Rick Wianecke - Building Andrea's lowracer bicycle
Rick Wianecke's Low Racer Project 2004
This project was to build a racing bike for Dave Johnson’s wife, Andrea Funk. She wanted a bike to compete in the HPRA race series. Andrea is 5 feet 5 inches tall, so she needed a specially designed bike. Click on the pictures for a higher resolution image.
Andrea had been using the original over-the-shoulder steel frame from the Great White streamliner. We initially were going to build a carbon splitter style bike, but because of time constraints a light cromoly frame was designed for her instead.
This is the general layout of the new lowracer frame. The bike has a 54” wheelbase with 650 rear and 349 front wheel. A carbon fiber seat will be about 11” off the ground with the crank height set at about 16”.
This is a layout of the frame. The main tubes will be 1-1/2 .035. The rear triangle is made from bent 5/8 .035 tubing. The frame uses a 1-inch steering tube.
The fork for the bike is cut down from a road frame fork. The two front dropouts were made from ¼” steel plate.
Front frame sub-assembly in the jig while being brazed together.
Once the front and rear sub-assemblies were finished. They were mounted on an alignment fixture and joined together with a bottom tube. The alignment fixture is built from a piece of steel channel and plywood standoffs and mounting points.
The bottom tube is held in the frame fixture with simple plywood.
The rear dropouts are held in place for brazing.
Completed Frame with seat mounted.
A cardboard template is transferred to .040 cromoly sheet to start the lower gusset.
Once the steel is cut out and the corners sanded it is clamped to a piece of 1-1/2” tube to start bending.
Final shape of the lower gusset
The seat for the bike is based on a Barron seat. The bottom of the seat has been widened and a lip was added around the perimeter to help stiffen the seat. Female molds were made for the front and back sections.

Carbon fiber is dry laid in the seat mold before being wetted out.

The back of the seat, ready for vacuum.
The front and back of the seat being vacuum bagged. After curing, the two halves were epoxied together.
Andrea with her completed bike. The finished bike weights 24lbs. This is not bad for a steel frame bike.
Front of the bike showing chain tube arrangement with flip-up handlebars
Rear view of the completed bike showing the adjustable seat mounts. (Note the rear mounts will be charged from aluminum to carbon this winter.)
View of the lower seat and McMaster-Carr idler pulley mounting.

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