Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bike Shop Happenings

Been busy tinkering away in the SHOP in my spare time. I have been working on a project bike, a woman's Takara 6 speed. I got it free from a neighbor. It was pretty seized up, wheels didn't turn, steering locked, brakes frozen, bent rim and dry as a bone. So far I have overhauled the headset, bottom bracket, both hubs, de-seized the seatpost, new tires and tubes, trued the wheels, found the rear wheel was too bent to true, purchased new wheel, added a new freewheel and chain. Just need to replace the derailleur and brake cables, maybe one of the brake handles, and it should be good to go. It's pretty simplistic.

So once it is finished, I will have yet another bike. I'm not really in the need for another bike so I think I will give it to a lady at work, she tells me pretty often she really enjoyed riding her bike, she would like something better than the X-mart bike she has but she can't afford to get one. So if she wants it, it's hers. And guarenteed to work better than what she currently has. If she doesn't want it, I will hang on to it until I find someone who does.

Next on the agenda is to tune up Bike Boy's 1st bike, the K2 hardtail. It has mechanical disk brakes, I replaced the pads today, just that made a huge difference. I couldn't get the new pads in the rear caliper, so made some adjustment so I could slide it in. Then new cables and housing all around. May have to get one of the cogs replaced on the cassette or will have to get a new derailleur hanger. Either the cog is bent/worn or the derailler is not hanging straight. Also a new chain for that bike, my Santa Cruz and my roadie turned commuter. My road bike is overdue for a chain and I plan on replacing the chain on my Santa Cruz annually. Bike Guy will keep the Santa Cruz tuned up until I get more experience. I don't want to tinker on that bike.

While I was in the bike shop picking up the new wheel for the Takara, I was telling Bike Guy how I tried to true up the old one. He then handed me the spoke wrench and told me go true up the new wheel. Gulp - ok, I have about 10 minutes of experience, I was using the brake as the truing guide, I have to talk out loud to myself to remember counterclock-wise on the spoke which goes to the opposite side of the bend to tighten it, clockwise on this side to loosen, blah, blah, plus the fact that BIKE GUY is watching.

Talk about performance anxiety.

So I start twisting and talking, twisting and spinning a few times. Then I just bail out. I had him the wrench and he has it done perfectly in 3 minutes or less. I start kicking myself on the drive home, I should have taken better advantage of the situation and learned something about truing wheels. Darn.

The weather here is COLD and we have NO SNOW. What little we had blew away.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!


steve said...

I found a spoke tensiometer to be really helpful learning to true wheels. Unfortunately, they're not overly cheap. The Park Tool TM-1 is the cheapest I found, and it does the trick for me quite nicely. I was surprised to find what seemed to be a well trued wheel could actually have several over- and under-tensioned spokes. I also found it handy for truing my wheels up to high tension wheels. My only problem is finding a decent spoke wrench - all of my spoke wrenches except one are unable to get a decent grip, and the only decent one is one of those "3 spoke wrenches in one" jobs, so if I'm not paying attention I end up using the wrong size on the nipple and strip it!

Your bike shed looks really nice, I'm terribly envious!

Michelle said...

I stripped out the nipple on the bent rim, then the wrench got stuck on the spoke. Bike Guy was telling me pretty much anyone can true up a wheel, but as you mentioned, that doesn't mean it's done correctly, there are other factors involved. He specifically mentioned drunk guys slapping wheels together and not seating spokes - I was a little lost :). He hand built the wheels on my Santa Cruz, they are perfect.

I will have to look into the tensiometer. I will also have to do some more research on wheels to understand how it all works.

You are invited to use my shop anytime you're in the area! :) It is really great! I had no place to work or store my stuff before except outside or in my family room. I love it!

steve said...

What's really fun is stripping a nipple so much it just won't come out - the only way I've figured to work around that (without loosening half the nipples on the other side of the wheel) is to put on a pair of thick work gloves, a pair of safety goggles, and cut the spoke with a fairly hefty pair of wire cutters I have. The safety precautions are needed as the spoke can be under a lot of tension (that's why I stripped the nipple, after all!) and bits can come flying off.

The spoke can be recycled afterwards for all sorts of handy purposes, too - cleaning out between cogs in a cassette, run it under rim tape to get it aligned properly, and any job that requires something small, pokey and stainless.

I suspect the Bike Guy's comment about seating spokes is making sure the head of the spoke is flat against the inside of the hub; if one is not careful (aka drunk) and doesn't look closely they won't be flat (or will overlap with another head), which means they can jiggle about in use, which means the spoke will snap at the neck after a while.

I have Gerd Schraner's book on wheelbuilding which is... OK. It was originally written in German, I believe, and the translator doesn't appear to be overly knowledgeable about bikes. It's also lacking in the main thing I bought it for, which is the recommended spoke tension for different wheels - there doesn't seem to be an archive anywhere of spoke tension for specific rims, it's all handwavey "contact the manufacturer for details". Gerd gives recommended ranges that he uses for 700c Mavic rims, I ended up going for the "tight as possible without stripping nipples" level of tightness, which seems to do the trick for me. I think I will probably pick up a copy of Jobst Brandt's book at some point; while that isn't ring bound (which Gerd's is, making it easier to reference in the workshop) it appears to have much more technical info in it.

I'll drop by if I'm ever in Alaska! ;-)

Spoke-N-Sport said...

The best advice I can give in building wheels is this. Practice, practice, practice, pre stress, tri flow, and Park Tool's pro spoke wrenches. I know this might be hard to understand but try to focus on what each spoke does before trying to accomplish a whole wheel. Think of the riders weight on a bike and what that means at the wheel. The spokes on top of the wheel are supporting the hub. the spokes at the bottom have less stress on them. As the wheel rolls out the job of each spoke changes. NEVER use alloy nipples if you want the wheel to last. Use alloy nipples ONLY if you want to look good (or in jewelry). Wheels that have spokes going straight out from the hub (radial laced) make better jewelry than they do bike wheels. Tensiometer is going to be your best friend. If all the spokes pull together the wheel will stay true longer. I could go on and on and on and on about wheels.

Michelle said...

With 2 recommendations for a tensiometer, I will definitely look into getting one. I do have a lot to learn about wheels. I have a lot to learn about bikes in general. Thanks to both of you for the advice, it really help. My books are nice but certainly don't cover everything. :)