Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More haste less speed

Finally, finished fitting the last components to the Adventure this week. Super I can ride on the road with sensible tyres. Armoured from the general road crud that buckles the wheels of racing bikes, and with enough traction that I won't feel like I'm about to slide off the bike at each corner. This is where I learn a valuable lesson - "more hase less speed" as the proverb goes.

More haste, because if I had completed this in a shorter time frame I would have not had one problem. Less speed would also have helped in keeping the costs down. At least it wasn't an expensive mistake. Fitting the rear cassette I was presented with a shrink wrapped set of cogs and in my eagerness to open the packaging all the cogs fell out of order. I was left with one small black O-ring lying on the floor. I stepped on it and snapped it. There was then the question as what to do with it, and how to replace it.

What to do with it, well it didn't work as a sprocket spacer any more as it just fell off in its traditional position of spacing 3rd to 4th. So I stuck it at the back of the cassette in the short term as a conventional spacer so that the whole thing sat on the rear hub. Then came the cabling up process and it took ages to get round to that so I forgot what I had done. More haste less speed.

It wasn't until I came to setting the gears up that the problem then became....well a problem. Shifting up and down was fine, but now I couldn't select 3rd with any reliability. The cog was there I could see it and I had sorted the index problem from a cable pinch. Why wouldn't it select?? Then I looked closely. Those cogs look a little close together. Hang on I'm missing a spacer!! Where is it? I remember it in the packaging. Hmmm I think I might have lost it. I turn out the toolbox where the spares sit and there is nothing that fits the bill. Do any of my old cassettes have this spacer. No of course not! I am upgrading away from the one piece design to a more interchangeable set. Where then do I buy one? Local bike shop or internet?

Well this kind of spacer is probably not something you would keep in stock at the bike shop, but it could save all the hassle of buying the wrong one. On the otherhand I can do a lot a research from the comfort of my own home and save the traipsing to the shop to find out that they don't have one or that I have to buy a complete cassette to replace it. So Internet it is then.

Wiggle, Chainreaction cycles, and Evans lots of spacers but sadly for adjusting the cassette to different wheel hubs. I am noticing here a big shift towards 10 speed and I think again the evolution of the drive train will make it increasingly difficult to find parts for those "affordable" bikes that most of us buy. So Google it and look at the images to see if I can find what I remember the sprocket spacer look like. Search term, hmm this is a tricky one as I don't know what it would be called. Try a combination of "shimano", "spacer" "cog" and "sprocket". Click. Scan.

There it is! Bonus it is on a cycle parts supplier website for a might £4. Could have been worse I suppose. Click order and wait.

A few days later it arrives through the post safely packaged in a cardboard protector to prevent it from bending and snapping in transit. It takes me a few more days to find the time to fit this and check the gear shifting. I remove the cassette quickly and easily (I'm getting better at this with practice). Slide on sprocket spacer in correct postion. Bugger! I can't get the lock ring on. I could have sworn that this was a 9-speed hub. Yes it is a 9-speed hub, I distinctly remember checking with Shimano.

I sit on the floor of the shed to have a little think. More haste, less speed. What if I take the whole cassette of and check the size I think. As I pull the cassette forward, plonk! A small black crescent of plastic falls to the floor. What's this? It looks uncannily like half a sprocket spacer. Then I remember how I had put it at the back for safe keeping. More haste, less speed.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Do not adjust your set

For some reason it has taken me ages to complete the last part of the set up on the Ridgeback, adding the chain. A fairly simple task, but vitally important as setting up the mechs and shifters really rest on the chain being there. What can I say but that work got in the way.

Adding the chain should have been a simple process. Measure the chain length required by wrapping it wound the large front and large rear cogs (no going though the rear Jocky wheel), add a link and this is your chain length. It is simpler for replacing as you can just measure against the original chain, although I do find that a bit rough round the edges if the old chain has stretched. So a simple process once measured you break off the unwanted links using a chain break tool (it punches the link pins out) and then join the chain. I did this previously with a SRAM chain and it was truly simple. This time though, the link pins were so stiff that the chain rivet extractor broke. It was a cheap tool, but the bit that broke was the lever and that is annoying. I popped over to the Uncle to complete the job and then popped back home to find that I needed the tool again to insert the chain pin into the Shimano chain.

Replacement chain rivet extractor ordered and delivered and down I sat for the 2 min job. The pin is a two part assembly. The first part is a guide and then the second the rivet that will hold the chain together. The first part can then be broken off. All  well and good until the first part breaks before the second part is in the chain. Several minutes and much swearing later it is clear that there is no way to insert the pin into the chain with out the first part attached as manufactured. Thankfully it is possible to order spares, which a week later allows me to have another go. I am soon down to my last pin, the broken remains of the previous four lie scattered around along with my curses. It does go in and I do have a completed chain. But at what cost? I am tempted to swear off Shimano chains forever.

So now I can set up the gears. Here I discover a problem I had not considered before. On the Adventure the gear cables run under the bottom bracket, and being a resourceful chap I have never used my flash workstand with this bike. So this is a first and after 30 minutes if trying to get the gears to change into the smallest cog I am left scratching my head. I eventually discover that the new shifter has only 8 gear clicks. But it was a 9 speed shifter!!! I am very confused. I check several times and yes only 8 clicks. I wander away in disgust and do something else for 10 minutes. Really it is no disaster I do have an 8 speed cog I could use.

When I come back to the bike I notice that the cable is looking a little slack. Odd, it should be under full tension. I go back to the bike and move the front shifter to full tension, and again a tiny bit of slack. Well that certainly explains why the shifting isn't working, but why? The answer arrives like a bolt out of the blue, the cable runs under the bike and the bottom bracket is sitting on the workstand. Even though the cable runs through a housing that should prevent the cables getting trapped it is clear that free movement is not happening. I take the bike off the stand and tighten the cable slack on the lowest tension settings and suddenly everything is working. Only now I can't fine tune the bike on the stand, so its back to hanging the bike on two broom handles and using two garden chairs to create a hanger. Perhaps it is time to invest in a professional workstand.