accommodate up to 700x32C

Here’s the previous cyclo-cross now sporting a bigger crankset (53/39T) and bigger wheels. Fitted with 700x28C tyres for now. The front fork should be able to accommodate up to 700x32C comfortably

 

Note:

Once a bike mechanic told me that a 10 speed cassette needs a 10 speed dérailleur. No matter how you adjust it, it will just not work. I took the advice and kept it in mind. This hybrid bike sports a 11-36T 10 speed cassette and 3 speed 50-39-30T crankset operated by a Shimano SLX 2/3 x 10 speed shifters. I intentionally put a 7 speed rear dérailleur on it (the original dérailleur that’s on the mountain bike) . Even though the dérailleur covers the whole range of the cassette sprockets, it skips sprockets twice on the lower (smaller) end. I replace the dérailleur with a Shimano RD-M610 10 speed rear dérailleur, it works just fine. On a closer look at the two dérailleurs, the 10 speed has a less incline angle inwards and tighter spring. I guess that are what made it work. Perhaps if the spring of the 7 speed dérailleur made tighter, it too might work.

Bicycle: The Skill Is Now Complete

01CX

I had done servicing, repairing and modifying bicycle in my younger days but my skill and knowledge were just about that, the common bike that I had so my knowledge was quite limited. I did it through intuition and by trial and error.

More than a month ago, I bought a new mountain bike and I tried to acquire some used parts for my old neglected mountain bike. I was shocked by the questions they put to me, “How many holes? 32, 36, 7 speed, 8 speed, 9 speed?” And many more. Needless to say when I reached home I started to educate myself through the internet. Thanks to all those gurus on YouTube, I am more wiser now, know some finer points and have the knowledge on how to lace and truing a bicycle wheel. This is the part of the skill that I have yet to experience and manage to do it myself.

My first wheel

My first wheel, a 27.5.  The rim, spokes and hub sourced from bike2012 via mudah.my

The intention to get my long neglected mountain bike rebuild had changed, I decided to build a cyclo-cross instead. Not exactly like it but at least in the intended usage. Only the frame, pedals and the cycle stand of the old mountain bike were used, the rest of the parts were either bought locally or through Ebay. The plan was for a disc brake version and by that I would have to make and weld a rear disc brake mount to the frame. Arc welding was out of the question, local hardware stores did not keep stock on aluminium welding rods because of the price and storage factors. Another consideration was brazing, but low temperature aluminium brazing rod was unavailable locally too. I could get it through Ebay, but the price and postage were not cheap. Apparently I was left with the last choice.

I had done brazing but not gas welding, it was new to me. After some videos on the howtos and safety factors, I was ready for it. I did some dry run on small pieces of aluminium tubes and it seemed to work well. On the other hand, working on a bigger piece was a different matter.  I was reminded about heat loss effect and my lack of experience and skill. It was a struggle. In the end I managed to weld it plus melting some part of the mount and blowing a hole on the tube that I somehow managed to patch it albeit not in a neat way.

The welded brake bracket with some cosmetic done with resin

The welded brake mount and some cosmetic done with resin

The cyclo-cross is now complete. I had learnt how to lace and truing a bicycle wheel and that complete my skill on assembling a bicycle from scratch parts. Also, I gained some knowledge and experience in gas welding aluminium pieces.

 

A 7 speed rear derailleur on a 9 speed cassette

A 7 speed rear derailleur on a 9 speed cassette

Solar powered tail light, no worries about batteries

Solar powered tail light, no worries about batteries

Head light powered by 4 AAA batteries and the holder fashioned from PVC pipes bonded with resin

LED head light powered by 4 AAA batteries and the holder fashioned from PVC pipes bonded with resin

Handlebar wrap is no cheap considering the material used, could have used a 2mm foam but since I have leathers so be it

Handlebar wrap is not cheap considering the material used, could have used a 2mm foam but since I have leathers, so be it

I removed the brand name and paint it over with undercoat not realising that the paint is translucent. Decades ago its abnormal but now its fashion

I removed the brand name and painted undercoat over the bare metal not realising that the candy green paint is translucent. Decades ago it is abnormal but nowadays it is fashion

So little room for error. My mistake for not checking the width. That's the thinnest I could get for a 27.5

So little room for error. My mistake for not checking the width. That’s the thinnest I could get for a 27.5

Did a repair, rebuild and rectify on this mountain bike. The suspension design is flawed. The tubes will flex, bottoming the suspension and lock. The pair of levers will prevent this

Also did a repair, rebuild and rectification on this mountain bike. The suspension was a flawed design. The tubes will flex, bottoming the suspension and lock. The pair of arms will prevent this…and that’s a second pair of wheels done

DIY: Camera Belt Clip

Beltclip

At times I needed to be mobile with two cameras at hand and instant swapping between the two.  Two cameras on a single twin shoulder strap is fine if stationary but not when moving around.  To solve this, I decided to have the primary camera in hand attached to a shoulder strap while the secondary on a clip attached to the belt.  I have read some articles, promotion and advertisements about those clips but decided to build one since I have the components needed.

