Seriously. These guys carry everything at pretty decent prices. I’d totally forgotten about them. Used to be you could only buy from them if you were a larger outfit with a proper account and a pre-approved credit line. Now with the magic of internet, it would appear they are open to the rest of us.
I just purchased a pack of 50 ball bearings and a tube of Dupont Teflon grease for a very reasonable price – and they’re exactly what I wanted – not whatever the store happened to have in stock. The ball bearings I was excited to see are extremely high grade – made from 440 Carbon Steel, and rated grade 24 – this is the same steel that high grade knives are made from. I believe the only higher grade ball bearings you can get are ceramic bearings, but the price/hassle differential for ceramic seems silly and holds little interest to me.
Oh yeah, I’ve been overhauling hubs lately. Suddenly I care about ball bearings and grease.
I was laid off at the beginning of April which has given me time to wrench on bikes. Friends bikes, my bikes, others bikes. Getting laid off was less than great but it’s a good time of year have a bunch of time to yourself, springtime in Seattle being what it is*. Between job hunting it’s given me the opportunity to take my wrenching in directions I’d previously not gotten into; for example I sorta painted a friends bike and have since begun exploring frame painting in general (using parts of THIS and THIS as my guides). I don’t know if I’m going to do it or not but I now have a bike that needs painting so… maybe?
Speaking of bikes that need painting:
I also decided to overhaul my LeMond – this turned out to be a lot more involved than I planned.
Rewind a year: I bought the LeMond used off Craigslist for a song. Complete bike, original Shimano 105 gruppo, Reynolds 853 steel. But after purchasing it I discovered an oddly located crack stretching across the bottom of the seat tube, bottom bracket shell, and chainstay. At worst it’s a crack in the frame; at best maybe just a funny scoring/cracking of the paint. Without removing the paint and looking at it though, there’s no way to be certain. I couldn’t hear anything; couldn’t feel anything. So decided it was probably just the paint. Probably.
Fast forward to present day.
The LeMond has been on loan to Chase for much of last season after his bike got crunched in a car accident. When he returned it he said he’d begun to hear/feel a toc toc toc noise when climbing hills – and I wondered if it was that bottombracket afterall. Guess it was time to find out.
So off the wall it came. broke it down to bare frame and cleaned EVERYTHING. Overhauled the headset and both hubs – disassembled cranks and chainrings and cassettes, put some interrupter brake levers on it, rewrapped the bars and put it back on the road; Sure enough you could totally hear it when climbin- toc toc toc. Crap. It’s really there. So begun the long frustrating (and expensive) process of troubleshooting.
By the time I finished I’d sanded the paint off every crack or ding on the entire frame including the bottom bracket (yay it was fine!), replaced my bottom bracket, my cassette, my freehub body, my chain, and my rear derailleur, overhauled the rear hub 3 separate times, recabled it twice, taken it to 4 different bike shops including Aarons - also twice. Irritated doesn’t begin to cover this.
The second trip to ABR finally yielded what I think is the culprit. Mikes last guess is that after 10 years the rear rim is finally worn out, and where the spokes have crossed they’ve become pitted. So when I climb a hill the worn out rim allows the spokes to flex ALOT, and the pitted spokes rub when they flex and voila there’s my toc’ing noise. We greased the nipples on the rim with Phils and the sound actually got worse; in a strange way it sorta gives this theory legs.
Being unemployed is a great opportunity to get a lot done, but I have a bicycle habit to maintain and big purchases like replacing custom rear wheels sorta throw that deficiency into high relief. I need a red rear rim. Preferably Mavic. I’ve been watching eBay. Oh and a job. No I’m not looking to eBay for that.
This post needs pictures. Eh. At least it’s a post I guess. Finally.