The Golden Wrench

A blog about bicycle repair and maintenance by the mechanics at Freewheel Bike.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Do you know the proper way to pour oil?

Many people don’t realize that most quart liquid containers are designed with the spout off to one side for a reason. I know I ignored this little diagram for years because I didn't know the reason for it.

If you keep the spout towards the top of the bottle it allows the bottle to be nearly level before liquid starts to pour out of it. When a quart of oil is poured in the correct manner there’s no need for a funnel plus it gives you more control over the rate and force with which liquid leaves the bottle.



I also have a really cool trick for how to tie your shoe laces so that they never come untied on accident but are very easy to untie on when you choose to do so. It's a hybrid of a single knot and a double knot. Let me know if you want to learn about it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Importance of Quality Parts

When people describe a cyclists body-type, there are several different categories that you can fit into; climbers (featherweights), sprinters, clydesdales and super-clydesdales.  If you are having a hard time picturing what a clydesdale is, picture the gigantic horses pulling the Budweiser wagon.  At 6'6", 250 pounds I would fit into the super-duper clydesdale (or SDC) category (look, I barely fit into the camera frame!). 

As an SDC I haven't met many bike parts that I haven't been able to break, and when I say break I mean completely obliterate.  Here is a short list of bike parts that I have been able to destroy;

  • Bottom bracket spindles (broken clean-off).
  • Crank arms (drive side and non-drive side).
  • Saddles (crush the rails like a tin can). 
  • Pedal spindles. 
  • Cleats (yes plural cracked two this year before switching brands). 
  • Wheels..... oh so many wheels. 
  • Handlebars.
  • Hub axles. 
  • Chains. 
  • And of course bike frames (Peacock Groove knows my destruction well)
Actually I had to learn how to fix bikes just to keep myself on the road.

Until last Friday there was one bike part that remained solid as a rock, the seat post.  I mean come-on it is one piece of large diameter metal inserting into another large diameter piece of metal!

On Friday I took my Surly Moonlander out for a ride at River Bottoms with my buddy Bob.  Now of course as a SDC, even the 24" Moonlander is a little bit small for me so I had to switch out the stock 350mm seat post for an old 400mm post that I had laying around in my basement.  With a mechanics salary I have to try to save money where I can so I figure, cheap seat-post what could go wrong?  One big bump and I found out.
The descent.

While trying my best to descend the hill just past the Lyndale Ave. Parking lot my body got thrown backwards and I felt the seat disappear from under my butt.

Somehow I stayed upright and as I rolled to a stop I heard Bob say "woah, what the?"  After I climbed off the bike I quickly saw what the... The seat post folded like a cheap suit.

I frantically checked over every inch of the (almost brand new) Moonlander for damage to the seat-tube but to the unbelievable credit of Surly, the Moonlander tubing escaped unscathed.  Those things are built like tanks.  I wish I could say the same for my $15 seat post.  
The result.

After spending 15 minutes trying and failing  to bend the seatpost back into shape, I finally realized that I was going to have to ride the 13 miles back home standing up. 

That sucked.

The next day with some very sore quads I decided to order a proper seat post from Thompson.
When talking to customers about what parts they want to put onto their bikes, I often get the question of why does this part or that part cost what it does?  Sometimes the answer is because you are paying for a lighter part, but in most cases it comes down to one issue; build quality, and when you have the chance, always pick quality made parts.  

Hopefully my bad decision can serve as a lesson for other folks, save your quads, buy quality.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Trivia! Most popular fork...

First correct, complete answer (as judged by us) wins a coupon good for one $150 fork overhaul from Shockspital. This is a two-parter. First, answer the multiple-choice question, then provide a guess for the fill-in-the-blank section (you should answer both parts in one comment).

Part one: Over the past two years, which fork has Shockspital worked on the most units of?

A) RockShox Reba
B) Fox F-Series
C) Cannondale Lefty
D) Manitou R7
F) RockShox 28 SID (the older model with smaller stanchions)

And part two: Of that most common fork, what amount of travel (in millimeters) have we seen the most?

Submit your two-part answer in a comment to this blog post. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Does Bud fit on the MukLuk

 Ever since the Bud and Lou tires were introduced we have had a lot of people asking, "Can I put them on my Mukluk?"

The answer is yes.......and no, the Bud and Lou fit in the Mukluk fork on the Rolling Darryl rim. But they do not fit in the Mukluk frame on a Rolling Darryl rim.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Unboxing a bike.

We have all had the experience of having to ship a bike at some point. Packing a bike into a box can be a difficult experience, making sure that the frame, wheels and accessories are packed safely so no damage will be done. Thankfully any good bike shop will pack your bike up and get it all ready for shipping, but after shipping you might want to reassemble your bike yourself.

