Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley


Posted by Matt | June 10, 2009 | Leave a comment

It’s a lovely word isn’t it? Fettle. Sounds a bit like fiddling but with more of a purpose, an aim, an aspiration to improve and make better.

Last night I got down to a bit of fettling myself, in fact it seems to be all I do at the moment. Oh well, to those much is given, much is expected and running three bikes now has it’s responsibilities, not to mention a considerable drain on the wallet for ‘consumables’.

Recently I’ve built up my Muirwoods into a road focussed bike. Not so much a road warrior than a weedy kid with spectacles but it serves well enough. With it’s carbon MTB fork and skinny Fatboy tyres on it looks quite amusing really, especially with its original overlong stem and riser bars. Who says there’s no humour in retro?

Having adopted into the family a set of V-brake 26″ wheels from Tony, I found during the build that the rear only had a seven speed compatible freehub on it. Surprisingly this wasn’t the problem you might think though as for the best part of five years I’ve had a spare Shimano one kicking round the garage after buying in haste and as it turned out, error. Despite having tried to palm it off on Darryl, Mark and possibly Dave at various points, I finally had a use for it!

So last night I stripped the rear wheel down, removing the cassette, then the axle and finally the freehub. There are times when having the right tool for the job is not only preferable but downright essential and I found myself congratulating myself at having invested in a Park chain whip and lockring tool. I’ve used it so many more times than I ever anticipated.

Also useful are the hub spanners which fit and worked perfectly; some are mine and some are Dave’s but it’s share and share alike with the Moles. I have plans for a Hedgehog-style tool wall but for now it looks like an explosion in my garage.

Inside the hub it was clear Tony had looked after his wheels well, all was heavily greased if a little dirty (in fact, I’ve never seen so much caked on gunk as when I cleaned the outside of the hubs when Tony first donated them!).

I took out all the ball bearings, finding a great use for the plastic X0 rear mech box which is now my receptacle of choice in bike maintenance – you have to get your money’s worth out of these mechs! I then cleaned and regreased them before reassembling the hub, bolting on the freehub and fitting the cassette back on with its extra gear now accommodated.

Back on the bike, no left over parts, a sweetly spinning rear wheel and no problems. Job done.

Must be getting the hang of this bike fettling after all…


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

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