"Old" Balfa BB7, can somebody explain the diferences....!?!?

Discussion in 'Downhill & Freeride' started by patineto, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    with the "Newer" models...

    Yes I know the Apalache is the latest encarnation of this wonderful design, but what i want to know is the Diferences (inprovements, weakeness, compativility, etc) in between the early Balfa BB7 like this 2001 model.

    and the newer (2002-2004)

    as far as i can tell the main diference is that the Linkage plate on the old models is Inwards(pulley is on the outside) when on the newer frames is outwards (pulley located in between the frame and the linkage)


    also my friend david (Owner of tis frame) is as much of a geek as I'm and will love to make the bike as best as possible (mostlly for the fun factor of thinkering with it), like updating the linkages, so the question is can this be done..? (update to the newer type plates) also how about a floating rear brake...?

    any advice, leads tricks will be gladlly apreciated.

    I got to ride the bike last sunday and is totally amazing specially if you take into acount how simple and strong the design is and that you can still run a normal 135MM hub with out much flexion of the rear end..

    thanks as ussual for your brainy advice.
     

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  2. MMcG

    MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    I would think that you could do a floating rear brake on the bb7 most definitely.

    I'm not sure about specific changes between years, but there was definitely an increase in travel between the early model bb7s and the later model year frames (something like 7.5" of travel up to 9" or so I believe).

    Did you get in touch with Marco at Procycle?
     
  3. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    how do you do it, do they make a specific Kit for the balfa? or you need to adapt one?
    sincerlly i did not feel any brake jack on the first test ride so i don't even know if is necesary
    That makes sense i was trying to measure travel and i was unable to get more than 7" something inches

    I'm going to write him today after i take some better pictures of the linkages ( i blow up my knee yesterday so i'm in bed wearing my asterix knee brace ) so maybe will take a little long for the fotos to come up..
     
  4. dropmachine

    dropmachine Turbo Monkey

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    The older one was afalling rate, the newer one was i beleive a rising rate. Also got bumped up to 9 inches over 7.5, and the pulley was moved inboard on the linkage instead of hanging outside, for a better chainline.


    Thats all I remember.
     
  5. skyst3alth

    skyst3alth Monkey

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    The floating brake on the newer (mine was an '03), screwed into the seattube.



    It looks like the linkage for the older ones is a bit more complicated. Is there the pivot on the frame, then another pivot before the shock (on the linkage?) or is that a solid piece?

    One the newer ones, it all acts as one solid piece around a single pivot on the frame (just looks funky, the blue/silver/black piece are all solid).

    -Adam
     
  6. skyst3alth

    skyst3alth Monkey

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    The bearing and pully placement look to be in similar locations, maybe it was just a refinement to the swingarm/linkage?

    The '03 and up had 9" of travel as well. Those were the big differences I believe.

    -Adam
     
  7. Wayne

    Wayne Monkey

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    Yes, you're all right, I had a 2000, 2001, and a 2002 BB7. The difference was the travel and the type of link plates. The '01 plates were bolt on and did suffer problems from the start (hollowed out), and the '02 saw a one peice system used.

    Overall, the '02 felt a little slacker and a tad lighter too. The '02 and up was 9".

    My 2001 was burnt orange metal flake. Oooooo......
     
  8. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    I think i find out a Very important diference.

    i love to collect pictures of bike for one main reason, because they provide easy acess to details.
    this is a perfect example.


    just take a look at the lower shock mount, on the newer models the Mount is located Forward of the Bottom bracket, also notice how the interupted down tube goes down almost from the headtube and stops about 2" forward of the Bottom bracket area


    Actually i think this is your frame skyst3alth, now used for a example.


    In contrast david's frame (2001)
    have a very diferent configuration

    Notice how the down tube is ReaLLy Interupted since starts half way down the main boom, plus it end right at the bottom brakcet plates


    for now until i take better fotos you need to believe me but on david's bike the lower shock mount is located backward of the bottom bracket area

    is definitlly amazing how untrain my eyes are to detect a detail as Big as this, as a excuse i never saw a early BB7 so i did not have a comparation point.

    lets keep the diference coming for the sake of the comunity.
     
  9. Secret Squirrel

    Secret Squirrel There is no Justice!

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    ^^ I have NEVER seen a top crown go on top of a stem that's in the triple digits..... that is whack!!
     
  10. skyst3alth

    skyst3alth Monkey

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    Patineto - That frame is the same color, but is a size "short", with different colored link plates.