The components

The components

It consists of a belt, an old Taiwanese made quick release, a camera bag partitioner and a quarter-inch flat head screw with flip handle.  The quarter-inch screw of the quick release only have a slot for tightening it to the camera, I swapped it with the quarter-inch screw with the flip handle.  A hole is punched through the partitioner and the belt, then the original quarter-inch screw of the quick release made to hold the whole components together.

The screw with flip handle replacing the original screw with slot

The screw with flip handle replacing the original screw with slot

...and the original screw hold the pieces toghether

…and the original screw holds the pieces together

I have used it and surely it beats having two cameras on a single twin shoulder strap.  The camera with the primary lens (150-600mm) attached to a single shoulder strap was held in hand and another camera fixed with a secondary lens (24-105mm) was at hip level, and it was a joy to walk around.  I felt that I could even run with less hassle.  Attaching the cameras with zoom lenses will cover a wide range of focal length which is good for covering event besides walking around looking for wildlife and at nature.

Note:  This is a new belt hence this article.  The original clip made with an old worn out belt.  The rest are the same.

Printershelf

Printer shelf

The Ikea rack is good and neat for stacking printers if you have a few of them.  The only problem is that the planks are made from chipboard.  In high humidity climes this does not bode well.  I made a mistake replacing the damaged planks with planks of the same kind.  Apparently it did not took long for the tell-tale signs to appear again.

Humidity

It has not rain for quite a while and this is the humidity reading

Since I had done with the computer table and still in the mood, I decided to give the rack a makeover.  I bought a 3′ x 4′ plywood which was about 10mm thick and made a small cabinet replacing the top shelf for storing the papers and inks.  With the leftover of the plywood, I managed to replace the planks of two shelfs except for one as I did not have a sizeable plywood left for it.  As with the computer table it was a quick one as I did not prime it with skins or lacquer and wood dye. I just went for the raw look.

Hub & Power

A single USB extended into a hub and the power point extension…and no it’s not a pincushion distortion of the lens, it’s the real bending of the chipboard plank

There is space on the lower shelf for a larger cabinet but I don’t have the need for the storing space at the moment though I will do it if the materials happen to be available freely.

DIY: Small Wall Mounted Computer Table

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Prophet Muhammad pbuh 1435 years ago (Edit: Actually this was the time he moved from Mecca to Medina.  He was more than 40 years old then.) according to the muslim Hijri calendar. Sallu Alaih.

Wall mounted small table for PC

The small computer table that I bought was made from chipboard (nowadays woods are expensive, you have to pay a premium for it).  In the high humidity of the tropical area that I’m putting at, it did not last long.   Soon the table top had lost its flatness followed by the chipping of the woods at the edges.  Someone had discarded a plate glass which was just about the size of the table top, so I picked it up, brought it home and replaced the table top.  It was alright for a while.  Then I had trouble cleaning the area around the computer table. Dust seemed to be creeping very consistently underneath the table in just a short while after the place had been cleaned.  It was a hassle.  Not that the cleaning was very laborious but that I needed to shift things aside if I were to clean the area thoroughly.  Since the table was not handsome anymore and I needed the ease in cleaning the area, the idea of a wall mounted table was hatched.

I bought a pair of wall mount brackets and a pair of rollers for the drawer.  I could not get a solid bracket that I once saw sometimes back, so I got the next best thing.  Made from thin stainless steel and rather twisty, I figured that it should suffice to support the weight albeit a little flexing if I were to rest my arms on the edge of the table.  The material for the table was from scrap plywood that I had lying around at the back of the house.  I still retained the glass to cover over the table top and the table is now done and in service.

table done

The finished table. Just 3 components, the table top, drawer and the cage to hold the PC

bracket

Brackets fixed and ready for load (update: ordinary wall plug is not strong enough, I had replaced the topmost wall plugs, where the brunt of the loading occurs, with the much stronger wall anchors)

table attached

The table attached to the brackets

Update 17 Feb 2016

The table had just been renewed and expanded.  I am now using separate PCs for work and surfing.  It just could not cope with two PCs without swapping.  The new table top constructed from scrap plywood, I just bought a few pieces of 3/4″x1/2″x6′ woods for trimming and reuse the old drawer and PC cage.

