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Member Since 13 Jan 2004
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 03:56 PM

All American BMX, Gurney Eagle monoshock. Revisited.

07 April 2017 - 12:31 AM

I recently got back a pair of bikes I had out on loan. One of them was my All American BMX, Dan Gurney monoshock. I was looking it over and decided it needed a little revamping to go along with the cleaning.

I already had a nice Troxel MX banana seat in my stash for it. The old one was some what of a "glue together" when I put it on in the first place and that old repair work has come undone and then some.


I also decided to remove the big ass Schwinn Mag sprocket from the bike and replace it with a modified 39 tooth Schwinn Varsity "small sprocket." Since this bike was away for awhile I have no fresh pictures of it so that was on my list as well. The only other thing I did was to pull the numbers off of the plate when I noticed they were in place but not sticking very well.


So enjoy these new pics of my slightly revamped old build. I put it in the database too! You can look at the specs on it there. http://www.bmxsociet...l-american-bmx/



This first one is an old "before" pic. 

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Who's crazy?

17 August 2016 - 03:55 PM

Yep people say (those that love a good "part out.") that we who prefer original finish over restoration whenever possible and keeping complete finds complete, are crazy as fried bat shit. I for one beg to differ! Apparently there are quite a few rich folks out there who agree with our simple view of things. read on!



1976 Graco MX1000. With lots of fun thrown in!

03 April 2016 - 10:57 PM

I’m sure it’s happened to you. Your mind captures an image, it doesn’t matter how. Pictures be they moving or still. Or found in a painting or sculpture. Printed words weaving an image in your mind, weather found on paper or the internet. Your mind captures an image and there is instant understanding of its meaning. Sometimes it can stir a feeling or instantly put a long forgotten memory in the front of your mind with high definition clarity.

For me it was a single black and white photograph posted on the internet and the story posted along with it. There was a whole batch of great old photographs posted with the story but this one reached out and grabbed me. I saw myself in it instantly, just to give you an idea how much I related to it. And yes a long forgotten memory came shoving its way to the front of my inner monolog.
The actual thread that featured the picture was posted by Reiley1 and titled “More 70s pictures. From the Armando "Kachupito" Carrasco collection.” The picture as you can see is of night time bicycle Enduro racing.
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You see back in the day my friends and I took a stab at doing the same sort of Enduro riding with our bikes as well. We had laid out a loop type course about 5/8 of a mile. We ran the course and raced each other but we didn’t run it at night. That is what impressed me the most about the picture. But given the time and place of it I wasn’t surprised at all. You’ll have to read the thread. But needless to say I was inspired.

I was looking at my “Corona Bomber” 74 Yamaha one day. I decided it needed to be reworked a little. I took the front tractor grip tire off as it was too small, and put a Cheng Shin c-183 on. I made a nifty little plastic patch panel to extend the front of the Preston Petty fender that’s on the back. The patch panel is held in place with tie wraps. Next I made a set of Sodbuster Labs custom aluminum mount brackets for the banana seat.
Then I went a little crazy when I added the duel vintage bicycle headlights with custom mount brackets and a Preston petty number plate/tool box. It has strips of foam packed in it with tools and spares slipped in between. I renamed it “el Enduro Burro.” The result is pure beef. It tickled the muse for a bit but there were still things that had been stewing in the back of my mind for a long time.

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Those long stewing things regarded a 1976 Graco MX 1000 I had owned for many years. A bike I had lost parts for, lost interest in and tried to sell twice! I never really knew what to do with it since I got it. But things changed for the positive when I found the parts I misplaced. Though the bike was in pieces all the parts I had for it were once again accounted for.
As it happened while looking at ebay yet not even looking for anything Graco, I came across a plastic tank. The auction listing offered no brand on the item it was more or less an auction for a generic plastic tank. But damn if it didn’t look to be close enough of a fit and cheap enough to roll the dice and click on the buy it now. When I got it I immediately tried it on the frame and it fit like a glove. From that point on The Graco project was on!

At the core of my inability to do something with the bike all this time was the fact that it was damaged when it was shipped to me. A handlebar end went through the right side of the plastic number plate pod, puncturing it dead center. Plus the original plastic front fender was destroyed during the bikes trip to me inside the shipping box. I did have ideas on how to deal with the number plate pod issue but nothing fully formed. I looked to the work I did on the Enduro Burro for some inspiration. Soon the Ideas started coming and the ideas were good! I even wrote a few down to keep track. I decided to have a friend do some of the specialty work that needed to be done. Work I would normally try to do myself, but I wanted it done correctly the first time. I contacted my friend Julian. Julian is into MX as well as BMX. He understood my vision for the bike. My mad scientist fever dreams produced a needed template for a needed component. The template and the damaged side of the number plate pod went off to Julian’s so he could make me three parts. Meanwhile I went to work in the lab. When I was done what came of it surprised even me.

