Monday, May 09, 2016

Getting Green Ready

Yesterday we brief made reference to the fact that the months of May, June and July are pretty hectic for Running and Cycling competitions.

Hot on the heals then of preparing our motorhome today Marcus and Agata had a look at our bicycles

Only 2 bicycles
Agata has only 1 bicycle, a Ribble that is now about 10 years old, and considering the thousands of Km we cycle yearly, that is well past its sell by date.

Marcus too has a guilty secret.   I have built 2 bicycles built on Dedacciai frames and Shimano Groupsets but recently due to laziness I have only been using the Red bicycle shown above.


The laziness in not using the bicycles equally; this comes from the fact that whilst I was commuting to work, and when that commute was about 40Km daily it was good to have a backup bike if one was broken.

Now the commute is translated to mostly Cycling for pleasure, I used the Red Dedacciai shown above; leaving the Green machine unloved on the wall

So this Monday May 9th, Agata checked her Ribble (with Dedacciai steel frame by the way) and Marcus checked his green Dedacciai, with integrated seatpost, and Shimano (ageing) 7900 Dura Ace

What to Check

This was the ad hoc checklist I came up with

- All nuts are tight: means go around with a Hex key checking that nothing is obviously loose or about to drop off.  Essentially this is what most people categorise as their /bicycle service? :-)

- Rear Wheel, cassette screw:  On the top of the Gear cassette is a locking nut which if loose causes the cassette to come apart.  This has happened in the middle of a Triathlon, whilst out on a long cycle.   So it is worth a check, oh, and due to experience I now carry a cassette tool with me, always!

- Tyre treads condition: Check that tyres are good else replace

- Tyre holding pressure: The ultra thin 20 section tyres are pumped to their 120psi and then left for a day to see that they hold their pressure.  Note that x20 section tyres and our rubber tubes seems to partially deflate in 1 day, so this means you expect to pump them daily, just you don't expect the tyre to be flat.

- Comfortable Seat or Not: Seats can scuff so check the condition.  For Marcus with a pure and very hard Carbon Fibre seat, just check that there are no cracks and no sharp edges.

- Gears Change: Only a test cycle is going to check this.  Why? Because on a carbon frame there may be small frame flex that make small differences to a bench setup.  nevertheless bench setup first, then on a test ride, take an Allen key adjustment set with you.

- Relevant Oil: We have both tried different oils.  Marcus likes Decathlon Teflon based products and Agata has ordered some exclusive non marking oils from Wiggle.  Either way, don't over lubricate!

- Optimisation:  Marcus did make some shortening adjustments to triathlon bars.  Apparently new regulations say that they should not stick beyond the brake levers.  Whilst this makes them almost useless,  I will try to comply, oh and save at least 30 grams of weight in the process.  Hmmm.

- Brake test: Stress tested on our local flat then 100m plus steep descent hills just outside our door here in Lausanne.  Panic / emergency stops are practised, because riding in a group, you never know when it could be needed.

- Play test:  Check that both wheels when clamped in their forks don't have unreasonable bearing play.  There is always some play or wobble, you just have to decide how much is reasonable.  Modern wheels may not be that serviceable, so you decide when a wheel needs to be binned and re-purchased.   Also check play in the headset, something that can be rectified usually by simply tightening the headset.

Next step: Longer test ride

Low Inventory Strategy

After today, we are happy to report that nothing appears falling off, tyres are good for initial weekly loads of 300K+, and that our next Wiggle order may have most Nutrition and Swim equipment, cycling seems good for now.