More Single Speed Fun

So, I’ve used the single speed a few times now to go down to work and back. Good lord, its hard work on hills with just a single 16 tooth cog!

There have been a few issues, the main one, was the left hand crank unmounted its self and went a little rounded out. The bolt had worked loose and came away, causing the crank to come off the bottom bracket spindle. Because of the cheap Chinese metal it had rounded out part of the mount in the crank.

A good battering with a hammer, and it was back on, the bolt torqued well over spec to hold it in. I’m not sure if getting it off will be an issue, but brute force may see it shifted if the crank puller has any issues.

Then, a day later, I thought I saw a little play in the handle bars, so I stopped and had a look, yup, play. The stem face plate bolts had loosened off the stem, so tightened them back up too.

So, I’ve ordered a new Crank set from SantaFixie to replace the damaged one, and I also have a full set of brakes from Tektro to fit too. These will replace the downright dangerous ones supplied as stock on the bike. The stock ones are awful in the dry, and downright dangerous in the wet. The calipers have way to much flex in the arms to apply any decent pressure on the rims, and the rear isn’t even able to contact the brake track. I’m not sure of the makes of the pads, but I am assuming they too are penny purchases. So, the Tektro brakes, while not a top end brake set, will be noticeable difference to the braking I hope. I might at some point replace the brake levers too, but that’s not an urgent need.

Riding the bike is nice enough though, the bike is easy enough to ride once its up to speed, and comfortable. Its a good flat bike, but because of my fitness issues, I do really miss the gears on the hills. Still, it makes me appreciate my proper road bike all the more. I can live with the front mudguard rubbing slightly, I can live with the weight of the bike. The issues I’ve had with the bike can be overcome with a little work and part replacements. So all in all its not a bad bike, just built to a cost point. I think I’m going to liberal with the loctite on this bike in future..

Brake the speed.

A recent post I responded to recently, prompted this entry. That post was a simple brake sticking enquiry.

For the love of whichever deity you choose, do not, and I repeat, do not, disassemble a break calliper. The spring tension that gets released when you dismantle it, will send various washers and springs flying all over your garage. If you manage to find all the parts again, you’ll have issues with keyed washers, roller bearings and springs when reassembling.

So, my process of fixing a sticky calliper is quite easy. I’ll assume you’ve already tried the calliper without the cable attached. Most of the time, it will be down to old worn cables and cable housing. Note that I’m doing a dual pivot calliper here, no single pivot, cantilever or disc brakes. I might however cover those in another post sometime in the future.

What you’ll need

  • 5mm Allen key (for the majority of nutless brakes)
  • Rags
  • GT85 or similar cleaning spray
  • Good quality thick chain oil
  • Toothbrush or stiff brush

So, first off, remove the calliper from the bike to work on it. Remove the brake blocks and store them away from where you working, as you don’t want to contaminate them.

Now squeeze together the arms, and look down the middle from the side, most brake designs will have a roller between the arms, and a pivot on both arms. Your objective is to get all the gunk and general nasties out of the pivots and rollers.

Add the red straw to your spray can, and go to town spraying it into the roller, work the arms. Do the same with the pivots. Wipe it down wit the rags, and scrub it with the toothbrush.

Repeat until the calliper operates a fair bit smoother. When satisfied the brake is working well again, set it aside to dry off.

Now, with clean hands, get hold of the brake blocks, have a look and see if you can see any embedded metal fragments in the block. Use a pick to pick out anything in there. If they are an older block, you may get notice they look a little shiny and glazed. Simply run a file over the top to remove that surface. Reattach the brake blocks to the calliper, making sure you have the left and right blocks on the correct sides. Drip a small amount of lube into the roller and all pivots wiping off any excess on the calliper.

Clean out the brake bolt recess in the frame, clean the hollow bolt and Reattach the calliper to the bike, realign your pads to the rim, and tighten up. You can apply a drip of loctite to the thread if you need, ive never need it and just greased the thread which has been enough.

Jobs done, go and ride and enjoy your enhanced breaking power.

Feedback Sports App

This is truly an awesome app for those of you into bike maintenance. It’s basically a log for your maintenance. Each component is broken Down, you enter the date, component and work done. This is then searchable. When did you last change your power meter battery? A quick search and your answer is there. You can schedule reminders based on mileage pulled from Strava, or time ridden. Multiple bikes can be tracked.

