Custom bikes building

...a mountain bike you have always dreamt of.

  • Custom bikes building

    Custom bikes building

    ...a mountain bike you have always dreamt of.

SHIMANO XTR FC-M952 Crankset Restoration, Vol. 2

I`ve got another chance to make a greatful restoration of the Shimano XTR FC-M952 crankset. The cranks themselves were in very poor condition (as usual after years of riding), thus I didn`t have much work to remove old painting (already have a lot of skills how to do it). After intensive brushing and cleaning the cranks I wanted to apply anodization, however, I decided to use a new coating - teflon. I had discussons with some coating makers and I chose XYLAN 8840. Very durable coating with deep black colour and a little abrasive surface. A new "Shimano XTR" logo has been lasered directly to teflon. Self extracting dust caps have been re-anodized in black. All completed with a set of original 4-arm chainrings (all three in very good condition) and with original Shimano bolts. The crankset can be completed with a Shimano Hollowtech II bottom bracket, 68x109,5mm (not in the picture)

Shimano XTR FC-M952 w/Teflon coating

Shimano XTR FC-M952 Crankset Restoration

In fact I wanted to use this crankset in my retro MTB project of Heavy Tools HT Comp, but in the end I decided to use another drivetrain and thus these cranks left unused in the bin. The arms were in well-driven condition, therefore I did complete restoration and painting. I cleaned up and brushed well both arms, then I sprayed them with acid primer and very durable black-eben coating. The "Shimano XTR" logo has been professionally lasered. Pedal threads on the left arm were damaged, thus I used Helicoil screw thread insert (and this is why I couldn`t have anodized the cranks). I bought the cranks without original XTR chainrings, but I mounted up older XTR M900 ones. The 5-arm spider is original XTR.

Shimano XTR FC-M952 Re-painted Front
Shimano XTR FC-M952 Re-painted Rear
Shimano XTR FC-M952 Re-painted + Shimano XTR M952 BB

1995 Rock Shox Judy XC Overhauling

This facelift is the next in a row. Now I do a facelift of my own 1995 Rock Shox Judy XC fork I rode in 90`s. The fork have been in great condition for long time, already with Kronos coil springs, but with malfunctioning (empty) damper catridge. However, with a new coming project of the Heavy Tools HT Comp, I decided to take the fork back in life.

First I rebuild the catridge. When disassembling the fork I did surprise that the cartridge was newer one, with aluminium body (I should have replaced it, but I can`t remember), mechanically in very good condition, but without any oil. I found out that there were missing some small parts to fix the cartridge not leaking again, so I completed them all and I filled the catridge in with Rock Shox oil. Now the cartridge doesn`t leak anymore.

Original painting was in very good condition, too. I didn`t remove it, I just made some cosmetic repairs. The brake arch allowed using classic cantilever brakes, but I decided using V-brakes. Instead of removing the brake cable-stop, I found very used arch on “evil-bay”. After that I repainted the arch.

Rock Shox Judy XC forks had all stainless steel bolts, while the SL all titanium hardware. I did manage finding all titanium hardware and replaced it. Original, but short steel steerer had been replaced. Now my fork looks more like SL than XC.

I have placed the fork in the Heavy Tools HT Comp project and repainted it in Volkswagen/Audi silver like the frame. Well, to be honest, my paint job was not sooo perfect and you may find some cosmetic marks here and there. Anyhow, all the overhauling was great experience and I`m glad that my Judy XC fork is back in life again.

1995 Rock Shox Judy XC 1
1995 Rock Shox Judy XC 2
1995 Rock Shox Judy XC 3


When working on another retro project I imagined out a bike with a 1x9 drive train. Indeed, today nothing special, there are many classic ways to do it; however, my idea was to build the drive train with Shimano XTR FC-M952 cranks and direct mount (i.e. spiderless) chainring. Well, interesting idea, but where to get a spiderless chainring for those old cranks? I did some research (and it was really intensive one with many negative results) and finally found a company that made one for me. It`s Garbaruk. I requested Garbaruk to make a custom black 30T narrow wide spiderless chainring. And they said yes.

Shimano XTR FC-M952 w/Direct Mount Chainring Garbaruk 1
Shimano XTR FC-M952 w/Direct Mount Chainring Garbaruk 2

Before completing the old cranks with a new custom chainring I did a complete refurbish of the cranks. As you may envision, the cranks were in bad visual condition. I did a lot of handwork to get nice, smooth and polish-like surface, just perfect for anodization. Now I have to say that I did a mistake when I thought the cranks were anodized. No, they were not. The cranks had been originally painted and therefore the old paint must have gone. More time needed, more effort done. Anyway, after new black anodization, a friend has made a new Shimano logo by laser. And retro MTB becomes cooler again.


