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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/31/16 8:37 p.m.

Several years ago I had an idea for a BMX build involving some graphite Tuff Wheels. I wanted a set soooo badly when I was 13, but at $300 or whatever a pair there was no way I was going to get a set. A little later in life, though, I could (finally) swing a set.

How much later in life? Assuming that I'm correctly reading the UPS label, I ordered these in July 2005. I got them from Ed before he owned Planet BMX. Soon after that I got into riding cruisers, so the Tuff Wheels have been sitting since.

Fast forward a few years:

In 2013 Skyway built a run of "retro" T/A frame sets: '80s looks but modern geometry. A year and a half ago Planet BMX had a killer sale and I bought one. Like the Tuffs, it has also sat.

This spring I met the owners of Skyway--totally cool dudes--and I told them about my stash. Wheels are no fun sitting in the box, one of them said.

Fine, he's right.

Here's the frame, where it's been sitting for the past 18 months or so:

IMG_4452

And my graphite Tuffs:

IMG_4455

Since those Tuffs didn't have the wide hub flanges like the originals--and like the 50th anniversary ones recently offered--I ordered a set of Kool Caps. According to the mailing label these have been sitting here since 2006.

IMG_4457

A year or two ago I bought this SE retro seat--at the time, I figured it would go on my Floval Flyer.

IMG_4460

This weekend I finally ordered the rest of the parts from Planet BMX.

Inspiration came from this photo:

BMXPlus_8301 copy copy

It appears in the January 1983 issue of BMX Plus! I'm pretty sure that's the first BMX mag that I ever bought, too. I want to build something that looks like it came from the 1983 skatepark scene--just before purpose-built freestyles bikes were readily available. So it will have blue "street" tires, Flight cranks, chrome bars. Most of the parts will be black, although I ordered blue pedals--I figured back in the day we were happy to have one or two components that weren't black.

UPS says that the parts will arrive tomorrow. Then it's off to Orlando so my friend Chelsea can cut the steerer tube and install the star nut--she has the guide and has done this before.

Then we build.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
5/31/16 9:22 p.m.

And I realize that this isn't a full old-school build. I'm calling it more retro than anything--something to make me happy.

I also admit that I overthought some stuff. What chain, for example?

Back in the day, the cool kids ran 10-speed chains. So I ordered this:

Grips are A'me Tri (still my favorite). Gearing will be the traditional 44:16. As far as I know, Redline no longer offers their traditional sprockets and all of mine are worn-out. But this is now available:

Doc Brown
Doc Brown Dork
5/31/16 9:25 p.m.

The mention of blue tires triggered a memory avalanche. It's funny how you can completely forget the cool stuff from the 80's.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
5/31/16 9:32 p.m.
Doc Brown wrote: The mention of blue tires triggered a memory avalanche. It's funny how you can completely forget the cool stuff from the 80's.

Totally. Once I saw that these were available, everything kinda kicked into high gear.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
5/31/16 9:34 p.m.

(And technically they're a touch new for 1983, but for now they'll be fine.)

gamby
gamby UltimaDork
6/1/16 12:40 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens:

OMFG I love this.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
6/1/16 7:24 a.m.

Thanks!

Ooooh, just found old-school snake bellies in blue.

My first choice would be the old Comp ST tires, but they're long gone. I know a guy who has some white GT tires, but not sure I, I mean he, wants to ride around on 30-year-old tires.

And good news: UPS says that my parts are out for delivery.

Dbussey1
Dbussey1 New Reader
6/1/16 8:41 a.m.

This is great. I had a dope pair of orange Panaracer knockoffs from Kenda that made me feel super cool at 14.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde UberDork
6/1/16 8:43 a.m.

I was never big into BMX as a kid. Wait, lemme revise that. I grew up in a small southern town where we spent nine months a year riding cheap BMX-style bikes all over creation, but I never knew there was a "scene" or magazins about it and such. Our cool, must-have parts were whatever we could save up for from the Western Auto. Closest we ever got was a buddy buying a green and white Kuwahara bike and some kid building a shoddy quarter pipe.

Having said that, my cheap bike was an AMF Hawk that was chrome frame and bars with blue pads and metal mag wheels - like this one but blue instead of red:

I totally loved that bike, so I totally support this build!

dropstep
dropstep Dork
6/1/16 9:10 a.m.

My bike isnt retro but i was tempted too order blue kenda's too match my new pedals and bar ends! Everything except my frame and handlebars were black so like you i went with a bit of color this last time!

SilverFleet
SilverFleet UberDork
6/1/16 10:35 a.m.

This rules. Like, the most.

