Happy MALentine’s Day

So, Valentine weekend has now come to an end. Valentine’s Day was this past Thursday. Some of you may have chosen to make a long weekend out of it. You obviously do not have kids, are not married, or, if you are sentenced to life, you have served less than 10 years of that marital sentence. You blew hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars on a created holiday to get you to do just that. You should have spent that money on something that will give you more pleasure — bike shit. Thankfully, my wife hates roses, hates ’em. I don’t have to buy her chocolates either because she, like most women, wants to lose that last 5 pounds before beach weather hits. I got the kids to create a card out of construction paper, white glue, macaroni, rainbow flakes, pixie dust, phoenix feathers, kraken scales, and unicorn. . . corns. Voila! Valentine’s Day handled. Unlike my friend, poor Captain Cranium, I get sexytime with the missus more than just my birthday and Christmas. So who needs this made-up holiday?

Let’s celebrate Malentine’s day. Malentine, the patron saint of pet peeves. Mal, from the Latin meaning bad, ill, or wrong. The following list of irritants are all bad, wrong, and make me ill:

1. Wearing bike clothes to the trailhead. Perhaps this came from my years of organized team sports. We would wear a shirt and tie, get on a bus, travel to the den of our opponent, then get dressed for battle. Now I’m not suggesting you wear your Sunday best prior to riding your bike, but for comfort’s sake, don’t wear your entire riding kit in the car. Nevermind looking like a dork-on-wheels (that’s what you are) sitting at the 241 toll plaza with your neon sublimated cycling jersey on. You’re then going to wear that sweat crusted, stinky, muddy, bloodied, Cytomax sticky, wet rag home. How hard is it to put on a clean t-shirt? Don’t tell me you are afraid of forgetting something so you get dressed at home knowing you have everything. You are an adult aren’t you? Why not just put on your helmet, gloves, and clipless shoes on at home too? I’ll grant you a tiny bit of leeway and allow you to wear your cycling shorts. Afterall, I wouldn’t want you fumbling next to your car with a towel around your waist, trying to pull down your tightie-whities, all the while terrified that said towel with catch a gust and expose your little cheeto.

2. Pre-ride bike repair. Now that you are dressed and ready to go, the rest of us begin to pedal off when you yell out to us, “Any of you guys have a pump, chain lube, Park T-handle wrench set, bearing press, or fitness I can borrow?” You knew you were riding today, right? Too busy last night catching up on this season’s The Bachelor to make sure your bike was ready to go? So you had the forethought to bring your own pump, lube, and tool set with you so as not to ask us. Use that forethought to take care of any maintenance at home. Don’t lube your chain right there before we set off either. You should know how I feel about that.

3. Dumping grounds. Okay, done dumping on you, let’s ride. WTF! Great Odin’s Raven (been watching Anchorman) look at all the trash strewn about. I hate those lazy mofos who use any bit of open land just off the road for their own dumping grounds. Sure, this looks like a great spot to dump all your shit that is too large or awkward to just leave at the curb. Even Jules and Vincent took their trash with them to dispose of properly. Or, the savages who, when on their “nature hike,” just toss their Red Bull can or Starbucks cup into the sagebrush. The only positive I can find — on a recent exploratory ride I was unsure which way would lead me back to the main road. How did I find my way out? I saw a discarded mattress, sofa, 2 t.v.s, fridge, and decomposing body. I followed the trash. The piles grew bigger and bigger then bam, civilization. Even pot farmers and coke producers pick up after themselves.

trailside trash

4. Mix and don’t match. Pick a component, any component, and stick with it. Shimano begets Shimano, Sram begets Sram, Thomson begets Thomson, so on. Your bike is so bitchin with its Shimano cranks, Sram shifters and derailleurs, Thomson seatpost, FSA stem, Easton bars, etc. Buy your bike, ride the crap out of it. When you know better, spend more, and become enlightened, stick with a manufacturer.

