Sunday, 30 March 2014

Advanced Road Bike Maintenance

I'm reasonably happy with technical things but of a very German persuasion. I like to read the instructions and follow them precisely. I like logic, numbers and measurable certainty. Six turns of that nut, precisely. A definitive click when the plug is inserted into the socket. Angles you can verify and torque you can measure. Chipps belongs much more to the British Leyland school of creative bodging "oh yes, it comes like that but we find it only really works if you reverse the wires there and give it a good shove". He's great at making things work, and knows by feel that that will be tight enough with a thumb and forefinger, whereas this bit you need to give that a good wrench with your fist. I have to admit that I leave most of my bike maintenance to him - he's got years of experience that makes it much quicker.

With this bike though I want to be able at least do the basics myself. Which started with putting it back together after flying it out to Spain for our riding holiday.

So here I am, working my way round the bike, one bit at a time. Return the handlebars to the stem (but not in position yet) and secure the seat post. Then mount it on the work stand. Start with the front wheel in (oh yes, there's the little lever that releases Shimano brakes, just like it says in the book). Then screw on the derailleur. That's scary, hundreds of pounds of Di2 in my hands. But it goes in and screws tight. Then the back wheel. A process of reading the instructions and looking. I've done it hundreds of times with other bikes but with this new bike I feel the need to double and triple check before I touch a thing. The DT Swiss quick releases are neat and clever but not familiar. Wire up the Di2, pushing the cable home with the little tool supplied. Not really difficult. Pedals on, and tentatively turn the cranks. Change the gears. It works. I'm proud and relieved.

Then I can stand the bike on the ground and go round again. Set up the handlebars, straighten out the stem. Secure everything. Check the headset. Undo the wheels to let them settle into place and retighten. They run smooth now. Check everything is tight. But not too tight, carbon doesn't like that. The required torque is conveniently written next to every screw, but we don't have a gauge so I rely on Chipps' rule of thumb. Apart from that I've put it back together myself.

There it is. I read Advanced Road Bike Maintenance on the plane over. Anything to distract me from the fear of flying. And it's paid off. I'd recommend it!

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