After seeing this, I think my original 90's entry-level Robinson Rebel needs to be resurrected sooner than later. I ended up picking up a nearly identical one (for $6.99 at Savers, no less!) and have been using it as a pit bike, but having the original one I rode back in the day ride-able again would be awesome. Something broke on it that makes it freewheel when pedaling forward, either in the crank set or the rear hub. Hopefully I can get replacement parts for it.

Original is on the left, with the $6.99 Savers Special on the right. The Savers bike is "borrowing" the GT seat for now.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
6/1/16 10:43 a.m.

Sounds like the freewheel just popped. You should just need to replace this.

You'll need a freewheel puller to remove the old one. Any local bike shop should have one.

2GRX7
2GRX7
6/1/16 1:23 p.m.

DSW,

If you're looking for rare parts, these folks have just about anything-new or used

https://www.facebook.com/CommonGroundBikeShop/

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
6/1/16 1:32 p.m.

Thanks for the tip. I'll check them out.

SilverFleet
SilverFleet UberDork
6/1/16 4:16 p.m.
David S. Wallens wrote: Sounds like the freewheel just popped. You should just need to replace this. You'll need a freewheel puller to remove the old one. Any local bike shop should have one.

Nice, thanks!

VWguyBruce
VWguyBruce Dork
6/1/16 8:35 p.m.

Another cool BMX thread!

NOT A TA
NOT A TA Dork
6/1/16 9:18 p.m.

Be careful on the colored tires kids, they usually have a lot less cornering grip.

Cooper_Tired
Cooper_Tired HalfDork
6/1/16 11:14 p.m.

I love these old BMX threads.

I used to flip through my uncle's and brother's BMX magazines in the late 80s/ early 90s. They both had pretty decent bikes. By the time I was riding I ended up with toys r us crap bikes.

My brother had an early 90s Redline that was the black paint that faded to red or pink.

My uncle had a 87ish Dyno GT (pro performer maybe?) that was purple and white.

The redline was stolen out of our garage in 1995, before it got handed down to me, and my dad threw away the dyno.

Part of me wants to buy one of each and ride them just because I never got to as a kid.

I probably wont, so seeing threads like this gives me a good vintage BMX fix. Can't wait to see how this one goes together

84FSP
84FSP Dork
6/2/16 8:00 a.m.

So jealous of the Floval Flyer.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
6/2/16 10:45 a.m.

We made progress last night:

IMG_4501

I'll post a real update tonight.

paranoid_android74
paranoid_android74 SuperDork
6/2/16 11:07 a.m.
cut the steerer tube and install the star nut--she has the guide and has done this before.

Can you splain this mod to me? I'm still trying to get my head around the mid and new school stuff...

petegossett
petegossett GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/2/16 11:44 a.m.

In reply to paranoid_android74:

Not sure where you quoted that from, but most current stuff uses threadless headsets, which are just like they sound - there are no longer any threads on the fork's steer-tube(to strip out). Instead, the stem clamps directly around the steer tube, and there is a spring-steel star-nut that slides down into the steer tube. A top-cap for the stem with a small Allen-head bolt are then threaded in after everything is assembled, which provides just enough clamping force to hold the bearings tight. You then clamp down the stem around the steer-tube, and that holds everything in position/tight without any real chance of slippage.

Since steer-tubes may need to be longer/shorter depending on head-tube length, stem thickness, and how many spacers you need to raise the bars to the correct height, it's pretty common to need to cut off the steer tube before final assemble.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde UberDork
6/2/16 11:55 a.m.

In reply to paranoid_android74:

And here's some more background via a how-to on Park Tool's website

http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/threadless-headset-service#article-section-8

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
6/2/16 12:24 p.m.

Even though this is frame is inspired by the one released in 1983, it uses a modern treadless headset.

Here's the original ad as shown in the February 1983 issue of BMX Plus!

Skywayad

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports
6/2/16 12:30 p.m.

Mine looks very similar but features modern geometry, brake mounts, European bottom bracket and that treadless headset. I'm cool with all of that.

Skyway leaves the fork's steerer tube a little long so it can be cut as desired. We have a chop saw at the GRM shop, but from I read online that might be a bit too severe as it might not leave a clean lip. Some people have successfully used a pipe cutter. Since the star nut also needed to be installed, I figured I'd go see the expert.

Here's the fork:

IMG_4470

After trimming the steerer tube, Chelsea used the Park tool to set the star nut:

IMG_4473

She works at Kyle's Bike Shop, so the cutting and stuff was done there:

IMG_4484

Afterward we went to her workshop. This is how far we got before we got hungry and broke for dinner:

IMG_4501

The goal is create something that looks like it belonged in a skatepark in 1983. I'd say we're getting close:

BMXPlus

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