The maintenance job I most hate. What's yours?



G

Garry Lee

Guest
I've a few bikes. My favourite to ride is a 1996 or so Cannondale FS
mtb which I use on the numerous small rough roads we have here in
Ireland.
The main pivot squeaks after about a year and has to be disassembled
and cleaned and greased. It is such a pain to do that my bike was
unused for the last year and I rode my conventional bikes. This
Christmas the weather was so wet and windy that I finally did it.
It's an awful job. You have to take off the chainset, loosen and move
the front changer, releasing the cable, use 2 8mm allen keys to get out
the big bolt thing, get out the bearings, clean everything, put it all
back again (tricky as the bits of the bike have a mind of their own),
readjust the front derailleur, which also has a mind of its own,
readjust the cable, put the chainset back on, put away all the tools,
wash your hands, attend casualty to fix your various wounds and
fractures, make a will, and then ride the f****r. Mind you, there's
nothing rides like a Cannondale FS. Nothing. Another year of comfort.

Happy new year chaps.

If Jobst Brandt is reading this. I really liked the slideshow of your
recent holiday. One suggestion. If you've a great meal, photograph the
plate as well. It's an added interest! Too much of an interest of mine
as I'm 20lb overweight!
 
Garry Lee wrote:
> I've a few bikes. My favourite to ride is a 1996 or so Cannondale FS
> mtb which I use on the numerous small rough roads we have here in
> Ireland.
> The main pivot squeaks after about a year and has to be disassembled
> and cleaned and greased. It is such a pain to do that my bike was
> unused for the last year and I rode my conventional bikes. This
> Christmas the weather was so wet and windy that I finally did it.
> It's an awful job. You have to take off the chainset, loosen and move
> the front changer, releasing the cable, use 2 8mm allen keys to get
> out the big bolt thing, get out the bearings, clean everything, put
> it all back again (tricky as the bits of the bike have a mind of
> their own), readjust the front derailleur, which also has a mind of
> its own, readjust the cable, put the chainset back on, put away all
> the tools, wash your hands, attend casualty to fix your various
> wounds and fractures, make a will, and then ride the f****r. Mind
> you, there's nothing rides like a Cannondale FS. Nothing. Another
> year of comfort.
>
> Happy new year chaps.
>
> If Jobst Brandt is reading this. I really liked the slideshow of your
> recent holiday. One suggestion. If you've a great meal, photograph the
> plate as well. It's an added interest! Too much of an interest of mine
> as I'm 20lb overweight!


Anything dealing with the bottom bracket. It's the most annoying and
difficult part of the bike to deal with, requiring specialized parts, lots
of labor to remove, and excessive amounts of torque. And it always squeaks.
2-piece is a decent labor improvement, but the cups will always be hated.
Maybe American's the way to go.

--
Phil
 
Phil, Non-Squid wrote:
> Garry Lee wrote:
>> > Happy new year chaps.
> >> Anything dealing with the bottom bracket. It's the most annoying and

> difficult part of the bike to deal with, requiring specialized parts, lots
> of labor to remove, and excessive amounts of torque. And it always squeaks.
> 2-piece is a decent labor improvement, but the cups will always be hated.
> Maybe American's the way to go.
>
> --
> Phil


headset- both threaded and threadless; I found the threaded ones to be
too soft and threadless always feel like I can tighten the adjustment a
bit more, but then I worry I'm going to go too far and pop the star
fangled nut
 
In article <[email protected]>,
[email protected] wrote:

> Phil, Non-Squid wrote:
> > Anything dealing with the bottom bracket. It's the most annoying
> > and difficult part of the bike to deal with, requiring specialized
> > parts, lots of labor to remove, and excessive amounts of torque.
> > And it always squeaks. 2-piece is a decent labor improvement, but
> > the cups will always be hated. Maybe American's the way to go.


