(MBBO#05 Class 2) Lil' Scrapper **DONE**

Jun 16, 2008
Kansas City, MO
I wasn’t planning on entering this build off; I don’t (didn’t) even own any muscle bikes. But I’ve always liked them. Inspiration struck a few weeks ago when some of my 24” parts weren’t selling and I had the brilliant idea to use them on a bike instead. Great logic, right? This isn’t selling so let’s buy another bike to put the parts on. :113: So this is where the story begins…

The first order of business was finding a frame. I texted a buddy to see if he had any muscle bike or 24” projects hanging around, which he did. One of each, actually. With two swap meets looming I resisted the urge to pull the trigger on the spot. The swaps were a bust for what I was looking for so a couple of weeks later I was at his front door and came home with these:

24" Hawthorne Straightbar with BFD

20" Western Flyer Buzz Bike...carcass

Around the same time Danimal listed his Columbia integrated forks/handlebars which I’ve always loved, but never had a need or bike to put them on.

After mulling it over (and lots of PMs to Dan) I snapped them up. It was a little dicey since these forks aren’t very adjustable; they’re really meant to be used on a specific length head tube. This is where I really diverge from a lot of the builders here; I’m mechanical, but I am not a fabricator. It’s humbling to see the creations some of you guys dream up, and then physically make. The best I can do is try to come up with an original combination of random parts with minor mods along the way.

So, now I’ve got two forks coming from Dan and two bikes to try them on. The forks were delivered yesterday and I couldn’t wait to do some quick experimenting to see if either was actually going to work. I already knew the head tube on the Buzz Bike was too long for the 20” fork, but I wanted to size it up firsthand. I went to pull the original fork and that’s when I saw the crack in the head tube, about ¼” down to the bottom headset cup. Great. Now I know this is the point when many of you grab the welder, yadda, yadda, yadda, the bike is perfect. Me? I pray that someone out there needs a Buzz parts bike.

Annoyed but undeterred, I moved on to the Hawthorne. The 20” fork fit like a glove in the 24” frame. Looks like I’m building a Hawthorne! Now the Hawthorne was supposed to get the 24” Nirve wheelset I have laying around along with the 24” Thick Brick tire (after all I’m supposed to be utilizing existing parts). Perfect. First shot at putting the mounted rear tire in was a no go. Deflated the tire and tried again. Nope. Started taking the fender off and that’s when I saw it. Rather them. Three splits on the rear drop out. The bulged steel tube told the story. Water must have gotten in the frame at some point and then froze. We all know the rest. Two cracked frames, really? Most people would probably let reality (common sense) sink in and realize they’re not supposed to be building a bike right now. Me, I shoved that tire and wheel into that frame and tightened it up. Of course it rubs, but I think that can be sorted out along with the whole cracked frame situation. At this point I’m straight up mad scientist in the basement. I grabbed the original 24” front wheel to throw on for a mockup and absolutely no way. Clearly not going to happen. So I grabbed the 20” wheel off the Buzz Bike, installed it, and wheeled it out for a look.

Ugh. Hmm. When I said “fits like a glove”, I didn’t realize it was more like an awkward, seven fingered glove. That my dog chewed on. Maybe if I sleep on it?

Nope, nope, nope. Back to the drawing board. One idea I had been toying with was cutting down the head tube on the Buzz Bike to accommodate the smaller steer tube. It occurred to me this morning that I might actually solve my cracked tube problem at the same time—I can just cut a little off the bottom and then a little more off the top and get it to the proper length. BRILLIANT! Headed to the basement (laboratory) to check out the head tube on the Buzz Bike again. I popped out the headset cups and flipped the frame over to get a better look at the crack and the inside of the head tube. In doing so I discovered two things: the head tube is actually a REALLY thin piece of tubing reinforced on the inside with another piece of metal, and the crack is actually a split. From what I’ve deduced, this head tube is stupid thin and actually has a seam that runs top to bottom. The piece of reinforcement metal runs from the top of the head tube to the bottom too with just enough room to not interfere with the headset cups. In other words, no cutting it down. The kind of good news is the real strength lies in this piece of metal and it's tacked inside the head tube where it connects with the other tubes. Feeling slightly encouraged I tried the 26” version of the fork on the frame. It fit perfectly (or at least it will when I get the headset reinstalled). I grabbed the same 24” front wheel and put it in the fork:

It could work, but not really the look I’m going for. Then I grabbed the 20” wheel back off the Hawthorne and tried that:

Winner. So here’s my starting point. I’m not going to be able to use a single part I have laying around and the head tube needs…something, but I’m in it.