5. Sitting backwards. So you’re all high on yourself now because you just installed a Thomson seatpost and Thomson stem. One thing smartguy, your post is backwards. Is that why you don’t change at the trailhead? Afraid when you put on your pants the fly will be in the back?

The Right Way
The Right Way

Don’t worry, I’m not one to make fun of you behind your back. If you fit into any of the above bonehead categories I’ll call you out to your face (then make fun of you behind your back). Happy Valentine’s Day.

Knowing your mechanical limits

I consider myself pretty mechanically inclined. Whether it’s wrenching on my own bikes, cars or even assembling furniture we bought at Ikea, I can do it without any hesitation.

However, in some of my mechanical endeavors, there’s a limit on what I’m willing to take on due to the fact that I can easily get myself in more trouble than I wish to take on.

For example, with my vehicles. I can do brakes, belts, water pump, install tires (yes I know how to mount and balance)basic lighting and a few other things that helps save me money since I can do these simple repairs at home (except the tire mounting thing). But for what I call “BIG” jobs such as timing belt, valves, head gasket or anything that requires me opening up the actual engine, then I leave that to the professionals.
The same thing goes for bikes. I can pretty much do about 90% of bicycle repairs. But I can’t build wheels. I’ve rebuilt shocks and forks, those are actually easier than you would imagine since half the time all you have to do is swap out o-rings and seals. However, I know my limits. I recall as a young kid, I had a BMX bike that I took the rear wheel and removed all the spokes. I then tried to re-lace it back together. Needless to say, I couldn’t ride my bike for weeks until I ended up buying a new wheel…

How to Fix a Creaking Bottom Bracket

From time to time my bikes will eventually start creaking. Usually it comes from the bottom bracket (BB). So with that said I decided to create this “How To” with the Sette Reken Single Speed. I did notice that my BB was creaking all throughout my last ride. This morning I placed the bike on the stand and started working.

First step, get an 8mm allen and remove the crank bolt by turning counter clockwise.

Then I grabbed my Ice Toolz crank puller and removed the crank arms.

Notice how filthy this bike is…this is actually a good time for you to clean up the whole area. I’m using a light degreaser to remove any grime and dirt that’s stuck. Cleaning this area will help prevent grit from getting into the threads of the BB shell

After cleaning the area, I grabbed my Ice Toolz BB tool. You’ll need to remove the non-drive side first by turning counter clock wise, or towards the front wheel.

Once you remove the non drive cup, you’ll need to remove the drive side cup. This time you’ll turn clockwise, again towards the front wheel.

When the BB has been fully removed, I sprayed some degreaser all over the shell and wiped it clean with a rag. Once you have both the BB shell and the actual BB clean, its time to reinstall. Get some grease and apply it on the threads on the frame and some on the threads on the BB.

What I like to do is thread in the non drive side about half way through, then thread in the drive side all the way in until its tight. You’ll need to go back to the non drive side and tighten that until its snug.

Clean up any excess grease that may come out, then reinstall the crank arms and you’re ready to roll. This whole process only took me about 15 minutes to complete the job. If you have any questions about this tech tip, or would like to see other tips be done, then just leave us a comment below.

PVC Pipe as a Crown Race Setter

I took a note from our very own Jack “Ghost Rider” Sweeney’s article about home made tools. But rather than following his steps whole heartedly, I kinda ghetto-fied it and just used this 2″ PVC pipe cut to about 10″ long.

I needed to set a crown race on one of my forks this morning and used a pipe that I had laying around the garage. I slid it down to the race.

Made sure it was lined up, gave it a good whack with an old seat post, I’m sure a hammer would have worked just fine, but I couldn’t find it. Not bad eh? After setting the race, I installed the fork.

If you check out Jack’s article he’ll even show you how to make your own headset press.

Are you working on your own bike yet? Or are you still paying someone to do it for you?

