Friday, October 26, 2012

F29 Fork Rebuild - The Daily Grind

   Get ready for a detail post! So my fork has been increasingly acting like a pogo stick as of late. I did a little research for it and learned that changing of the seals and oil can not only improve performance, it will prolong the life of your fork! First, I ordered a seal kit for my fork, the painfully long-named 'Fox F29 FIT RLC'. In order to get at the guts of the fork, I first had to take off a top cap:

Right side top cap

The problem I had with the top cap was that it has a very low profile wrench flats, and a large socket has a lip on the bottom:
Cutaway of socket

The top cap is soft (light) aluminum, and if you try to use a wrench or something, it is likely you'll damage the top cap. What I ended up doing was grinding off the top of the socket so that the tool and the top cap would match perfectly:

Grinders are FUN

With this set up, the tool matched up well and the top caps came off easily.

Matching up well!

Removing the top cap

Ready for the next step!

 I'm going to spare you the next few steps, but rest assured that it involved pulling all the parts out of the  forks, cleaning them up, and then putting it back together. I replaced the seals, which keep the oil on the right side of the fork.  Finally, I filled the fork with all new oil.

Half way through deconstruction

Once everything was apart, it wasn't too much work to clean and re-lube everything. The seal kit only consisted of two seals and two foam washers, and Fox's web site had great step by step instructions on how to tackle it all. Threw everything back together, and after a couple rides, I really noticed the difference!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lance Officially Stripped of Titles

   In the news this morning you may have read that the UCI accepted the punishments imposed by the USADA, and will not fight it. The UCI is the sanctioning body of the Tour de France, and they are the final word in the Tour titles. A few weeks ago the USADA found Lance guilty of participating in a complicated doping ring. On the heels of the USADA ruling Lance resigned from the CEO of Livestrong, his Cancer foundation, and was dropped by notable sponsors Nike and Oakley. Even Trek jumped ship from the Lance train.

   The head of the UCI Pat McQuaid said, "Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling. He deserves to be forgotten." This guy's feelings aren't hidden.

   I'm torn on this, because I like Lance, I like a guy who wins a shitload. I like Jeremy McGrath. I like Dale Earnhardt. Who doesn't like to see winners? Well, not Pat. Anyways, this is the end of the era of Lance, The French must be freaking thrilled.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chain Tensioner - Now With More Zip Ties

Normally, this kind of chain tensioner pushes down on the chain. This person has flipped the trend on it's head! The chain is held up from the bottom. The spring in the tensioner is pointless when used like this, but the zip ties hold everything in place!

Doesn't have to be pretty!

Ah, ingenuity! This cleans things up nicely and since there's more chain on the cog, there's les chance of throwing the chain. Not that that's a concern on a bar bike. Next question: What is that triangle plate for? No ideas here...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

BMX Loses an Icon

Sad news from on the BMX front. Kyle Bennett, a professional BMX racer and 2008 Olympian was killed in a car accident yesterday.

World Championships

Kyle was one of the fastest racers for the last 10 years, racing at the highest levels. He was known for being a smooth, powerful rider and very fast rider. 

Thoughts and hearts to his family and friends. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rear Wheel Rebuild

I noticed that my back wheel has had a bit of play in it recently, and I thought it would make a good post! First off: What was going wrong? Well, the rear hub is made up of the axle, the axle hardware, the bearings and the hub. Graphic time!

The hub rests on the bearings, and the bearings rest on the cones, and finally the cones thread onto the axle.  In this cutaway, you can see that the weight of the bike rests entirely on the bearings. Crazy. Anyway, the looseness that you can feel is when the bearings are not tightly held between the cones and the hub. This is bad! It can damage the hub. 
   So, first thing that we do is take off the cassette. To do this we use a special tool that fits into the lock ring. When turning left however, the freewheel turns too. To hold the freewheel in place (and avoid hamburger hands) you use a tool called a chain whip:

Cassette removal

With the cassette off, we can disassemble the axle hardware. I usually line up the hardware in order so I don't forget the order.

Left to Right

I should point out that normally when I do this, I take off the NON drive side, there's far less hardware. I was cleaning everything, so all hardware came off. Once all the nuts, cones and washers were off, I could spy the (very dirty) bearings.

Needs cleaning big time

Poke all the bearings out, and into the cleaning frisbee they go!

Next, clean out the nasty-ass grease and smear in some fresh grease. I put enough grease in so that when I pop the bearings in they will stay put. You can kind of see the bearings held in place by the grease in the next shot:

Greased up like a pig

It's important to be sure the bearings are all covered in grease, this will ensure smooth operation and keep water out. Reassemble is the reverse of disassembly. At this point it's important to be sure to get the bearings in snugly to remove the play that caused this rebuild in the first place. It's also important not to tighten it too tight or the wheel won't turn!

