Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mountain Bike Woes. DIY to the almost rescue.

So I have been feeling pretty good lately fixing things.   Tells me what to do...and I do it!Knowledge is power and can save you tons of money if you know what you are doing.  And..The only way to learn how to do things is to do them on your own….with your own hands, so to say.   You tube has been a wonderful teacher in some regards whenever I encounter a task I have never had to deal with before.   So lets start at the beginning, shall we?

Tire rubbing on frame is NOT good! While oiling up my bike chain a few days ago, I noticed the rear tire was out of tune.   Namely:  It wobbled and rubbed on my rear brake.   I’m not sure how long it has been like this, but I have noticed it locking up whenever I’m about to put the bike away.   I watch a quick YouTube video to see how it can be fixed. 

EASY!   Just take a spoke wrench and tighten or loosen the spokes on the side that wobbles!    Even a grade-schooler could do this. Grade school power Oh!  One warning!   Don’t used anything except a spoke wench.  Especially needle-nose pliers!

Okaaaaay    So  I have no spoke wench in my possession.  But they are Cheap, right?   And I will probably need them at a later date if thisSpoke wrench to the rescue! situation happens again.  No need to pay for a bike mechanic to do something so easy.

$10 later…I have a universal spoke wrench….Not as cheap as I would have liked…but still cheaper than the mechanic and I can do it at home and have it ready by tomorrow.   Piece of cake!

It’s funny though…it is not truing up!   I turn the spokes and they continue to rub.  Am I turning it the wrong way?   Did I get it right? this is what happens when you overtighten a spoke.


Finally,  I feel I’m making progress…..and “POOF!”   FSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST    I pop the inner tube. Nice! 

All the tings you need to fix a flat.....except an air pump Now I have no inner tube repair kit in my possession!   Other than irritating,  this is ok.   I know they are cheap and are available at just about any hardware or target store.   I’ll grab one tomorrow and fix the flat….I at least have an air compressor. That is when I realize the issue with the spokes. Shiny new spokes....

The reason it was not truing up was because two spokes were broke!    I quickly go back to YouTube and find “spoke replacement” videos.    It looks EASY Even a trained Monkey could do it!  No need to pay an expensive mechanic to do something you can do at home.  And HEY!  I already have the spoke wrench! Trained Monkey power.   ( ok,   technically an ape.)

However…I still need the two replacement spokes and those are sold only at the bike store.  And I need another tool to get the rear tire cogset off.     But that is ok,  they are Cheap Cogset.  Remove this to get to the spokes.And I will probably need it later if this situation happens again….Piece of cake!

So…Up and early the next day….Travel to bike shop.   I bring in the broken spokes I'm still doing what YouTube tells me. ( because YouTube told me to!)  I also bring in the entire rim….( because YouTube told me to!)   I explain the situation,  show off the damaged parts.   Ask what Cogset tool I need.   Everything looks good.  They give me two shiny new spokes, an inner tube repair kit, and a cogset removal tool.   All for only $20!   Hmmmmmm..   We are approaching the point where a mechanic might have done it for cheaper….But I reason that I have all these REALLY COOL TOOLS to clutter up my area and hodge podge tool box.   And I will now be able to fix this problem over and over again

Take tire to auto shop to get cogset off. We get home.     30 minutes later!  ( Not an exaggeration!) I end up going to the local mechanic to have them air hammer the cogset off.   Even though  I have the proper tool,  I lack the herculean strength to get the cogset off.  It’s ok….the mechanic hammers it off in two seconds  and we are back on track!    2 hours later!   ( Not an exaggeration!)  The spokes are not threading onto the rim nuts ( called nipples)   Stop laughing,  that is their true name. 

I struggle over and over,  threading them onto other spokes and other nipples on the new ones.  FINALLY  I realize the spokes…..ARE THE WRONG SIZE!  

Spoke_Length 3 mm shortA mere 3 MM is keeping me from completion of the job.   By now  Cheryl is looking at me as if I’m a crazy person,   Which I am.  I brought in the very spokes that were broke so they could match them up properly ( just like YouTube told me to do!) You tube even warned me about the customer service issues. Now the cost of going BACK to Iowa City to replace the spokes…again!  will end up costing even MORE money.   Even I can’t defend this now.    Even I have to admit that just dropping it off at the mechanic would have ultimately been cheaper. 

So now….are you still with me?    We run into the shop an hour before they close  ( it is late now)  and grab the correct spokes.   I assemble the rim in the car as Cheryl drives.    ( Apparently, by this time,  I am too “angry” to drive safely)   It’s ok….Even A trained dog with no opposable thumbs can do thisNo need for opposable thumbs here! There is no need to take it to the mechanic at this point…..The damage to my ego and logic is so catastrophic that no one else can repair it except me. 



I'm still confused about this one,  The cliche' never made any sense either. 10 minutes later….the spokes are on; the tire is on;  the tire spins true; and the flat is repaired!  Hurray!   It only took 6 hours of lead up time to get to this point. Think of all the money I WILL save if this situation ever happens again.   I’m forward thinking here!   It’s best to prepare for a future of failure.  

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