    Plus...you'd never find that many stickers on one of my bikes ;)

    Another thing to note, on the newer bb7's (02 and up i suppose), there were two bottom shock mounts, which supposedly could adjust the suspension for either a more linear or more progressive stroke. Don't think they really did much though...

    -Adam
     
  11. WheelieMan

    WheelieMan Monkey

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    The major differences between the old style and new style have already been covered, but I thought I would point out a few differences between the 02-03 frames and the 04 frame:

    The 04 does not have the different shock mounting positions on the frame. (It still has the two positions on the swingarm of course.) The newer bb7 is not progressive, it is still pretty darn linear. The adjustment on the 02-03 bb7s would make the frame linear, or more linear, so the change in rate is not significant between the two positions.

    The 04 bb7s also have a headtube gusset, 02-03 do not.
     
  12. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    wheelieman let me ask you something since you know so much about this little monsters..

    can the linkage plates of a newer BB7 be install on a older style frame, oviuslly i don't spect to achive longer travel but i will like to gain some extra rigidity... can this be done..??

    somehow i feel kind of bad since i convince Dave to buy this frame (thinking it was pretty much the same as the newer models) so i will like some how to fix by mistake and make the bike the best i can.

    so far the frame is is Pristine shape, no signs of any ovalization at the pivots or anything, i also replace all the bolts with high grade fasters (like a Ussually do) but still be nice to make it even better..

    On a side note the way the Pulley is device on this little bike is fantastic, two mirror image halfs made out of aluminum including a clever shimano cog set pattern so you can replace the worn out cog (Yes a cog as oppose to just a delrin tootleless pulley) then hard anodidize to last a little time,,oh with a great big high load bearing in the center for easy rotation, very smart as ussual and very well crafted(if anybody have a Extra's One of Of this model I buy it (them) in a Minute..
     
  13. MMcG

    MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    Ricardo - in your search for older bb7 parts, it may be worth your while to post on such web forums as Dropmachine.com and Allezy.net

    Allezy.net is a Montreal based forum and Montreal/Quebec as you may know is the birthplace of Balfa for the most part.

    You might be able to find the parts you seek, or at least find connections and links and email addresses of people posessing those parts.

    Good luck sir!

    All the best,

    Mark
     
  14. lovebunny

    lovebunny can i lick your balls?

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    i got an 03 i can sell you if you want:blah:
     
  15. no skid marks

    no skid marks Monkey

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    The last BB7(04/5)model had scollops machined out of the head tube and a bit less size to the bottom gusset/plates to save weight. The 9"models(I think all)have a mount for a floating brake,so you'd have to mount it to the seat tube but I wouldn't bother as the BB7 only squatts a little bit under brakes and the weight of the brake arm wouldn't be worth it.I doubt very much you could fit the latter swingarm link(wrong wording but you know what I mean)on the early model,I'm sure the bearing spacings(frame width)would be different.Could possibly whack a 66 on the front to match the back better if he's just a lightweight or a hack.Awsome bike anyway,don't feel bad as you could probably not found a better bike for the money you spent.I've had about 4 of them,every time I'd sell one I'd just end up re getting another as I liked nothing else better.I'm now gonna try a Brooklyn race link but it's bascically the same design anyway(well the closest thing).He could also whack a platform shock in it,I liked the fith el batter than the earlier RC Fox model ones but not by a huge amount.
    Sorry for the mega spiel,hope it helped.
     
  16. DHDror

    DHDror Monkey

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    I sold mine last Aug. , it was a 2001 model just like the one from the first photo.
    The travel is 7.6 but very hard to measure as it goes rearwards.

    The linkage plates can not be replaced with the newer model plates !
    The only rear shock you can fit is of the Fox Vanilla line - the new school shocks outer diameter are just too big to fit inside the frame.
    So if you're thinking about modifications I sujest callin Push and ask what they can offer.

    Another thing to consider if you wish to improve the package is to lose the 888 and get a 7" Boxxer instead - thats the setup I had untill I bought the 888.
    Even with the low crowns it did not perform as well as with the Boxxers !

    And forget about the floater - the rear suspension still works better than a lot of new and modern frame designs under braking.
     

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  17. DHDror

    DHDror Monkey

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    More photos of me and my BB7 having fun !










    Very good bike , lots of good memories!
     
  18. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    Oh Yeah....

    thanks for the awesome fotos and the great advice..

    in the last year i got to own 3 balfa's and build 4 of them, everytime i ride one I'm Impress everytime I work on them i become more of a Gruppy, they are build like a Sherman tank but also as agil as a little bunnyrabbit..
     
  19. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    thanks Mark the french forum is well.... french so hopefully is not a big deal if i write in ingles.

    and dropmachine i frequent from time to time..
     
