Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Little jobs that blow up

Notices
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.

Little jobs that blow up

Old 06-01-21, 08:31 AM
  #1  
pdlamb
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 6,807

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1565 Post(s)
Liked 773 Times in 477 Posts
Little jobs that blow up

Over the weekend, I noticed my shifting was imprecise and thought, "Maybe the derailer cable is fraying." That thought was reinforced when I grabbed the shifter during a climb and got poked in the finger.

So after supper, I headed out to the garage for a half hour to replace the cable. However, unlike the one or two broken strands I've fixed in the past, this cable was 4-5 strands left (out of 15 or so). Not only were 2/3 of the strands broken, they were frayed and bent out all over the place: there was no way to push what was left of the cable through the fix point on the brifter. So 30 minutes, maybe 45 minutes with new bar tape, rapidly expanded to a two hour plus job. And I just wrapped the old tape back up.

Such a small thing -- 3/8" wires thwarted the process for so long. A similar time warp effect is a little bit of rust that takes weeks to break a bottom bracket out of the frame for replacement.

Are there other bike maintenance jobs that should be easy, but something small and common makes them take a very long time?
pdlamb is offline  
Likes For pdlamb:
Old 06-01-21, 08:37 AM
  #2  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 3,829
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3264 Post(s)
Liked 4,329 Times in 1,904 Posts
Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Over the weekend, I noticed my shifting was imprecise and thought, "Maybe the derailer cable is fraying." That thought was reinforced when I grabbed the shifter during a climb and got poked in the finger.

So after supper, I headed out to the garage for a half hour to replace the cable. However, unlike the one or two broken strands I've fixed in the past, this cable was 4-5 strands left (out of 15 or so). Not only were 2/3 of the strands broken, they were frayed and bent out all over the place: there was no way to push what was left of the cable through the fix point on the brifter.
I'm going to make a guess: Shimano 11 speed?


For me, it's overhauling old-fashioned hubs with cup and cone bearings. The adjustment either goes very quickly and easily, or it takes me umpteen tries to get it right.
Koyote is offline  
Likes For Koyote:
Old 06-01-21, 08:49 AM
  #3  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 1,778

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 802 Post(s)
Liked 1,000 Times in 567 Posts
If the shifters are Shimano 11 it should be easy to get the end of the cable out. There is a 2 piece cover on the bottom of the shifter that can be easily removed w/ 1 screw and allows access to the entire mechanism. This cover is Shimano's way of admitting there is a problem with cables fraying/breaking in their shifters.
cxwrench is online now  
Likes For cxwrench:
Old 06-01-21, 09:12 AM
  #4  
Bill Kapaun
Really Old Senior Member
 
Bill Kapaun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Mid Willamette Valley, Orygun
Posts: 12,724

Bikes: 87 RockHopper,2008 Specialized Globe. Both upgraded to 9 speeds.

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1357 Post(s)
Liked 583 Times in 439 Posts
This forum is full of posters that screw up most anything.
Bill Kapaun is online now  
Likes For Bill Kapaun:
Old 06-01-21, 09:21 AM
  #5  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 7,773

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1647 Post(s)
Liked 1,275 Times in 832 Posts
dedhed is online now  
Old 06-01-21, 10:24 AM
  #6  
Troul 
:D
 
Troul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Mich
Posts: 4,045
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 945 Times in 687 Posts
could be worse, it could require a 10mm in the process.
__________________
-Oh Hey!
Troul is offline  
Old 06-01-21, 10:41 AM
  #7  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 3,829
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3264 Post(s)
Liked 4,329 Times in 1,904 Posts
Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
If the shifters are Shimano 11 it should be easy to get the end of the cable out. There is a 2 piece cover on the bottom of the shifter that can be easily removed w/ 1 screw and allows access to the entire mechanism. This cover is Shimano's way of admitting there is a problem with cables fraying/breaking in their shifters.
Since getting a Shimano 11sp bike, I've had more broken cables that I had experienced in my entire life up to that point.
Koyote is offline  
Likes For Koyote:
Old 06-01-21, 11:40 AM
  #8  
pdlamb
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 6,807

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1565 Post(s)
Liked 773 Times in 477 Posts
Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I'm going to make a guess: Shimano 11 speed?

For me, it's overhauling old-fashioned hubs with cup and cone bearings. The adjustment either goes very quickly and easily, or it takes me umpteen tries to get it right.
Actually a Campy 9 speed. Only 14 months since I replaced the cable with the "Campagnolo Ergo brake shift levers" (aka brifters), so I must have been sweating a lot. I've been rebuilding the brifters every 12-18 months for a couple decades, and never saw a rats nest like this before.

