The K-RAT, 1969 ZZR Karat - FINISHED

Apr 28, 2019
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Alrighty, it's me again! :cool2:

Will post pictures when I come home from work, since I have most of the pictures of how it looked in the past years on my home PC.

The base for this one is a 1969 ZZR (Previous name of the company Romet, ZZR (or UBF in english) stands for Untied Bicycle Factories) Karat 20" folding bike. The first folding bike ever produced in Poland. Mine is the export version that was sold with the Universal brand.

Since it's original name is "Karat" then "K-RAT" just came by itself as an appropriate name. :cool2:

Got this one as a piece of junk that my friend found in an abandoned basement.

Still have to pick it up from my garage, since it's laying there mostly in parts.

This is how it probably looked when new:


Stay tuned for more updates!
 
Mar 26, 2012
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K-ool Spike! Dig the folder bike concept.

K-RaT oN~!
 
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kingfish254

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Looking forward to this Karat Krate build. :D
 
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Apr 28, 2019
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So I dug up some photos of how it looked when I first got it running back in 2008.


When my friend found it it was in super bad shape - the rear tire had wulcanized solid, it was missing the stem & steering bar, the front wheel was falling apart, the same as the seat. I put it together using some leftover parts that I had into a "kinda" rideable condition.

Since me moving 3 years back to a new garage & apartment, and since it was only "kinda" rideable i stripped it for parts. Tommorow (or actually today, since it's 1:00 in Poland) I'm going to pick it up from the garage. Good thing it's a folder, since my usual bike hauler (a VW T4) is down for maintance, and right now I'm driving this: :21:


Yeah, I know it's stupidly small, but it gets almost 40 miles per gallon on a 3cyl engine that doesn't even have a dsiplacement equal to a carton of milk :rofl: Oh, and since the owner was typical grandpa it has no audio system...
 
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Does the brake arm read, 'fucsnik'? :wondering:
Close enough :21:

It says Łucznik. Archer in english. Łucznik is a factory located in Radom known mostly for their sewing machines...

And if somebody is into guns you may know their other name and logo...

They're other name is Fabryka Broni Radom (Radom Gun Factory), and their best known products are (above Kalashnikov SMG's & Mosin carbines in the communist era)

VIS wz. 35 - one of the best handguns of WWII, a combination of Browning HP & Colt 1911.

Beryl wz. 96 - the basic SMG of the polish army.

Radom Hunter - hunting carbine, a single-action variation of the AKM SMG, with a longer barrel. Had very poor sales since hunters declared it unfair to shoot animals with a self repeating carbine, but was a weapon of private choice by mercenary snipers mostly in the Chechen war, since it was cheaper than the VSS Vintorez, and shorter than the SVD Dragunov. It was portraited in the movie Demons of War, one of the soldiers - Bieniek used it as his personal sniper rifle during the Bosnian war.


Yes, I'm also a little bit of a gun freak :crazy:
 
Apr 28, 2019
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So i dug for a solid hour through my garage to find all of the parts that were from this one, and it didn't end so well. While I found most of the parts (frame with BB and crankset, fenders, seatpost, wheels, rack without mount), most of the parts from it were used in other bikes, or just fell apart, like the seat, steering bar, stem, fork & pedals. :(





Lying around in various basements, attics etc. didn't do any good to the chrome...

I also found that the right crank arm is slightly bent - not in a way that it needs a lot of bending, so I'll just leave it beaten like that. It has more authentic feeleing that way.

First things first - I cleaned and regreased the BB (I didn't think I even opened it 11 years ago - my bad :crazy: ). To my suprise it was in quite good shape for the 51 years and unknown amount of miles on it. The crank arms just recieved some cleaning and polishing from all the rusty spots.

I definitely need to take the camera back to my shop. I thought that my phone can handle pictures, but it just has a mind of it's own.

Dug up some used 20" tires from my stash of parts to use on this one, but the more important part - the wheels.

The rear, one, after fitting with a new tire & truing looked quite OK...


But after I tried to spin the sprocket to check if the brake works, I found out, that, the rear hub is total trash. It needed at least 2 full spins after breaking to jump into gear again, and sometimes it didn't even want to do that o_O. So I took it apart, and realised that there is another gigantic problem:

Eyup, the sprocket is screwed on, not held by a spring like in all the modern torpedo hubs, and this one definitely seen better days. There was nothing more I could do but, dig trough my parts, take 3 whole Romet rear hubs, and few spare parts, and rebuild everything using more modern, yet still fitting spares. After an hour or so of changing parts, droping balls on the floor and shouting a few swears at it - I finally made it back into working condition.

Oh and @RustyGold - here is a close up of the archer figure. between his feet are the two digits indicating that this hub was produced in 1968.


Also a fun fact:

The symbol above the archers head is the "First Production Category" symbol. The propaganda was, that only the best products would receive the stamp... well, you could find almost everywhere :21: On hubs, fridges, wrenches, no matter how bad they were - they always were of the best production category :21:

When it comes to the front wheel that was on it - that 18" with a super small tire, and one missing spoke, I just gave up on it - the tire just fell apart when I touched it. But the good news is that I found the original front wheel! Yet again, to tell it was in any rideable shape... Good thing that I had a front wheel with a Shimano FH-R700 roller brake hub, that I found in a dumpster. The rim was totally corroded, but after some time...

Really one could not tell if this was an original Romet wheel or not, since I even used original Romet brass nipples. Also my luck is that Karat bikes had rims with 36 spokes, just like normal sized bikes. Most of the Romet made 20" wheels (like from the Karat's successor - Wigry) were made for only 28 spokes. Oh, and the original front hub...

