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Old 10-31-11, 09:04 PM   #1
SaiKaiTai
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Got back to my mechanical roots this weekend

My dad was a farmer by upbringing and, later, avocation.
By vocation, he was a mechanic and from the time I was 12 and all through college that was my summer job. So working on bikes comes pretty naturally to me. The only thing I have not done yet is replace a head set.

I've read that by the time you replace your chain three times, it's time to swap out your gears. That time came this weekend. I had a Truvativ crank with an otherwise Ultegra gruppo so I bought an Ultegra crank, bottom bracket and cassette (went from an 11-26 to an 11-28) and set to work.

Pretty straight forward though not quite as easy and smooth as I had thought going in to it. I think I got it right -got to buy a new torque wrench- and it survived its 7 mile installation lap which included some considerable effort. The bottom bracket squeaks a little more but all-in-all it's smooth and quiet.

Just a great way to spend 4 or 5 hours on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

I'm realizing my next bike might not be a bike but a frame
I have all the components I need.
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Old 10-31-11, 09:15 PM   #2
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Excellent. Sounds like fun.

I like doing all my own mechanical work; although I'm not too fond of chasing down parts.
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Old 11-01-11, 09:05 AM   #3
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I'm realizing my next bike might not be a bike but a frame
My last bike was a frameset. It was a very satisfying way to get a new bike.
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Old 11-01-11, 11:20 AM   #4
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I just built this one on Friday and rode 42 on Sat and 42 on Sunday. Not a peep, not a squeak. Nobody puts in the TLC of an owner when it comes to mechanics.

Plus I built the wheels too!

Headset shmedset with modern frames (mine anyway). One big bearing sits on the fork, no race, no pressing as the fork is machined to seat the bearing. Upper section is a bearing, compression ring and a bearing cover. Just as easy as installing the spacers.









Pretty easy stuff


headset by gulpxtreme, on Flickr
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Old 11-01-11, 11:37 AM   #5
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I just built this one on Friday and rode 42 on Sat and 42 on Sunday. Not a peep, not a squeak. Nobody puts in the TLC of an owner when it comes to mechanics.

Plus I built the wheels too!

Headset shmedset with modern frames (mine anyway). One big bearing sits on the fork, no race, no pressing as the fork is machined to seat the bearing. Upper section is a bearing, compression ring and a bearing cover. Just as easy as installing the spacers. Pretty easy stuff
Thanks Beanz! Guess I'm still a bit behind the times. What could be easier? Then, that challenge is gone, now. Oh well.

The crank was an interesting challenge. The non-drive side BB cup was pretty tight coming out and going back in. Felt like but didn't feel like it was cross-threading. Started OK but got really tight as I cinched it up. Drive side was perfect. In the end I was able to torque it up to spec (though on the lighter end of the range specified) no prob. There's no wobble in the crank so I guess I'm OK. I also couldn't quite get the NDS crank all the way on. So I tapped the crank back out and in again (this time with a satisfying "chunk!" as it mated up against the BB and the crank went on fine. Tightened that up to spec, too. I might never be able to replace the BB again but for now it should be good to go.

Oh, and... nice looking ride.
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Old 11-01-11, 11:58 AM   #6
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Oh, and... nice looking ride.


Thanks!..... Did you clean everything up really well before installing? I think I spent more time cleaning and relubing stuff than installation time. I have an Ultegra triple and most of it went in smoothly, but snug. I had to tap the drives side in with my palm. But other than that, went together smoothly. But again, I cleaned and lubed every little thread on the components and lubed every thread on the bike.

Oh, I didn't need any shims in the headset either. It need a small gap so that the bearing cover doesn't rub the frame. Mine didn't need any so it was that much easier.

The hardest part is thinking I might need another part and wondering if it will go together as planned.

Last edited by Mr. Beanz; 11-01-11 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 11-01-11, 02:13 PM   #7
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Been a mechanic of some description since I was 18 so I have always done my own maintenance on the bikes. Big problem was getting the right tools for the job and after many years I have confirmed that quality pays in the tool dept. Bikes are basic engineering so if there is something new that you do not understand- you ask. Used to be the friendly LBS but the "Google" is the easiest for info now.

I have always replaced Parts on the bike before necessary so after a few years I had enough "Good" stock to build up a frame and a Bike with all the parts on it being nearly new. Went for a custom frame and stripped the current bike of all the good bits and had a superb bike with only Headset- Bottom bracket and cables having to be bought. Also had that 2nd bike that has servicable bits on it that were still good.

But back to those tools-- I only bought them as they were required but some of them were not that good. And some of the "Not Good" tools were from the well known tool manufacturer that everyone uses. And those kits of bike tool for $50- forget them. Can't say useless Crap but a lot of tools in them for ancient bikes that you will never use. Far better to get the right BB tool- and a quality chain splitter and the cassette removing tools that will fit your bike--and all the other tools that you need from the LBS. Only problem is that some are not cheap.
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Old 11-01-11, 06:44 PM   #8
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Actually, I went from breaking down and rebuilding B&S engines in 8th grade to overhauling a 6 cyl engines, alone, a week later
I know my way around tools... and cleaning.... and lubing. Might have fallen a little short on the cleaning but not much.

In an oft- but not recently told tale, I quit smoking in 1982. I succeeded because I spent the first few days -shakes and all- tearing down, cleaning, and rebuilding my beloved Gitane. This was when bearings were BALL bearings. I was still jonesing so I did my wife's. I've been tobacco free ever since.
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Old 11-02-11, 10:53 AM   #9
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Actually, I went from breaking down and rebuilding B&S engines in 8th grade to overhauling a 6 cyl engines, alone, a week later
I know my way around tools... and cleaning.... and lubing. Might have fallen a little short on the cleaning but not much.

In an oft- but not recently told tale, I quit smoking in 1982. I succeeded because I spent the first few days -shakes and all- tearing down, cleaning, and rebuilding my beloved Gitane. This was when bearings were BALL bearings. I was still jonesing so I did my wife's. I've been tobacco free ever since.
That's impressive-kickin nicotine and rebuilding a Gitane all in 1 fell swoop. I considered myself lucky just to get through the day. I quit in 1982 as well. As I recall, I did go on a ride that first day. I had a Columbia 3-speed I had just bought to improve my fitness.
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Old 11-02-11, 06:42 PM   #10
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Drove to Milwaukee with my Schwinn LeTour in the Winter about 34 years ago - visited a friend. We had a cold ride and then he helped me overhaul my headset. My first exposure to how to maintain what had seemed hopelessly complicated and mysterious bike inner workings.
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