Like everything else in life, I get behind and don’t finish stuff sometimes. Always the minor stuff, but here you go. This post started back in early June…
PAST PAST (early june): Even if their tools are no better than Pedros or any of the other guys on the market, they are worth the extra price for the service they provide with their website. I like to do all my own repairs and adjustments, and find myself checking them out all the time. Adjusted the rear der last week, but forgot to check the b-screw in the back, so I’m getting all this rubbing on the largest cog. Check with Park, aah. that’s the problem. You guys are the best.
Fast forward to the mid-past, Learning is Painful: On Wednesday 7 the 11th, I rode home from work as usual, and was getting an intermittent pinging/clicking noise. I didn’t observe it too closely because I was mixing it up in traffic, but it was coming from what appeared to be the front end of the bike. After eating dinner, I went out on the front porch, wiped down the chain, and applied some fresh lube, then went to town inspecting all the bolts on the front end of the bike to make sure nothing had loosened prematurely. After checking over everything, I rode it 2 or 3 miles around the neighborhood, and was still getting the phantom clicks. There didn’t feel like there was any play in the headset, but I wanted to be sure since sometimes the rocking in the front gets confused with play in the front brake when checking for a loose headset. I loosened all the binder bolts on the stem and started to tighten the headset ever so slightly, but no matter how much I tightened (which was not much really) the headset never really started to feel tight. After 10 minutes or so of fiddling with it, I gave it another 1/4 turn, and the headset bolt’s head snapped clean off. I’m still not really sure what happened. I wasn’t applying that much force to it, and I have little to no upper body strength, but let this be a lesson to anyone reading this. DON’T over-torque your bike’s bolts. It’s super easy to do. I don’t know if it’s a weight or a cost saving measure, but apparently, bike manufacturers cast screws out of recycled beer and tuna cans or something nowadays. I was going to take pictures of the remains of the screw twisted into the star nut in my headset, but I was too sick to my stomach to deal with it. Anyway, feeling stupid, and it’s water under the bridge now, but Thursday it was off to work on the Specialized, then after work I spent the evening running to the local Sears to get a set of bolt removers, the Torque wrench I’ve been wanting for about 10 years and could never rationalize before now, and a set of 3/8″ hex bits. Googled ‘bike torque specifications’ and cross referenced what I found with Zinn’s Cycling Primer and the Park Tools website. Ancillary tid-bit for the day is from page 160 of Zinn’s where they describe that multi-bolt clamps (like a 4 bolt stem) can work their way loose prematurely unless all 4 bolts are torqued to the same specification. Just for good measure I went around the bike and checked torques on everything, most of which was good, but the cranks were a little shy of the lightest end of the spectrum I could find for Sugino or Shimano square taper cranks, so I tightened them up just a little to 310 inch pounds.
Happier beginning to the weekend: Friday the 13th was the first Friday (I think) of the compressed work schedules when we weren’t working around the house on a huge project, or doing something else. I woke up late, rode around the block to test my repairs, and did a few small chores. Friday afternoon I spent relieving, truing, riding and then checking my wheelset to get them nice and straight with happy spokes that ping in consistent musical notes when plucked. Also on the adjustment and checkup front was a very thin coat of proofide on the Brooks saddle, and a few drops of WD-40 on the front adjustment bolt to stop the saddle from making little phantom creaks that appear to have been the cause of me needlessly futzing with my headset in the first place that always sound like they’re coming from somewhere different, and drive me into crazy run-on sentences. 60 miles that Sunday without a ping or a click and it looks like all the kinks worked themselves out real nice and civil like.