Big B. built the Mantis
in New York City when CHUNK 666
visited Bikesummer 2003 to throw a Chunkathalon and generally fuck up shit whilst wearing a big floppy hat.
Mantis lasted the duration of the visit, but that elongated top-tube wasn't long for this world. After the NYC Chunkathalon
, Big B. had to use a handy brick as a sort of makeshift gusset to keep the entire frame from folding in half. It is presumed the Mantis, left in the care of CHUNK NYC, has returned to the pile from which it came.
Last spring he built a bike primarily from the busted remnants of Baby
's frame. As spiffy and unique of a bike as that was, Big B. remains perhaps the most idealistic of the CHUNKs these days, and he left it unlocked at a party. It was, of course, stolen. No pictures of that bike are known to exist. Taking a cue from NYC, he set around constructing a second-generation Mantis.
Cameltoe is a great example of the Big B. Style
(and Big B. has plenty of style) of building. Like previous bikes such as Bendy
, it involves what are perhaps best described as “customized” parts that are essentially jury rigged to begin with. For example, Bendy's headset, although unique and clever, seemed to require almost monthly maintenance due to its complexity.
A central and admirable facet of the Big B. Style
is that he can make good use of a bike in the Pile that everyone has repeatedly passed over. The light blue beach cruiser bike that makes up the bulk of the frame is a great example of this. It had been passed over dozens and dozens of times because the down tube above the top tube had broken off at some point, so there was nothing to tighten a seat tube with. CHUNK is definitely capable of fixing such a problem, but no one bothered to. Big B. just flipped the frame upside down and went from there.
At first Big B. had some small apehanger style handlebars on Cameltoe, but these he eventually replaced with a set he custom-made himself. He took a length of solid, rust covered steel bar and cold-bent it in a vice (with the help of Pedro
) and slid that into a stem set.
Around the same time he did this he figured out that rather than fix the brake cable to the frame with zip-ties or hose clamps or what have you, he could run the cable through the entirety of the frame and out under the seat to the brake itself.
An early weak point of the Cameltoe was the new bottom bracket. When bottom brackets are positioned under an existing frame like they are on Cameltoe, they need adequate gussets or the stress from pedaling will eventually crack the welds and the whole set will fall off. After this happened once (or twice) he got it under control.
The real weak point of Cameltoe, however, is the fork. Big B. built a very long set of BMX-extendo forks using rectangular tubing. Granted, this tubing is considerably lighter than the circular (and thicker) stuff we usually use, but getting a solid sleeve-weld connecting the tubing to the forks is difficult.
As with the Handicapper
, which uses the same rectangular tubing, when the welds start to crack and the fork begins to sag, he just turns the fork 180 degrees, letting gravity bend the fork back to something resembling its original straightness. At the least, this gets him back home where he can re-do the welds later. With the Cameltoe, what he might really need is a gusset between the forks, because if one fork bends too much the wheel can pop out of the dropouts. This is what happened in Seattle on the way back to the hotel after the Dead Baby Downhill