First there are some tools and supplies needed. A good multi-tool, a pedal wrench, a rag to wipe your hands with and some good bicycle grease.

 Next open the bike box and inspect the bicycle and packaging for any damage from shipping.

Remove the small parts box along with the seat and seat post.

Remove the bicycle from the box.

Remove front wheel and packaging material from bike. Then Install or rotate the stem straight.

Install or rotate handlebars to proper position.

Install front wheel with either a Quick Release, or bolts. If the front wheel bolts on then using a 15mm wrench place the wheel in the frame and tighten the bolts until tight. If the wheel uses a quick release, then again place the wheel in the frame. Then tighten the quick release. You will know when to stop when you close the lever and the first point of contact is parallel with the ground.

Install seat and seat post. Put a little grease in the frame to lubricate the seat post before installation.

Grease pedals.

Install pedals, making sure to install correct pedal on each crank. It is important to make sure that the right pedal is installed on the right side of the bike, the side with the chain, and the left pedal on the left side. To do this look at the pedal as most pedals will be marked with n "L" for left and an "R" for right. If the pedals are not marked, look at the threads of the pedals, the right pedal's threads will slope up to the right, the left side pedal will have threads that slope up to the left. The pedals will rotate over the top going towards the front of the bike to tighten on both sides. 

Installing the left pedal.

 Installing the right pedal.

Install any accessories that were removed for shipping. Then Double check handlebar, stem and seat position.

Finally check that all bolts are tight. Inflate tires if needed.

Before riding you'll want to perform a quick safety check.
  • Check to make sure that handle bars won't slip under load.
  • Check to make sure that stem won't rotate in relation to the fork under normal riding conditions.
  • Check seat to make sure it is secure.
  • Check to make sure seat post won't slide down or rotate under normal riding conditions.
  • Check wheels to make sure that they will not fall out of bike or slip under normal riding conditions.
  • Spin wheels to make sure that there is no interference.
  • Squeeze brake levers while walking with bike to make sure they have sufficient stopping power.

Surly Bud and Lou Tire Install!

Meet Bud.
As we get closer and closer to the first real snowfall of the winter, fat bikes are starting to roll into the shop for tune-ups and upgrades.  One of the BIG new items for this year is from our friends at Surly -- the Bud and Lou tires. To picture the tires just imagine the float of a Big Fat Larry (4.7") with the grip of a Nate and there you have the Bud and Lou.

On Wednesday we had our first opportunity to mount these up and take them for a test ride and here is what we found;

Mounting and install;
  • When you unbox the Bud and Lou the first thing you are going to notice is how REALLY REALLY Big these things are.  It looks like you are mounting up a dirt bike tire.
  • Not only are these tires front and rear specific (Bud for the front Lou for the rear) but they are also directional for your grippy or speedy preference (see picture below).
  • If you don't have a Surly Moonlander running Clown Shoe Rims - forget about it - you aren't going to be able to cram these into a Mukluk. 
  • Even with the Moonlander it is going to take a little bit of work to get them installed into the frame.  For the rear your best bet is to either wait to fill the tire with air or take the disc brake off.  Otherwise it is tough to squeeze a fully inflated tire past the disc brake and into the frame. 
  • When you are inflating jack the pressure up to about 20 psi to make sure that the bead is set, then play around to find your desired pressure (all the way down to 5 psi). 
    Stay upright or go fast - your choice.

Clearance issues;

The biggest issue that we found was getting the rear wheel to sit appropriately in the frame with no rub.  Here are some pics of the wheel mounted with no adjustments;
"That's tight brah." - Nick "Beans" Moeller.
Luckily the Moonlander comes with horizontal dropouts and sliding disc brake tabs which allows us to move the wheel and brake caliper backwards for a little bit more clearance.  After our initial tests with more clearance we found that the wheel could still slide around a little bit in the dropouts causing the tire to rub on both the frame and the front derailleur.  The solution?  Monkey Nuts!
Keeps your wheel where you put it.

Volia!  A stable wheel that doesn't require you to readjust your brake every time you reinstall your wheel.

Aahh, room to breathe.
 The ride.

After getting them mounted we had a chance to take them out on a quick test ride both on and off the road.  Riding to the off-road location it sounds like a dump truck going down the road, you do notice the extra rubber, but surprisingly it doesn't feel any heavier (weighing the wheels confirms only about a 2 ounce difference in weight from the stock Big Fat Larry).  With our wheels set to propulsion you can certainly feel the extra dig of the tire when you are out of the saddle.

What remains to be seen is how these will perform in mud and snow, are they going to pack-up and negate the purpose of the knobs?  We will let you know......

Bottom Line: 

About the Bud and Lou Surly says;

"They are meant to be the wildest, gnarliest, oh my god my face is bleeding tires available."

Yep, that about sums it up.