11 February 2013

Upgrading to EdgeRunner

My new EdgeRunner is finished! For those of you, like me, who can't wait to see it:

It shares much of the same fit/geometry/styling as my old Karate Monkey Xtracycle. Here's how the build went down. 

When the frameset arrived at Defiance Bicycles, I immediately pedaled down to check it out. 

I hauled it home on my Xtracycle (of course.)

My friend Brian followed me home on his bike and took this photo. Note the 29er wheels and all of that ground clearance!

Brian then loaned me a copy of Gerd Schraner's book The Art of Wheelbuilding, which I read cover to cover. The next day, with the help of a few friends and a case of beer, I built the rear  wheel using the Schraner Method. If you are thinking about building a wheel for the first time, I recommend using those three things: the method, the friends, and the beer.

My first wheel: an XT disc hub (salvaged from my broken wheel) laced to a 20" Rhyno Lite rim with 36 spokes. 

This may be a good time to point out that the EdgeRunner has 138mm O.L.D. spacing in the rear to accommodate electric-assist hubs. (My frame actually measured 138.9mm.) There is just enough axle on this 135mm quick-release hub to catch in the dropouts, but we did add a 1.5mm spacer to each side to help center it and take up the gap (per Xtracycle's build spec). The EdgeRunner frame doesn't have the same amount of flex that you might expect from a regular steel rear triangle. This build option seems to be working fine.

Starting on a weekend morning, with no where to haul the kids and while the LBS was still open, I started building the EdgeRunner. This was a bittersweet event because many of the parts were coming directly off of my Xtracycle. There would be no turning back.

[There's a crazy story here in the middle of the build here that involves me needing a tool, realizing one of my bikes had been stolen, finding the thief riding my bike, and me recovering it. While that wholly unbelievable part of the build took only four minutes, it will require it's own lengthy post. More on that later.]

My FreeLoader bags and V-racks are still in good shape. Five years of use and they are showing their age, but it's nothing a few iron-on patches can't fix. I may even toss them in the washing machine someday.

At the end of Build Day One, the EdgeRunner looked pretty good and the old Xtracycle looked like this:

I took a break to go on The Dead Winter Mob Ride around town. We stopped on the Murray Morgan bridge to take in the scenery and marvel at the fresh pavement. It was glorious.

The next morning I meant to finish the EdgeRunner, but became rather distracted by the fact that my Karate Monkey frame was finally available for mountain bike duty after these many years of cargo and kid hauling. It's going to be RAD.

Mountain bike day-dreams aside, Build Day Two was frustrating. I struggled to remove the adjustable legs from the KickBack centerstand. They were rather stuck with lots of rusty muck. Also, the taco plate in the middle was shaped for the round FreeRadical tubing and not the wide oval-shaped tubing of the EdgeRunner. At first I tried to widen the taco plate with a bench grinder, then a friend stopped by and pointed out that the plate should just be replaced with something flat.

In the end, I removed the taco plate and wrapped it with a strip of old innertube. The legs finally came out with some T9 Boeshield and a bench vise. I had to chop about 2" off of the legs (cut at the "0" mark) to get the kickstand properly setup for the small 20" rear wheel.

Overall, the build wasn't too bad. I still need to figure out how to mount my passenger handlebars. The EdgeRunner seatpost is a bigger diameter than the stoker stem I was using. I also wasn't sure I wanted a front derrailer, but the one I intended to try won't fit on the frame due to the position of the shift cable stop. Oh well. Gearing is 38x12-32 if you're wondering.

There is certainly more to follow about the EdgeRunner as we incorporate it into the daily routine. And more on that mountain bike, too!


Anonymous said...

Most of that was way over my head, but WOW! I stand by the first thing I ever said to you: "So your name is Matt and you run a bike shop called Tacoma Bike Ranch?" I can't wait to see pictures of that beast in action.

Davey Oil said...

Your edgerunner looks great!
And this 20"er is your first wheel ever? Congrats.
Now go write us the story about the stolen bike!

sara said...

I've been off of blog writing & reading as other things in life have taken over BUT I am so glad that I stopped by. Totally excited that you got an Edgerunner and looking forward to hearing all about this bike.

Unknown said...
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Davey Oil said...

Tell me more about respacing a QR wheel to fit the 138 o.l.d. frame. I'm switching out my E-Zee hub motor wheel to try some other drivetrain options. You found the spacers worked and there was enough dropout engagement? That's a relief!

Matt in Tacoma said...

@Davey - The 135mm QR option with spacers worked ok. After about a month, I order a solid axle and replaced it. This was partly for piece of mind and partly to clamp the wheel in place more securely. Bolt-on is the way to go if you are building it up yourself.