Saturday, October 08, 2016

Bike Maintenance

Despite riding for the past 30 years, I don't have much experience working on bikes.  I can wash them, lube the drive train, keep the tires topped off and know when I need to take it in for a tune up.

Currently I have two road bikes.  My primary bike had a CycleOps Powertap / DT Swiss rear wheel and a circa 2001 Shimano Ultegra / Mavic Open Pro front wheel.  My back-up bike had a circa 2001 Shimano Ultegra / Mavic Open Pro rear wheel and a Suzue / Mavic front wheel.

The Suzue hub was part of a fixed gear build and I was ready to upgrade it last year.  To that end I bought a current generation Shimano Ultegra / Mavic Open Pro Front Wheel in 2015.  A few months ago, I picked up a new Shimao Ultegra / Mavic Open Pro Rear Wheel that was on sale at Performance Bike as I have not been training with power and wanted to lighten up my bike a bit.

The day started off easily enough.  I took the rear wheel off the bike, took off the tire and tube and assembled the tire and tube onto the new wheel.  Then I had to deal with the cassette.  I took it over to Performance Bike and had them swap it out and also bought a cassette tool so that I could do it myself down the road.

On the way home, I heard the tire pop.  At home, I replaced the tube and I also changed out the front wheel to the new one.  With that done, I got on the road.  To my dismay, I got a flat.  It was then that I realized the new rear wheel did not have rim tape.  I changed the tube roadside and rode it back home and quickly let the air out of the tire.

Back to Performance Bike, I bought some 17mm rim tape (11 mm is for thin road wheels, 22mm is for mountain bikes).  I installed the rim tape, put the tube and tire back on the wheel and then got a nice ride in.

Pleased with this little bit of "bike building" and the new wheels on my race bike, I turned my attention to my training bike.  I swapped out the Suzue wheel with the wheel taken off my race bike.  This went just as smoothly as the other front wheel.

Now it was time to play with my toys.  I had the 10 speed cassette replaced in 2013 and still had the old parts.  I decided to go ahead and fool around with the CycleOps rear wheel.  The dis-assembled cassette has the 3 gears with the highest tooth count assembled, then the other 7 are separate.  I also found 3 spacers, and a shim in the bag of old parts.  After stacking all of the gears on top of each other, it was easy to figure out where the spacers went.  I went ahead and slipped them in and sure enough, I could attach tighten the cassette with my new toy (cassette tool).  I figured as long as I am this far along, I might as well get an aging tire and patch one of the tubes that have been hanging up in the garage for when I get around to it.  Unfortunately the first time, I grabbed one of the tubes that had been on the wheel sans rim tape.  Those two tube are done.  I grabbed one of the older tubes, patched it and sure enough I now have a ready spare wheel.

Cassette tool ($8), Rim Tape ($8, for two rolls), two tubes ($8), 16 gram CO2 cartridge ($3).  Not good, but not horrible for me to finally be using the new wheels I bought.  The best part was learning to swap out a cassette.  In theory, I could swap out cassettes for different courses (although I do all my riding locally).

Based on an ebay search used PowerTap wired wheels are selling for around $150.  At that price point, I might as well hold onto my set up in case I change my mind down the road.  I bought the wheel in 2009 for $700 and feel like I got my money's worth out of it.

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