12 Mar 2015

11th March 2015 Finally going 11 speed.

Wednesday 11th 36F, 2C, light winds, clear sky, full sun. It is supposed to stay clear and bright all day with the wind picking up to "modest" 20mph gusts on a 10mph base. I followed a new track today which offered new viewpoints from the tops of some [low] hills. Two hours and one hundred and thirty nine images later I arrived home again having seen four deer. The bright, early sunshine often inspires me to take lots of photographs.

Left after coffee. Tailwind changed to a headwind. The same happened on the way back. Four special offers, three supermarkets, no stock. 21 miles.

My new 43/33 double chainset arrived from Spa while I was out. So I spent a couple of hours taking everything 10 speed to pieces and then rebuilt it with 11 speeds after a bit of cleaning. Luckily I had a 103mm square taper axle amongst my junk stock. Though I could easily have done with a couple of millimetre shorter if one was available. Once fixed the chainset spun freely without the chain. I like the alloy self-extracting, crank screw covers. Much smarter than the usual black.

Practice obviously helps. It seemed to take no time to remove the saddlebag and rack. Remove wheels, release the outer circlips and withdraw the rear axles. Drop the 2WD Trykit freehub with filthy 10 speed cassette. Remove, dismantle and clean the Ultegra rear changer. Break the filthy 10 speed chain and remove. Remove the Campag triple front changer. A chain wrench aided dismantling of the 10 speed cassette with the toothed extractor tool unscrewing the the lock ring. I used to work with the axis vertical but now have the cassette upright and resting lightly between the jaws of the B&D workbench for stability. The braze-on clamp for the front changer needed to be lowered considerably for the Athena front changer cage to just clear the teeth of the 43 tooth chainwheel. The axle journal bearings and 2WD free-hub were re-packed with clean grease. I had previously removed the inner facing seals of the axle bearings to reduce seal drag. It was comforting to check and find the grease in good, clean condition.

Then on with the new 11sp cassette and torque to 40nM with the chain wrench wrap now reversed. Remount the rear changer once properly cleaned. I used a spray dispenser of low odour engine cleaner to cut through the worst of the gunk. Measure and fit the new chain with the overlap wrapped around the chainwheel. I made the new chain two links longer than just pulled just tight on the largest cog/large chainwheel as per the online Shimano instructions. This worked well but I need a little more outward movement of the Athena front changer cage to fully clear the chain in top gear. There is just a hint of rubbing. I'll look at that tomorrow in daylight.

I was a little worried by how close the chain appeared to be to the right, inner bearing housing on the 11t sprocket. Though it seemed okay when I spun it up in top gear on the Lidl work stand and then back pedalled. There were no tell-tale, bright witness marks on the inner edges of the chain links. The 11 sp chain runs nicely on the 9/10 speed TA chainrings. I may replace the ceramic bearing,  jockey pulleys on the Ultegra 10sp changer with 11 speed because the old ones look a bit tired anyway. Too dark to take any useful photographs of the new set-up tonight. Particularly after I'd done some more cleaning and scrubbed the rims and tyres of caked-on mud.  

Thursday 12th 31-46F, 0-8C, quite still, bright sunshine with misty, pink clouds clearing. Light overnight frost with the car sparkling and the fields slightly white. That won't last with the chance of 50F/10C again in the forecast. There was still a lot of hard white frost where the sun couldn't reach. Particularly in the woods. I could hear the beech leaves crunching underfoot and there was thin ice on the puddles.

I fiddled with the gears before leaving but still had the odd phantom shift in the middle of the cassette out on the road. The trike felt very nimble when stripped of the rack, saddlebag and heavy Abus U-lock for a test ride around the block.

It stayed sunny but cooler than yesterday for my ride. Slightly too cool for fingerless mitts but I took my thin scull cap off at halfway. I found myself in bottom gear a few times but this was on quite steep hills. These were probably at least 1-in-8. It feels as if I am missing the real bottom gear but it did not prove a problem in practice. I just kept pedalling. Top gear felt out of reach even on a 28mph descent.

Gear changing is now absolutely secure and almost effortless compared with the triple. Never a hint of chain overthrow or failing to shift between chainrings. I have a wide but close range of gears on both chainrings. While chain scrape on the cage is almost non-existent even at extreme chain angles. No doubt my gear choice habits will change once I have had a bit of experience with the new set-up. One quickly develops a feel for which gear and chainring should be in use at any time.

I spent some more time cleaning with Scotchbrite abrasive fibre to celebrate the spring clean. It is always a surprise how pale the silver brazing becomes with a rub after I have let it get a bit grubby. I hesitate to think how scruffy a nicely painted frame would have become in my hands! Reynolds stainless steel was an excellent choice for me. Though the R931 is much more forgiving of cleaning neglect than the R953. The R953 is thinner, stronger and lighter but has a distinctive "grain" and stains or rusts over time. Those who spend hours cleaning their machines must be shocked that I would allow a single day to pass without cosmetic titivation of my mount. While I can think of many more interesting things to do than crouching on a wet and muddy [or frozen] surface cleaning a trike! 30 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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