Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bicycle fix-it w/ Chris

Nobody is teaching these guys how to fix bikes - which sucks, because they want to learn. Dave and Bill work in the rental department, and they both want a good bike. Dave and Bill and I each have a bike in the stand. Each is a separate project that needs attention. I'm spending too much time working on my bike, but I'm still making perpetual rounds helping with all three projects at once.

Bill has a road bike project. The frame is a lugged steel Bianchi of less than incredible quality. It's getting built up from the frame. Before tonight we've installed a sealed bottom bracket, and the original Sugino cranks. It has a new too-nice Shimano 105 headset, and some way-too-race-y wheels that Bill might have to spend too much for. But moving on: we're setting up the brakes. The calipers are the new super-long reach Tektros that can put a pad on a braking surface 73mm below the brake bolt - and they're dual pivot calipers at that. A new and exciting concept only recently available, and very reasonably priced! Well, the reach is maybe too long for this bike. The pads sit on the braking surface, but they're clumsily jacked all the way to the very top of the slots on the calipers. The Shimano aero levers are nice and pretty though, and the combination will work well. I show Bill how to measure and cut the housing, and how to run the cables, seat the housing, and set up the brakes. Then tape the housing to the groove on the inside of the bars. That's where we left it.

Dave has a goofy Kona frame with track ends, made for intensely fat tires and single speed. There's a braze-on (TIG weld-on) for a coaster brake arm to be bolted. Dave has one gear, and he could really use at least three. Eaton Bikes has a goofup-ordered 26" Zac19 rimmed Shimano Nexus 3spd coaster brake hubbed wheel. Perfect. We installed the new wheel, which required springing out the stays by about two millimeters. Somehow this made the right crank touch the chain stay. I swear we only spread it a miniscule amount. But the crank was close. It's a 113 width bottom bracket with a road-ish crank arm that does not stick out enough to clear the stays, which appear to be designed to clear tires at least a foot or two wide. So I showed Dave how to pull the cranks and bottom bracket, and install a wider BB - then how to put the chainring on the inside of the spider - then how to remove all that stuff again to put a couple little spacers on the right hand side of the BB so the chainring doesn't touch the stay. The spacers were Dave's idea. Genius which should have come from my mind first. I forgot about BB spacers.

My City Bike is in the stand getting those damn drop bars off. It's a good bike, but it doesn't work for me at all with those handlebars. It feels like I'm riding a tiny frame, even with the bars jacked way up on the Technomic stem. Clearly a bad idea in hindsight, but I'm happy to have tried and failed, just to get that out of my system. I'm putting the Tall Cool stem back on with some alloy northroad handlebars made by J&B (Sunlite). The clamp diameter works, and the bars are very similar to the ones from the Raleigh Sports that I used in the first place. For good measure - and to always be changing stuff - I'm installing some Avid single digit 5 v-brakes, and some similar matching Avid brake levers. I put on the alloy seat post I was looking at, and finished it all off with some very handsome khaki colored OURY grips that look fantastic with the frame. I'm not the first person to fawn over aesthetics, but the City Bike is looking like an attractive simple machine. I think an overhaul of the original cup and cone bottom bracket is kinda in order though... geez, self. I overhauled it once, but it's been a long time and now it's been cared for by criminals. Time for some new grease.


Anonymous said...

damn you know alot about bikes. been enjoying your adventure. finn

tf said...

How about a few pictures of your work - sounds cool! Todd