Episode 45. Diamond Back Topanga. (Part 6).

Now then, the Diamond Back, well it's still sitting in the dirt where it sat while it's seatpost was dissolving. I think I have now collected enough parts to make it how I want it. But I'm wondering about the frame. Originally I wanted to keep it as it was, with its scuffs, scratches, rust, and patina. But now I've damged the paintwork with fire, and then caustic soda I am wondering about re-painting it. Nothing fancy, just white. Of course half of me wants to leave it as it is, scorch marks and all. I mean, who would steal a bike like that! If I make it too pretty, it might attract too much attention. Besides, if I'm honest I think I would like to keep the Diamond Back frame as it is, with all its scratches, burns, and chemical damage. It's got patina, and it's got history! So after a thorough flushing out of the seatpost, and a jolly good wash with Flash and water followed by a damn good rub down with WD-40 I have this...

I let the water flush through the frame for a good hour or so, I wanted to be sure that I'd flushed out all the caustic soda, as like I said, its pretty nasty stuff! In the top photo it looks cleaner than it is, and although the paint is both burned, and damgaged by the caustic soda, its not left any bare metal, so thats how it's going to stay. If nothing else hopefully it will deter would be thieves... What am I talking about, nobody is going to want to steal this no matter how good it looked! Anyway, the damn thing continues to fight me every step of the way! The front forks, when you turned them to say they were a little stiff and crunchy would be the understatement of the year. No problem I thought, remove the bars, then remove the forks and grease everything up. After about 45 minutes the bars had been removed, they were pretty well jammed in there! Next stop, remove the forks. Well this took care of just over another hour!

I started with brute force, moved on to WD-40 and brute force, before eventually freeing the top nut off with fire... and brute force! Once removed the reason for the crunchyness was apparent...

Everything was dryer than a nuns gusset, and probably rustyer! Most importantly some of the bearings were missing! Where did they go? Initially I was just thinking that I'd grease this all up, and then put it back together, but obviously this meant a trip to Halfords to pick up a fresh set. No matter, because I had questions for the guys at Halfords, mainly... Can you build me a wheel please?

I have picked up two similar wheels for the Diamond Back, infact, apart from the colour, they are exactly the same, right down to the fact that they are both front wheels! So I removed the spokes from the red one, and removed the spokes from a rear wheel I had that had a steel rim, and took the parts to ask them if they could put them all together and make me one good wheel from two parts of wheel! The good news is that they think they probably can, and all for just £25, so I left it with them! While I was there I also got them to remove a spindle from a bottom bracket so that I could use it on the Diamond Back as like the rest of the moving parts on that bike the original was a bit crunchy! I'm really starting to wonder if its been in the sea! Anyway, they removed it for me, and even gave it a good clean up in their parts washer! It is now fitted, and looks like new! Slowly this thing is beginning to take shape, although it's put up such a fight, really I should've given up when the seatpost wouldn't come out! But the thing is, every time something is hard to do on it and I struggle, it makes it harder to just give up on it when I eventually succeed. I'm in a vicious circle, and there's no escape! However, it's now at a point where it is as stripped as it's ever going to be, so it should be easier from here on in as I'm reassembling it, and I'll be greasing it up as I go!