In depth post #5: A lot of stuff happens

As the title says, a lot of stuff happens in this post, so I can not go into much detail for each part of the update.

To start, after ordering a box of parts off chain reaction, they finally came in! This is the most excited I’ve ever been for a parcel, since the mail at my house is usually advertisements. Within the depths of a bubble wrap filled box, lay my zee shifter and derailleur, my answer protaper bars, and a crown race. I’ve already covered the bars and derailleur in previous posts, so I’ll just cover the crown race. A crown race looks simple enough, it’s just a metal disc. However, it is crucial to building the bike. I crown race is put onto the fork where it slides into the frame, and the lips around the middle slot into the head tube of the frame. The head tube on the driver 8, with a chris-king headset, is tapered at the bottom, so the crown race fills the gap where it is tapered so that it is a smooth tube for the fork to slide into. I’ve been able to put on all the parts, so my bike now has a nearly complete front end, as well as shifting capabilities (but no chain).

Next up is the stem, the piece on the front of the bike that holds the bars to the fork. This piece, although small, can have a drastic effect on the bike. Because it has the bars attached to it, the shape of the stem can change where the bars are, causing the rider to be leaned further forward or further back. The stem that I had chosen was a Raceface Atlas. This stem is quite nice looking, however many people are not big fans of it because of it’s geometry, which is odd compared to other stems. This means that if you are used to another style of stem, and you switch to this one, the bike will feel foreign to you when you ride it. However, I’m not used to any particular stem, so switching to it should be easy enough for me. I ended up finding one on pinkbike for $50, marked down from the usual $95 U.S. The stem had been up for sale for quite some time, and I thought that the person had just forgotten to take it down. Luckily, that was not the case, and it was just that nobody else wanted to buy it.

And last, I found a Driver 8 for sale at a bike shop in Kelowna. This is actually a quite rare occurance, since the Diver 8 is a discontinued frame, and has been for a few years now. This is the first Driver 8 that I’ve seen for sale, so I decided to check the price tag. This Driver 8 was a 2012 model, whereas mine is a 2011. However, the price was at $3800. On sale. The regular price was $5000, I’m guessing they marked it down since it’s outdated. The components that were on the frame were not the exact same as mine, however in terms of performance they were nearly identical. Essentially, I’m going to be making the same quality and style of bike, and I’m estimating that it will cost around $2000 dollars. This means that by building the bike myself, I could be saving a whopping $3000. That’s more money than I even have total, make it the full $5000 and I definitely wouldn’t be able to afford to get a bike like that. In short, learning how to do things yourself is the way to go.

Moving on to mentoring, I had another session with Dave in his shop. This time around, it started off with trueing the wheels of a few customers just as a check to make sure that I had the technique solidified. After, I helped Dave clean up a customers’ bike before moving on to my own bike. For this session with Dave, I would be bleeding my brakes. Hydruaulic brakes like the ones I have, which are common on most mountain bikes, are a bit more complex than the standard V brakes. A V brake is a very elementary systems, involving a wire attached to a lever, that when pulled, pulls in two pads towards the rim of the wheel. When the pads make contact, the create friction and slow the bike. Although practical, these brakes do not offer a lot of stopping power, and once the rim gets wet they can no longer create friction, rendering them nearly useless. On any bike that needs stopping power, you will commonly see disc brakes. A disc brake uses hydraulic fluid, which gets compressed by the brake lever. This compression forces the fluid to the other end of the brake line, which is attached to a series of pistons attached to pads. The fluid forces the pistons to move upwards, which creates contact between the pads and a disc that is attached to the hub of the wheel. Because the disc is designed for stopping a bike, unlike the rim, these pads can be created to be much more abrasive, and This makes the brakes much more effective.

The downside to these brakes is that the hydraulic fluid needs to be replaced after riding with it, since air leaks will sometimes get into the fluid, causing the brakes to create less pressure. TO fix this, the brakes need to be bled. Bleeding requires different tools for different brands of brakes. My brakes are Avids, which are generally considered harder to bleed, however Dave has more experience with Avids than any other brake type. Dave bled the back brake first for a demonstration, then I bled the front brake. Bleeding Avid brakes requires two syringes with different quantities of hydraulic fluid in them. The syringes are attached to either end of the brake line, and are screwed in to prevent leaking. The syringes are then used to push the fluid back and forth, which helps release any air bubbles into the syringes. Once the bubbles are gone, the fluid is forced into the brake line, before the holes for the syringes are resealed to prevent any further leaking. Although this process may seem relatively simple on paper, actually doing it is much more difficult since the fluid is highly corrosive, and must be handled very carefully. After cleaning up the bike, I concluded my day with Dave and left the bike in his storage room to be worked on another day.

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