I didn’t ride over the weekend. Partly, I was tired from riding to work on Friday using just the three gears available to me on my ‘Sturmey Archer’ Orange – that’s big, middle and inner rings on the chainset – but partly because I’ve hit wider mechanical woes.
It’s a bit frustrating but the weather hasn’t exactly pushed me to get out. Having said that, Friday commuting was quite enjoyable as I had dressed appropriately for the wet, muddy but warm conditions.
So, what’s going on with the bikes? Well, the Muirwoods is out of V-brake pads and given the state of the trails I’ve no plans to replace them and get out on it anytime soon.
The singlespeed is suffering from a mystery slip in the drivetrain. I’ve wavered between thinking it’s a worn front ring (I’ve recently changed the rear sprocket and chain), a slack chain tensioner or over-greased freehub pawls from when I serviced the hub bearings. Basically, any heavy torque induces the drivetrain to slip, accompanied by a loud cracking noise at the same time.
Speaking of hub bearings, Cycleworks confirmed my suspicions on Saturday that my newly replaced hub bearings on the Five are shot to bits. As in seriously knackered. Despite only covering 100 miles or so since replacing them, the rear wheel wobbles as much as it ever did although the freehub seems OK. A combination of no grease in the bearings, the D2D swamp and a possible poorly fitted freehub seal seems to have accounted for them pretty quickly.
I’ll have to order some replacements off eBay and considering last time I spent around £1.50 a cartridge, this time I might push the boat out and go for the £4-5 SKF cartridge. Because I’m worth it. And I only need to buy two.
This time round I’ll prise off the rubber seals and pack the bearings in waterproof grease in an effort to extend their life. At least it all comes apart easily now that I’ve had the hub apart so recently.
The only upside in my mountain biking life, and the reason I enjoyed Friday’s commute so much was that I’ve finally replaced my Hope seat clamp with a Salsa flip off item, after a year of threatening to do so. In fairness, it took an age for the Salsa seat clamp to come into stock but boy was it worth it. For the first time in a year I have a Five that doesn’t creak and squeak like a YMCA break-in at a pig farm and the seat post now stays in one place.
It’s the little things that make all the difference you know…