Ok this letter is directed to some of you people that are STILL taking your bikes to you the LBS. Sure there’s valid reasons why you need to take a bike to the LBS for some repairs or services such as “I like to get reamed when paying for a tune up.” People also take their bikes to get their wallets emptied to “change a flat.”

In reality, if you have a set of these…

and these…then you’re pretty much going the right direction.

Here’s the thing, about 85-90% of all mechanical problems that occur with your bike, you can fix! Seriously, there’s no need to spend your cashola just to have some teen age kid or a guy that still lives at home to fix your bike.

All you need are some basic tools such as a set of allen wrenches, bottom bracket tool, cotter less crank remover, diagonal cutters, pliers, chain whip, cassette remover and a bottle opener, that’s for the beer!

You can actually get a decent home mechanic tool set from places like Pricepoint.com or Nashbar.com

The best thing to do is get one of those kits that I mentioned from either retailer, just consider it as an investment. Then watch or read some of our Tech Tips, or get a buddy to show you how to fix things, better yet, get a DVD that shows you how to repair bikes. Fixing bikes isn’t rocket science. You’d have to be really We Todd Did if you can’t figure out how to tune a derailleur, its really simple. Just like with anything, the first time can be apprehensive, but with a bit more practice, you can start saving some major dough and start socking that money away for your kids college fund or towards your dreams…a Monkey Space Ship!

How to Service a Freewheel

A while back Moe and I were talking about the freewheel on his Single Speed 29er. He mentioned that he was getting some dirt and grit in there and wanted to know how to service it. So after contacting our buddy Vince Rodarte of KHS Bicycles, he wrote a very interesting article that schooled me into learning how to service a freewheel.

“Ok, Class, please pay attention!

Mr. Policar! Mr. Policar! AHEM! MR. POLICAR!!!!!…… what would your mother say if I called her to tell her you got sent to the principals office because you can’t keep your hands off of Pricilla’s books??

Ok, well please pay attention!

You’ll need the following tools:

  • Pin Spanner
  • Small flat blade screw driver
  • Small shop hammer
  • Small Magnet (for catching run-away bearings)
  • Solvent (Clean Streak, or something similar)
  • Rags
  • Lube ( I prefer Phil Wood Tenacious Oil)
  • First, take a rag and wrap around the backside of the freewheel.
    Then, while holding the rear wheel with the freewheel facing up. Looking at the freewheel

    ACS Claws Freewheel from Pricepoint.com.

    You’ll notice two pin holes. Using your pin spanner, spin this face cover counter clockwise.

    If it’s too tight use the small screwdriver as a punch and tap it with the hammer until it breaks loose.
    (at this point, your wheel should still be in the “drive side up? orientation)

    Open the face cover just enough to get the spray tube of your solvent (Clean Streak) inside. Spray to your hearts content to flush all the crap and old lube out of the freewheel.

    MAKE SURE YOU DON?T OPEN THE PLATE TOO MUCH, YOU COULD BLAST THE SMALL BEARINGS OUT WITH THE SOLVENT SPRAY!!! (in case this happens, use the magnet to find your bearings)

    Let the solvent evaporate out. Spin the freewheel to loosen anything up and re spray with solvent. Let the solvent evaporate again.

    Finally, use the Phil Wood drip oil and thoroughly lube the freewheel and snug up the face plate. Don’t worry about over tightening. There is a bottom out surface that the plate will contact before crushing the bearings.

    That’s it.

    NOW GO TO RECESS!!!!!!?

    Vincent P. Rodarte
    KHS & Free Agent Bicycles

    Thursday Tech Tip: How to Remove A Crank Arm…or two

    This week’s Thursday Tech Tip was proudly presented by Jeremy Yang. He needed some help with the Redline Mono9’s crank arms. So rather than giving the boy the fish, I taught him how to catch a fish…and placed him in front of the camera for the whole world to see!

    So with out further adieu..I present, Jeremy Yang and this week’s Thursday Tech Tip!

    You can see more Thursday Tech Tips at MtnBikeRidersTV.com