Before I start working on various carbon components I did a test of my hands-on skills and theoretical knowledge. Clearly I didn`t want to remove painting from carbon parts by heavy hand-brushing, but finding easier way of working and have a fun. I decided to test a new Canadian product – Carbo-Lift. Based on the product description, it`s ecological, non-toxic, water soluble and 100% reliable when proper work order and temperature setup (I later realized that the proper temperature is a key). OK, where to start my project? I took a carbon seatpost Bontrager XXX Lite Carbon delivered with a Trek Elite SSL 9.9 frame, but not used any more. If something wrong, it won`t be an issue. I ordered a small 500ml bottle of Carbo-Lift and kicked it off.

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First time I applied Carbo-Lift emulsion at the seatpost`s surface I didn`t care much about proper temperature in my workshop (was end of summer) and even waiting for almost 24 hours, the result was more than bad (very bad, I would have said – "it does not work at all"). I was disappointed, however, I increased the temperature by using a powerful heater – an old electric oven. The temperature had increased up to 30C and I started working again. Now the mission completed successfully. Painting went off the seatpost like nothing and pure carbon surface remains untouched. Finally, good job, Carbo-Lift! I did more steps with other applications of Carbo-Lift emulsion till I removed all painting off. Every time I hung up the seatpost over the electric oven and slowly heated it.

Once fully completed I slightly re-brushed the seatpost with water sand paper, grain size 1000. It was easy and little job, it took me a few minutes only. At the end, I washed the seatpost in warm water with soap and dried it.

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Bontrager made its seatpost from two different carbon textures, which caused another decision - to re-paint the seatpost back. I decided to create a custom design – painting seatpost`s head with black colour, while the body remains unpainted. On top of that I sprayed the seatpost with a clear UV-block coat. The seatpost clamps were re-anodized to black to match the seatpost`s head design.

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I tuned SRAM X.0 Trigger Shifters for the old-time 9-speed shifting. The shifters body and all aluminium bolts were re-anodised to black, while the carbon shifter covers were re-polished in clear coat (with no SRAM "X.0" logo). Bigger shifter levers were replaced by their carbon alternatives (Zdyn Components). Together with the shifters I changed the original SRAM bolts of the brake levers with AVID Matchmaker to black titanium.

SRAM X.0 Custom
SRAM X.0 Custom
SRAM X.0 Custom


KORE LiteStem 1
KORE LiteStem 2


A Specialized`s 2004 FOX FLOAT R w/Brain rear shock has been re-painted based on the main design of a new 2009 FOX F100RLC suspension fork.

We made rear shock`s custom painting done within a regular shock service works. We painted both shock`s chamber body, as well as Brain`s one in a new design. As both bodies were fixed back on the shock with strong torque, the final finish`s quality was double-confirmed in burning kiln.

Fox Shox1
Fox Shox2
Fox Shox Frame1
Fox Shox Frame2
Fox Shox Frame3


The forks overhauling didn`t match any on-going project, just came in as an instant non-project activity. Very simply, one day I got to my hands an old Rock Shox Judy SL forks and I quickly realized that the forks are in better condition than I could have ever supposed.

I was very surprised when I was checking the 28mm uppers/stanchions. I found neither cosmetic blemishes nor other problems. Moreover, I was very happy to see the forged aluminium crown and the 190mm long aluminium steerer. Well, I realized that the forks truly need a complete service.

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The forks have been upgraded and serviced with brand new bushings, dust seal/wipers, coil springs (the old MCU springs were dead) and other seals. The hydraulic cartridge has been re-sealed and filled up with new Rock Shox 5wt oil. Moreover, I re-sprayed the magnesium lower legs as well as the forks brace in Rock Shox yellow. At the top of that I put a brand new set of decals.

Previous owner drilled the cantilever brake cable-stop away of the brace, thus I had to make some additional job to fix it. All titanium hardware kept in place, the original fork boots were reinstalled, too. The forks travel is 63mm, the current weight is 1535 grams.

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I did complete restoration of the Nakamura Vertical MTB and my friend asked me for new suspension forks. I made a choice of Rock Shox Judy SL. The forks were in excellent condition; however, I decided to re-spray them. Before that I checked all internals - bushings, dust seal/wipers and hydraulic bumper cartridge. All worked well, nothing to restore. I checked uppers/stanchions and I found them without cosmetic blemishes. All titanium hardware kept in place; the original fork boots are ready for reinstallation, if needed. Old MCU springs were good, but I changed them with Kronos coil springs to get better forks function. Thanks to my other friend`s help we swapped old short steerer with a brand new 25cm-long one.

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Forks re-spraying fitted exactly the same colour as the frame. We used Audi Dolomite Grey colour. Before re-spraying I did all preparation works to perfectly prepare the surface. Old colour was stripped down, both legs and brace were brushed. Once re-sprayed, legs and brace were polished. New Rock Shox decals were applied in the end as well.

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Peter Lucansky,

...a mountain bike you have always dreamt of

Peter Lúčanský,

...a mountain bike you have always dreamt of

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