There is something wrong if your BB squeaks (duh! Firm grasp of the
obvious, eh?). What I mean is that if your BB squeaks or clicks and it
is a standard cup-and-cone type, then the BB shell has not been properly
faced and chased, and/or the threads are misaligned. This can also
affect some cartridge BBs as well, as the cartridge does not ride inside
the retaining cups correctly.

> headset- both threaded and threadless; I found the threaded ones to
> be too soft and threadless always feel like I can tighten the
> adjustment a bit more, but then I worry I'm going to go too far and
> pop the star fangled nut


I don't mind bottom brackets, hubs, etc. It only takes a few minutes.
I don't like rebuilding headsets because of the associated stuff that
goes with them- removing the stem, unhooking brake and shift cables,
dealing with racks on those bikes that have them, etc. Headsets are a
nuisance and I think that the new cartridge bearing headsets are a boon.
I prefer threaded headsets to threadless ones (I think that it is a
mistake to use the same bolts to clamp the stem to the steerer and to
maintain bearing preload).
 
Tim McNamara wrote:
[...]
> I prefer threaded headsets to threadless ones (I think that it is a
> mistake to use the same bolts to clamp the stem to the steerer and to
> maintain bearing preload).


Interesting that you say that. Can you elaborate on why you feel that
way? It has always struck me as a mechanically elegant solution.
 
In article <[email protected]>,
"Nicholas Grieco" <[email protected]> wrote:

> Tim McNamara wrote: [...]
> > I prefer threaded headsets to threadless ones (I think that it is a
> > mistake to use the same bolts to clamp the stem to the steerer and
> > to maintain bearing preload).

>
> Interesting that you say that. Can you elaborate on why you feel
> that way? It has always struck me as a mechanically elegant
> solution.


Imagine that your bike falls over- maybe a crash, maybe a gust of wind,
maybe fork flop while the bike leans against something. Your handlebars
get knocked sideways out of alignment. With a threaded headset, you can
twist the handlebars back and ride away. With a threaded headset you
will most likely have to get out your Allen wrench, loosen the stem,
reset the headset preload, tighten the bolts down and then ride away.
Something that should take 30 seconds instead takes 5 minutes. And if
you have a carbon fiber steerer, you've also got the issue of getting
the right torque on the pinch bolts.

My personal prejudice about mechanical things is one set of threads for
one adjustment. One of the reasons for threadless headsets is a
manufacturing reason- saving the cost of threading the steerer. Might
be 50 cents labor saved, but multiply that by a half million bicycles in
a year. Economies of scale can be very surprising.

Some people think that clamped-on stems are mechanically better than
quill stems and there are reasons for this other than weight. Stuck
quills, bulged steerer tubes or even cracked steerer tubes if the wedge
is overtightened in the threaded portion of the steerer. Another issue
is the stem rocking slightly in the steerer, which can have the effect
of pumping water down into the steerer (can't say that I have ever seen
any evidence of this on my bikes). My personal preference would be for
the old French method, also used in the 70s by Tom Ritchey, of clamping
the stem onto a smooth insert brazed into the top of the steerer. This
eliminates the potential problems with quill stems and still preserves
separation between the system for maintaining bearing preload and the
system for fixing the stem to the fork.

Interestingly enough, the old French constructeurs gave up on the
clamped-on stem because it made fitting the bike hard, and riders
couldn't readily adjust stem height.
 
The most annoying maintenance job ??

1. perfecting the braking action of a newly installed set of sidepull
brakes. To get the braking action perfect, you may have to ...

- redish the wheel
- true the wheel (left-right & roudness)
- change brake housing routing
- shorten or lengthen brake housings
- grease the cable housings
- tighten or replace the caliper springs
- tighten the brake cable
- file flat or replace the brake pads.
- re-center brake pads.
- toe-in brake pads.
- tighten, re-tighten, re-center, and re-center the caliper
- Possibly you may have to file down the front fork dropouts
- change the dropout adjusters on the rear dropouts

the goal being, get the brakes adjusted so that the pads only have 1
mm of travel before they hit the rims, in the perfect spot.

The brakes force you to **** around with the greatest number of
pieces of the bike, in order to accomplish this one simple goal ...

