Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bike fussing

Ugh. Bleh.. I think there was a time I enjoyed working on bikes. Now it drives me nuts and usually puts me in a foul mood.

I brought the Elephant and my cycle truck over to Glen's last night -- he did the heavy lifting -- he swapped out a headset on my Elephant and then swapped out my forks on the cycle truck.

I'm trying a Solid headset on the Elephant. Solid is a BMX company. It's a roller bearing headset and it's made in US. Which is cool, but the design is a bit weird in that it has a pinch bolt for tightening/pre-loading the bearing cup, which in theory should be perfectly round on the steerer tube. By pinching it, it becomes, in Glen's words, "not round." As a result, the final adjustment, with play removed, is a tad slow. Not buttery. But I want to tame some low-speed-no-hand shimmy on my bike, and I'm thinking this is the headset to do it.

Unfortunately, when I rewired the light on my new rack, I didn't pay attention to the amount of wire to account for turning the bars all the way. As a result, the wire snapped right at the internal-wiring port of the down tube. ugggh. Pushing a tiny wire through a tiny tube into my bottom bracket is exactly the kind of tedious shit that drives me nuts. If the bike wasn't built by Glen and if I didn't hang with him on a regular basis, I'd probably just wrap the wire around the tubes and call it good.

But alas, it wasn't so bad. I dripped some toxic gunk in the tube to flush it out and the wire was pretty easy to shove in there.

And since I'm running a cup/cone bottom bracket, I was able to splice the wires in the bottom bracket instead of having to re-wire the chainstay section too. That was a hair saver. With a cartridge bottom bracket there's barely enough room for the wire.

Then I put the fender back on the cycle truck. Somehow, the new fork has less clearance than the old fork. I couldn't get the wheel to spin with the big turdy PB fender in there. BTW: not a big fan of how these fender connect to the stays. At all. PB is a cool company though.

So I ended up hacking the front off the fender and calling it good. You know what they say, "when your only tool is a hammer...." But what the hey, there's a giant platform there for spray off the front of the tire.

I still have one thing on my short list: swap out a shifter on Liza's bike. But I don't have the shifter I thought I had. Her fancy new SLX indexed shifter already broke. It's getting replaced with a proper old top-mount friction thumbshifter, which is the way god intended us to shift the front chainring on a flat bar bike.

Now I need to take a ride to shake this creeping malaise.


Stine said...

I am half way through the day's bike fussing/decrudding and have come to the following confusion

beer + crunchies = malaise be gone

rory said...

i have a very unelegant solution for my fork, which is virtually the same as your fork. i cut off the front of hte fender, made a tab for threading it through the boxcrown, and then ziptied it in.

Anonymous said...

I'm skeptical that somebody who doesn't like to work on bikes would write "pinch bolt for tightening/pre-loading the bearing cup, which in theory should be perfectly round on the steerer tube..."

Sounds like a bike work liker to me.

Why not ziptie the amputated piece of fender to the bottom of the rack?

John Speare said...

Stine: turns out the beer was a good piece of advice. Thanks for that.

Rory: you have no idea how good that makes me feel -- you seem like a precise, thorough, and non-corner-cutting kind of dude, so if you hacked the fender it really makes it ok for me.

gNate: my over-engineer explanation is a result of my day job. Instead of ziptie'ing the fender to the rack (which is a fine idea), I just put a piece of "Richard Rush for City Council" campaign sign on the target area. Under a pi8ece of cardboard, which is under the bus tub.

alex wetmore said...

The downside of reusing fork blades on those cycle truck forks is that they are just a hair too short. I went as long as possible on John's, but it still wasn't ideal. On my cargo bikes I run a hair smaller tires than you guys, so it works for me.

John: I sent you a source offline for a good roller bearing 1-1/8" headset.

Vik said...

I've got a love/hate with internal wiring and cables...more hate than love I'm afraid!

Andy D. said...

I second the comment about top mount thumbshifters. About 10 years ago I bought ten pairs of Suntour XC Comp top mounts for cheap so I wouldn't have to deal with crappy indexed front shifting for a long time. If someone would remanufacture the circa 1989 Shimano M737 XT shifters, there is a ready market of millions of buyers out there.

John Speare said...

Alex: the forks are super rad -- I just recently put plumper rubber on the CT -- with the campaign sign, I'm set. The CT is finally and officially done.

Vik: we're on the same page there. But it is nice and tidy and snag-free when the wires are in the frame.

BDD: Amen brother. I have the 737s on my cycle truck. I'm hoping a lone ST power-ratchet will find its way into my life this week.