NewTable

Advantages Of A DIY Lens Jacket

DIY protective lens jackets

DIY protective lens jackets

After making the lens jacket for my Sigma 150-500mm and using it, I found that besides protecting the skin of the lens from scratches and light knocks, it could also be used as a rain jacket in light drizzle and as an emergency lens hood.  But, the thing that I like most is that I could carry the lens in whatever bag that I’m using and not only in bags specially built for cameras, lenses and accessories (plus maybe a pocket for the notebook).

I made two more lens jackets.  One for the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 and another for the new Sigma A lens, the 18-35mm f1.8.  As for the material, instead of the thicker foam of the camping mat, I opted for a thinner, about 3mm, foam that I bought from the stationary section of a local superstore.  All done in a matter of a few hours as for this time around with the experience that I had, I just concentrated on getting the job done.

Materials used:

  • 3mm foam
  • Black cotton cloth
  • Adhesive
  • Velcro® Strap
Cover one side with oversize cloth and fold over

Cover one side with oversize cloth and fold over

Afterwards paste the other side to cover the whole foam

Afterwards paste the other side to cover the whole foam

Velcro strap stiched and that's all. For hole and notches just cut the cloth diagonally and fold over

Velcro straps stitched on a double layered flaps and the flaps stitched to the jacket, the other part of the velcro strap onto the jacket itself, that’s all. For hole and inward U cut at the sides just cut the cloth of the first pasting diagonally and fold over.

Since the foam used is thinner the hood is able to slid in but only for storage and not during transportation because of the space between the hood and jacket

Since the foam used is thinner the hood is able to slid in easily but only for storage and not during transportation because of the space between the hood and jacket

One other thing that I would like to mention that is not directly beneficiary to the lens is that I like the feeling of holding the jacket firmly in my hand with the lens in it. A lot more confidence and less worry.

Building a Gray Hoverman GH10n3 Antenna For UHF & VHF Band III TV Reception

SDIM0136

I left the standard single bay GH6 Gray Hoverman antenna at the rented house when I moved out to my new place.  Only recently that I had the time to construct an antenna again.  I had chosen the GH10n3 version of the Gray Hoverman.  The reasons were better gain and its dual band nature, UHF and VHF band III.  It is slightly more complex than the GH6 but still it can be approached simply and without any sophisticated tools.  The antenna is now up and running good except for a bit of double image.  This I assume caused by 3 segments of different RF cables being used though all are of 75 Ohm type.  One provided by the builder running from the living room to the roof.  Another, a short run that I did when constructing the antenna and because the cable by the builder is not long enough I had to add another segment.  So there are 3 cable segments and two joints from the antenna to the wall socket.  Apparently there are mismatches.  This I shall rectify after the Eid Festival.

That said, here are the pictures of the steps that I did in constructing the antenna.  Note that after the completion of the antenna, I decided to move the mounting from the rear stem to the main stem for the obvious reason, balance and stability.

A reference line drawn on the main stem

A reference line drawn on the main stem. The method for drawing I got it from the net

All the positions of the elements noted on the main stem and coded. Second line from top was a mistake

All the positions of the elements noted on the main stem and colour coded. Second line from top was a mistake

A tip I got from the net. The circumference of the tube measured with a strip of paper and then divided into four to get the quadrant marking

Another tip from the net, circumference of the tube measured with a strip of paper and then divided into four to get the quadrant markings

Holes drilled for the mounting of the driven elements and rear reflectors

Holes drilled for the mounting of the driven elements and rear reflectors

Obviously aligment needed here

Obviously alignment needed here

Tees for mounting the driven elements were extended

Tees for mounting the driven elements extended

A length of tube cut into strips

A length of tube cut into strips for attaching the reflectors by rivets

Reflectors and mount for the driven elements done

Reflectors and mounts for the driven elements done

Main stem insert with holder for driven elements and rear reflectors

Main stem inserted with mounts for driven elements and rear reflectors

During aligning process, holes were made bigger and even though bonded three or four pegs from satay bamboo skewers were driven to make the joint very firm

During aligning process, holes were made bigger and even though bonded with PVC solvent, three or four pegs from satay bamboo skewers were driven to make the joint firm

Job on the main stem done

The main stem done

Tees were used to hold the rear reflectors. Centering and holding the elements done with the use of rubber washers for water tap

Tees were used to hold the rear reflectors. Centering and holding the reflector element done with rubber washers for tap. Centre line marked on the reflector element and the hole on the T to see it