I don't have a suspension MTB but repacking the suspension sounds
really nasty, too !!!

- Don Gillies
San Diego, CA, USA
 
The most annoying maintenance job ??

Cleaning the wheels after a ride in the rain. I'm usually frozen, wet,
it's still raining outside, and the rims are caked in black goo. If I'm
ambitious, I'll fill a bucket with hot water and wipe them down before
the goo dries. If I'm freezing (like today), I'll put it off until the
weekend. It's still a icky, nasty job.

Jeff
 
Donald Gillies wrote in:
> 1. perfecting the braking action of a newly installed set of sidepull
> brakes. To get the braking action perfect, you may have to ...

<snip>
> the goal being, get the brakes adjusted so that the pads only have 1
> mm of travel before they hit the rims, in the perfect spot.


I have about 2.5 mm of rim to pad clearance on my bike. I prefer gripping
the levers with more of a closed grip and avoiding brake rub when out of the
saddle, so I set the clearance as high as possible. This means that I'm
just short of bottoming the levers out on the bars with a hard pull.
 
In article <[email protected]>,
Tim McNamara <[email protected]> wrote:

> In article <[email protected]>,
> "Nicholas Grieco" <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > Tim McNamara wrote: [...]
> > > I prefer threaded headsets to threadless ones (I think that it is a
> > > mistake to use the same bolts to clamp the stem to the steerer and
> > > to maintain bearing preload).

> >
> > Interesting that you say that. Can you elaborate on why you feel
> > that way? It has always struck me as a mechanically elegant
> > solution.

>
> Imagine that your bike falls over- maybe a crash, maybe a gust of wind,
> maybe fork flop while the bike leans against something. Your handlebars
> get knocked sideways out of alignment. With a threaded headset, you can
> twist the handlebars back and ride away. With a threaded headset you
> will most likely have to get out your Allen wrench, loosen the stem,
> reset the headset preload, tighten the bolts down and then ride away.
> Something that should take 30 seconds instead takes 5 minutes. And if
> you have a carbon fiber steerer, you've also got the issue of getting
> the right torque on the pinch bolts.


If the headset cap bolt hasn't moved, the preload won't get changed. You
can twist the bars back and ride away.

I don't think you can argue that the fussiness of pinch-bolt torque on
coarbon steerers is a big deterrent, since:

1) there are plenty of non-carbon threadless steerers out there

2) I'll readily concede, and am sure that most thoughtful owners would
agree, that fussiness is part of the cost of taking care of a bike with
a carbon steerer

3) you can't safely build a threaded fork with a carbon steerer, so
threadless only adds options here without taking anything away.

> My personal prejudice about mechanical things is one set of threads for
> one adjustment. One of the reasons for threadless headsets is a
> manufacturing reason- saving the cost of threading the steerer. Might
> be 50 cents labor saved, but multiply that by a half million bicycles in
> a year. Economies of scale can be very surprising.


Why haven't threadless stems been adopted at the bottom of the market?
The only bikes in shops around here where threaded stems are widely used
are the most cost-conscious, bottom-of-the-line bikes, mainly department
store dregs.

> Some people think that clamped-on stems are mechanically better than
> quill stems and there are reasons for this other than weight. Stuck
> quills, bulged steerer tubes or even cracked steerer tubes if the wedge
> is overtightened in the threaded portion of the steerer. Another issue
> is the stem rocking slightly in the steerer, which can have the effect
> of pumping water down into the steerer (can't say that I have ever seen
> any evidence of this on my bikes). My personal preference would be for
> the old French method, also used in the 70s by Tom Ritchey, of clamping
> the stem onto a smooth insert brazed into the top of the steerer. This
> eliminates the potential problems with quill stems and still preserves
> separation between the system for maintaining bearing preload and the
> system for fixing the stem to the fork.
>
> Interestingly enough, the old French constructeurs gave up on the
> clamped-on stem because it made fitting the bike hard, and riders
> couldn't readily adjust stem height.


