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  1. #1
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    handful of ze newbie questions

    i've had a bianchi pista for about two years now and have been using it as a daily commuter here in san francisco.
    even though i've had it for a while, i still have a few odd (probably simple) problems with it that i was looking for help with.

    1) the 32mil nut that tightens down the fork tube/headset bearing keeps coming loose. i'm sure this is natural (loosening up eventually), but now i have to tighten it every few days. i asked the shop i bought the bike from if there was a torque specification but they just said 'not too tight' because it's easy to mash the bearing, apparently. does anyone have a tip on this?

    2) gearing. i think i'm running 44/16 (down from the original 46 that came with the bike which was killing me when i started), but i notice a lot of people i see have smaller front rings. what works good for you in urban riding? (the 'what gear' thread from this week was pretty helpful!) i'm 30 and wasted my youthful knees on skateboarding and am wondering if lower gearing would be less of a pain.

    3) how do you know when to replace the wheel bearings? my back wheel has about 1/8" or so of horizontal play if i jiggle it.

    4) my cog keeps slipping (either when i'm climbing or when i do a skid). the shop (freewheel here in sf) took it off and rethreaded it with lock-tite but it hasn't held very well. is it time for a new cog? or is it the thread on the hub that's messed up, too?

    5) how much play should there be in the chain? i know it's 'as little as possible,' but what's a good trick for getting it as tight as possible?

    thanks in advance for any replies!
    i'm not much of a bike gearhead but i'm a total fixie convert.

    ian

  2. #2
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Originally posted by iconnelly
    i've had a bianchi pista for about two years now and have been using it as a daily commuter here in san francisco.
    even though i've had it for a while, i still have a few odd (probably simple) problems with it that i was looking for help with.

    1) the 32mil nut that tightens down the fork tube/headset bearing keeps coming loose. i'm sure this is natural (loosening up eventually), but now i have to tighten it every few days. i asked the shop i bought the bike from if there was a torque specification but they just said 'not too tight' because it's easy to mash the bearing, apparently. does anyone have a tip on this?

    Make sure the two 32mm nuts are tight AGAINST EACH OTHER. There is no reason for that one nut (locknut, I assume) to keep coming loose.

    2) gearing. i think i'm running 44/16 (down from the original 46 that came with the bike which was killing me when i started), but i notice a lot of people i see have smaller front rings. what works good for you in urban riding? (the 'what gear' thread from this week was pretty helpful!) i'm 30 and wasted my youthful knees on skateboarding and am wondering if lower gearing would be less of a pain.

    Yes

    3) how do you know when to replace the wheel bearings? my back wheel has about 1/8" or so of horizontal play if i jiggle it.

    Maybe just needs cleaning/re-packing.......no big deal.

    4) my cog keeps slipping (either when i'm climbing or when i do a skid). the shop (freewheel here in sf) took it off and rethreaded it with lock-tite but it hasn't held very well. is it time for a new cog? or is it the thread on the hub that's messed up, too?

    Are you talking about a fixed cog or a freewheel??? I must assume it is a freewheel..........they're cheap....get a new one.

    5) how much play should there be in the chain? i know it's 'as little as possible,' but what's a good trick for getting it as tight as possible?

    Don't want it as tight as possible.......just eyeball it.....a tiny little slack is all you need.

    thanks in advance for any replies!
    i'm not much of a bike gearhead but i'm a total fixie convert.

    ian
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  3. #3
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    <b>4) my cog keeps slipping (either when i'm climbing or when i do a skid). the shop (freewheel here in sf) took it off and rethreaded it with lock-tite but it hasn't held very well. is it time for a new cog? or is it the thread on the hub that's messed up, too?

    Are you talking about a fixed cog or a freewheel??? I must assume it is a freewheel..........they're cheap....get a new one.
    </b>
    -->
    it's fixed. i have a flip-flop hub with a freewheel cog on the other side, but the problem is with the fixed cog. are the threads on the wheel hub likely damaged, too? maybe i'm using the wrong terms, here.

