Its Dead Jim

Unfortunately, I have had a string of issues with the bike, which means its off road until parts arrive.

Recently, I replaced the chain and cassette, but on subsequent rides, the noise from the chainrings was a steady grind and occasional clank as the chain struggled to mount the teeth. It appears the inner chain ring is worn off the old chain. Strangly, its almost two years to the day I last replaced it. Now, removing the chainbolts, two sheared off when placing back into the crank. So not only have I to replace the worn chainring, I now have to source 4 crank bolts. Ah well.

I had been looking at getting Absolute Black chain rings, but money is very tight at the moment, so I’ll stick with the standard Shimano internal ring. ChainReaction where wanting about £20 for a ring, but as I was looking round, bike-discount.de was offering them at about €8. So that was a no brainer. The crank bolts however, are stupid expensive. EBay was the cheapest I could find, at about £25 for the 4.

As the Ultegra crankset is no longer produced, and I have no desire to install the new 8000 series, and its dérailleur, I might just go with the Absolute Black once the outer chainring wear becomes an issue.

New Parts Day

The replacement parts for my single speed arrived. New chainring and cranks.

That’s obviously a job for the weekend, along with installing the new brake callipers that are sat waiting to be installed. First impressions of the new crank are good, it’s quite light, and stiff and looks good.

So, time will tell how it works out of course. I got round to fitting the new callipers, however, the front cut down on the available space for the mudguards. I had to cut the front off the guard, so it ends just behind the Caliper. Only time will tell what difference this makes, but it has the added benefit of stopping the rubbing that no amount of tweaking cured.

Shouldn’t be a issue, as the spray back should be caught by the rear part due to tyre rotation.



Chain woes

Recently, I decided to replace both the chain and cassette on my bike. The chain was worn, it could be lifted off the large chainring, and thought I’d do the cassette at the same time as it too had worn.

I didn’t however check the chain ring. I’d last changed the inner ring back in 2017. Now, almost to the day, it’s needing changed again. I immediately recognised the sound, but it wasn’t as bad as last time, but the same grind noise I heard back then, so realised the chain ring was clearly on the way out.

Riding, gives a distinct metallic scraping noise from the front chain rings and looking at the teeth you can see a wear pattern. The new chain has trouble meshing with the wear, giving a scrape as it tries to settle in.

So, it might get better as the chain beds in, but I’ll change the ring.

A good clean out of the bikes drive chain and a new bottom bracket, as you might as well while your crankset is off.

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..

A Pootle Around

I’m not sure why, but my recent 12 mile ride, was quite possibly the one thing that’s really got me wanting to be back on my bike. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the comfort of the bike, the correct use of the gears, the ease I found it, or maybe it was the look of pure joy on a toddlers face as he sat in front of his father on a mountain bike.

I don’t know what it was, but it’s what cycling does, it makes you forget all your problems and worries. It gives you that feeling of euphoria as the endorphins flood your brain. It’s pure and unaltered fun.

A simple route

The only part of the ride, that I hate, is the initial run down the A61, it’s a fast road, and some cars don’t give you the room you need. I always feel slightly sick while I’m on the road. But it’s a short run until the right hand turn onto Nidd Lane, and not long till your at the entrance to the very posh Nidd Hall Hotel.

Skirting along the wall of the Hotel grounds, it’s almost a mile of quite easy flat, you’d be hard pressed not to get a 16mph average, before you hit the main downhill section as it dips down a tiny valley. Watch your speed, as there is a tight right hand bend. Then, a short sharp whack up, you should be able to carry a lot of speed up the hill, drop the gears and power up the last bit before the flat and back to the ripley roundabouts. But a warning to everyone. The relatively short but fast downhill you can if you push it hit 40, but that corner forces you to lean hard and be quite close to the centreline. There is also a lot of run off in the corner, which leads to a loose gravel surface that you could easy wipe out on. So care is needed.

Then it’s a gentle push back up the cycle path to home. The cycle path is fantastic. Depending on the time of the day, you’ll see Rabbits, weasels, pheasants and all other random animals. Once I had a barn owl fly right in front of me for a good 4 minuites before it got bored of playing that game and veered off. It was one of those magical moments that just make it special.

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.