Month: January 2017

Shoreham to Amberley and back

Went out on the Kitsune on Saturday, originally planning to do a 40 miler. Ended up leaving later than planned, so went slightly shorter. Headed up the Downs Link Trail from Shoreham, turning left at the South Downs Way. Up past the pig farm to Chanctonbury Ring, and down to the A24. Back up the other side, and along to just before Amberley. Very slick conditions, quite sketchy in parts – the Rock Shox Reverb a godsend as always for getting the centre of gravity down on the hairy sections.

Total Distance: 31.9

Elevation Gain: 1,943ft

Time: 3:18:51

Average: 9.6

Max: 28.6

Strava Trophies: 20 (2 PBs)

Fire Mountain nightmares – Pt. 2

Having got to work successfully with no rear wheel issues, I left for the evening and started the journey home.

I made it about half way, when my left hand crank started wobbling! I stopped and tightened it, only for it to come loose again within about 20 metres.

It eventually fell off completely as I scooted along, and I lost the bolt.. it wasn’t much use by this point anyway. So I resorted to pushing the mile or so to Halfords. They didn’t have any cranksets in stock, so I pushed the rest of the way home, and ordered a new Deore external BB with two-piece crankset from Ebay to replace it.

I’ve realised that you can’t go (too) cheap on a commuting bike – reliability is almost important as for the primary bike, since breakdowns on the way to or from work can really ruin your day!

I’m looking forward to being able to ride in both directions without breakdown, and my first test ride after installing the crankset, of 6.5 miles, went well.. fingers crossed!

Fire Mountain nightmares – Pt. 1

During the course of getting the FM back on the road, I dismantled the rear hub and re-packed the bearings.

The locknut on the non-drive side was seized, so I removed the cassette and worked from the drive side.

I re-packed the bearings and replaced the axle, making sure that there was no play in the hub. All seemed well, and a 2.7mile test ride seemed to confirm this.

However, on the first day I tried riding it to work, I managed to get about 1/2 mile when a horrific noise emitted from the back wheel, followed by the endcap of the QR (non-lever side) being blown off, leaving just 3mm of the 20mm of thread on the spindle!

I took the bike home and rode to work on my motorbike. I purchased a set of QR skewers at Evans Brighton. Once I got home, I set about dismantling and re-packing again. I had a suspicion that I’d not fully tightened the QR when the bike was in the stand (planning to do so when the bike was on the floor but forgetting), so made sure that didn’t happen this time. The wheel span freely and a test ride of just over a mile was uneventful.

My first proper ride was the 7.3 mile ride to work, which went swimmingly, except for the bike feeling, I guess, ‘tired’. This was a hardtail on semi-slicks, yet compared to my Kitsune, felt quite sluggish. My average speed was significantly lower for the same stretch of road than when on the Kitsune with its 2.1″ knobblies, and full suss, which I generally leave active for the commute. The saddle was too low, so I bought a new multi tool at Evans Brighton.

I left in the evening after adjusting the saddle, and only got 1.25 miles when exactly the same happened to the rear wheel again – another QR skewer exploded. I locked the bike, bussed home and picked the bike up in the car. 

I’d decided by now that a new wheel was in order, and had found a single-walled basic model in Evans. But as Halfords was on my route home, I popped in there to see what they had.. I wanted the bike sorted, ready for another commute the next day.

They only had a £50 model.. quite a jump price wise, but it was double-walked, with a disk brake hub and a skewer. Since a new skewer was needed anyway, I figured the price was justified and purchased, installing the wheel that night.

I rode to work the next day, with the rear wheel behaving. However, more issues were soon to rear their ugly head with the commute home.. TBC!

2003 Kona Fire Mountain 

I rescued my Fire Mountain from my parents shed in Jan 2017, after what I estimate to be ten years.

The original plan was to use it to practise bike mechanics on. This then evolved into getting it running again for use as a commuting bike.

I also wanted to get it running for minimal cash outlay. That went by the wayside though!

The bike had been stored with wheels off, with the fork legs, chainset and rear derailleur possibly bearing weight at some point throughout that time.

The chain was rusty (but not seized), the handlebar grips had basically disintegrated, the shifters had that vagueness about them, the cables were shot, and there was play in the rear wheel.

I started off with a trip to ‘Cranks Bikes’, a cool not-for-profit in Brighton which has a great stock of second hand parts, as well as some new.

I purchased two tyres, two inner tubes, handlebar grips, a set of DMR V8’s, brake inners and outers with associated ferrules and crimps, a QR seatpost clamp.. and probably some other stuff.. for £30. Bargain.

I dismantled the front v brake and fully lubed it up, but couldn’t get it working satisfactorily, so bought a new one, a ‘Clarks’ from Halfords.

I dismantled the rear hub, re-packed and re-greased the bearings.

That has led to some dramas, along with the crankset causing issues, necessitating replacement.. other posts to come on those!