Once I learned you could tighten the hub locknuts an extra quarter turn if needed (after tightening the locknut down on the cone), cup and cone adjustment has gone a lot quicker.
pdlamb is offline  
Old 06-01-21, 11:49 AM
  #9  
dabac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 8,539
Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1034 Post(s)
Liked 225 Times in 167 Posts
Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post

Are there other bike maintenance jobs that should be easy, but something small and common makes them take a very long time?
Trueing a wheel, only to discover a multitude of seized nipples. And not having (enough) spokes of the right length to swap out the seized ones.

Opening a hub for a clean & lube, only to discover badly pitted cups.
dabac is offline  
Old 06-01-21, 12:11 PM
  #10  
Eric F
Habitual User
 
Eric F's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Altadena, CA
Posts: 1,247

Bikes: 2018 Storck Fascenario.3 Platinum, 2003 Time VX Special Pro, 1977 Nishiki ONP, 1999 Trek 9900 SS

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 626 Post(s)
Liked 1,260 Times in 601 Posts
I managed to strip out the T25 handlebar clamp bolt on one of my Campy Record levers. An hour of various attempts with different tools were unsuccessful. I was finally able remove it by using a Dremel tool to cut a slot in the bolt head that I could turn with a big screwdriver. 3 days later, I got a replacement clamp - a pair of them, actually, so now I have a spare, just in case this thing that never happens happens again. This all started by wanting to move the lever up the bar about 2mm.
Eric F is offline  
Old 06-01-21, 12:16 PM
  #11  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO
Posts: 2,141

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 453 Post(s)
Liked 184 Times in 144 Posts
Originally Posted by dabac View Post
Trueing a wheel, only to discover a multitude of seized nipples. And not having (enough) spokes of the right length to swap out the seized ones.

Opening a hub for a clean & lube, only to discover badly pitted cups.
Ditto this.

Let's not get into the aluminum seat post stuck in the steel frame. It's hard to remember to check that before you overhaul a 1980s or 90s bike.
andrewclaus is offline  
Likes For andrewclaus:
Old 06-01-21, 12:33 PM
  #12  
J.Higgins 
Mentally Derailleured
 
J.Higgins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 2,351

Bikes: Bilenky Tourlite, Surly Ogre

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1217 Post(s)
Liked 505 Times in 347 Posts
Originally Posted by dabac View Post
Trueing a wheel, only to discover a multitude of seized nipples. And not having (enough) spokes of the right length to swap out the seized ones.

Opening a hub for a clean & lube, only to discover badly pitted cups.
I got one for ya.

So I bought a Trek T50 tandem. The thought was to get it running and get my wife on it to see if tandem-ing would be something we'd like to pursue further. That said, I didnt spend much on the T50, in fact I only gave $100 for it. I took it down to the frame from cleaning and rebuilding, and when I was doing that, I noticed a sever wobble coming from the rear wheel. Okay, no problem, just a little more work is all. I can do this, I says to meself!

Well the read wheel had a quality hub and rim, but the spokes were crap. Every single one was corroded, with nipples seized. I have a needlepoint oiler that I keep filled with Kroil, and his is my go-to method of un-sticking seized parts. So I filled every nipple, top and bottom, with Kroil and let it do its work. I waited a day, and did it again. I had other stuff to do anyway. After two days of fretting about whether or not I could save that wheel, I started tweeking each nipple to get them loose. There were only two nipples that needed to be replaced because I beat them up so badly getting them off, but a DT spoke wrench broke the torque on each nipple like it was butter. I got all the spokes lubed up and the nipples turning and began to bring it all back into true and run the spokes up to an acceptable tension. Before I did the final tensioning and truing, I took a maroon scotchbright pad and resurfaced the rim braking surfaces, and scrubbed up the entire wheel assembly with windex, a toothbrush, and some alcohol. After the final session in the truing stand, I beheld a wheel that I was dead certain would have to be tossed, but it came out real nice. Feeling satisfaction, I went to grab a coffee and a snack.

Later, when I tried to fit the rear wheel back into the dropouts, I noticed something wasnt right. There was too much space between the locknuts and the rear dropouts. Then it dawned on me. By Golly, that wheel was a 126 O.L.D. road wheel, that someone had put on the back of that trek tandem, that really needed a 135 OLD mtb spacing. No wonder it had a broken spoke! It came off weird, now that I come to think of it. I must have been preoccupied, or I'd have seen it right off. So basically, I spent about 3 hours on a wheel that didnt even belong on my bike.
__________________
Remember, its just a beer commercial. That kind of happiness may not be obtainable.

