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  1. #1
    Bike touring webrarian
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    Broke a bolt, didn't have a replacement

    I was on a training ride on a beautiful day here in San Francisco when I felt my seat was a little low. I stopped and adjusted the seat and when I tightened the seat clamp bolt, it broke! This was the original seat clamp bolt (over 6 years old) so I can't complain.

    While I carry lots of extra bolts, I didn't have an extra bolt that fit this hole. I didn't have anything that would solve the problem so had to call my wife to come get me. Luckily, I was just a few miles from home.

    On my way back, I stopped at a bike shop and now have, at least, one extra bolt for every one that is on my bike. These will go out with me every time I ride, whether it is around here or on tour.

    This is just a reminder to make sure you carry all the extra bolts that you might need. There was no way to tighten down my seat with all the tools and spare parts I had.

    Luckily for me, this happened now and not on tour!

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  2. #2
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    I once loaned a guy a Visegrip at a race when his broke. It clamped the ears of the seattube clamp all the way through the race. I occasionally carry a Vise-Grip clamped to the seatstays of my steamroller. I used it recently and did not put it back. It is not the right tool in most cases, but sometimes it is what you need.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    My fear is that a rack bolt will break off leaving only a nub of thread sticking out of the drop out. I make sure that there are 5-8 treads sticking out the other side so it would be possible to twist the broken bolt through. Vise grips work well here, but I haven't yet found a pair small enough to take on tour.

    Any ideas?

  4. #4
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    I just had a similar problem with my Surly seat post clamp so I replaced it with a Salsa Lip Lock. The Lip Lock is wider (top to bottom) and applies pressure over more of the seat tube at the same theoretical bolt tightness. So far it works like a champ with no sign of that sinking feeling.

  5. #5
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    I carry extra bolts for the common stuff, but really have not made an attempt at covering every possible mishap. That one extra bolt is certainly a good one to have, but you weren't stranded, just a low saddle, you could have ridden to that bike shop. I'm more concerned about being stranded.

  6. #6
    BeaverTerror Yan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    My fear is that a rack bolt will break off leaving only a nub of thread sticking out of the drop out. I make sure that there are 5-8 treads sticking out the other side so it would be possible to twist the broken bolt through. Vise grips work well here, but I haven't yet found a pair small enough to take on tour.

    Any ideas?
    Holy crap that's my new worst fear. I carry a Leatherman on tour, but if the bolt does not protrude, only a drill will get it out.
    Yan

    2013 True North custom touring; 2010 Novara Randonee; 2009 Unicycle.com Club 24"; 1989 Miele Tivoli; 1979 Colnago Sport

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    A small Leatherman is a good idea. I'll check it out. Thanks!

  8. #8
    Bike touring webrarian
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregw View Post
    That one extra bolt is certainly a good one to have, but you weren't stranded, just a low saddle, you could have ridden to that bike shop. I'm more concerned about being stranded.
    Actually, the only way I could have ridden the bike would have been standing up. I tried to use a ziptie to cinch the clamp tight enough to ride it with a (very) low saddle but the saddle was so loose that every time I pushed on a pedal the seat rotated side to side. I don't think I'd have been able to get very far sitting down and riding. If my wife wasn't at home, I would have coasted down the hills and walked.

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  9. #9
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    one way to get a broken bolt out is to cut a slot in the end of the nut ,your screwdriver in your multi tool will do the rest .
    just make sure the screwdriver fits and you have used some grease on the nut before you fitted it.

  10. #10
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    I was on a training ride on a beautiful day here in San Francisco when I felt my seat was a little low. I stopped and adjusted the seat and when I tightened the seat clamp bolt, it broke! This was the original seat clamp bolt (over 6 years old) so I can't complain.

    While I carry lots of extra bolts, I didn't have an extra bolt that fit this hole. I didn't have anything that would solve the problem so had to call my wife to come get me. Luckily, I was just a few miles from home.

    On my way back, I stopped at a bike shop and now have, at least, one extra bolt for every one that is on my bike. These will go out with me every time I ride, whether it is around here or on tour.

    This is just a reminder to make sure you carry all the extra bolts that you might need. There was no way to tighten down my seat with all the tools and spare parts I had.

    Luckily for me, this happened now and not on tour!

    Ray
    You called your wife? For a few miles? Dude, stand up and ride! Cindy Whitehead did it for her first mountain bike race...and won! And the race was a 50 mile point to point race! She became a legend.



    Notice the distinct lack of a saddle...and suspension

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  11. #11
    It's true, man.
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    The Leatherman concept was born on a bike tour - and they make a vise-grip model: http://www.shoppingwarehouse.net/pro...earch%2BEngine

  12. #12
    Hooked on Touring
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    Raybo -

    When it happened to me - on tour - in the mongrel dog country of rural Mississippi -
    I thought - "Gee, what else could happen?'
    As well as - "Man, you are getting too fat for the seat post."

    Here's what I said in the Crazyguy journal -

    A half-mile past the Lakestop store my seatpost bolt snapped. That's right - the seatpost bolt. I must really be getting fat. Never considered the possibility - and, of course, I had no replacement. I managed to get the seat somewhat attached using zip ties. Ha ha!!!

