Monday, March 30, 2009

Big Moe's bikes – the last chapter (for now)

OrangeAppeal after Dave replaced the ape hanger handlebars with remote link steering and made other changes.

By DAVID MOELLER, Linden, Mich.

At the end of the last installment, we left Big Moe contemplating how to progress with his all wood "DragonWood" creation. While waiting for parts, etc., I ended up reworking my last project, "OrangeAppeal."
Originally, I had used ape hanger handlebars and although the looked kinda neat, they were not real practical. I moved the handlebars back on the frame and connected them to the front steering post with a connecting rod.
I replaced the rear cassette with a 7-speed internal hub and installed a front shifter, so I now have 21 speeds. A slight adjustment to the seat helped. I also made custom walnut handlebar grips.


DragonWood has a main frame made from a standard 2X8-inch plank. After cutting and joining (using Titebond yellow glue) to get the profile, there are join lines in various places. To insure sufficient strength, I felt I should add a outer lamination. I planed ash boards down to a half-inch and screwed them in place.
I intended to put lightening holes in several places, but reconsidered. Because of my X-seam (nominally 48 inches) and weight (300 pounds), I didn't want to gamble with structural failure.
Yes it is heavy. Originally I wanted a low racer but as things progressed I went with the dragon theme and opted to make a parade/fun ride vehicle. I can't wait to ride in a parade with other members of the Michigan Freak Bike Militia.
The fishbone seat back is very comfortable. I contoured it to fit my back and the openness will help keep my back cool. The custom made ash grips feel great. The dragon's eyes are multi-flashing lamps.
There's a six cog cassette on the rear. No shifter in front, but by using a derailleur tightener I can move the chain manually
on the front rings.
The length is 8 feet, 10 inches. (Editor: Part of the reason for the length is Dave is 6-foot-5.) Obviously not a speed bike. But
I don't know what I'm gonna do next. My list is down to three "next ones". Ride on!

THE LATEST FROM DAVE: Believe it or not, I've already torn down the OrangeAppeal. I'm trading the frame to a friend. I'm using all the parts on a long wheelbase racer. (A generic term considering my age and weight.) Lower and I hope faster than OrangeAppeal, which just didn't fit me right.
The racer is painted and awaits cables. It sits very well, much better than the OrangeAppeal, and is very low. I custom fit the seat back to fit my lower back. The frame is 1x2-inch steel tube. Again, very long, around 9 feet to fit me. As light as I can build it using street bike components and steel.
The ideas keep coming. I'm at the point where I have to replace something when I build cause I've got no more storage space.

Dave plans to bring the DragonWood, his new low racer, and if he can get it in or on his van, one of his trikes, to the Ann Arbor Classic Bicycle Show Sunday, April 26. (Worth attending by any bicycle "junkie." For more information:

DragonWood's eyes are multi-flashing lights.

Builder Dave Moeller says the fishbone seat back, contoured to fit his back, is very comfortable.

Dave Moeller is now making custom wood grips. These on the DragonWood are ash. He's made a dozen sets, which he's planning to sell at the Freak Bike Militia booth at the Ann Arbor Classic Bicycle Show April 26.