(TLDR: Joined the BO for stupid reason, too stubborn to quit. Buzz Bike. Columbia fork. Bunch of parts I don’t have yet.)
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Jan 9, 2013
Los Angeles
Great thread.. and best of luck... any questions ask... some stuff may sound complicated, but can be achived with minimal tools and just knowing where to get resources... alot of members here are good for that...
We all started with smaller prodjects and we parlay what we learn into the next build...
Great to hear you were even contemplating cutting the headtube to make it work!!!
Looks like you have a few fun prodjects coming your way.

Also i think you maybe able to interchange the top half of the forks.. so you end up with the bigger bars ;)... im sure i read that in the sale thread..
Jul 1, 2014
Las Vegas Area
I think worst case sinerio about the fork, is maybe needing get the head tube threaed further down. Thats an easy solve at a lbs... then when barrings areseated could use spacers to the top plate, maybe even slide a light mount out from there.
I love these forks!
As i was reading this cool story a spacer or two ( one top, one bottom ) after cutting out the crack, was my thought as well.

Cool frame to Start with!
Jun 16, 2008
Kansas City, MO
It's been a good week of progress. I got a buddy to weld up the headtube on Scrapper and close the wounds on the 24" Hawthorne--HUGE victory! Took advantage of a gorgeous Tuesday to do some soda blasting; most everything cleaned up really well.

I also managed to track down the rest of the parts I needed which was kind of a miracle. Finding the right part is one of my favorite things about this hobby, but it can require a lot of patience (which I don't have). Tonight I cleaned up the rust on the frame with some emery cloth to make sure there weren't any deep pits.

I'm planning on taking the frame to the powdercoater tomorrow. As much as I dig the flamboyant hues of the muscle bike era, this build will share Henry Ford's philosophy on color. ;)
Jun 16, 2008
Kansas City, MO
I’ve been plugging away at this one, but a lot of my time has been spent waiting. Got the frame back from the powdercoater and it turned out great. I was trying to keep this a low-cost build and I got a deal on black powder so I went with it.

I found a black Troxel banana seat that was in need of some love so while I was waiting on powder I tackled it.

The pan looked pretty rough, so I decided to take the whole thing apart and do it right. First step was to drill out the rivets and grommets holding the cover on. Once the cover was free I was REALLY glad I decided to tackle it.

The pad was somewhat adhered to the pan, but was crooked and filthy. The pan itself had a small crack around the mount which got mudded up with some JB Weld. I took a wire cup to the pan to remove as much of the scale and loose stuff as I could, but it still looked pretty rough.

Cleaned it all up and shot it with some Rustoleum black paint/primer all in one.

Then it was time to work on the cover itself. After scrubbing it with a plastic bristle brush and dish soap, I took some Turtle Wax rubbing compound and a rag to it. It looked better, but still not great. Decided to take the buffer to it and that brought out the old shine.

Decided to use the existing pad since it was only dirty; after soaking it with the hose a few times and wringing out fifty years of dirt it looked pretty good. Used some spray adhesive to reattach it to the pan and wrestled the cover back on. I also decided to use some rivet bolts in lieu of true rivets so all that was left is to replace the grommets. I’m sure some of you saw my post in the “Discussion” section, but I had no idea what a hunt I was in for the grommets. After checking craft stores, hardware stores, and online, I ended up at Tandy leather and took a shot with these:

I wish they were a couple of mm longer, but using the correct setting tool I was able to get it to work. The hole had to be drilled out by about 2mm, but they have a nice fit.

The other wild card in this equation is the fork. As mentioned before, these Columbia forks aren’t incredibly adjustable, but I’m finding some tricks to working with them. After experimenting with a couple of combinations I decided to use the original “muscle bike fork” in lieu of the 26" version. Now because the head tube is a little longer than a Columbia muscle bike, I had to use the longer steer tube on this fork combo. Not a big deal; I found some longer fasteners to clamp everything together. What I didn’t know to take into account was that because I was using a the longer steer tube, it effectively made the legs of the fork shorter. Of course I didn’t realize this until I put the wheel and tire in the fork:

It clears, but BARELY. I don’t do barely—it just didn’t look right. So I either go back to the chopper look, or use a smaller front wheel. I would have been settling for the chopper look on this bike (and not using the fork and bars I really wanted to), so I bit the bullet and ordered a 16” front wheel and tire. Fingers crossed!
Jun 16, 2008
Kansas City, MO
After countless parts combinations and a lot of trial and error, I have a roller.

So far I've got a 20x3.0 rear tire paired with a 16x1.75 front tire mounted on new steel wheels. It was hard to resist doing black wheels with all black tires, but I'm trying to stay with a more classic look so I chose white walls. I want this to feel like it could have been a stock bike from back in the day. The front fender was only a test--it's a 20" fender and clearly won't work with the 16" wheel. I'm still waiting on a few other bits, but hopefully the hardest part of this one is behind me!