Never stop learning

ConfusedHeadscratchSo, on today’s ride, I had an issue with gear changes. The rear Derailleur would not shift down from one particular cog. So it was onto the repair stand when I got home.

I looked at the rear Derailleur, looked fine and moving fine. The hangar looked straight and true. So the process of elimination was almost complete and I moved on to cabling. I shifted to the highest gear and made some slack in the cable system. The rear housing looked fine, cleaned it off and applied some oil to the cable.

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” — Arthur Conan Doyle

The bike still did it. Would not shift down over the second highest cog. Thinking I’d checked almost everything, and it was down to a cable tension issue I was considering ripping out the whole system and re cabling. But before that I thought I’d just try adjusting the barrel adjuster at the top of the down tube. Low and behold, the bike shifted fine after slacking that off slightly. So with no cable tension, I removed the cable from the adjuster, and there was a shed load of grit in there. It must of been thrown up by the front wheel during a rather wet ride I had a couple of days back.

Sprayed a good helping of GT85 in the adjuster, oiled it over and reassembled. It was shifting like a dream again.

So the whole moral of the story, is one of trouble shooting the system, work backwards, don’t head down blind alleys and you’ll get there.

Jockey On

I’ve not had much luck with after market jockey wheels. I tried the BBB ceramics pictured, but they would have a tendency for riding over the chain on the lower jockey wheel requiring a back pedal to reset. 

This might however of been due to the derailleur hanger being out of line, I don’t know. The stock jockeys seem to have a range of float, so they arnt really affected by hangar alignment in a great way. 

But now, as my stock jockeys are considerably worn, it’s time to replace them. So I’m revisiting the alloy jockeys. 

Only time will tell if a straight derailleur hangar solved the chain mesh issue. 

More Maintenance headaches. 

Been quite a maintenance heavy week. I decided to change the cassette and chain, and after changing out the chain there was a terrible metallic scraping noise from the front derailleur.

I could not see where it was scraping on the derailleur, so I changed the cabling, reset the derailleur. Still the scraping. Looking at the inner chainring, there was a slight deformity to some of the teeth. Nothing major, but it was enough to keep hold of the chain on each rotation.

So, decided to replace the inner ring, as it had done nearly 3k, but finding one was harder than I thought. These things where rarer than hens teeth, Everyone was out of stock. However chain reaction sent an email the next day, they had four in Stock that day. I grabbed one while they had them, they where all sold by the end of the day…

Dismantled the drive chain, full clean and fitted the ring. All good. Bolts snugged down and ready to go.

Bike rides silently again. Back to the pleasures of silent running!

But getting used to a 12-25 cassette again..

Bolts and Grief

One of those routine jobs, should of taken 5 mins, but ended up being a hours worth of bashing. 

I had intended on removing the rear brake, clean and replace. Soon found the bolt that holds the caliper to the frame has seized in the frame. 

Even some serious force applied to the hex wrench didn’t help. In fact it made it even worse by stripping the head. Luckily it was so seized, spinning the whole brake got the brake off. But the nut was still in the frame, and no amount of poking and prodding was getting it free. A look round the garage for a bolt with the same diameter as the brake bolt left me disappointed, so it was a case of removing the front brake which has a longer bolt, inserting it into the rear nut, and smacking it with a hammer. 

Eventually, the nut was free. Looking like the winter salt had got in, and jammed it in. A good clean out of the recess, and enough salt to provide my local chippy for a week cleaned, I was ready to rebuild the braking system. But no spare nut in my repair kits. Great, someone’s really trying to piss me off with this now. 

A quick trip to sjscycles saw them out of stock for the correct size and flange. So a full new caliper ordered. Two days later it was finally fixed. 

Lesson is, always full clean your bike at least every couple of months in the winter. The road salt causes all sorts of issues. (including getting in the wheel axles and QR skewers) 


The dizzying array of greases on offer is bound to confuse people. Any cycling website will all have page after page of people explaining what’s the best grease, arguing over the perceived advantages over everything else. 

The truth is that a bicycle isn’t a demanding machine when it comes to grease. Any grease will do. Some, is better than none. 

I do however have my favourite greases on hand for maintenance:

  • Park Tool Polylube 
  • Weldtite TF2
  • Exus EG-01
  • Crystal Grease 

I use the park tool grease for almost everything and anything. 

The weldtite grease I use exclusively for greasing my speedplay as it’s bright red colour makes it easy to see when the old grease has been flushed out. 

The exus is a very clingy grease that sticks to everything. I don’t use it much. And it stinks. I mean it really stinks. 

Generally, don’t worry about grease, just use whatever you want to. 

Rusty Rust

So, I’ve ridden my bike through all weathers, rain, hail, snow and sun. But I never expected to see the amount of corrosion on a freewheel body.

I had originally just planned on cleaning the cassette, but the last block would not come off the freehub. It took some serious effort to remove. When it was off, the scene was like a martian landscape, red lumpy rust all over the freehub. A quick scrape got some of it off, and cleaning out the filth inside the body got it looking a little more respectable.

After the ritual cleaning of the hub, I regreased the lot using the excellent Crystal Grease which is the thickest most waterproof grease I had, and reassembled it.  I’d never had to grease the splines on a freehub body before, but this time I put a thin layer on the splines just to try to keep the rust away.

Hopefully that should be enough to keep the dreaded corrosion away until I swap my wheels back onto my more expensive pair.

Next up on the after winter season is changing the cables, and bar tape. Changing the cables is going to be a nightmare, as I also need to remove the tension nuts, which I’m pretty sure have seized in the threads. But thats another worry for another day 🙂

Have fun out there.

Maintenence Days

My bike has had a fair bit of work done recently.

Replaced the bottom bracket, dismantled front hub replaced bearings, replaced bearings in rear hub and freehub bearings.

The bottom bracket replacement was easier than I expected. Removing the cranks, and the bottom bracket with the aid of a hammer, a good clean and liberal use of anti seize grease saw that go in with little issue.

Front wheel bearings where just as easy. Problem was, I don’t own a bearing press. So after driving out the old bearings, the new bearings where placed into the recess, old bearing on top, and gentle taps with the hammer to seat it correctly.

Then the back bearings in both the freehub and wheels needed doing. In order for that I had to borrow a bearing press from my mechanic.

Yesterday, I planned a ride out to Pateley Bridge, but never actually made it that far. I got out to Menwith Hill Road, and at the end, saw the traffic racing past on High Moor, and chickened out. That traffic was moving way to fast for my liking. Going back the way I had come, however, was a lot of fun.

Screenshot_2015-10-16-14-55-02Some 15% inclines that I had to climb, where hellish fun on the way back, but my god they where hell on the way out. Church Hill, I am not embarrassed to say, I walked most of it. But I do have a heavy cold as well, so that has not helped 🙂

I recently switched to a pair of 23mm tyres, whereas I was running 25mm. The difference was quite noticeable to start with. I felt like there was more rolling resistance. However, I believe the Felt Z85 was actually designed with 23mm in mind, as the 25mm it comes with do not give you a massive amount of clearance on the wheel gap. So I have got rid of that annoying scraping when crud gets gathered in the wheel space. Which is nice.