Scooter mods master class

Stock ToucanBelize Bicycles’ Toucan 20″ scooter is a pretty little bike with a problem. Like many scooters made by people who haven’t gone the extra mile, as it were, its deck is just too high for serious kicking.

Laurie Keating, in British Columbia, found a Toucan in a local bike shop and couldn’t resist it, but set about tweaking the little scoot. All the photos of the beautiful workmanship are by Laurie, who writes:

Front fork slots“Went out and bought the 20″ Toucan yesterday morning. I had them swap out the original tires for some Primo high pressure (100 PSI) street slicks. Then it was home and into the workshop.

“The original deck height measured about 4-3/4″. So off with the fork and lengthen the slots for the front axle. I had lots of room with the lower-profile street tires.

Shortened headtube“Then I cut 1″ off the bottom of the head tube. The bike shop could have done it but their chief mechanic walked me thru the steps of doing it myself (great little shop). Mark out the cut line carefully, hacksaw the tube just below the line, then use a good file to bring the tube to the line while using a tri-square to make sure it’s square. Worked great. I had to take the fork back to the shop so they could extend the threads for the upper bearing race. I didn’t have a die large enought to cut these threads.

Lowering shackles“At the back, I made up a pair of lowering shackles from 1/4″ aluminum bar stock. They mount to the original axle slots using a 3/8″ carriage bolt and Nylock nut. A little work with a file ensures the square section of the carriage bolt is a nice slip fit in the axle slot. A 1/4″ bolt thru the original safety washer hole ensures the shackle will never slide off. Then a new axle slot and safety washer hole were machined out 2″ higher. The rectangular shape will be rounded off some when I’m sure no modifications are required. I’ll polish or paint the shackles when completed.

Modified Toucan“Sum total of the modifications is a height of 2-3/4″ over the top of the frame tubes – same deck height as my Xootr MG.

“I only had a chance to try out the modified Toucan for a few minutes tonight but it feels pretty good. Still some details to work on (aren’t there always!!) but it feels like the mods were successful. I’m using the standard cup and cone bearings for now. I’ll see how they do when properly adjusted and lubricated. New cartridge bearing hubs could come in the future.

Tube deckStill have some ideas to work out for the deck area. I’m thinking of a couple of 1/4″ x 3/4″ aluminum bars that will sit between the exisitng tubes and line up with existing bolt holes. When installed, they will be just slightly lower than the top of the tubes. No height gain and minimal weight gain. I might even drill them out to lighten them. Once they’re painted to match, it should look pretty slick.

Finished deckUpdate from Laurie: “I bolted 2 – 1/4″x3/4″ aluminum bars between the frame rails. They were drilled out with a series of 3/8″ diameter holes to lighten things a bit. The ends have a step milled into them so the top of the bar is flush with the top of the rails.

“This addition makes the deck feel more solid underfoot especially when you do that little jump to switch legs.

Haven’t decided if I want to paint them black or leave as is for contrast. It’s not warm enough outside to paint them right now anyway so I’ll wait for a while.


One Response

  1. Thanks for the write up Pete.

    Interestingly enough, the Belize website actually shows the 20″ Toucan with a suspension front fork. Probably nice when used as a dog scooter or offroad downhills – but IMHO, overkill on the street. There’s enough inherent flex in the long frame that I don’t think suspension is required. It would have made the front end modifications more difficult as well. Even over rough pavement, the frame and pneumatic tires give a nice, smooth ride.

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