Mavic

I’ve had a set of Mavic Aksiums for a long time knocking around in the garage for ages. I’d not really used them in a long time, but decided to get them ready with a service and a couple of rides, as they make great winter wheels.

So, service time it is. Mavic freehub designs are a little different to the Fulcrum wheels I normally use. The drive ring is internal to the freehub shell, with the pawls on the drive shaft. I started by removing the drive end cap, and pulled off the freehub. Mavic hubs are known for the “Death Squeal”. Caused by the large plastic washer that presses against the hub shell.

You have to be really careful pulling the freehub off, the pawls and their springs may fall, they are not secure in their mounts. Take them out and put them to the side.

So, after the freehub is off, clean both interfaces of this washer, and check for wear. May as well check the bearings while your at it to make sure they spin freely. Clean all other parts. Don’t use degreaser near the bearings, just wipe everything clean. Mavic use a very light oil in their hubs, making it easy to clean up.

There’s many, many threads on what oil to use when lubing Mavic hubs. Of course you can use the stupid expensive Mavic oil, others say use gear oil, sewing machine oil, mineral oil and all manor of other oils.

I used bog standard chain lube. The finish line wet lube. It’s just liquid enough, but clinging oil. A drop on each pivot point of the pawls, smeared on the nylon washer. Putting the pawls back in, the small springs must be on the tiny post on the pawl. Rest the end of the pawl in its cutout, and make sure the other end of the spring goes into the depression on the hub.

To get the freehub back on, hold the pawls in, while lowering the freehub over them. Gently rotate the hub to make sure everything is seated. Re attach the cap, and done.

The Finishline lube I used has the added advantage of making this hub virtually silent. That’s something I haven’t experienced in a long time.

While being a cheap set of wheels, they are not a bad set of wheels, and are great for a set of winter wheels, commuter or just budget wheels.

Hammerhead Wahoo

As you may be aware, I’ve gained a Wahoo Bolt version 2. I’ve also gained a Hammerhead Karoo 2. I’ve been weighing up the pros and cons of each, in order to decide who gets the priority on my bars. We shall start with the wahoo. I’ve time for wahoo, I’ve previously used the original ELEMNT, and found it very good.

So, the bolt has had a couple of issues, but they appear to of been sorted with firmware updates. So, feature wise, the bolt is feature sparse. It does routes, strava segments and everything else you’d expect a gps unit to do. It doesn’t have the climber feature that the Karoo has. But what it does, it does really well. I find it easy to glance down, and see what I need quickly and easily. Even in bright sunlight it’s clear and easy to see. The size however can be an issue. At times, it can just be a little small, especially with turn by turn directions where the instruction is quite long. Wahoo have addressed this by increasing the font size, but sometimes it can still be too small.

The map is detailed enough to see upcoming roads and details, it does however lack certain details. The changes wahoo have made to the maps have been beneficial to the bolt, with inbuilt elevation and street details making on device routing quick and easy.

The varia radar works with clear distinct tones, one thing that irks me, is while the radar is connected, the green bar is permanently on screen, mind you this is the same on all garmin units too. Overall, I like the unit.

The Karoo is a beast. Both in size and power. Based on android, it’s closer to a mobile phone than GPS. It is an excellent unit for exploring, with incredible mapping, that includes many POI and details. Where this unit falls down for me, is readability in sunlight. It’s not great.

However, the varia radar bar does disappear when it’s not required. Sensor wise, both units pair to all sensors you’d expect. Power meters, varia, speed, heart rate etc. One bonus for the Karoo, is that like Garmin units, it can control smart lights. Not with the finesse of Garmin units, but it’ll turn them on at the start of a ride, and off at the end. Both units have issues with my stages gen2 crank. Neither will calibrate, and the hammerhead only connects over BlueTooth. Ant+ causes the power meter to drop out often. To be fair, I’ve not tried calibration on the bolt after the last couple of updates, and hammerhead are saying they are working on power meter code. Both units on that note get regular updates, with Karoo every couple of weeks, and the bolt less frequently.

Update: as of firmware WA20-12513. The bolt now correctly calibrates the Power meter. Karoo have also released an update 1.220.1066 which states they have fixed the issue, but I’ve yet to test. Now I’ve given the hammerhead a quick test to see, and it does calibrate. I shall ride with it tomorrow and see about dropouts.

