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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:47 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:51 am
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Location: Macclesfield, Cheshire
So having got a bit carried away with the bike for my daughter for when she gets to about 7 (she’s currently 3) I thought it time to take a step or two back. She’s just about starting on a 16” wheel Islabike which is fine straight out of the box. I bought it used and in good condition and I am at peace with that.

But AFTER that, when she’s grown out of the Islabike (age somewhere about 4-6 I guess) the next in line is the 20” wheel Kona Makena that was lightly tweaked (mech and shifter) for the boy a few years ago but is now in danger of letting the side down. I could splash on another Islabike, they are £150-200 used, more like £400 new. But where’s the fun in that? We already have the Kona and a bulging parts bin.

So, modding the Makena.

Using some of the learnings from my Caygill project, I’ll be looking at lightening the load, on a budget of course, but assuming that taking out the heavy steel parts and replacing with lighter is the order of the day. I’ll be getting a lighter crankset and BB to replace the (presumably heavy) steel units, only needs single ring so that should be easy. Wheels, I have spare hubs a-plenty, 20” rims are not expensive. It has suspension forks that could be improved and replacing the (presumably heavy) steel stem, headset, bars, seatpost etc which should be simple enough.

Plan is to reduce the weight where possible, give reliable drive and brake systems, and keep it looking smart.
I already have some ideas in mind and have gathered a few parts in anticipation, but plan is to get this one completed by the end of this year (don’t laugh, its going to be tough).


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:37 pm
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Location: Kenilworth
This will be a great little project.
I bought one for my lad and they are pretty heavy in stock form.
I've done the following, pretty much all from old spares lying around so on a very tight budget:

lighter BB (kept the stock cranks)
pedal upgrade
lighter seatpost and seat (started off with a super short BMX race post and seat but have a longer alu on in now)
Replaced front hub internals with a lighter more useable QR setup
Repaced rear hub with a nos LX one, relaced on the standard spokes/rim
Has an M739 rear mech with sti shifter
50mm alu stem
Cut down alu riser bars
Chris King headset
Better Vbrakes and levers
Forks were the biggest weight saving though, he's got some mini manitou threes on there now. Although if I'd have been rebuilding the front wheel (or had a bigger budget) I'd have shortened some rigid carbon forks and run a disk; couldn't find any decent 20" rigid forks when I built it though.
Loves the bike, but it's nearly time to size up so I'm collecting parts for a tiny 26" wheel bike at the moment!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 6:39 pm
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Location: North London
I did a similar thing a few years ago - the bike is still going strong. There's a thread on here somewhere. Ours is still pretty heavy - as suggested above the forks are the main culprit. I'd personally be inclined to find some rigid forks for a cheap weight saving - I might do that if it gets passed on to the boy. My daughter has enjoyed it very much irrespective of the weight.

Would recommend an islabike chainset - they will supply direct as a spare if you ask nicely. I lied and said I needed them for a Beinn 20... Short cranks and alloy - hard to find.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:51 am
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Location: Macclesfield, Cheshire
bluetomgold - Yep, think I've seen your thread, respray job?

As mentioned I already have some parts gathered, including (as you suggest) forks, and cranks. Just working on wheels now.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:34 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:09 am
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Location: Devon
Bought one for 20 quid for my boy. Changed to some Evan's brake levers which were much closer to the bars and easier to use but little else changed l and my boy has spent hours after hours on it.

Also changed to a thumbie as the grip shift is not the best for easiest for kids


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:55 am 
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Location: Macclesfield, Cheshire
Carbon forks should save about a kilo against the existing steel suspension jobbies


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:38 am 
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Location: Macclesfield, Cheshire
Splashed out on some tyres too, good balance of lightweight and chunky.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:17 pm 
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Location: Macclesfield, Cheshire
Lightweight novatec hubs pilfered from the Caygil parts box, some cheapy 20" single wall alloy rims, and one lunchtime alone in the office, and we start to make progress.

Spokes are short and I'm building with 16 spokes in 32H hubs and rims, so it's going to be 1 cross pattern. I tried to interlace but there's just not enough give in the system. I'll see how it sits when everything is tensioned up.

Only finger tight for now (no tools) but happy enough to test the concept in my head.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:30 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:01 pm
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Great thread. All i would say is you may be surprised how tall they get fast. My daughter was able to ride an xs 10” adults frame from 6yrs with proper 26” wheels. I had some retro M730 XT cranks cut down to 155mm. :D


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