Monday, February 7, 2011

Liam's Bike Build

About a month ago, my cousin Karen asked if I could help her son, Liam put a bike together.  On condition that Liam paid for everything and that he could do pretty much all of the work himself. OK.

I pulled out an old Gert Visser frame, handed it to Liam and said "Sand". Lots of water paper and even more elbow-grease later, he produced a well-prepped frame. Some time to get the primer in place and then we were ready for the matt black. Black, particularly matt black is a good first colour for a spray job.

At this stage Liam had to head back to school for a few weeks ( Rev Dick- See what I mean?) In the interim I was able to collect some bits, in fact quite a pile of pretty decent bits. (Big thanks Steven and Fiona )

When Liam and Karen returned, we were ready for the final big build, not sure who was the most excited. By this stage the frame had acquired a coat of clear matt lacquer and most of the gubbins were pre-prepped, this is not the time to discover that something doesn't fit.
.....a bit like Lego, but you can eventually  ride it!
It's important to note that Liam has saved and worked to earn the money to put this baby together.

Early on the Saturday morning, things looked like this...
This is it, let's get started!
Getting that headset in where it belongs

Lubed seatpost

Stripped thread
Reverse the frame into the workstand and get the fork in, headset adjusted, and the stem in place. At this stage we discovered that the "B" on the stem stood for "Buggered"  (It had ended up in the parts box because the threads in the bar clamp were stripped..) Fortunately there was another stem in the box. My entire credibility had been hanging by a stripped thread........

Turn the bike around in the workstand so that real work can start.

Crank bolts

No low-end chain lubes in here please....

Liam had by now installed every component himself, I only supplied the intelligent use of brute force (like shoving the grips on). Putting a bike together like this can be a tiring experience, so we stopped for a break before the final assault, but not before Liam had put his wheels together (rim tape, tyres, tubes, valve lined up with the tyre logo) I am also a detail person ;)

While polishing the rims and spokes (every spoke), Liam noticed that one of the rims was knackered, so I'd replaced it. That's why you clean your bike by hand, because that's how you get to know it. Personally. If the bike really means anything to you, that is.

Then that magical moment!  It works!
The clicker clicks and the gorilla does what it's meant to do. (And what's that I hear someone chirp? The gorilla, my friend climbs up and down the cluster )


On yer bike!

For the record

The dangerous realisation that these bitchin' machines can take you anywhere................

Karen, Liam and I will be doing a 230km fundraising ride from Prince Albert to Plettenberg Bay. Fundraising for a science teacher at his school.

Special thanks to:
Photo Credits: All photographs by Karen Rissik

The Route


  1. Very, very cool. I didn't get a even marginally decent bike until I was well into my 20s.

  2. Thanks Gunnar. Swept back bars, friction shifter, 1x8 drive, light wheels and a rider who just loves it. What more could a bike want?

  3. Hi Johann!
    This is awesome - very proud of my little nephew - and thanks to you :)

    Karen said it's a sponsored ride - how do we get to sponsor Liam? I want to see if I can get some friends in the UK to sponsor too... (is there an automated way to do it or do I just arrange with Karen?)


  4. Hi Tracey,
    Nice surprise! I am really looking forward to the ride with Karen and Liam, it will be a challenge for all of us.
    Karen and Liam are handling the sponsorship side of things, so get hold of them directly.
    When are you next coming out here?

  5. Fab, I'll arrange with them then.

    I'll be out some time towards the end of the year - and now that all the family has now settled in the Cape, my travelling will be simplified ... & who knows, I might even make it over the mountains to see you! :-) Its been many many years...

  6. Hi Johann,

    I heard the ride went well - congratulations!! Look forward to reading a bit of the adventure & seeing photos :)

    Well done:)
    Tracey x