BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘Bikes’

#365daysofbiking A decent buy

August 7th – I’m always interested when I spot a new bike in any of the client’s facilities I use. This Halfords Carrera is a typical, mid range trail bike. Competently designed with mass market but decent looking equipment, including suspension forks with crown lockout and hydraulic disc brakes, this was obviously a new steed for someone.

It’s a nice bike and shows why Halfords sell a lot of bicycles despite the variable quality of their shop staff – particularly as regards technical knowledge.

I did, however, wince at the way the bike was locked. That really isn’t a great way to use a D lock and extension cable…

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#365daysofbiking Groovy, man


June 26th – Weeks of commuting in rain and grim weather are taking their toll on my brakes. Thinking I’d be in for a decent spell, I replaced the brake discs and pads on this bike in early spring.

Now it’s the end of June and they’re groovier than a 1970s Parisian jazz club.

The bikes are suffering: Corrosion, road grime, grit. This weather is eating my bikes.

A bit of sun and dryness isn’t too much to ask, is it?

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#365daysofbiking Brand bland

May 10th – One of the odder brand crossovers of the last few years has been Land Rover branding bicycles.

Company 2×2 Bikes designs distinctly average mountain bikes and sells them under the Land Rover brand, hoping presumably that some of the off-road cachet is gained by association.

Looking at this one in a customer’s bike shed, it’s a decent, if unremarkable low end steed: Better than a bike-shaped object one would buy from a discounter but not great either.

I’d have expected a bike badged with this brand to be something unusual. I wonder if the bikes are less prone to breakdown than their 4×4 stablemates?

An oddly bland product with a strange association.

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#365daysofbiking Feeling groovy

March 27th – The front brake has been quite noisy in recent days, and is juddering a little, yet the pads are fine.

A quick inspection in the bike shed at my destination showed the reason: The front disc it now severely worn and is starting top ripple on hard barking. The wear surface itself is about 60% of its original width.

A new disc will be about £25. Time to get one ordered I think. It’s seen some life, that one.

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#365daysofbiking Good tradition

March 2nd – The first Saturday in March is always the Erdington Bicycle Jumble, run by North Birmingham Cyclist’s Touring Club.

Sadly, last year it was cancelled due to heavy snowfall, and as a consequence, suffered a little for numbers this year – and I was a little late.

But it was still good to meet old friends and acquaintances, remember old bikes and old riders. The memory-jog provided by some of the stuff there cannot be understated.
A fine, traditional social event I’m pleased to see continuing.

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#365daysofbiking Brake spring broke

February 5th – I have absolutely no idea at all what’s happened here at all.

It started at the weekend – a rubbing on the front disc brake on my current bike of choice. A light rub, no more that a tickle.

As the days progressed it got worse, and defied my attempts to adjust it away.

In exasperation, I removed the brake pads, which were OK at about 60% remaining.

The leaf spring that keeps them off the disc however, was broken. This was allowing on pad to rub.

An easy, 30 second replacement. But I’ve never had a spring fail like that that hasn’t been worn on the disc as the pad ran down.

This is most peculiar. I shall keep my eye on things in case it’s something significant.

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#365daysofbiking On the rebound

January 11th – I’ve had a winter of mechanical problems with the bikes, and one has concerned suspension.

Forks with suspension can be a blessing and a curse, and the ones I use have a sealed air spring with a hydraulic damper, and several adjustments – air volume, pressure, slow rebound, fast rebound – all of which significantly affect the ride.

If you don’t have suspension tuned correctly, you can lose a lot of efficiency in compressing the forks with every pedal revolution. The ones I use can be locked out to make them rigid in use on road, but that’s only half a solution.

Since the forks have had work done, they’ve lost all my fine tuning and I need to start from scratch, so I’ve cheated on the lengthy process of dialling them in – I’ve borrowed a Shockwiz.

Shockwiz is a small electronic gizmo (a bit smaller than a matchbox) that is cable tied to the fork, and connected by a small hose to the air spring valve. It uses pressure and other sensors to detect the motion of the forks over a variety of riding conditions, and it just sits there, logging the data.

With a brilliant companion phone app connected via bluetooth, you set various measurements and chose what kind of profile you want, and over successive rides, the app will make recommendations on adjustments to make, and request you ride certain surfaces – like bumpy trails or whatever.

You adjust, then restart the process.

Within a few rides you get a fantastic ride that really is what you’re looking for – often by telling you to make adjustments that are counter-intuitive.

Shockwiz is very expensive, but if you can borrow or hire one like I did, it’s a godsend. A month or more long process sorted in a few days. And probably far better.

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#365daysofbiking Springtime:

November 30th – I wondered how long it would be before this set of Rockshox forks suffered the notorious ‘sticky lockout’ problem. A year, they’ve been fine, the control on my bars reliably allowing be to make the suspension solid on road, then active on rough terrain at the flick of a lever.

Usually, it’s as simple as a corroded cable. Not this time. The damper gate appears to be failing.

Spares on order, and for now, a spring and a cable tie to assist the mechanism over it’s reluctance.

This must be the fourth iteration of these forks, all excellent on the whole, but all suffering lockout issues.

Time for a redesign, SRAM…

#365daysofbiking That’s some hammock:

November 12th – Back in Redditch and an ageing Dawes Ultra Galaxy – a classic British tourer – caked in the bike shed.

I don;’t know who this fine stetted belongs to, but I noted the nurse’s lock and Brooks leather saddle.

However well ridden and looked after, though, one thing stands out: That saddle. The tension has never been adjusted, and that is more like a hammock.

Bet that’s an interesting ride…

#365daysofbiking Spring has sprung:

September 13th – Spotted in a customer’s bike shed, and improvised, clever repair to a brake calliper with a broken return spring.

The return spring – present in some form in nearly every type of brake – forces the brake off once the lever is released.

Since the brake cable pulls the yoke awards the cable end stop to engage the disc brake fitted here, forcing the two apart will duplicate the effect of releasing the brake as performed normally by a return spring. The spring has clearly broken and instead of replacing the whole calliper, the owner has released the cable, threaded on a very stiff spring and re-assembled the cable. The cable retains the spring and the brake operates as normal.

Clever. I’m impressed.