Last edited by J.Higgins; 06-01-21 at 12:36 PM.
J.Higgins is offline  
Old 06-01-21, 02:41 PM
  #13  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 7,773

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1647 Post(s)
Liked 1,275 Times in 832 Posts
Originally Posted by Troul View Post
could be worse, it could require a 10mm in the process.
dedhed is online now  
Likes For dedhed:
Old 06-01-21, 03:25 PM
  #14  
thook
(rhymes with spook)
 
thook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Winslow, AR
Posts: 2,081

Bikes: '83 univega gran turismo x2, '85 schwinn super le tour,'89 miyata triple cross, '91 GT tequesta, '90 yokota grizzly peak, '94 GT backwoods, '95'ish scott tampico, '98 bonty privateer, '93 mongoose crossway 625, '98 parkpre ariel, 2k'ish giant fcr3

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 595 Post(s)
Liked 395 Times in 296 Posts
Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
Is that the Tesseract containing the silver gilded Socket Stone of the Metric Planet to save the bicycle world from impending doom?
thook is offline  
Likes For thook:
Old 06-01-21, 03:51 PM
  #15  
ARider2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 483
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 60 Post(s)
Liked 78 Times in 58 Posts
Imagine if you're the person at the LBS who estimated the cable replacement will take 30 minutes only to find the job took 1.5 hours.
ARider2 is offline  
Likes For ARider2:
Old 06-01-21, 05:06 PM
  #16  
joejack951
Senior Member
 
joejack951's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Wilmington, DE
Posts: 12,059

Bikes: 2016 Hong Fu FM-079-F, 1984 Trek 660, 2005 Iron Horse Warrior Expert, 2009 Pedal Force CX1, 2016 Islabikes Beinn 20 (son's)

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1224 Post(s)
Liked 69 Times in 49 Posts
Take any bicycle job gone south and apply a 10-20x factor for how bad a job on a car can go. After years of working on cars, bicycles are SO easy.

That said, my cousin brought his Specailized Transition tri bike to me because it wouldn’t shift up to the big ring. 5 minute adjustment I thought. Well, it turned out the reason it wouldn’t shift is the braze-on mount was loose. Again, no big deal, right? Well, it was loose because the riv nuts in the carbon frame had come loose. And to make matters worse, one of the screws holding the mount to the frame was seized in its riv nut.

After many failed attempted to drill the freely-spinning screw out, I finally decided to Dremel the head off carefully enough not to damage the braze-on mount. Next up was creating a small plate with two tapped holes which I fished down the seat tube and used for attaching the braze-on mount where the riv nuts had once been.

With the front derailleur securely mounted, and probably 3-4 hours invested, I spent a few minutes getting it shifting cleanly.
joejack951 is offline  
Likes For joejack951:
Old 06-01-21, 05:27 PM
  #17  
zandoval 
Senior Member
 
zandoval's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bastrop Texas
Posts: 2,173

Bikes: Univega, PR-10, Ted Williams,UO-8, Puch, PHLE, UO-18 Mixte

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 126 Post(s)
Liked 127 Times in 98 Posts
Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
...overhauling old-fashioned hubs with cup and cone bearings...umpteen tries to get it right.
Yep... I thought that was the way you do it. Ya do it... It's to tight... Ya do it... It's to loose... Ya Do it, Doit, DOooit.. AHhhhhhhh....

That's the ticket!
__________________
No matter where your at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)
zandoval is offline  
Old 06-01-21, 05:37 PM
  #18  
OldBike876
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 36
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
I stupidly proved that "There's nothing tighter than round" on a seat clamp bolt this weekend. That was a gratifying 90 minutes spent drilling it out, indeed.
OldBike876 is offline  
Old 06-01-21, 06:25 PM
  #19  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 7,773

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1647 Post(s)
Liked 1,275 Times in 832 Posts
Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
Take any bicycle job gone south and apply a 10-20x factor for how bad a job on a car can go. After years of working on cars, bicycles are SO easy.