Yeah, seen better days...

So with a wheelset finally ready we can start... oh, but wiat! There is one more detail missing!

Now that's better!

Also another weird thing - Rear tire is a 20x2.0 with a ETRTO of 54-406, and the front one is supposed to be a 20x2.125 with a measured ETRTO of 50-406... I just don't know what is with those cheap chineese manufacturers :crazy:

Also mounted the rack with new mounts made out of an old seatpost part (the original mounts, as you may guess were missing)


Right now I'm thinking about more than one bike to put in this Build-Off, since i have reeeeeally a lot of free time at work right now... :39:
 
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Apr 28, 2019
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So I dug some more parts today to replace the broken/missing ones.

First of all I needed a decent seat for it, and since I'm running a rack in the back I must use something normal, but with that cruiser-ish style. So i found this:


It's a Selle Royal Drifter that i bought back in 2009 and since then used on my daily bike (and sadly demolished the nose with my shoe :confused:). Super comfortable one, but it definitelly needs trimming. I think black leather will do the trick.

Also since the pedals fell apart, and also were not from the bike, but rather from a full size one (probably a ZZR Albatros or something similar) I needed something that be much more apropriate. Then I remembered I traded an early Romet 1" headset for a set of original pedals in very good condition.


They're even signed with the ZZR stamps, so they're perfect. Only need to figure out something better to use instead of the rubber inserts.

Also I very much liked the original rear reflector, but since the law requiers me too have a rear reflector, tail & headlight (and also a bell or a similar signal) I decided to swap it with something better.


Again - that's the final sale price :p I bought it for 10PLN, so it's something close to 2.5$. And it came out nice.



Also found the headlight that I originaly mounted on it.


And bought something to put inside:


I didn't even try to find the original chain, since I was 100% sure it was stretched as even humanly possible I found this instead.


Big a... fixie chain. Hopefully will do the trick.

The biggest problem that came to me today. I gave away, the original fork, and the chrome one, while very nice was not in the style that I wanted for it right now I needed to find an alternative.


I thought about this monstrosity. It came from a Cafe-Racer like e-bike with 26" wheels, that i bought from the owner in the summer. Nice and all, but the problem is - it has a 1 1/8 headtube for ahead headset, and as you can see on the first photos, Karat is designed for 1" threaded headset. Changeing the headtube? Pointless, since I want to use an ahead stem for this project. But how can I make this work...

The solution came when I saw these:

Internal VP-A41AC 1 1/8 headset... I could just put it on top & bottom of the headtube, and make some kind of an adapter to hold it in place... So I made some measurments, and came up with this:

(sizes are in mm). So i called a friend who works in a metal shop, and asked him "Hey dude, you have a lathe in your workshop, right? Good, I need this weird element. How complicated? I'll send you a drawing. When? Well, when you like, I have time till what, February?"

And he just gave me a straight, honest answer - Next week. So can't wait to test if my idea is crazy, stupid or will it just work :cool2:

In the meantime I'll do some work on the headlight, and I'll search for some leather for the saddle.
 

Starnger

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Aug 4, 2016
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Cool man, glad to see you back in the game!
I have (i think i do :D ) the front hub like that in the garage if you want :) I also have more unused Romet parts like stems and cranks, and even the whole Romet girl-BMX, but they are probably bit later then your bike :) Let me know if i can help you with some parts.
 
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Apr 28, 2019
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@Starnger it is a tempting offer, those hubs are super cool, also I'm looking for 20" Romet rims but only from Karat, Czajka & Flaming bicycles since they're the only ones that are 36H.
 

Starnger

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Aug 4, 2016
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That's the bike i got:

I will check for the hub when i am back to garage. What other parts should i look for? I am sure i got more, since i have another old Romet Jubilat taken apart.
 
Apr 28, 2019
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Definitely the crankset & BBC could find some good use since that style was only used in Romet's BMX bikes. And the steering bar with stem sure would come in useful for my other project. We can talk private so we don't spam the thread, and if you want I got many parts that I can trade for :thumbsup:
 
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Apr 28, 2019
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So, my friend made me the adapters, that I asked, and since I didn't exactly tell him how many do I need, and from what material...


He made me one set from aluminium and two from steel. :crazy:

I also found the stem to use on it, and guess what?


Not period-correct, but still maker-correct.

So the time came to put the fork & wheels on this baby, and also figure out how to mount the front brake arm.



Well, it came almost in line with the disc brake mounts, and some pieces of old Cantilever brakes, make a great outer casing stop.

With the front all mocked up, the time came to mount the rear wheel, align it and put the chain on.



That fat chain looks great there, a little overpower maybe, but who cares :bigsmile:

Also figured out the headlight mount.


Made it out of two rear rack mounts.

Also put a new Tektro lever for the brakes (the same one that was supposed to be used on the Lastochka from RRBBO 14, before I got the hydraulic brakes).


So this is how it looks for today, sorry for the bad photo, but I was in a hurry, since we were already after closing time (That's how it is when your boss keeps watching movies on Youtube, you are busy building your bike, and none of you keeps track of time :21: )


By the way - some of you might already have an idea what's going on, since the stem is on the "wrong" side of the headset. :cool2:

Stay tuned for more!
 
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Mar 26, 2012
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I thought maybe you had been there WAY too long and lost all your mechanical aptitude when I saw that stem mounted! :21:
 
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