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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 07-31-09, 02:34 AM   #1
Socrate
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1st time flipping hubs. Loose nut. Is this dangerous??

HI!

Please forgive my super noob vocabulary. I'm not sure how much of what I'm saying is obvious, or too vague. My bicycle is a Japanese 2009 Bianchi Pista, with all of the original parts, which you can see here:

09 PISTA DROP BAR

I just flipped my hub from fixed to freewheel for the first time. Well, my LBS flipped it into the freewheel, showed me how to do it, and then later at home I flipped it back. It seems so simple when I watch him do it, but now I'm nervous cycling for any distance.



Look, here's what I'm nervous about. This... black thing (vocabulary???? Sorry) isn't actually hooked tight onto the frame. I didn't tighten it all the way on. The way the LBS showed to put the pieces back together was:

First, you tighten the the 10mm nut on the back, on the RIGHT side, to get the tension right on the chain.

Then, you tighten the same thing on the left side, to center the wheel.

Then, you screw the bolts onto the side tight with the 15mm wrench.

This is good I think! The bolts on the side are really solid! I don't think he explicitly told me to really crank the small ones on, though. But these loose black parts on the back make me so nervous! Of course it's not the actual black piece that I screwed on, it's the tiny 10mm nut, and boy I don't want it to fall off!

Are they okay? Can I tighten them all the way? Did I put them on improperly? Or am I totally off base? THANK YOU, and please tell me where I can be more specific. Also, sorry for the grainy phone camera pictures!



Oh, and one last question: do you see anything wrong with my wrench? Do you recommend I carry around bigger wrenches than this? These things seemed to work fine, on this one and only time I changed a wheel.

THANKYOU!!

Last edited by Socrate; 07-31-09 at 02:50 AM. Reason: Grammar, and I forgot to say THANKYOU... And I made my title clearer.
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Old 07-31-09, 02:49 AM   #2
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What a beautiful bike! That wrench looks about right. If you use large wrenches, there's a danger of over-tightening components and stripping threads. Those black things are presumably adjusters to help in aligning the rear wheel. Many bikes don't have them, although they are useful. Obviously, it's the main spindle nuts that you need to get just right. You could tighten these with a socket fitted to a torque wrench, following the manufacturer's recommended torque settings, although you develop a "feel" for these things after a while. If I had such a lovely bike I was planning to work on, and was inexperienced at mechanics, I'd pay a few pounds/bucks for an old thrift store bike, and spend a few days taking it to bits and servicing it, just to develop the "feel" mentioned above.
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Old 07-31-09, 02:57 AM   #3
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Your description is basically correct - those black things are to adjust the chain tension and wheel alignment while the axle nuts are loose or just lightly snugged. They'll also stop the axle from moving forward under chain tension as your huge, muscular legs pound on the pedals! This is why track frames have the dropout slots open to the rear - chain tension adjustment and so the wheel can't fall out even if the axle loosens and slides. It looks like the tensioners have nuts with nylon inserts (prevents the nut from loosening and falling off under vibration), so if they're loose they won't fall off as you ride. The chain should be as tight as possible without binding - you shouldn't be able to "derail" it by pushing sideways on the chain while turning the cranks. If the chain tension is ok, you can snug the nuts on the tensioners to stop them from rattling. Providing you have normal hand strength, your wrench lookes adequate to me!
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Old 07-31-09, 03:08 AM   #4
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Those are some of the best phone pictures I have seen on bike forums.
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Old 07-31-09, 03:21 AM   #5
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A box or closed end is preferable to an open ended wrench as it is less likely to slip and damage the wheel nuts or frame.

Those little black things are called chain tugs and they help adjust your wheel position and chain tension but are not designed to hold your wheel in place under loads... that is what those toothy little track nuts are for and they need to be torqued down quite firmly.

You should also own a chain whip and lock ring tool so that you can make sure the fixed cog is secure and that the lock ring is always tight... I see you have dual brakes and if you use these and refrain from skidding having the cog spin off is far less likely.