Or old houses.
dedhed is online now  
Old 06-01-21, 07:10 PM
  #20  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 1,778

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 802 Post(s)
Liked 1,000 Times in 567 Posts
I work with a guy that has been around a little longer than I have...he's a huge 'Let's fix it, right now' guy. The other old guy in the shop (3 of us are all late 50's, combined experience is close to 100 years) and I are big 'Let's take a good look at it and see what we can do, and when we can do it. 'Fix it now guy' is finally starting to come around and realize that not everything can be fixed right now. Most of the problem jobs are SRAM brakes, Rockshox Reverbs, and anything brought in by someone that 'hasn't ridden in years and just needs a quick adjustment'. Also truing tubeless wheels w/ alloy nipples. And replacing bar tape on badly neglected bikes. And...and...and...
cxwrench is online now  
Likes For cxwrench:
Old 06-01-21, 08:46 PM
  #21  
Charliekeet
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 684

Bikes: S-Works Stumpjumper HT Disc, Fuji Absolute, Kona Jake the Snake, '85 Cannondale SR900

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 193 Post(s)
Liked 180 Times in 113 Posts
Well, that’s always the way it seems to go, isn’t it? And not necessarily due to mechanic error
Often there’s the “overhauling a bike for a friend’s kid and assuming it’ll need clean, lube, adjust, air up only to find it has... [bent hanger, wobbling riveted chainrings, four corroded cables, banjaxed bb] etc

and so we beat on...
Charliekeet is offline  
Old 06-01-21, 09:08 PM
  #22  
Canacol
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 13
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
I started biking again this year and couple of days ago I had a flat on my front tire, I was so exited to finally be able to use the knowledge I learned 10 years ago on a bike Basic Mainteinance course.

So I got the tools ready and refreshed my memory with couple of videos from youtube then slowly started changing the tube. 1 hour after I was so happy I made it with out any issues and everything was looking so smooth and good, this is when I noticed that one of the brake pads was touching the side of the wheel wall. I tried everything from youtube videos to reading old threads here and nothing, two hours later I end damaging the brake cables aggh so frustrared! I went to bed defeated.

Next morning I wake up early and went to my amazing LBS and pay $25 for a new brake cables installation and tune up. Guess what? The problem was I installed the tire backwards when I changed the tube. Sigh* Lesson learned.
Canacol is offline  
Likes For Canacol:
Old 06-01-21, 09:18 PM
  #23  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 1,778

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 802 Post(s)
Liked 1,000 Times in 567 Posts
Originally Posted by Canacol View Post
I started biking again this year and couple of days ago I had a flat on my front tire, I was so exited to finally be able to use the knowledge I learned 10 years ago on a bike Basic Mainteinance course.

So I got the tools ready and refreshed my memory with couple of videos from youtube then slowly started changing the tube. 1 hour after I was so happy I made it with out any issues and everything was looking so smooth and good, this is when I noticed that one of the brake pads was touching the side of the wheel wall. I tried everything from youtube videos to reading old threads here and nothing, two hours later I end damaging the brake cables aggh so frustrared! I went to bed defeated.

Next morning I wake up early and went to my amazing LBS and pay $25 for a new brake cables installation and tune up. Guess what? The problem was I installed the tire backwards when I changed the tube. Sigh* Lesson learned.
Sorry, but that wasn't your problem. Unless you mean 'wheel' and it's not centered properly.
cxwrench is online now  
Old 06-01-21, 09:24 PM
  #24  
Canacol
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 13
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Sorry, but that wasn't your problem. Unless you mean 'wheel' and it's not centered properly.
Yes you are correct, something along that lines it was what the LBS guy explained to me.
Canacol is offline  
Old 06-02-21, 02:41 AM
  #25  
jccaclimber
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: SFBay
Posts: 2,009

Bikes: n, I would like n+1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 27 Times in 22 Posts
Adding to houses and cars, old industrial machine tools, particularly those with any electronics in them are worse. Even more fun is that the simple act of moving them from one place to another often breaks the electronics.

On bicycles:
A quick derailer adjustment, but the cable is too short and someone cut it off right after it attaches. Undoubtedly the chain is also severely worn and the derailer hanger is bent.

Aluminum seatpost stuck in a steel frame. Even better if it was all the way down when it got stuck.

Going in for “the cones are just a bit loose” on an old freewheel rear. It feels like the half the time the axle isn’t bent is because it is broken and the QR was holding it together.

Anything involving wheels that have been commuted on through a winter.

Quick tube change for a friend, and once the tire is off there is no rim strip and the spokes are long enough to be poking up into the tube.

”I need my brakes adjusted” is code for “My rim
is so bent you won’t be able to true it out.” This when the wheel doesn’t have broken spokes and is improperly dished.

Any thing involving the phrase “it feels a bit funny” and an old Vitus bonded frame.

Need to adjust a bottom bracket and finding out the extractor threads are stripped on both sides.

The first time you need to replace a BB cup on a 70’s French bike.
jccaclimber is offline  
Likes For jccaclimber:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.