All the reflectors in place

All the reflectors in place.  PVC wiring conduit cover placed on the two sides

Driven element bended and strips of brass soldered with a portable torch

Driven element bended and strips of brass soldered with a portable torch

Holes drilled on the conduit covers on both sides and slots cut to slide in the narod. A piece of the other part of the wiring conduit cut and lock on with the cover to strengthen it

Holes were drilled on the conduit covers and slots cut to slide in the narod. A piece of the other part of the wiring conduit cut and lock on with the cover to strengthen it.  Two long and four short length of PVC wiring conduits hold the tips of the driven elements and narods in place

Grooves were made with a half round file before attaching the strips that hold the reflectors and screwed. Bonding solvent were then applied. The screws were removed after the strips had bonded with the stem except for the ones that attached to the stem of the driven elements holders

Grooves were made with a half round file before attaching the strips that hold the reflectors and screwed in place. Bonding solvent were then applied. The screws were removed after the strips had bonded with the stem except for two that attached to the stem of the driven elements holders

For anybody interested in constructing one, here are my sketches derived from the interactive 3D models on nikiml’s Antenna page.

Reflectors

Reflectors

Driven elements and Narods

Driven elements and Narods

Update 14 March 2014

Here is a map from Google Map.  My location is somewhere near the pointer.  Local transmissions are located at Gunung Pulai (Mt Pulai) which is nearby but the line of sight for the transmissions from Singapore (on the larger green area near Choa Chu Kang) and Pulau Batam, Indonesia (on the very western side of the island) is slightly blocked by the mountain.

location

Map by Google

Update 21 February 2016

I have made another antenna after this one and made used of Ts and I drilled through the Ts so that it just slotted through the main stem and held them in their places with the PVC cement.  Just recently I made another two using the method here and improved the method for aligning the mounts for the driven elements and Narod reflectors (the last three reflectors at the rear).  I drilled a few holes and inserted screws to hold them in place, then I applied fast setting resin adhesive at the joints.  Since resin is a very strong bonding material, it is very rigid and strong.

T

This one made using Ts

RFpanel

A 300-75 Ohms transformer inside the pipe connected to the RF panel connector seen here. Holes where screws were inserted to hold the radiator mount can be seen at the bottom of the joint

accomodate

The centre line of two reflectors are touching the pipe of two mounts so part of the holder for the reflector cut-off to accommodate and the corresponding pipe’s end filed. One of the lines seen at the bottom is a mistake, the other is the reference line for the reflector’s plane

Home Improvement: Renovating The Kitchen

The kitchen for now, the cabinets was done by a professional but the design was my idea. Eventually the back of the gas hob will be covered with stainless steel so too the sides of the cooker hood

I have been busy for the last three months doing some home improvement and lately a Gray-Hoverman antenna, a GH10n3 version for the UHF and VHF band III.

The house is not big.  The living area, the dining area and the kitchen are all in one space on the ground floor.  I decided to erect a wall with an almost square window to separate the living and dining area from the kitchen.  It is practically done now except for some minor finishing touches and adjustments.  I had engaged a home builder to erect the separating wall and the kitchen table but the tiling works were all done by me.  To get some experience in wall erection, the top one-third of the wall was completed by me.  That experience gave me the know-how and confidence to erect a wall on my own in future.  I also had my first hands-on experience in arc welding, I built a small window grill for the kitchen window.

The wall that separate the kitchen from the living and dining area

The wall that separates the kitchen from the living and dining area. The tall cabinet is storage specially for poles, broom and dustpan. That rectangular piece of slab is a collapsible side table

The window grill, my first arc welding job

The window grill, my first arc welding job

Incidentally, during the early part of the project, I had received the Sigma SD15 that I had ordered.  Unable to test it, I put it aside.  Now that the kitchen works were over, I took the opportunity to test it.  The pictures here were all taken with the Sigma SD15 and the kit lens 18-50mm f2.4-4.5 DC OS.

Sigma Camera and The Foveon X3® Sensor

SD15

I was taken aback by the price when Sigma released its flagship camera the Sigma SD1 almost two years ago that I wrote a piece of my mind on this blog here. But I guess Sigma is sober now and is down to earth from its high, pun intended.  It is too late for me to hold the SD1 in my hands as I now have the Canon EOS 6D in its place.  Nevertheless I still admire the Foveon sensor.  So to make up for the lost opportunity, I have ordered the Sigma SD15 instead.  The camera will be used for studio works for small print portraiture, even a 20 by 16 inch print if that is possible, and the lens that I shall be attaching to the camera will be a 50mm prime lens.  Just for the sake of nostalgia, in retrospect, I used to have black and white portraits taken in studios with wooden box cameras and exposed to a medium format negative films.  No flash, no strobe, just incandescent lights.  After he had done the framing, focusing and before releasing the shutter, the cameraman would say, “Hold still.”  You then heard the shutter releasing sound something like “Kertack” or some would say, “Kodak.”   All of that are irrelevant now.

