25 Feb 2017

24th February 2017 Winter trike maintenance.


Friday 24th 31-38F, -1+3C, light westerly wind and bright sunshine from a clear blue sky. The promised 6"-8" of snow only reached a depth of about 1" overnight after a dismal earlier showing being washed away by later rain. I walked to the village in a cold headwind and returned to be blinded by the sun. The Skylarks have started singing. The snow won't last long now wherever the sun can reach. Bits of the lanes were icy but the main roads were wet and clear from the salting.

Left late morning for a ride into bright sunshine. On the way back I was a fighting a cold headwind all the way. 17 miles.

Later I replaced the downtube gear cable adjuster. I had tried a Campag adjuster but the thread wasn't standard. The gears had been getting erratic or refusing to change reliably. Back to the normal adjuster which has very fine knurling. Making adjustment on the fly all but impossible. Perhaps the coil springs aren't really necessary? I have never tried them without. The springs take up a lot of room on the thread. Which rather limits the available range of adjustment.

I know the chain is completely knackered. So that complicates the issue of gear changing on an 11 speed hybrid system. Particularly when  using the Road Link to push the rear mech down far enough for a 36T bottom gear. I tend not to use the 36 very much [at all] so a cassette ending in 32 might be a better option. There weren't any cassettes with 34T when I was searching.

With the winter roads sloshing in salt spray it is about a month premature to be changing the chain yet. I just keep spraying it regularly with chain oil and hoping it will last. While the cable was slack I had the chain on the second largest sprocket, of eleven, and the changer relaxed to top gear. Usually the changer should only manage to drop a couple of gears because of the correct stiffness of the chain.

Saturday 25th 32-38F, 0-3C, light breeze, clear but milky sky. Two days unbroken rain forecast for 11am. I had better start early! A brisk walk to the village under thickening cloud. Followed by a brisk ride to another. Cold and uniform grey. Only 7 miles.  Rain started at 12.20. Swapping the downtube cable tensioner was remarkable in correcting the previous issues. Without any adjustment [at all] I had perfect indexing up and down the cassette.The slight dogleg caused by the Campag tensioner, no longer being threaded properly, had completely spoilt the gear change. Whether it was from unwanted flexibility in cable length or increased friction I have no idea. Indexing works on the principle of rather small and equal changes in cable length. It doesn't take much to spoil the game as the number of gears increases.

I replaced the SPD plates on my winter MTB boots this pm. Winter MTB boots are a real blessing in wet and wintry weather. Mine don't have the fur lining available in some boots and I prefer them that way. With loop pile [farmer's supply] socks my feet are never cold any more. You can almost get away with no front mudguards because of the much better weatherproofing compared to the deliberately well-ventilated, summer, cycling shoes.

The left cleat had been sliding back and forth for the last couple of days. Another roundtoit! I pick out the inevitable road grit and rust from the hex socket with a sharp point before I insert the key to full depth in the screw head. I do always remember to grease the fixing screws prior to insertion. This usually ensures they will come undone using a decent quality hex key.

Some hex keys are absolute trash and will be chewed up as soon as they look at a screw head. Good quality hex keys last for years without any problem. They will actually bend [and spring back] if you apply enough pressure. And, without stripping themselves or the screw head. Poor keys will bend and stay bent because they are such poor quality steel and not properly hardened and tempered. They may even be mild steel judging from the pitiful quality. The poor keys should really be discarded before you ruin a screw head and can't ever get it out again!

If, like me, you have a collection of  Imperial, as well as Metric hex keys, then don't ever put any effort into a badly fitting key. The key should be a fairly tight fit. Not slop about at all. A good set of hex keys is a good investment for modern bike maintenance. I like the longer hex keys with little ball ends on the longer shank. But do try to avoid using the ball to start unscrewing a tight screw. The ball end is best saved until the screw is free enough to twirl the long shank rapidly in your fingers. The ball end acts as a small universal joint. Allowing some misalignment but still driving the screws securely while askew. The neck of the ball is likely to part company if you strain it too much.They used to be known as Allen keys and Allen screws in my youth. Or Unbraco [unbreakable?] over here in Denmark. Presumably these names are from earlier and popular commercial products.

Sunday 26th 41F, 5C, very heavy overcast with rain and wind. It stayed that way for most of the day. Busy in the shed.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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