Thursday, 26 July 2012

A little bit of maintenance

One of the things about my Dahon being a folding bike is that it has a number of quick release fasteners.  The handlebar stem, the bars themselves, the seatpost and the hinge in the frame all have a quick release mechanism of some sort.  However, as with any such system, these are prone to wear slightly and require periodic adjustment.

I hardly ever touch the handlebar stem height adjustment, having found a position that is comfortable and yet does not need moving in order to fold the bike properly.  Happy days!  However, the adjuster which allows the handlebars themselves to be unlocked and rotated to facilitate folding has always been a little more problematic.  Either it has had to be done up so tightly as to make the mechanism squeak (!) or the handlebars have, over time, rotated slightly downwards.  This isn't as serious as it might sound, although is slightly annoying.  I'm afraid the engineer in me requires that once something is tightened up, it does not move until required to do so!

There is a similar quick release which holds the seatpost in place. Up until this week, I've had no problem at all from this mechanism.  However, recently I've started to notice the seatpost slipping down into the frame slightly while riding the bike.  This has been pretty irritating as an incorrectly adjusted saddle reduces the efficiency with which you push the pedals round.  Annoying!

The final quick release holds the frame halves together when the bike is fully unfolded.  I've not had to touch this since having the bike either but recently traced a slight creak (only present when pedalling hard, out of the saddle) to small movements in this mechanism.

So all in all, the folding bits of the bike needed a bit of TLC which last night I gave them. 

The two clamps that concerned me most were the perennially slipping handlebars and recently slipping seatpost.  I have cleaned both previously and noticed that, over time, an accumulation of fine, grey, dusty "crud" builds up around the parts being clamped.  I assume that this is a combination of some dirt from the road and tiny particles of metal that have worn from the mating surfaces under load.  Whatever it is, it really isn't helping the quick release mechanism to grip things tightly and so, a liberally application of hot soapy water and a good drying later, both were nice and clean again.  In order to be able to tighten the quicl release clamps up without metal-on-metal squeaking, I also applied a slight smear of light grease to the relevant areas.

The folding mechanism clamp is different but simple enough to adjust (once you have figured out which way to turn the adjuster...)  I adjusted it until it required a satisfying "click" to close without requiring so much force that something would obviously be over-stressed.

Job(s) done.

Tools required:

Small adjustable spanner
Phillips screwdriver
Light grease (Vaseline)
Hot soapy water

Time taken:

About half an hour in all

Unfortunately I'm not on the bike today but will give it a thorough testing on tomorrow's commute.  Hopefully, I'll have fixed what have become a couple of irritating niggles.

P.S.  I realise that this post would have been much clearer with a few pictures but didn't have the presence of mind to take any at the time.  I'll snap a few later on and rectifiy the situation!

No comments:

Post a Comment