    -->
    <b>Make sure the two 32mm nuts are tight AGAINST EACH OTHER. There is no reason for that one nut (locknut, I assume) to keep coming loose.</b>


    is the best way to do this with two 32mm wrenches? right now i've been tightening the bottom one down first and then the top one (i only have one wrench!).

    thanks for your help!

  4. #4
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    It's best to use two wrenches. Hold the bottom 32mm nut still with one wrench while tightening the top nut using another wrench. Once tightened, they should not budge.

    As for your fixed cog, it sounds like your threads are stripped. You need to remove the cog and see for yourself. Is this the original cog that came with the bike? Some cogs and hubs are not 100% compatible.....although they're within specs, some cogs will actually change the pitch of the hub threading.
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  5. #5
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    Between the headset lock nut and the race with the flats on it there is a spacer with a small tab. The tab fits into a slot in the steerer. If it is damaged, the tab is smeared off or has developed "threads" then it will let the two nuts turn together. Check it and replace if needed.
    If your rear wheel has 1/8th play at the very least it needs to be adjusted but since it sounds like your cog threads are messed up I would just get a new wheel. You front hub is probably due for an over haul and while your hands are greasy and youmight need a new tabbed spacer for your headset you may as well over haul it as well.
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  6. #6
    Spawn of Satan
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    If your cog keeps slipping when you try to backpedal (brake) you may have smoked the threads. Have you noticed any aluminum shavings by the cog??

    If this is the case, the fixed side of the hub side is probably messed up. You can take it to a shop and see what they have to say.

    I would highly recommend you get a bike maintence book or get friendly with your LBS. Fixed gear bikes are meant to be low maintenence but when you have a problem you should address it immediately. This will save you alot of money!

    Do you have any bike tools? You will need a headset wrench (thin wrench that fits in the top cup of the headset), cone wrenchs (to tighten up the the cone on the rear axle), a chain whip and hooked ring wrench for the cog.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    How much is the cog slipping? Like you are riding, then all of a sudden it is rotating freely on the hub? Or it just budges a little if you are cranking very hard?

    -Jason

  8. #8
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    for the headseat, you want to angle the lower headset wrench to the left of the upper headset wrench and try to squeeze them together, that will tighten them against each other.

    for your rear wheel, your lockring might just be loose, making the cog 'slip' back and forth when you skid or pedal hard. tighten the cog with a chain whip, then crank down the lockring with a spanner wrench. if that doesn't work maybe the threads are messed.

    if you have that much lateral play in your wheel it might mean the hub is loose or pitted. if its loose you can just tighten it, but if its pitted (it was tightened too much and the bearings made indentations in the surface) you need a new hub.

  9. #9
    cxmagazine dot com pitboss's Avatar
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    whoa-
    rear wheel play like that...sounds like what I just went through. If you open up the rear hub with some cone wrenches, I bet there will be a good deal of pitting. If you haven't repacked since the bike was purchased, and there is pitting, it may be time for a new hub.
    As far as the headset nut goes, disassemble the whole thing, clean it well, regrease the bearings and then tighten it up fully, check the movement and then back it off until it turns smooth YET remains tight. This may take a few adjustments. If it just plain refuses to stay it place, try a PINHEAD size of blue loktite middle of the threads.
    One of the best tools I have ever purchased is a Park Mini headset/15mm wrench. I almost like it more than a cold PBR...almost.
    Deathlap - cyclocross, training, beer,...escape hatch

  10. #10
    (Grouchy)
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    if there's pitting in the bearing races on the hubs, it's DEFINTELY time to replace it. and 1/8 of an inch of play is A LOT of play. and it definitely sounds like the threads on the fixed side of the hub are toasted.

    165: you're talking about the headset/pedal/cone wrench, right? the SUPER thin one? yeah, that one rocks my socks! although i wouldn't say it's the BEST tool i've ever purchased...i like my crank puller and my chain breaker a little better. my own headset press would be FANTASTIC though.

    and for non-bike stuff i have one of those extending, self-turning, ratcheting kinds...it's hard to explain, and it's old school. it's like, spring loaded, and it shoots out and has threads going both ways on it, so when you push on the handle it either tightens or loosens the screw (depending on the settling). it's baddass.

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