Sunday 3 November 2013

Tim 'Tool Man' Taylor

This was an altogether different kind of week for me. Firstly because I only rode single-speed machines all week. Secondly, and most alarming, because I carried out 2 repair jobs on my bicycles – all by myself! Ha, who would have thought hey.

My first repair job was the tightening of Kay O’s headset. A simple job one might conclude but it had me baffled to begin with. I thought by tightening the bolt on the stem, it would fix the rattling headset but no, that didn’t do a thing. A headset is actually tightened by turning the bolts on the handlebar stem. Advice from Chris and the watching of a You-Tube video prepared me sufficiently to complete this task.
Kay O
So, my first ride of the week was a blast around my TTT 20 route on Kay O. This was the first time Kay O had done this route and I wanted to feel how she rode compared to Florence, my previous single-speed road bike. There was a few differences. Kay O felt faster, though actual time taken to complete course was actually about average. Florence was clearly the more comfortable to sit on – on this note I have ordered a lamb’s wool saddle cover for Kay O (will blog about this after it has been tested). Kay O looked better and was certainly a lighter machine. On the climb up the last hill, I really felt ‘out of puff’ and presumed the gearing on Kay O must be higher. The gearing was strikingly similar, I was probably whacked for not cycling said route for some time.  In conclusion, both bikes were great. I prefer Kay O because she feels faster, is much lighter and looks awesome (plus has better components).

So, what about the gearing?! Florence ran a 42 x 16 chain set which equates to a 1:2.6 ratio. Kay O runs a 48 x 18 chain set which equates to a 1:2.7 ratio. Not a lot in it at all. Kay O has very slightly higher gearing but weighs considerably lighter than Florence. I chose the 48 x 18 gearing simply because most hardened audax (fixed) riders stated this was their preferred gearing. It seems fine with me and I was always happy with the gearing on Florence without realising it was very similar.

The second repair job I completed was fixing the brakes on Queenie, my single-speed MTB. I fixed the menace rear brake by simply removing the old Hornet Promax and replacing with a Shimano Deore. Both these disc brake sets are hydraulic and relatively cheap budget. The Hornet’s brake lever became loose and would no longer bite. The Shimano lever looked aesthetically pleasing and lever reach can be changed unlike the Hornet.
Queenie, with new rear brake lever
The Deore disc brake came pre-bled, so installing was easy – even for me. The caliper looked pretty cool too and was easily attached to bike. To sit the disc pads right was a simple task (but one I messed up before time). To set it up, the disc lever has to pressed tight and then the bolts holding caliper to frame tightened – simples! (I just tightened bolts in past and couldn’t understand why pads rubbed). The hose was a little bit lengthy but I have no intention of cutting it down and re-bleeding just yet (sounds like a more high-tech challenge). As simple as my cycle jobs were, I felt great that I completed them myself. I kinda felt like Tim ‘Tool man’ Taylor and treated myself to a Park tool (AS-1 tool) and a torque key so I can perform these tasks again in future with even more ease.
Queenie's new rear disc brake
With Queenie all fixed up, I took her out for 2 cycles in the week. For such an old bike with newly fitted (budget) forks and brakes, she performed just great. The Deore disc brake worked fine right from the start and didn’t require any breaking in period. Amazing. I prefer this disc brake to the Avid’s I have on my other bike. Recommended!

Cycled a total of 87k this week and all on single-speed machines. My buddy Chris is building up a single-speed himself – I believe this really is the way forward. My yearly distance to date is now 10,914k.

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