As a person with several threadless and several threaded bikes, I can't
remember ever adjusting the stem height beyond the initial bike setup.
In two cases, I did swap stems to get a different reach, and on my race
bike I did flip my (threadless) stem to change the rise once.

Given how rarely most riders adjust stem heights, I think that it's a
good trade to take advantages in weight, strength, and cost that
threadless gives.

More importantly, threaded stems can only mount one set of handlebars at
a time, unlike the superior threadless system:

http://sheldonbrown.org/thorn/index.html

--
Ryan Cousineau [email protected] http://www.wiredcola.com/
"I don't want kids who are thinking about going into mathematics
to think that they have to take drugs to succeed." -Paul Erdos
 
On 1 Jan 2007 21:19:15 -0800, [email protected] (Donald Gillies)
wrote:

>1. perfecting the braking action of a newly installed set of sidepull
> brakes. To get the braking action perfect, you may have to ...
>
> - redish the wheel
> - true the wheel (left-right & roudness)

[brake adjustments snipped]
> - Possibly you may have to file down the front fork dropouts
> - change the dropout adjusters on the rear dropouts


You're kidding about wheel and frame adjustments, right?

> the goal being, get the brakes adjusted so that the pads only have 1
> mm of travel before they hit the rims, in the perfect spot.


--
JT
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On 2007-01-02, Donald Gillies <[email protected]> wrote:
> The most annoying maintenance job ??
>
> 1. perfecting the braking action of a newly installed set of sidepull
> brakes. To get the braking action perfect, you may have to ...
>
> - redish the wheel
> - true the wheel (left-right & roudness)
> - change brake housing routing
> - shorten or lengthen brake housings
> - grease the cable housings
> - tighten or replace the caliper springs
> - tighten the brake cable
> - file flat or replace the brake pads.
> - re-center brake pads.
> - toe-in brake pads.
> - tighten, re-tighten, re-center, and re-center the caliper
> - Possibly you may have to file down the front fork dropouts
> - change the dropout adjusters on the rear dropouts
>
> the goal being, get the brakes adjusted so that the pads only have 1
> mm of travel before they hit the rims, in the perfect spot.
>
> The brakes force you to **** around with the greatest number of
> pieces of the bike, in order to accomplish this one simple goal ...


Call me a cowboy, but I just twist the caliper around a little bit on
its bolt so that when you pull on the lever the rim doesn't get pulled
to one side or the other. Takes only a few seconds, although I expect
I'm creating some kind of slight cosine error or something.
 
Tim McNamara wrote:
> In article <[email protected]>,
> [email protected] wrote:
>
>> Phil, Non-Squid wrote:
>>> Anything dealing with the bottom bracket. It's the most annoying
>>> and difficult part of the bike to deal with, requiring specialized
>>> parts, lots of labor to remove, and excessive amounts of torque.
>>> And it always squeaks. 2-piece is a decent labor improvement, but
>>> the cups will always be hated. Maybe American's the way to go.

>
> There is something wrong if your BB squeaks (duh! Firm grasp of the
> obvious, eh?). What I mean is that if your BB squeaks or clicks and
> it is a standard cup-and-cone type, then the BB shell has not been
> properly faced and chased, and/or the threads are misaligned. This
> can also affect some cartridge BBs as well, as the cartridge does not
> ride inside the retaining cups correctly.


Or water/grit gets in. At the shop, that's typically what I have to fix on
customers' bikes when they've been riding in the rain, and they may have had
their BB overhauled only 100 miles before. What I'm saying is that once
the shell is contaminated, all bets are off.

>> headset- both threaded and threadless; I found the threaded ones to
>> be too soft and threadless always feel like I can tighten the
>> adjustment a bit more, but then I worry I'm going to go too far and
>> pop the star fangled nut

>
> I don't mind bottom brackets, hubs, etc. It only takes a few minutes.
> I don't like rebuilding headsets because of the associated stuff that
> goes with them- removing the stem, unhooking brake and shift cables,


How is that any more inconvenient than removing the cranks? You need to use
force, require specialized tools, could damage the inner threads of the
crank with the puller, etc. It never goes smoothly. 1-2 hour job and the
BB is usually shot.

