Saturday, August 1, 2009

What I don't know does fill volumes


Last night was the first volunteer mechanic class at Pedals2People. I sort of hastily arranged it and one two of us showed up to learn about hubs from Willy. The idea with these classes is that we bring in pro mechanics and gurus to teach the volunteers more about wrenching.

I've always hacked my way through bike fixing. I break stuff; I reassemble it in the wrong order; I might read some Sheldon Brown if I get really stuck. Generally, though I know just enough to keep stuff basically running. Not necessarily running well or optimized, but just running.

Last night we disassembled and overhauled a Surly hub with cartridge/enduro bearings and a basic Shimano bearing hub. We looked at the guts of a high-zoot Bontrager that had failed and we finished by looking at Willy's Hugi hubs (a great hub, worthy of a dedicated post).

I've yanked apart and repacked hubs before, but going through this exercise with Willy sort of puts a rational order around the process. I learned a lot of details and I have some notes, but the big money item is my Surly lesson.

Let me start by apologizing to the people at Surly for being a total jackass who doesn't know shit. Not that they ever read this blog, but I dissed their hub and bitched about how I couldn't get the cartridge bearings out of their hub. If you read that post you'll see that since I didn't know how to use the enduro bearing puller I ended up bang and beating and heating the hub to get the bearings out. Then when I put the new ones back in, (this part is not documented), I put them in stupidly (hammer, etc) and ruined them. Then when I couldn't adjust out the play (because I destroyed the bearings when installing them), I bitched some more about how the hubs suck. I will go back to that post and point to this post for people that find it on a search. Now that I know how to remove and install these bearings, I'm looking forward to getting a new set of enduros for my fixed/free hub and getting my wheel going again.

Generally speaking: I really need to overhaul all of my hubs. That's my project for the next week or so.

Disk Brakes
I've had my Rawland for over a year now. And the front disk brake has always been super touchy to set up. I just assumed this was the disk brake trade off. Whenever I removed my front wheel, I had to readjust the entire disk caliper so it wouldn't rub.

Last week, I got to the point where I couldn't adjust the rub away. When I leaned on the bike and put a bunch of load into the left side, the disk would ring. Very annoying.

Enter Dan the Man. Dan Webber is one of the mechanics at REI. I explained my predicament to Dan as he gave the bike a quick shake down on the stand. "Have you faced the disk tabs?"


As I mentioned when I got this frame, the finish work on the Rawland is pretty standard for a production frame. Nothing was faced or chased and the powdercoat was sort of applied unevenly. For the record, Sean at Rawland Cycles, offered to swap frames out for one with a nicer paint job, as the initial batch apparently had a few boners in it. Anyway, the disk tab had a pretty sizable uneven build-up of powdercoat that made it impossible to get the caliper installed in a way that is perfect and true.

Dan faced the tab and I'm in disk bliss. I should probably apologize to Shimano now since I've been grumbling and bitching about how temperamental their disk calipers are, but I've not been too public about that -- since I think deep down I figured it was a frame issue. I'm glad to report it was only a paint issue and not a misplaced tab issue.

My buddy Patrick has the same issue on his front disk tab. Hmmm. He rides a Surly Karate Monkey, a frame that is also made and powder coated at Maxway.

See you tonight!