Sunday, June 24, 2018

More Preventative Maintenance

Whatever your chosen sport I'd like to suggest that for Sports involving speed, disregarding Preventative Maintenance is a foolish and possible deadly strategy for the longer term.

Today we are talking about Bicycle maintenance.

Being Poor
Not many of us are mindlessly wealthy or have unlimited access to the bank of Mum and Dad. But in some cases you may be genuinely poor, to the point that you just can't afford the weekly food shop. In such cases you have my sympathy, I can imagine that you will choose regular maintenance and cleaning over preventative maintenance.
SafetyLike most Sports that involve speed, if you think about the consequences of an accident in say Cycling or Skiing or Snowboarding it may actually detour you from continuing.

Marcus has for example hit the tarmac at a GPS recorded 69 km/h from my bicycle after which, several years ago, I was in hospital where various parts were patched back together.

In this regard, anything you can do to ensure the sports apparatus you are using is not defective, be it a Motorbike, Bicycle or Parachute is normally time and money well spent.

I know a FriendYou best option is that you know an Enthusiast friend, one who cares about you, but mostly your bicycle.  Hand over your bicycle to them with a list of complaints and a request to fix them all and do a little service at the same time.

WealthyI write this from Switzerland where any trip to the Bicycle shop will normally result in a 100 CHF charge possible for labour alone.  Here in Lausanne there are a plethora of shops, but if I had to recommend one it would be Tandem Cycles.

Problem and Solution
Agata's wonderful Ribble R872 bicycle which has Dura Ace 9000 level components (read expensive) has had gear skip for a while.   We've cleaned the chain, checked the gearing cassette, but it is still skipping.  We decided to replace the chain.

BTW:  A chain could jam or break at high speed.  A breakage could launch the chain into your flesh and a jam could stop brake the back wheel and catapult you off the bike onto the road. In other words life threatening.

What we Did

(Costs were 50 CHF for the Dura Ace Chain and another 50 CHF for the chain tool - reusable)

 This is going to be an oily job, best preserve the floor

We checked the existing chain once more.  Nope, still looks perfect!

The replacement chain.  When you want the best from Shimano just go for Dura Ace

For the record whilst most 11 speed transmissions are compatible in general Campagnolo drive trains are different from Shimano/SRAM.  And all drivetrains have different chain widths for 9/10/11 speeds. 

My old and until now reliable chain tool.  Today it only just worked and I nearly snapped off the plastic handle whilst getting the existing link out of the chain so as to remove it.   I searched for a better replacement at Wiggle, but found nothing.  Hmm.

This is dirty work and Agata put on medical gloves whereas Marcus put on Hand paste.  This forms a coating over your hands making the mountainous volumes of oil that attach during a chain swap, easiy-ish to remove from your hands with soap and water later

First step is to make the new chain the same length as the outgoing.  Ours was already custom shorter.  A shorter chain is also marginally lighter but too short and the rear mech won't function properly.  If in doubt make it the same length.

Older Dura Ace chains had to be fitted in a particular way, I recall something like the Dura Ace logo facing outwards and right way up.  However the 11 speed Dura Ace chain has logos on both sides and right way up and upside down.  So it must make no difference?  

I tried to read the enclosed instruction which in all 4 languages told me this was a chain for a bicycle.  There were NO installation instructions included.  Pathetic!  It referred you to the Internet, and right now my hands are covered in oil, I'm in the basement without Internet or computer.  Really crap Shimano.

What finally worked was, using 2 people, study very carefully route of chain before removal.  Now pushout any link from the existing chain and thus can remove it.   Now take your new chain and punch out a link to make it as short as the old chain.   Carefully place new chain onto bicycle following exactly the path that you studied.   Get the open two ends and place into the chain tool.  Use one of the 2 special Grey links that Shimano provides to link the chain.  Now turn the chain tool screw and press in that link.  It should go 'click' when it rests in the correct place.  This grey link is twice as long as a normal link and you need to take some pliers and break off the front bit that now sticks out.  After breaking off, check that the link you joined is flexible and not stuck.  Stuck means you need to make some further fine adjustment using the chain tool.  Also you might need to file the end of this link you inserted if they are rough.

Finally put bicycle onto a stand and check that gears still operate correctly.

We then went for a test cycle on a level road to check all is really well.

No more Gear skipping,  transmission much improved. Now silky smooth.  The process did need two people, our chain tool remover nearly snapped into two and I still can't find a better one.  However the final results are great.

To all users of Sports equipment that you rely on.  Please no matter what your finances are,  take care to regularly maintain your hardware, and if possible choose preventative maintenance of important parts.  You deserve it.