  20. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    Yeap looking at the Pictures (i have about 60 of them HeRe) in detail i can see that the rear frames are also diferent..

    so what is the deal i hear of the pivots getting ovalize,...??
    the frame i have at hoe is totally and absolutlly perfect, is just spotless for a 5 year old bike..
    well the bearing were dry, but now they are re-pack with Phil grease and super happy again .

    thanks for the advice, sound like you are part of the Cult too..
     
  21. lovebunny

    lovebunny can i lick your balls?

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    the 02s didnt have the floater mount. only the 03-04
     
  22. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    Yeap,,, the path of the travel is very simple but also works really well, the pulley i think make a big diference on the way the bike performs and feels
    Yes i notice that, the mouting points look similar at first but end up being very diferent
    I have a few other shocks to try on this frame (just for fun) including a AVy ad some fox Air shock but thanks to your advice i better measure them before i take the bike apart
    I loan my 888 to dave for a few weeks until we figure what to do, maybe a 66 will be a better choice or another white brothers DH-2 if we can find one, since they are a little shorter and also lighter..

    actually the 888 works far better on the balfa than my nicolai, the head angle is actually about 69 with the 888 (I measure it with a angle finder), but even then I'm still looking for some flat crowns for it to make it a little less tall
    thanks I was wondering about that, I grow up riding hardtails and i quess i'm pretty smoth, but not even ones I feel any ill effects when I aply the rear brake on the balfa, (well I only have about 20 milles on it) dave the owner will ride it this weekend ad will see what he things if it..

    so far i want one for my self,,the problem is that I already have two other balfas a 2-stepFR and a 2-step HD
    that i like very much, plus a M-pire with a Pulley that I imagine rides as nice as the BB7 with the 9' travel..

    thanks for the advice and the awesome fotos..
     
  23. WheelieMan

    WheelieMan Monkey

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    I fully recommend the floater for the newer bb7s. Even though it was designed poorly (slightly jacking geometry) and is not concentric with the axle, it really prevents the bike from squatting and using up a lot of the travel when braking.
     
  24. no skid marks

    no skid marks Monkey

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    I would not try and make the head angle any steeper,especially if he's not real good.
    Let him see if he notices any suspension trouble when braking before bother bothering with a floater.The floater will definatelly make it plusher but it's plush already.
     
  25. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    by any chance do you have pictures of the floater sistem..?
    i was thinking in making one, by replacing the left hub spacer with a flat bushing (to resist compression) a Bearing or maybe a brass bushing to make it easy to roll and then the arm to old the brake, i quess not that much diferent than any other floater sistem since that is the logical wayto make it..
     
  26. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    GooD man he is a amazing rider but maybe a little old (like me) to be going head first down the mountain..

    we are used to 71 deggres and short wheelbases and rakes

    yeap I agree on that one too...
     
  27. WheelieMan

    WheelieMan Monkey

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    Here is a picture of the floater and the approximate Instant Center location for your reference.





    Would you be trying to modify the frame to accept the floater?
     
  28. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    how do you achive flotation (Movement of the brake caliper in syncronisity with the Hub axle and brake rotor) with that sistem..??
    I can not really see any clear pivot points..!?!?

    Uppsss I see it now...
    do you have the pivot located at the hub axle...?
    my idea of this floating linkages is that they need to be totally Paralel to each other (Pivot/hub axle and frontal mount/Brake pivot),, well the brake arm need to move on the same excat ad the axel the one on the lower picture does not look ideal for sure, can you clarified if i'm wrong and why...


    nOPe that will be totally WrOnG, if i ever make it will be totally retrotitable with out any welding, filling or even Glue..
     
  29. WheelieMan

    WheelieMan Monkey

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    No the pivot is not located at the axle, it is about an inch above it. This allows you to remove the rear wheel without removing the floater. The downside of this system however, is that the brake moves away from the axle as the suspension cycles, so the pad/rotor contact is not ideal.

    I also believe that parallel floating brake geometry is best, but for some reason Balfa disagrees.
     
