20 Oct 2017

19th October 2017: Ow, me Tektro!


Thursday 19th 51F, 11C, light breeze with a dark grey overcast. Damp but not raining for my walk. Mink gulls quiet and settled today.

No ride again, but I worked on the trike for a couple of hours. I hadn't used the tri-bar extensions in ages so they had to come off. Followed by a new overlay of black, sports injury tape. Nicely elastic but thinner and slightly more prone to wear than 'proper' cloth handlebar tape at several times the price of the 'disruptive' tape. I moved a narrow spacer from above to below the A-head handlebar extension. Which forced me to remove the brakes because the cables are now too short after frequent clipping off the alloy end stops.

Then I swapped the 'tied' Brooks B17 Special for a C17 rubber saddle out of respect for my age. More seriously, I was fed up with coming back to a leather saddle made dark and wet by fleeting rain. Brooks Proofide has zero effect on waterproofing. It is merely food for the leather to stop it cracking and is best used sparingly to avoid the leather softening too much and losing shape.

I have reduced the tension while the B17 is 'resting' because the large, copper, nose rivet was rising above the leather! I have a spare B17 in case of emergencies but don't want to start breaking it in over the winter.

So I looked at my alternative saddles, because the C17 is ridiculously curved across the back entirely for Italian fashion reasons. I found the C17 very uncomfortable indeed when I tied to use it last time. It did so much damage to my saddle support area that the leather B17 took quite some time to heal the wounds.

The rubber jobby is also ridiculously heavy for the 21st century. Probably on a par with the leather B17. Ignore all claims for rubber giving just like leather. Brooks had to armour plate the rubber with immovable, weapons grade, glass fiber and resin. This was a vital but absolutely crippling modification. Made out of fear that 45 stone, American <cough> racing cyclists will make massed claims against the lifetime guarantee. With millions more in compensation for their hurt feelings in a class action brought by some worthless 'ambulance chaser.' So all we "normal" cyclists have to suffer because of the funda-mental extremists again.

I may still change to the Vetta SL saddle which came with the Higgins. [And did! The Cambium was just too hard to sit on even for a moment!] The Vetta saddle is relatively flat across the back and nicely light. I think it was a lady's MTB saddle of the Vetta SL range. Making it probably as rare as hen's teeth. It was a reasonably comfortable seat when I first started building up my mileage on my trike. A peek under the loose vinyl suggested the rear portions are moulded into pockets to make room for deeper foam. It was one of the very few saddles on which I didn't feel immediately uncomfortable. Though it does demand a degree of forward lean on the rider. I wouldn't call it a saddle for very upright riders. You still see ads on eBay for Vetta saddles. Some claiming they are from the early mid 90s.

Sadly the black vinyl is beginning to come unstuck around the edges and overall it looks quite tatty. I am tempted to recover the base with more vinyl but the thin, resilient foam might come off with the old cover. No idea where one can obtain thin but firm foam to avoid the Unica Nitor effect. Which basically means you'll never walk quite the same again. And I speak from very long experience of riding a Black 'Road' Unica in my youth.

The major problem as I "winterized" the Trykit was the Tektro R725 front brake which had seized solid on one brake arm pivot. I removed both brakes and tried to free it by leverage but it wasn't having any. I was terrified I'd break the spindly arm right off! Though I was levering on the brake block arm against the base plate. NOT the longer cable actuation arm! I gave it repeated soakings in a variety of lubricants but only managed very grudging movement.

I can see from the 'good' side that there is a typical bronze sleeve bearing. Corrosion has hidden the bronze sleeve on the stuck side. With all the screws removed I've had to leave it soaking overnight in a good spray of very thin chain oil. I am excused WD40 on the grounds of extreme toxicity. As I don't presently own a full Hazmat suit and matching, positive-pressure mask.

It's not as if I had completely ignored lubrication on the brake pivots. In fact I had used cycle oil on them and their rust-prone springs several times only recently. I hadn't noticed the pivot problem until I had a closer look during cleaning. It certainly hadn't affected the braking.

The Tektro R725s look slim and very compact but are remarkably powerful for so called, TT brakes. These are one of the few, lightweight, side entry brakes. There is one brake mechanism in front and another behind the forks on a single bolt with hex socket nut on the trailing side. Which avoids the usual, ugly front extension so common to "classic" trikes using two brakes mounted in front of the fork.

I tried loads of different brakes on the Higgins from recycled bikes but was never really happy. The Tektros will easily allow me to lift the back end of the trike off the ground with one finger on the Campag levers. I just need to push hard enough against the handlebars with the trike standing still while applying each brake in turn. They have always felt very safe when I am riding furiously through  pedestrian precincts packed full of Kerb Lemmings on their Foxconn i-Phoneys. [Humour alert!]

If the brake pivot does free up I promise that you will be the first to know. Apologies for going off on a tri-cycling tangent instead of the usual soap box monologues.

Now there's a thought! What if Triathlon competitors had to race upright tricycles? That would be a real shot in the arm for racing trikes. The riders and governing body are far more interested in improving the cycle breed than the hideously corrupt, Iron Age, UCI despots.

The Tektro R725s have been on the Trykit from new [3.5 years] with all too little cleaning or lubrication if I'm honest. The little O-rings on the clever cable clamps are a short-lived joke but overall I have been very pleased with the Tektro R725s. Just don't [ever!] try to dismantle them over grass or gravel or you'll be sorry! There are some tiny but absolutely vital parts just looking for the empty nooks and crannies of our universe.

To be continued: See Friday's next exciting episode in full colour!

Click on any image for an enlargement.


No comments:

Post a Comment