Lastly, I took some break cleaner to my rotor, because I'd been touching it with greasy fingers, and you don't want to get grease on the brake pads. So, little squirt squirt, wipe wipe, all set.

Picture probably not necessary

That's about it! This is one of those projects that, once done a few times, is a very comfortable thing to do. Even fun I'd say!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Aero Tires

One of the cooler things that we saw at the last stage of the PCC was a tire with aerodynamic consideration. How do you aero a tire, you ask? Well, the one we saw has a little piece of rubber between the leading edge of the tire and the rim. Oh man, time for another graphic:

Wing shown in red

Every little bit of smoothing of the airflow over the bike helps, and as the the tires, especially the front, are the leading edge of the bike, this could smooth things out nicely.

Aero area highlighted

One company on the edge of this is Bontrager, and their Air Wing tire. It is  pretty cool design, and they claim all sorts of advantages, naturally. This kind of application is only useful in a high end road race or time trial race. But hey, the trickle down may soon see these on even the commonest of our bar bikes!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Interbike: 20mm BMX?

Many legitimate cycling blogs are reporting on the various products at Interbike in Las Vagas recently. Man, how fun would it have been to go to this event?! Well, USABMX did a great image set which included these cool forks. Things to notice? The massive droout:

OS Dropouts

Here's a closeup of the dropout in question:

Big and open

A lot of bikes are going towards larger front axles, especially when stiffness is important. Many jumping and DH bikes already have these integrated. I can only imagine that adding a stiffer axle to an already short, stiff front end of a BMX bike must make the thing very responsive!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mad Fiber Carbon Spokes

When I think of carbon spokes, this sad image usually comes to mind:

Ah, the cursed R-Sys. Mavic has some awesome wheels, but this one apparently had some problems in the not-exploding department. Enter Mad Fiber. These wheels rely on the idea of a more cohesive unit. Traditional wheels consist of rims, nipples, spokes and hubs. For a 24 spoke wheel, we're talking about more than 50 parts to a single wheel. The folks at Mad Carbon designed their wheels as a "a one-piece tensioned structure fused into a single cohesive unit" Check it out:

Teh Future!!!!

Not convinced? Well, let me show you some detailed images:

Assembly close up

Front hub and spokes

I'll let you recover after seeing those awesome pictures. Ready to move on? Great. So the design of these is pretty interesting - the hub and rim are linked by flat carbon fiber woven and bonded right to them. My primary concern as a bigger guy would be how to true them, but it sounds like they're so strong it's not an issue. In fact they claim a 700 pound static load limit, and no rider weight limit. The kicker? 1,085 grams for both wheels. Compare that to my Mavic Ksyriums at 1600g and my sweet babies, the Zipp 404's at 1278g they're quite impressive! And at only $2600 a pair, we can all afford a set!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

But Why POM?

I have been hitting up a local set of trails in the last couple weeks, and it's time to share! This ride is a great one, start with a road climb, then about 10 miles of trail, and finishes over Poor Man Road:

The map in my head

When you don't listen to music and you ride alone, you have a lot of time to think. I was thinking if what I was going to christen this fun new ride, and I though, well, two loops, kind of looks like a Pom Bottle:

Kind of like this, right?

After looking at the map on a GPS though, it looks nothing like a pom bottle. It looks more like... Denmark on top of Germany. 

My geography is also not good

Anyway, this is what I had in mind, and I think it'll stay that way. Pom. Get used to hearing it - I'm sure the pro's will pick it up soon.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tubular Tires for a Clincher Rim

Was up at Geoff's new place the other day and stopped in a small bike shop to check the place out. it's called Chocolate Spokes Bike Studio and it's right across from Geoff and Amy's and liquor store. What more could you ask for!? The guy inside was nice and showed us this pretty cool tire I'd never seen before:

Teh future?

 This is a tubular tire made to go onto a clincher rim. A tubular tire is a tube, completely enclosed in a tire that you glue onto a smooth rim surface. The alternative, what most people are familiar with, is an open tire that seats on the hooked edges of the rim with a tube stuffed inside it. Graphic? You bet:

Clincher                                   Tubular

Tubulars are lighter and can hold more air pressure, but are more expensive and (arguably) harder to change. Anyway, Now you can get a tubular tire, that will work on a clincher rim. Pretty cool if you're looking for the advantages of a tubular without having to get new wheels.