  30. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    oH so the floater is actually a part provide by balfa, not a aftermarket..

    the wheel release makes sense but is kind of sad since is so many ways you can make the brake arm come apart or at least provide easy release for the wheel with out compromissing the pivot location..

    for my nicolai I'm playing to make floating brake but i will replace the whole left dropout with one that have the floater build in and will stay on the bike (un-move and undisturb when i take the wheel out)

    but then again the nicolai rear end is widder than a few motorcycles so is easy to fit on the balfa everything is so narrow, i can see how that can become a problem, also to remenber is that the balfa's don't require a specific rear hub, for the idea i have (current idea at least, may change & evolve soon as ussual) i will require to modified a rear hub to carry the floater concentric to the axis,,but again maybe not..
    so far i have so much respect for the balfa engenirers, i will think long and hard why they did it that way, but then again i used to have a lot of respect for the BMW motorcycle designer (and other brand like KTM) and today I make my living challenge them on their own turf and proving them wrong pretty much all day long ( well is kind of easy if you aproach a problem case by case basis with a money is no object attitude, when a big company can only produce "Good enogh" for the market media and need to be constricted by a price point and really high production numbers.)


    I'm going to think about this little problem and when my kneee gets better and I can work again make a prototype and see what happend..

    thanks for all the advice ad sopoort mister WheelieMan, i really enjoy when menbers really work togueter for a comun goal...
     
  31. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    since my Knee is kind of wasted and i can not really do much, i decide to make some patterns so i can understand better the way a floating brake mount will work..

    First thing i did is i took the wheel and the brake caliper, then i install a 20MM adaptor to run 205MM wide rotors, this way i have suppfient space for the mecanisum require to make the mount float


    mark of all the important points.
    *Axle
    *Current caliper mounts
    *205MM caliper mounts


    outline the shape of the whole piece.


    translate the shape to a bigger and better piece of pizza box cardboard


    mark the diferent axis that are pertinent to the two parts i need to make


    i replicate the fix piece of the project so i can analize the interface a little easier


    here you can see the fix plate a little more clear


    this is a makup of how the fix plate will look with two protuberaces to permit space for the floater to move and also provide suffient material to make some treads and then tha lower part will be the bushing to floating part is going to rotate into it.


    more to come when the vicodent wears off, so far i don't see any significant problems that will inpair a fully concentric floating brake mount.
     
  32. skyst3alth

    skyst3alth Monkey

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    That's awesome, i love seeing projects like this take form. You should try and make a 150mm rear end with 12mm dropouts :)

    -Adam
     
  33. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    actually i'm being working for some time (in my head so far) on a G-boxx full suspension tandem design and one of the closes candidates for the suspension is a linkage similar to the balfa's concept...

    so yes you may see something really wide and massive, actually 165MM and a really thick axle to hold the tandem loads..
     
  34. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    this is a cut out of the floating part of the mount


    so far I think i'm going to run the paralel arm at the bottom of the swingarm since i can use the BB and the shock bolt to help me mount the arm too.
    will see maybe i figure out a better way later in the process.


    I have a amazing festool router waiting for me but since i can not bend my leg i can not really work much.

    the two dowels represent the mounting pointing that will hold the floating brake in a sandwish configuration.
    in this case the Mount is All the way back


    in this case all the way forward...
    so far i don't really know the range of mothion require so i'm leaving a little extra space just in case.


    here are the two parts on the wrong order so you guys can understand the concept a little better.
    the small piece will ride on top of the hub axle on one side (with out touching) and will connect to the bike frame ussing the two original brake mounting bolts, this two towers will also connect and guide the floating part in a co-axial mothion.


    here is the floater at the middle of his travel


    here at the very end


    oviuslly the wheel will come in and out of the frame with out any interferace or even the need for any wrench..

    will see so far looks duable i will start a delrin prototype the minute i start to get better..

    This bike parts are so much fun to design and so simple to figure out if I have any extra time to manufacture them mister DW will be in trouble...

    Just Kidding he is really good, but for sure not the only one..
     
  35. skyst3alth

    skyst3alth Monkey

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    Wait, is that back piece free to move on it's own? If it's tight enough on the bb, you wouldn't need guides would you? Just the rod from the front triangle, to the piece that holds the caliper? It would pivot around the hub, correct?

    That's how it was setup on my bb7. There was a bearing where the caliper mount screwed into the frame to move, and then the rod connecting that to the front triangle.

    Maybe you could explain the logic behind your design a bit more

    -Adam
     
  36. skyst3alth

    skyst3alth Monkey

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    Nevermind, i totally skipped over pg. 2, and now get your concept. It will be interesting to see it in action and how it performs

    -Adam
     
  37. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    many old motorcycles usse a sistem like that a floating bushing right on the axle that realys on the connector arm and nothing else..

    on the bicycle is a little more complicted since the space is so limited and you will need to disconect the arm to take the wheel out...

    actually for my Nicolai since it have this really wide rear end that is the way i'm going to make it, the floating caliper mount will become part of the drop out and will stay there with the frame and not with conected to the wheel in anyway expet for the fact they share the same axle.