Using the unit, I find myself looking at it far longer than the bolt, partly due to glare, partly due to having to hunt for what I need. Swiping the data rich pages is a pleasure, each page coming on per swipe. But I don’t get that instant data I get with the bolt. And that’s an issue to me. However, if I was exploring a new area, the Karoo is my choice due to routing, maps and accuracy. If I’m just out on a ride, following a route or not, the bolt is on my bars.

New and old

A new bike computer.

So, I managed to get hold of the he Wahoo ELEMNT bolt. This second version adds a new colour screen, new buttons and some new bugs and issues.

So, while most of the bloggers are going on about the new screens, convex buttons and on device routing, I find some of the bugs quite problematic. Especially the elevation issue. It just reads far too high, and no way of calibrating it.

Apart from this, I’m enjoying the new unit. In order to mount this, I also got hold of an Excellent mount, the Form Mount. Installation was a tad painful, but it’s an excellent mount with a lot of customisation.

I’ve also ditched my look keo blade pedals. They required a service as they where starting to sound rough as hell. Could I find away of stripping them down? Nope. There are videos on YouTube on how to service them, and yet my pedals didn’t match anything at all. No bolts, no flats, nothing. So, back on my trusty shimano R550. At least they can be fully stripped, cleaned and greased without any drama.

And oddly comfortable.

Any way, I’m off to play with the wahoo data fields.

First day done

A longish ride for the first day of the charity event.

Decided on York as my destination, but a route I haven’t previously used. It was a good choice, as I really enjoyed the route, it was quiet with minimum traffic, and the cars that where on the road passed brilliantly.

The route started through Knaresborough, out to Farnham, Arkendale and the first rest point, the bridge over the A1.

From there, it was a quick jaunt out to the village of Martin-cum-grafton and out to Great Ouseburn. I stopped here for a little while, and watched so many cyclists out. It’s a great sight. Setting off again, my Garmin had a bit of a brain fart and couldn’t find my route. A quick bit of thought, and circling found it again and off I went. The whole route from here on, is pretty much flat.

But that as it is, I’d no matter I’m throughly enjoying the ride. Now nearlyat One of the highlights of the ride, Aldwark Bridge. A wooden planked old bridge, free to cross by cyclists, rickety and clanks as you ride over.

Crossing that bridge was an odd feeling as the planks moved, groaned and creaked as you went over. Now on route past the RAF base and onto Newton On Ouse. Nothing notable here, lots of military style housing and a post office.

Then an unexpected route through the grounds of Benningborough Hall. A grand building, and lots of cattle in the fields. Truth be told I wasn’t expecting it as I passed through the ornate gate way. A nice steady cruise through the grounds, until I exited the grounds onto a single track road.

Really nice to be on a quiet single track, with some seriously tight corners to negotiate. Before Overton, after a lump where the road goes over the railway, and is exactly 200 miles to Edinburg.

Round some more serious bends in the road, and back under the railway by a short tunnel. We reach Overton. This is the last of the road riding. From just after Overton, we pick up the cycle path into York.

Finishing along the banks of the river into York on the cycle path, the only fright of the ride was when some kid ran out in front of me causing the back wheel to skid as I braked to avoid him.

View the full ride on my RideWithGPS account.

And don’t forget, you can donate on my JustGiving page.

Radar

I’ve used Garmins varia radar previously, but didn’t like that blocky look it had. However, you can’t knock the usefulness of the unit in giving you information on what’s happening behind you.

The new radar unit, is more elongated, and slimmer than the original, and to my eye my more pleasing.

In use, it’s great, it gives me an idea of traffic, long before I hear it, with clear and easy to read graphics on my head unit.

There’s not much more to say on the unit that hasn’t already been said, for a much more detailed and in-depth look, be sure to check out DC Rainmakers blog.

Gears don’t always smooth the way

So I was lubricating my chain, and I happened to notice the 11 tooth cog had a significant wobble.

The gear would of yen catch the chain when back peddling the bike. So, a bit of investigation was in order. Taking the cassette off the freehub, it was obvious there was a lot of ring bite into the freehub splines. This is where the force of peddling the bike causes the mounting lugs on the cassette to wear a grove into the freehub splines. Not a massive issue on the middle cogs where it often occurs.

However, the 11 tooth kinda sits off the hub, and looking, there was some big gouging on the splines causing the cog to sit angled. So I tried filing off the worst parts. But this didn’t help, causing the lock ring to be angled on the cog.

So, the only option is to replace the whole freehub, and luckily I had a spare wheel available. So a quick change over, and ensuring the lock ring was REALLY tight, which should go some way to completely clamp the cogs down, keeping any movement to a minimum, hopefully should be the end to cassette wear.

