Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sydney: Changes & Maintenance

It might seem that I'm still doing nothing, but I have been out of Sydney for a camp. The main purpose was to test all my new gear out. It went reasonably well. As expected, there were some issues, and the trip was ultimately cut short due to dental problems. But it was enough time to be comfortable with some of my changes, and convince me that other things needed to change.
Principally I carried too much gear with me again. Part of this was as I was testing various items. Part of it was my old problem; just carrying way too much that is really not needed. Still working on this.  More in a later post on my new gear set.

After the trip, the Kmart Bike needed some work. Logged about 600km on it so far. Rear tire was bald by this time. I could probably get a few hundred kilometres more out of it, but the puncture rate would increase. No way would I get to Cairns on it. I doubt that it would make it to Tamworth. So far it hadn't punctured, but it was only a matter of time. The front tire holed as the rim tape had moved, or was never over the spoke nipples to start with. When I removed the rear wheel, the rim tape was twisted and not covering the spoke nipples that well either. So was only going to be a matter of time before that tube punctured.

Changes: Replaced the 9kg weight limited rack with a 25kg one found in a council clean up. A lucky find. Still in its packet, but missing the small mounting hardware. This rack is lighter and stronger than the ebay rack I purchased.  Changed the rim tape on both tires to Zefal cloth tape, changed both tires to Schwalbe Marathon Tour Plus.  Tires are consumables. But it still amuses me that each tire is almost the cost of the bike.  Added a Mirrcyle MTB Mirror as the previous one was just too dark to see well out of, and vibrated too much to be useful. Bar ends found in a garage sale for $2 completed the changes. 

Maintenance: The bottom bracket was a bit loose, so I pulled it out for a clean and grease at the same time. Was a surprising amount of metal shavings in there - probably from the frame. The bearing surfaces and bearings were still in good shape. Contrary to previous reports on the web, there was a fair bit of grease on the bearings. Still, I cleaned it all off and replaced it. There are no dust seals on the crank, and through the gap in the cups, you can see the bearings rolling around. I added my own dust seal on both sides. 
I wrapped a bit more cotton string around at this point. The cotton string was thinner and tightened up more. This should slow dirt, dust and water entry into the bearings.  The thick thread above is large enough to not travel into the gap between the spindle and cup, and so not get caught up in the bearing.  Smaller thread just holds this tight on the spindle.  I've not pulled apart the wheel bearings yet, but maybe I should. They have grease visible outside the bearings, so I'm hopeful that there is grease inside.