In Depth Post #6: Even more stuff happens

DSC_0261Once again I’m going to be making a massive text dump where I do over all the things I haven’t had time to mention. This post won’t go into a lot of detail since it’s an extra, it’s more just to show what’s been happening.

When I left off I was in Kelowna, where the water taste weird and as I found out the bikes are just as expensive as anywhere else. Now I’m back at home, and my first order of business is to collect even more parts. This time, I’ll be ordering them through my (old) mentor at his shop. This includes a chain, cassette, brake line, and a chainring. Here’s a breakdown of what these parts are:

Chain: pretty basic, interlocking pieces of metal the have slots which fit into gears, not like an anchor chain, it’s like a skinny motorbike chain.

Cassette: gears lined up beside each other, smallest on the outside and biggest on the inside, placed on the hub of the back wheel. The smaller the gear, the harder it is to pedal, but the higher speeds you can achieve. The cassette that I’m getting is a VERY high quality one, meaning it costs more but it will last longer and feel better.

Chainring: The chainring is the gear on the front end of the chain, attached to the cranks. The smaller this gear is, the easier it is to pedal. This is the opposite of the cassette. The chain ring I’m getting is a new style called a narrow wide. On the chain, each slot for the gear’s teeth are not the same size. They alternate small and large. Because of this, the chainring needs to be shaped to fit into the small slots, and the large slots end up falling off some time because there’s too much space. This means you usually need a chain guide to hold the chain in place, however this causes drag and makes the chain much less smooth. The narrow wide chainring fixes this by having a narrow slot followed by a wide slot, which helps hold the chain in place, reducing the need for a chain guide.

Around this time, I began building my first wheel (remember, this is before my new mentor). The wheel I started on was an old rim we had sitting around, with some equally old spokes. Following a guide I found online, I failed miserably a few times. After lacing it incorrectly, I eventually got it as round as I could. This is when I found out the rim was cracked, and it would have been impossible to finish building it anyways. Good enough for the first try I guess…

After building the rim, I moved on to repainting my fork. I started out by taking the lowers off the stanchions, since paint on the stanchions could do sever damage. Once the lowers were off, I pulled off the nasty old decals and cleaned off all the caked on dirt. Once the lowers were thoroughly cleaned with rubbing alcohol, I sanded down all the major scratches too make sure everything was smooth. After this, I filled the scratches and gouges with an sort of liquid metal, an epoxy that hardens upon application. I then sanded the entire fork with a small grain piece of sand paper, which make the fork a little bit rough so that the paint would stick. I then got out the spray paint, and put on about six coats. A few days later, I found it still needed more paint, and some pars were uneven. I sanded down some of the paint, and made another attempt. I did this three times before getting it finished.

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After painting it and letting it dry, I applied the new decals. This was an absolute pain to put on straight with no air bubbles. i found that the trick was to lay down just the corner, the get a piece of firm rubber like a spatula to press it down to get rid of air bubbles. Once the decals were on I got a large sheet of 3M car paint protector,  a thin. clear plastic wrap designed to protect the paint of cars in curved ares. This was an ideal material for me, since it was designed to go around bends. However, it was even harder to apply than the decals, and I found that although it worked fine along large bends, it couldn’t wrap around smaller bends very well. Eventually I got the forks covered in a bit of an awkward fashion by using small strips instead of big pieces, which means it doesn’t look as good but is protected better.

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A few days after finishing painting the fork, I got a call from Maple Ridge Cycle saying they got all my parts in. When I came in though, I found that the chain ring was on back-order so I couldn’t get it, and they had accidentally sold my chain, meaning the only parts I could get was the cassette and the brake line. However, I will be able to get the other parts within a week.

Next I built my second wheel, this one would be put onto the bike so I had to do it right (back wheel). When i was lacing the spokes, I made a stop motion animation for the presentation at the in depth night. This made the process more drawn out, but I still ended up finishing it within the day. One issue I faced though is that the spokes are slightly too long, but the rim is double walled, meaning I had extra room so the spokes didn’t poke all the way through. The front wheel doesn’t need to be rebuilt yet, since it already has a good hub in it.

Next up I was able to put on my cassette, bars, headset, grips, cranks and chain ring. The bolts that came with the cranks are slightly too long for the chain ring, but they should work so I put them on anyways. I also got a set of pedals from Overtime Sports on a massive discount, from the regular $85 to $50. I tried putting the brakes on, but it turns out the adapter for the front bike is oddly sized, meaning it doesn’t fit properly. It still works enough to test the bike, but I need to change it at some point. The bike has no chain yet, so I can’t really ride it.

Moving on to mentoring, I had my last session with Dave. This time, we would be re-cutting the bottom bracket. This isn’t a necessary procedure, but it’s still good to have it done. I would have never been able to do it at home, since the tool cost over a thousand dollars, and without Dave I would have had no clue how to do it. The tool is simple enough, it’s two handles on either end of a bar with cutting pieces on them. The reason it’s so expensive is because of how precise it needs to be. The idea behind it is that is cuts new threads into the frame, so that the bottom bracket fits in perfectly straight. Factory made frames aren’t always precise, so doing this is always a good idea. The tool is very finicky, and if you put it in the wrong side, it will ruin your frame. First you chase the threads, meaning you put the tool in and cut new threads, making it much more aligned with the frame. Next you face it, meaning you cut the lips of the frame so that they are flat, meaning the bottom bracket will not be able to go in crooked. After finishing, I had to make sure that all the pieces got cleaned out properly, since the little shards of metal left from cutting could damage the bike. This concluded my (so far) final day of being mentored by Dave.

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