    Here I was pedalling away barely perched on a wobbly seat. Up hill. Down hill. Up hill. Down hill. Getting late. Please let it flatten out! About ten miles out of Bay Springs as I was going up a hill, I passed a double-wide. A man was out to the side with his pick-up. His teen-aged son and daughter were on the front stoop. Then four Rottweilers came out after me. None of the folks made any attempt to call them back. In fact, from their expressions of amusement, they thought it was great fun. I said far more than I should have, seeing that I was alone in the boondocks, but I was sick and tired of it all.

    Oh, and did I mention a headwind, too? Two miles out of town the zip ties broke. So I pedalled the last miles holding the seat on the seat post with my cheeks. It's a rare talent. One that should prove lucrative in the future, I hope.


    Oh, well.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
    one way to get a broken bolt out is to cut a slot in the end of the nut ,your screwdriver in your multi tool will do the rest .
    just make sure the screwdriver fits and you have used some grease on the nut before you fitted it.
    I agree that using anti-seize on all bolts (while monitoring torque) is a good idea. But cutting a useable slot on a sheared-off stainless steel bolt on the side of the road might be tricky.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    I agree that using anti-seize on all bolts (while monitoring torque) is a good idea. But cutting a useable slot on a sheared-off stainless steel bolt on the side of the road might be tricky.
    i mean cut the slot before you fit the bolt.

  15. #15
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    I can't believe nobody has mentioned the obvious answer: duct tape!

    Pull the seatpost to the appropriate height, then wrap a piece of duct tape around it 2-5 times. If there isn't a lot of weight on the saddle (e.g. Carradice bag) tape will prevent the post from sliding into the seat tube for quite a while! I'd still want to minimize the amount of weight on the saddle by standing to pedal, but the duct tape trick would probably allow you to limp to a bike shop. Especially if you could afford to rewrap a couple of times.

    Another alternative would be to duct tape a stick or piece of dowel to the seatpost, so that it was wedged between the saddle and the seatpost clamp.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
    i mean cut the slot before you fit the bolt.
    Got me. That's totally brilliant. You just saved me $50 and 5 oz. Thanks antokelly!

  17. #17
    Bike touring webrarian
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    I can't believe nobody has mentioned the obvious answer: duct tape!
    I thought about using tape around the seat post to prevent it from slipping down. It might work better with a ziptie around the seat post and then tape above that. These are things I would have tried if I were out in the wild. Now, of course, I have extra bolts!

    I wonder how grease on the seat post would affect adhesion?

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  18. #18
    It's true, man.
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    I broke a binder bolt once. I replaced it with the center mounting bolt from my front fender. I then attached the fender with a ziptie where the bolt had been, as it had far less weight to hold up.

    It got me the 30 miles home +8 miles to the bike shop with no difficulty.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    Got me. That's totally brilliant. You just saved me $50 and 5 oz. Thanks antokelly!
    your more than welcome cyclesafe

  20. #20
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    I was once on a tour in France with three American friends. We were headed from central to southwestern France one day, and at the top of a low pass I heard a loud cracking sound behind me. The seatpost bolt had snapped on the bike of one of my friends. We were in the middle of nowhere and had a long downhill all the way to the next town. He stood up the whole way. When we got to the town, Maurs, I rode around the town looking for bike shops. There were three. I selected the one which appeared to be the most "serious" shop and entered with my friend and his loaded bike. I explained in French to the shopkeeper what happened. (my friend doesn't speak any French, and I was pretty damn pleased with myself when the shopkeeper confirmed that "boulon de la tige de selle" was indeed the correct name in French for the broken part.) The tricky thing was that it was an American part (Avocet), therefore he didn't have a replacement. The man proceeded to machine two new seatpost bolts while we waited. I asked him why he was making two. He said that since we were on tour, he wanted my friend to have a spare (perhaps because my friend was a big guy??) in case the replacement bolt broke. It never did. Amazingly, the shopkeeper didn't want to charge my friend anything at all. We insisted and he finally accepted a token payment.

  21. #21
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    nice people those french.

  22. #22
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    Hose clamps work in place of seat clamps. Just place the hose clamp around the seat post and tighten the clamp. This will prevent the seat post from falling into the seat tube. You still have side to side movement, if your post is really loose in the seat tube. If you don't carry one, you can always get one at a gas station/garage along the route.

    Not recommended for carbon fibre seat posts.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    My fear is that a rack bolt will break off leaving only a nub of thread sticking out of the drop out. I make sure that there are 5-8 treads sticking out the other side so it would be possible to twist the broken bolt through. Vise grips work well here, but I haven't yet found a pair small enough to take on tour.

    Any ideas?
    4" 100mm small enough?
    http://www.irwin.com/irwin/consumer/...rwinProd100317

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freewheeler View Post
    Yep, should be fine! Thanks!

  25. #25
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    I always carry duct tape on tours for these kinds of emergency repairs. I take a few miscellaneous bolts with me, but I never considered making sure that I had a spare for every kind of bolt. It's a simple, brilliant idea.

    I have improvised fixes (although never of a seat post!) with plastic ties, dental floss, and five-minute epoxy. So far, I have always managed to hobble to a bike store. Once I rode on fresh asphalt, and one of my tires partially dissolved! My chain was totally gummed up, as well. Fortunately, there was a bike store in the next town. I bought a new tire, and the mechanic was able to clean the chain.

    I recently learned about a kind of stretchy, plastic tape for emergency repairs. It's not sticky, but the act of stretching it causes it to adhere tenaciously to itself. Not sure it would be strong enough for a seat post!

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