Monday, July 5, 2010

Bike Maintenance Woe's

After a nice morning ride yesterday with Chris, I used the afternoon to strip and clean the Long Haul Trucker. It was filthy and long over due.

1st problem, the bolt that attached the lower front portion of the rear fender to the small horizontal member between the chain stays sheared the head off rather than come out from it's threaded fitting in the frame. There's no way to reattach the fender with the stub of the bolt stuck in there. I starting with the smallest bit I had and carefully drilled out the metal of the screw until the diameter of the bit approach the thread size of the fitting. At that point I had a small hole thorough which I could thread a zip tie to reattach the fender, and I'm reasonably confident I didn't touch or damage the actual frame threads. But that fitting will need to be re-tapped to remove the remaining metal from the bolt and expose the correct threads of the frame fitting.

The rest of the project was completed without incident and the final step was to install a new chain. This work wrapped up about 5 pm and I was looking forward to sporting my new clean bike on the holiday ride to Sweet Sue's in North Beach this morning. (I'm always a little self conscious that my efforts at bike hygiene never seem to match others in the group).

After dinner as sunset was approaching it occurred to me that a back country road far from any support van was the wrong place to discover a problem with my chain installation and I'd better give it a check ride. Not sure why I didn't think of this before the tools were put away but I didn't. So I took a quick lap around the neighborhood just before sunset and fireworks started. FAIL!! The old chain had worn it's unique pattern in to the 6, 7, and 8th sprockets on my old cassette. The new chain simply could not grip them and began skipping like a school girl at the slightest pressure.

By now the bike shop was closed. Re installing the old chain seemed a temporary fix at best. I really needed to get that cassette replaced and get the entire bike right. I have plans to ride the Sailing to Solomon's permanent for my July segment of R-12 next weekend and then we're leaving town for 2 weeks, with the bike, for vacation at the beach on the 17th. In between will be two very busy weeks making sure work is ready to live without me for two weeks. So I emailed my regrets to the SPP and made plans to hit the shop at 11 am sharp when they opened.

BD Arnold confirmed my diagnosis, had a suitable cassette in stock, and a mechanic available to install it. Things were looking up. But as they worked to do the installation they let me know that the bearings in the rear hub were also shot. These were not in stock. They ordered new ones and adjusted the worn set as best they could. The bike is ride-able but the play in the rear wheel is noticeable now that I know what to look for. Wish I'd picked up on that sooner.

So I managed a loop around the river in the heat, and I have an appointment Thursday to take the bike back in to have the rear hub repacked. As I sat down to write this, I read Earl's write up of the morning ride to Sweet Sue's. It confirmed my worst fears. They had a great ride without me.

I did get to see this super display of holiday spirit on my ride.

1 comment:

  1. Clive left the following comment but I fumbled my "moderation" and I think I accidentally deleted it:

    "Exactly the same happened to my Ridgeback commuter in the Spring, first chain, then cassette, then new hub, then new wheel!

    If only my maintenance was better, but with a family, other stuff and work, sometimes the hours just aren't there. "