BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Bikes’

#365daysifbiking 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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#365daysifbiking 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.

August 16th – A dreadful morning commute in heavy rain to the railway station was a shock to the system, on slippery roads with a worrying amount of spray. Getting to the station, when the train arrived I found I was sharing the bike space with a hardy cyclist in shorts.

Looking at his bike, a respectable singe speed, I saw what can only be regarded as the worst bit of rear light positioning I’ve ever seen.

Almost lower than the rear wheel, on the seat post behind the seat stays.

I hope this guy doesn’t do anything engineering-based for a living.

July 16th – In the bike shed at Telford, something that worries and irritates me.

So many companies sell seat post mounting rear lights and reflectors, which seem like a good idea.

Until the rider wears a jacket that overhangs the saddle. Or uses a carrier.

I’m surprised this issue never, ever seems to have been addressed.

March 19th – The thaw was thankfully quick, and the day felt positively warm and sunny as aI zipped about the Black Country on errands.

I was only when I got back to work and the bike started to dry out did I realise the toll the snow had taken.

That bottom bracket won’t be long for the world now with all that grit. My bikes will need some real TLC when the better days arrive.

February 13th – I wore out a set of front brake pads, and still have a fair few part worn ones glazed out from the problems with the rear brake, which I wouldn’t throw away in case I found a way to reclaim them.

I’ve been thinking about it idly, and I’ve managed to recover a set. I filed off the surface a little with a clean flat file surface. Filing alone doesn’t work, so working on the basis whatever has destroyed them must be oil based, I took the pads, placed them on an aluminium sheet, and gently heated them with a very hot plumber’s blowtorch for ten minutes, until they stopped smoking when I removed the flame.

I then cleaned off the oxidisation with a scotchbrite pad and finally degreased them with a zero residue spray cleaner.

They are as good as new. Without the heat, none of these steps have worked before. 

I guess you could stove the pads in a normal kitchen oven if you don’t have a blowtorch.

It’s saved a few bob, I guess. Be interesting to see if they wear any quicker or glaze again.

February 6th – I noticed this interesting steed in the usual customer bike shed in Telford today, a Nukeproof mountain bike. It’s interesting because it’s continuing the trend for almost fat bikes. An expensive steed, it’s fitted with some impressive components.

Fat bikes are in my opinion, preposterous; a bike designed for sand or gravel use, they have huge tyres and matching frame clearances, akin to motorbikes. I see the odd one bought by commuters, when used on normal roads with balloon-like knobbly tyres they must be really hard work. I see more on trails, where the riders look less ridiculous but still quite daft.

The almost fat bike is a bike with larger than normal tyre clearances and usually, larger tyres, but not as huge as a fat bike. They tend to have broader axles than normal, but conventional group sets in the drivetrain. This bike demonstrates that amply. 

I can’t imagine this is much fun to commute on either – those rubbers will drag, and the gearing must be quite hard work with such a small chainring. I still can’t get used to drivetrains with front sprockets smaller than the rear. Fine in their place – the trail – but not on road.

I was troubled by the rather tight clearance between the fork brace and tyre tread: carry a solid object like a stout piece of branch up there and it’ll do some damage.