I have seen a lot of hubs damaged because of inadequately tightened cogs and lock rings on fixed gear and also on old coaster bikes that use the same threaded cog and lock ring system.

That appears to be a beautiful bike in just about everyone's favourite colour.
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Old 07-31-09, 03:57 AM   #6
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To paraphrase the National Rifle Association, "wrenches don't slip, people make wrenches slip." Maybe it's just me, but I prefer a wrench like the one in the photo. The lack of offset (as with my ring spanners) makes for much better control. Actually, the wrench I use for tightening wheel nuts was supplied with my mother's BSA Roadster, in the 1930s. It's not as pretty as modern ones, but it's (clearly) substantially built. BTW, do Canadians say "spanners" or "wrenches?"

As for the phone pictures, I blew one of them up and I'm darned if I can find any grain. I'm now about to price one of these bikes, so I may have to sell a family member into slavery, which is probably illegal.
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Old 07-31-09, 04:12 AM   #7
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People who know how to use spanners don't let them slip... newbs (and I mean no disrespect) with spanners cause damage and a box end is less likely to round things off or come loose.

I use a 6 inch Snap On Blue Point English wrench (adjustable) I got from my dad for doing on the road adjustments... it is also thin enough to deal with any pedal.

I use wrench and spanner depending on who I am talking with... most folks here don't know what a spanner is until they hang around me at the shop for a time.
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Old 07-31-09, 04:28 AM   #8
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I really must get an adjustable spanner. Such things were anathema to some old-time mechanics, and I've always been prejudiced against them, but they're jolly useful when you're dealing with old bikes in England, with their arcane thread standards. My pedal spanner is an ancient Whitworth one.
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Old 07-31-09, 07:08 AM   #9
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I carry that same Harbor Freight wrench with me on my Fixed, and have one for my daughter's SS. The 15mm side will also fit pedals w/wide flats.
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Old 07-31-09, 07:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Proofide View Post
I really must get an adjustable spanner. Such things were anathema to some old-time mechanics, and I've always been prejudiced against them, but they're jolly useful when you're dealing with old bikes in England, with their arcane thread standards. My pedal spanner is an ancient Whitworth one.
A problem with adjustable spanners, I mean wrenches, is that cheap crappy ones work poorly. If you find yourself with a cheap crappy one, throw it out.
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Old 07-31-09, 07:25 AM   #11
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Hey, thanks for all the feedback and tips (and the reassurance!) regarding the chain plugs. I'll snug the nuts onto the back to keep them from rattling, like jland suggested.

As for the wrench discussion, I'm glad that there's no pressing need to buy something new. I'm really comfortable using a small set of wrenches, but a box wrench would be nice, and what the hell, maybe I ought to be using an adjustable spanner. Really, it's a helpful discussion! Cool!
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Old 07-31-09, 01:05 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
A problem with adjustable spanners, I mean wrenches, is that cheap crappy ones work poorly. If you find yourself with a cheap crappy one, throw it out.
+1000

The cheap ones are not worth the metal they are made of... this is true for most "sprenches".
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Old 07-31-09, 01:12 PM   #13
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Old 07-31-09, 01:49 PM   #14
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.........The chain should be as tight as possible without binding - you shouldn't be able to "derail" it by pushing sideways on the chain while turning the cranks. If the chain tension is ok, you can snug the nuts on the tensioners to stop them from rattling. Providing you have normal hand strength, your wrench lookes adequate to me!
No, you can prematurely wear our a whole lot of stuff if you actually tighten your adjusters. the chain should have a bit of slop. What you really want to shoot for is getting the wheel straight in the frame and something like .5" chain deflection.
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Old 07-31-09, 03:23 PM   #15
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A problem with adjustable spanners, I mean wrenches, is that cheap crappy ones work poorly. If you find yourself with a cheap crappy one, throw it out.
Pipe-wrench works great!
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