The crop factor of the Sigma camera sensor is about 1.7x, this makes a 50mm lens equivalent to 85mm on the 35mm film or full frame format. That is just about the lower end of the popular range for portrait photography. (Note: It is still a 50mm lens, same perspective, so not so much squash effect as compared to the 85mm on full frame or film.  Only get to work a little further back because of the crop factor. On film, the 135mm is my choice for head and shoulder, sadly you don’t see much of this prime lens any more.  It is cheap, sharp, bright, and have good contrast, any brand.  Maybe that’s why they don’t make it anymore.  I have a Takumar and Tamron 135, for sure I will try them both on the SD15.)

I regretted that I did not keep the Rikenon 50mm f1.4 and though I have the Pentax 50mm it is only f2.  I have ordered a used Sears 50mm f1.7 online but actually in all fairness I should really go with the Sigma 50mm lens to save the trouble of not having autofocus.  The other alternative for me to go on the cheap side is to modify the Canon 50mm f1.8.  The thing about Sigma camera is that the SA mount is almost similar to Pentax K mount but the communication between the body and the lens is Canon like.  Let see if I can transplant a K mount flange onto the Canon 50mm f1.8 as I have a few K mount lenses that can be cannibalised or even plastic body cap since the Canon 50mm f1.8 body is plastic.  No heart pain if the surgery went wrong and the transplant will be my first priority.  If it proves too troublesome, then using K mount lens is a possible choice.  The drawback to this setup is the full manual mode shooting.  No autofocus, the aperture stays at the last setting, and the consequence is that no fully opened aperture during focusing.  It has to be manually reset to the max during focusing and then set to the desired aperture setting for exposure.  All said, surely the best of them all is to buy a Sigma 50mm f1.4 lens albeit it being the most expensive choice.  It carries a lot of weight and also Sigma lenses for Sigma cameras are generally cheaper than Sigma lenses meant for other makes.  It is the most desirable of the three choices.  I merely mention the others as a thought because I’m a DIYer and that I am still very much attached to K mount lenses.  Writing this article just made it more concrete.

Simple DIY Dehumidifier Dry Box

Bantimurung Waterfall

Bantimurung Waterfall

To those who live in areas where there are plenty of water, like those near the equator, humidity is very high.  Camera lenses, if are not kept carefully, in no time  mold will grow on the glass surface.  Even if you keep it in an airtight box/container together with desiccant.  The mold will still be present on the glass if you do not maintain the condition of the desiccant by reheating it every so often to remove the moisture.  I know, I have been there and done that.  If the mold is on the surface of the external lens, and after you clean the lens to remove it you will find that your lens coating is partly gone too.  The lens can still be used only that it does not look good anymore.  I have been using the method that I am about to explain for almost two years and not a single thread of mold on the lenses even though I have been out in a light rain and my lenses are not weather sealed.

What you need is a box/container that will take in all your gears, a 5 watt incandescent bulb, bulb holder, light dimmer, a length of electrical cord and a plug.  Install the bulb holder on the lower part of the box and connect it to the light dimmer and plug.  Leave some space for the bulb by putting something to act as raisers perhaps small block of woods on all four corners and cover it.  The cover should be something solid that will take the weight of whatever that will be on it.  Make sure there is space for the warm air to rise to the above compartment or drill some holes in the cover.  If you wish, you may drill a very small hole at the bottom of the box/container to let cold air out and as a precaution not to pressurised the box/container.

Note of caution: If you don’t know anything about electrical wiring, get someone who knows to do it for you.  Never attempt to do it if you have no clue about electrical wiring.  Electric shock can be fatal and electrical wiring short can cause fire.

That said, here’s how I did mine.  I have a commercial dehumidifier dry box that is not working anymore, even the gauge.  Looking at it, I have  a hard time figuring how the system work.  So I remove the whole dehumidifying system and in its place I install a 5 watt incandescent bulb and a light dimmer so that I can control the amount of heat generated.  Not too warm (detrimental effect for the electronics inside the lens and camera if exposed for a very long period) or warm but just a slight feeling of warmness in the air and since the bulb is working underrated, it last a very long while.

The 5 watt bulb and the dimmer on the left

The 5 watt incandescent bulb and the light dimmer on the left plus silica gel for extra measure