New Pedals

So, I’ve had a little upgrade from my Shimano R550 pedals, I’ve gone and installed a pair of Look Blades.

So, initial thoughts on them, is that they are easier to engage into than the Shimano, and oddly more comfortable. But unclipping is another matter. It’s not difficult to unclip, it’s just the range of motion is greater to actually unclip and it seems to throw the foot off, almost in disgust that your unclipping. Any hesitation, or having the cleat near seems to suck the cleat back into the mechanism.

With the Shimano, a kick to the side, and your foot was just on the pedal, ready to put down, but still be able drive forward if needed. Handy for those traffic slow down moments. The blades, a throw from the ankle sees your foot thrown, a more gentle twist, unclip then reclips the cleat.

But in truth, they are a great pedal, and it’ll be time before I’m used to their quirks, but they are on my bike to stay. I might however, fit the tighter blade, as the 12Nm that comes fitted as standard just doesn’t feel tight enough.

I’ve now been riding them for a few months, and occasionally get more clip in fails than I did with the shimano pedals. Wether this is down to lack of skill on my part or the pedal is however up for debate.

Headset service

Headsets are one of the things that people seem to have problems with, so during this maintenance of my headset, I’ll work through the steps needed to break down, clean and rebuild a headset.

The headset on this bike uses two sealed bearings in an integrated, other bikes use caged bearings.

So, the first thing todo is remove the front wheel. Once that’s out the way, remove the brake, and secure it to the frame of the bike. Doing this will let you completely remove the full fork, and make it easier to clean the steerer tube, and fork crown.

Now comes the interesting bits.

Start by removing the top cap, there’s a lot of parts to a headset, so make sure you have somewhere to put them all down. Try to lay out the parts in the order you remove them.

There maybe a small spacer under the top cap.

Slacken off the stem pinch bolts, and gently remove the stem and handlebar assembly, and secure it on the bike frame.

Remove all the spacers from under the stem.

But while your doing that, ensure your supporting the fork, as there is a possibility it might drop out the frame.

Now, if the forks won’t move down, support the fork underneath, and slap the top of the exposed steerer tube, and it should move down. Now push it back up, and the weather cover, and the spacer should be able to be removed. the whole fork should now slide out.

Check the fork to see if the bearings came out with the fork, or if the stayed in the frame.

Now, remove the bearings, from both the top, and bottom, taking note of which way they came out, and which one was top and bottom.

Now, get a rag, and clean up.

  • Clean the top bearing seat
  • Clean the bottom bearing seat.
  • If sealed bearings, wipe off the old grease and dirt, but don’t use degreaser. Spin each bearing in your fingers feeling for any play or grittiness. Replace if any problems
  • Clean off the fork steerer tube, and crown race.
  • Leave all parts to dry out.

When your ready, it’s time to reassemble.

Start off with a liberal amount of grease to each bearing race, top and bottom, and the crown race. Use a good quality grease, the grease both lubricates the races, and protects the bearings from dirt and water. The headset gets absolutely soaked by the front wheel, so a good waterproof grease is the best option.

Now, slide the first bearing onto the steerer tube in the right orientation, and seat it into the grease. I like to take the grease that presses out and smear it over the bearing. Now, taking the fork, slide it back into the frame, making sure the bearing seats correctly.

And, this is where having everything to hand really helps. As your holding the fork in place, slide in the top bearing, and the bearing spacer. I like to smear a little grease on the top of the bearing, just to give it a little more protection. Add the weather cap, spacers and put the stem back on the steerer tube. Rethread the top cap, along with any spacers needed, don’t tighten it, just enough to hold the whole system to get her.

Now take a moment, and clean up any grease that’s squeezed out. Reattach the brake, Put the front wheel back in and finally center up the brakes.

It’s time to tension the whole assembly. Take the bike out of the work stand, nip down the top cap just a touch. Apply the front brake and rock the bike forward and back. What your feeling for, is play in the headset. So any knocking you feel, tighten the top cap by a very small amount. Keep on repeating until you can’t feel any play, or feel any knocking. Check that the whole system can be rotated, with no binding.

If a video, is easier to follow for this, I’ll let the excellent GCN explain it in this video.

Once your happy with the tension, center your stem, and tighten your stem bolts, double check your bars are still straight, and go ride your newly greased bike!

I will update this with pictures the next time I do a full headset service.