    I hope i make sense..
    any fotos...??
    I will like to see exactlly how they did it, maybe i'm missing something or is a easier way to make it work
     
  38. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    Thanks to my friend David and his Freaking amazing
    fESTOOLrOuter


    this is the smallest of the 3 routers Festool makes but still puts to shame many of the big 3 horse power ones made in the US, let me tell you the ergonomics on this machine are Perfect and the whole design is flawless, I never see a line of products as well put togheter as this festool tool and i'm being in the industrial design field for almost 30 years


    i finish the first part of the prototype, let me tell you having the proper tools makes such a diference is not even funny, in fact doing what i did today with my hand and small power tools will be totally impossible..
    very basic outline on a 10mm thick piece of delrin plastic


    my first cut, to make the main pivot point surface.


    after i made the first guide Hole (concentric to the hub axle) I mount the whole piece of materail on the frame, ussing a bushing to perfectlly locate the part in reference to the dropout.


    after that I use the disc mounts on the drop out, to mark, punch and drill the two holes require to hold the mounting plate.
    after drill i tap 6MM holes (same as the bolt use to hold the caliper)


    the 3 holes ready for the rest of the process


    next thing is to carve the material away and leave only 3 "Bushing" the main one were the floating mount will rotate (I will drill a 20MM concentric hole when i'm finish to fit the hub body) and then the two pillons that will serve to attach the whole part into the frame.


    here you are soppose to see the first carving but i suck as a camara man you just need to trust me.


    in this one i'm starting to conform the "Guides" that will act as rails for the floating part


    here you can see how the lowers hole on the right side is shape already on the upper and lower side.


    the two brake mounts complete, now i only need to carve the rest of the material I don't really need.


    try to make this with out the router will be absolutlly impossible to get even close.


    Well the first part is done, tomorrow when i can make some noise I will try to finish the second and most dificult part..


    Now i just need to earn about $450 dollars to buy my self one of this little black beauties so i don't need to borrow my friend's
     
  39. Sandwich

    Sandwich just shake your rump
    Staff Member

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    i didn't finish the whole thread...but if you search nsmb and some others for bb7 reviews (Which i did in the past) it appears that the older versions are more for freeriding, with shorter wheelbases and steeper angles, as well as .5lb-1lb lighter over the later models, which are designed for DH and are longer, slacker, and stronger.

    HTH
     
  40. patineto

    patineto The RM Mad Scientist

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    I finally finish the floating caliper project , but i need to confess i got a little tyred of taking pictures of the detail process since nobody was paying atencion to the whole process..

    here are a few pictures of the process and then a bunch from the end result..

    this is the floating part




    I round the edges to decrease the friction


    I also mill a round over pivot point for the same reason


    okay no more fabrication pictures..
    here the final result, at least trial number One


    I made the frontal mount with out drilling, grinding, welding or gluing anything else on the frame.
    I use a 4MM thick Piece of fenolic resin (dark red part) for the main mount, since on the loads are axial does not need to be really strong in any other way than in compression or tension, for that same reason i use to pivot point, first i cut a piece of a shimano bottom bracket plastic cup (I got lucky since the locking cup was reses about 5mm) then a old BB lock nut to keep the fenolic piece secure to the frame (this is pretty much the same way all the chainguides are mount into frames (not the ICSG whatever standard ofcourse) but even then I use a second holding point ussing the shock lower mount,, needless to say so freaking solid is not even funny.


    this is the whole rear piece, is kind of incredible i spend about 15/18 hours making this,, but you know those 18 pass like some magical minutes of fun specially ussing the festool router..




    the gold rod is made out of a 16MM easton aluminum tent pole thanks to my wonderful friends at mountain hardware,i also got really lucky since a few years ago i got a left side tap set, i quess the smart dudes know exactlly were i'm going


    Yeap on one side of the rod the tread turns left the other one right so i can increase or decrease the lengt of the tube with out anything more than a 10MM wrench and about 4 seconds of work, i also got the ends of the tubes from mountain hardware so i tap two 3MM bolts to hold the end caps in place and then cover it with heat string wrap to avoid surprices




    after i finish i when for a small test ride around town, the brake work fine exept the Gold tube was getting a little "confused" and sometimes going "Over" as oppose to go back, i think this is because I try to make it totally paralel to the pivot points of the bike (wheel axel and swing arm pivot) like you can see here.


    so i came back home and work some more making a longer gold bar and a farder downwards mount and this time try to increase the diference as much as possible..




    Here is the finish prototype ready for a real ride when my knee gets better


    the next project is to make one for the Nicolai M-pire,, will see what happend then