1976 Graco MX1000.

Frame: Graco MX 1000.
Fork: Graco triple clamp. Spring loaded hydraulic.
Rear shocks: Graco Spring loaded hydraulic, adjustable.
Bars: Graco. (¾” dia tubing)
Grips: FourTwelve minigrips. For Honda CRF 50. (2 left hand grips for ¾ dia bars.)
Rims: Wantong 22” front. Wantong 20” rear.
Hubs: Front; Femco. Rear; Shimano MX “low flange”.
Spokes: Original 120ga galvanized spokes.
Tires: Front; Graco branded Ching Shin C-183a 22x2.00. Rear; Ching Shin C-161-2. 2.50-16.
Cranks: Ashtabula BMX 61/2" stamped.
Sprocket: Three arrows.
Pedals: Rat Trap maker unknown.
Seat: Graco.
Body plastics: Rear fender and side number plate pod original to bike. Repaired and repainted. Plastic tank, unknown mfg. possibly CCM made. NOS prior to mounting.
Number plates: Front oval plate with clip mount bracket, unknown mfg. Side number plate inserts and toolbox enclosure panel made by GLH Concepts.
Lights: Two CPC lamp kits. One standard kit one deluxe kit was used. (The deluxe kit has a horn.) The mount bracket for each light was modified and assembled using a Sodbuster lab “light bar” brace.

Special features:
Number plate pod / toolbox. The toolbox is accessed by removing the right side number plate held in place with two ¼ turn Dzus fasteners. The inside of the toolbox is filled with horizontal layers of 1” thick foam rubber. Tools and spares can be slipped between the foam layers. Items are held snugly and kept from bumping and rattling around in the toolbox.
Brass valve stem cap with built in Schrader valve tool. On rear tire valve stem.
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So the Lab has turned out a pair of what I’ll call Enduro bikes. But some may ask; Is it BMX? I really don’t know and truthfully it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter to me for sure because they came out of my psyche. It was plucked from way in the back. In the deeper darker parts of it by a black and white photograph. Thrust right up to the front. My own warped little sense of whatever it is that hath got wrought. You can call it what you like I’ll call them Enduros.

1976 Sun Cycle / ABS Black Diamond

03 April 2016 - 12:30 AM

Well now! I’ve got to tell you right off the top it’s been quite awhile since I’ve had a crack at a survivor like this. I feel real good every time I look at it. I can’t help but think that I most likely saved it from a fate worse than death. The simple fact it could have wound up in the wrong hands and “parted out” was a huge driving force. This bike needed to be preserved plain and simple. So put this one in the win column kids. My job now is to see what the timeline is on these frames is along with variations and transitions in design and marketing.

ABS introduced its Ashtabula line of BMX parts very early in 1975. When first launched it was a full line of accessories to modify and upgrade the Schwinn stingray and its many imitators for the dirt. It included not only the familiar forks cranks and stems but also handlebars kickstands fenders pedals and wheel sets. ABS industries spread the manufacturing out among its subsidiaries. Cecor inc. in Butler Indiana made the pedals and the kickstands. Elrae pressed metals in Buffalo New York made the steel fenders. Ashtabula forge in Ashtabula Ohio made the forks cranks and stems. Sun cycle in Bradenton Florida provided the handlebars and wheel sets.
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By midyear of 1975 they were advertising development of a frame as well. Word of the frame first appeared around April ‘75 in Bicycle motocross news and bicycle industry trade papers of the time. This first example of the frame produced by ABS subsidiary Sun Cycle looked a little lacking in engineering and design but from day one the ABS frame was dubbed the Black Diamond.
It must not have made production because an example of the frame has yet to surface and no pictures of a completed bike have yet to be found in any historical record. Only pictures of the frame itself.
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Note the lack of gussets in the frames first ad.
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But there still may yet be hope. One frame it seems was given away to the winner of a BMX race sponsored by Sun Cycle / ABS held in Florida around this same time.
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This was Sun Cycle’s first attempt at a BMX frame. Much like LRV the meat and potatoes of Sun Cycle had been adult size basket tricycles for seniors. Within two months the design of the frame was completely changed. I refer to this miss step frame as the first generation.

The July ’75 issue of Bicycle Motocross news contained a new product blurb about the next Black Diamond frame. Interestingly enough just one month earlier in the June issue a Bike Brokers inc. advertisement featured the same Black Diamond frame with a picture of a complete bike. The bike in that ad looks to be set up with the Ashtabula line of parts. Take away the front fender from the bike in the ad and that is essentially what my bike looks like. I refer to this frame style as the second generation frame.
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I’ll also take a stab and say it’s the first Sun Cycle / ABS BMX frame to make production. Going by what information I have been able to gather this version of the Black Diamond frame was produced from mid 1975 well into of Sun Cycle’s 1976 production year. The frame was set for yet another redesign before the year 1976 was out. That design being the one most familiar to collectors. With its added gusset where the top tube meets the seat tube. Along with the completely revamped front gusset. I refer to it as the third generation frame.
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*Warning the following is only theory and is the sole opinion of Sodbuster Labs.*
In researching these frames and looking into how serial numbers run I have read about them having date codes located on the outside of the left dropout. [Date coding? What a totally Ashtabula thing to do!] I have also seen a picture of the same as example. My black Diamond frame does not have this date coding on the dropout. Instead there is a four digit serial number stamped into the underside of the bottom bracket. It could potentially be interpreted a couple of ways. First it could just fall in its place in the number sequence. Or second; the first digit is the month the second digit is the last number for the production year. Third fourth and so on represents number in production for the month. So my frame it either (as example only not real numbers) # 2685 being the two thousand six hundred and eighty fifth one produced. Or the eighty fifth frame produced in February of 1976.
*This concludes the blatant theory portion of our program.*