Available on google play, I’m not sure about iOS as I don’t use it.

There where a few bugs early on, but they’ve mostly ironed out the issues and it’s not a bad app too have on your phone.

MucOff Bio Grease

I’d previously written about mucoff BioGrease, and I wasn’t impressed at the time. I’ve decided to give it a bit more of a chance. Previously I’d used it in the wheels, and it went south pretty quick.

This may of been due to the high spin speeds on the hub, the BioGrease is more designed for low rpm high sheer, such as headsets and bottom brackets. So, from here on, threads and headsets will be slathered in BioGrease, and the wheel rebuilds will be the stinky, incredibly tacky blue, which works well in high revolutions applications. So let’s see how it handles the dry summer months.

But don’t forget, any grease is better than no grease, use what you have on hand, and enjoy the maintenance of your bikes as much as riding them. After all, your bike gives you a lot, give it something back!

Tools. Wonderful Tools

Over the last few years, my tool collection has ballooned massively, so I thought I might make a quick post on tools, and which are important to have, and those that are helpful, but not a nessesity for the home mechanic.

Tools, that are important

  1. Allan Keys. These are probably the most important item you can have. Each time you work on the bike, you’ll be using an hex wrench. Generally, you’ll need 4,5 and 6mm for the majority of bike stuff. For cartridge brake pads, you’ll need a small 3mm too. Most sets of hex wrenches will have every size you’ll ever need.
  2. Cable cutters. Wire cutters and pliers just won’t do for bike cables, unless your just trying to mash the cable! Cable cutters will neatly cut the cables and housings. A metal file is also handy to square off the housing ends after cutting too.
  3. Chain tools. Chain cutter, chain wear tool,chain whip and cassette lock ring tool
  4. Bottom bracket tool, and crank removal tool.
  5. Torque wrench
  6. Pedal spanner
  7. Torx wrenches (a T25 is likly to be the only one)
  8. Screw drivers.
  9. Tire levers
  10. Floor pump
  11. Grease, paper towels
  12. Degreaser, GT85 and WD 40

Tools, nice to have

  1. Spirit level, long handy to have for saddle adjustments, and ensuring shifters are level..
  2. Tape measure
  3. Bearing press.
  4. Picks
  5. Grease gun
  6. Sockets
  7. Ratchet spanner
  8. Spring clip pliers
Bike Repair Stand

If you’re planning on doing even the most basic bike repair maintenance, don’t underestimate the importance of a quality repair stand. Yes, they can be a little expensive and yes, they take up a little room in the garage. That said, a quality stand will save you from a lifetime of turning your bike upside down and bending over to make repairs and adjustments.

Another learning curve.

So I had my bike up in the workstand cleaning the gunk after the very, very wet ride I had earlier. In the lower gears, the chain jumped off the lower jockey wheel, jamming between the jockey and cage.

Not being quite sure what was causing it I started to look into it. I initially didn’t think it could be Todo with the wet ride so I looked at the jockey, not worn, so cleaned it off and ensured it still spun freely. Put it back on and the same thing happened. Ok, perhaps the derailleur cage is bent. Nope, that was fine, so check the hangar, that’s perfectly straight.

Could it be the chain? Time to break out the chain cleaner. A good scrubbing of the chain, and bingo, no skipping off the jockey. So all I can think of is that some filth had worked into a chain link causing it to be skipping off the jockey.

Time to Change..

I went out the other day for a ride. Only the second ride for a good few months, and still had the dry lube on. I’d applied squirt lube, and this ride was very wet. I mean it wasn’t just a bit wet, it was properly chucking it down. I’d not had reason to think of the lube during the ride.

Gear shifts where remaining crisp and even, chain noise wasn’t an issue. I’d heard that Squirt was a good lube even in the damp, and this certainly was a wet ride.

Getting home, I dried off the bike, and did the ritual of spraying the derailers with GT-85, and running the chain through a rag to dry it off, the lube had gone a little runny with the rain, but it was still there doing its job.

Squirt really is a great lube and well worth the cost. It is however time to change back to the wet lube now the winter is here…