Sunday, 12 January 2014

Fiddly, fiddly

If there is a fiddlier bike maintenance task than setting cup and cone bearings, I'd like to know!

You get the cone locked on one side nicely but then the other side is too tight, then too loose, then too tight again.  The late Sheldon Brown wasn't wrong likening the task to feeling for the tumblers when cracking a safe! There is an excellent tutorial on his website ( as there is for most aspects of building a bike or keeping one running nicely).

My front wheel bearings started sounding distinctly sorry for themselves on Friday morning.  I managed to shut them up with a squirt of WD40 but that's way too thin to be a decent bearing lube for anything other than an emergency.  I've had to strip and regrease them a couple of times since owning the bike and the last time they still felt a little rough.  I bit the bullet, parted with a few pounds for a new set and fitted them this evening.  Getting the old ones out, cleaning up the hub and spindle and refitting the new ones is easy enough.  It's getting the flipping cups and cones properly adjusted that is the real test.  It took more than a few goes and the usual trial and error, however the job is now done and all seems right with the world.

New bearings fitted and happily adjusted now.

After so many miles on the Dahon, I've got used to the different creaks and squeaks my bike makes when in need of a little TLC. When I first had it I had to spend ages ruling out a creaky hinge! squeaky seat post or dry bearing to get to the root of an issue.  Now, I know what most of them sound like from the first noise.  This is better for the bike as issues get fixed more quickly and better for me as I don't have to get so frustrated any more!  Some of the time at least...

A friend of mine mentioned the phrase "knowing the vibes from your velo" once and it's very apt.  Over time of living with a machine a riding it a lot, you just get to feel when something isn't quite right.  You can feel for instance, through the pedals, a chain that needs oiling long before it is making that dreadful squeak which is the preserve of so many poorly maintained machines.

On that subject, I bought some more chain lube this weekend from my local bike shop.  It seems to be good stuff but has the dodgiest sounding name.  I'll let you make up your own minds but here is is in all it's glory...


Puerile schoolboy humour I know.  Forgive me.

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