A headset overhaul requires pulling the housing out of the stops, and using
a 5mm/4mm if you're doing threadless. A 10 minutes jobbie at the worst.

The reason BB issues come in is because they're radially loaded, so any
problems with the BB are immediately apparent. Zero-average-rpm headset
issues are a minor annoyance at best; i.e. the click or clunk is not
cyclical with every pedal stroke. This is why 100x more customers come back
with BB problems as compared to headset problems.

Maybe you're just a BB genius... can you spare me some of that? ;)

--
Philip Lee
 
Ben C <[email protected]> writes:

>Call me a cowboy, but I just twist the caliper around a little bit on
>its bolt so that when you pull on the lever the rim doesn't get pulled
>to one side or the other.


On some calipers, it seems like they self-center after every
actuation, e.g. the Dia Compe Royal Gran Comps that I have. This
technique might work on some brakes (Campagnolo? Shimano?) but not on
all types of brakes.

- Don Gillies
San Diego, CA
 
I volunteer at our local bike recycling place. We see lots of old bikes
with stuck BBs and stems, etc., and sometimes you get them loose and
sometimes you don't. But what I have really come to hate, in terms of
just setting things up, are old canti brakes with the post-style pads!
I'm pretty mechanically inclined, but these brakes are such a pain...

Mark
 
> On 2007-01-02, Donald Gillies <[email protected]> wrote:
>> The most annoying maintenance job ??
>>
>> 1. perfecting the braking action of a newly installed set of sidepull
>> brakes. To get the braking action perfect, you may have to ...
>>
>> - redish the wheel
>> - true the wheel (left-right & roudness)
>> - change brake housing routing
>> - shorten or lengthen brake housings
>> - grease the cable housings
>> - tighten or replace the caliper springs
>> - tighten the brake cable
>> - file flat or replace the brake pads.
>> - re-center brake pads.
>> - toe-in brake pads.
>> - tighten, re-tighten, re-center, and re-center the caliper
>> - Possibly you may have to file down the front fork dropouts
>> - change the dropout adjusters on the rear dropouts
>>
>> the goal being, get the brakes adjusted so that the pads only have 1
>> mm of travel before they hit the rims, in the perfect spot.
>>
>> The brakes force you to **** around with the greatest number of
>> pieces of the bike, in order to accomplish this one simple goal ...

>

Ben C wrote:
> Call me a cowboy, but I just twist the caliper around a little bit on
> its bolt so that when you pull on the lever the rim doesn't get pulled
> to one side or the other. Takes only a few seconds, although I expect
> I'm creating some kind of slight cosine error or something.


I assume Don was being facetious. Always check to see that the rim is
centered in the frame/fork before ditzing with a brake.

Then as Ben notes, scooch the caliper as needed. If all is lubed and
properly torqued a caliper may be moved and it will stay in position.

One exception is the classic Raleigh sidepull with its shaped rigid
seating pads. Since the caliper cannot move, you do need to make one
spring side stronger or weaker. That's an uncommon brake now.
--
Andrew Muzi
www.yellowjersey.org
Open every day since 1 April, 1971
 
Donald Gillies wrote:
> Ben C <[email protected]> writes:
>
>> Call me a cowboy, but I just twist the caliper around a little bit on
>> its bolt so that when you pull on the lever the rim doesn't get pulled
>> to one side or the other.

>
> On some calipers, it seems like they self-center after every
> actuation, e.g. the Dia Compe Royal Gran Comps that I have. This
> technique might work on some brakes (Campagnolo? Shimano?) but not on
> all types of brakes.



On a classic sidepull, the centerbolt should not move in use. If the
arms are bumped to one side a flick of the lever will recenter them.

--
Andrew Muzi
www.yellowjersey.org
Open every day since 1 April, 1971