This makes nailing it down this way tricky. So I also looked to the Ashtabula forged parts that are stock to the bike to give me further clues. Going into this here is what I already knew. I knew I could date the forged parts and I knew the “Ashtabula stamped” versions of these parts were introduced for 1976.

The cranks and “goose neck” stem are the stamped versions. The date codes on both of these parts indicated they were manufactured in the first two months of 1976. The fork on the other hand is not stamped and has the Ashtabula logo stickers on the fork blades. The fork has no date code stamping on the inside of one of the fork blades. It is not out of the ordinary for this style of date coding to be absent from early production year forks as the complete date code was stamped in later and not during the forging process The fork does have the year code embossed in the forging process on the inside of one of the blades near the drop out. It clearly reads '76.
So this brings me to the conclusion that my Sun Cycle / ABS Black Diamond is an early 1976 production model. It also means that going by the real four digit serial number that neither aspect of my earlier blatant theory can be proved or disproved and is still at impasse.


In my research on this series of frames I tried to keep my eyes open for variations or additions to the design. I did find one variation of the second generation frame in the historical record. But the information indicates this 2nd gen variation was not sold as a Sun Cycle or an Ashtabula frame. The variation is the addition of a gusset inside the front triangle where the top tube meets the seat tube. The frame is shown built and being sold as a complete bike. The new product blurb in the January 1977 issue of Bicycle motocross news shows “The Shadow professional MX bicycle.” From Shadow distributing of Xenia Ohio.
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With no further adue;
1976 Sun Cycle / ABS Black Diamond.

Frame: Sun Cycle /ABS Black Diamond.
Fork: Ashtabula BMX. Heat treated
Head set: Wald.
Stem: Ashtabula BMX. Stamped heat treated.
Bars: Sun Cycle BMX.
Grips: 7/8 maker unknown.
Seat post: Sun Cycle.
Seat post clamp: Sun Cycle.
Seat: Messinger diamond pleated BMX.
Cranks: Ashtabula BMX. Stamped 7 ½ inch heat treated.
Sprocket: ABS. Mag style.
Bottom bracket set. Wald.
Pedals: Union rat trap.
Rims: Femco, steel and chrome.
Hubs: Shimano MX front. Shimano “Coaster Brake” branded rear, In black.
Spokes: steel .105 gauge.
Tires: Nankang B-028-33 20x2.125.

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Who framed the Black Diamond? a Sodbuster Labs mystery.

14 March 2016 - 02:33 AM

Those that know me know I’ve figured a thing or two out about the Ashtabula line of BMX components. Yea, I like the stuff. Because of this having an example of the Ashtabula BMX frame was always high on my list of bikes.



There were three generations in the lifespan of the Ashtabula BMX frame. The first generation frame looked like a twig ready to snap and may not have made it very far past the testing phase. The only visible difference between the second generation and the third generations is the shape of the front gusset. Also the third generation frames had an additional gusset added to the front triangle where the top tube meets the seat tube. The third generation frames came in the famous blister pack kits.



From what I can tell the Black Diamond name was also dropped for the third gen frames as the blister pack kits were labeled “Ashtabula BMX Kompetition Kit.” The only frame stickers applied to these frames were the Ashtabula stickers with no mention of Black Diamond.


1st generation Black diamond.

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2nd generation Black diamond. New product blerb BMX news 7/75

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2nd generation conplete shown built with all ABS/Sun parts. Bike brokers ad BMX news 6/75.

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3rd generation Ashtabula Kompetition Kit.

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Needless to say when I came across this complete 1975 second generation Sun Cycle ABS Black Diamond on ebay I kind of freaked out. I instantly hit the make offer button. I made my offer and after a little back and forth a deal was struck. It’s now mine, bought and paid for but in shipping. From what can be seen in the auction pics it has all the ABS forge/Sun Cycle made parts on it. The wheel set looks to be original. The rims are Femco the rear hub is a bendix coaster brake with heavy spokes front and rear. Since I do not have the bike as of yet I do not know what the front high flange hub is.

I do know this. It’s a total time capsule survivor and a vital piece of the BMX historical jigsaw puzzle. When it gets into my hands it will get a sympathetic disassembly clean lube and reassembly. I’ll keep you posted. 


In the meantime enjoy some of the pics from the ebay posting. (Danm I am excited!!)  :nana:


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