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Stuck in gear and need expert advice? Ask Andy the Mechanic (a.k.a. Andy Wallen), the proprietor of Wheelcraft Bicycles of Wheeling, WV. (Please, no old bike & antique questions.)
 E-mail to
ibike@bikexchange.com,  subject "ask the mechanic," and tell us where you live. Or, mail your question directly to Ask the Mechanic, c/o Wheelcraft Bicycles, 2185 National Road, Wheeling, WV, USA 26003. Andy will e-mail your advice and we may post it afterward (do not submit a question if you don't want your Q&A posted in a future column). Take a look at our back issues to find answers to all kinds of bike fix-it questions. 

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Backyard Bike Mechanics Should Always Have a Handy Copy of ...
Bicycling Magazine's Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair
 by Jim Langley
OR...
Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance OR  Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance
both by Leonard Zinn
Urban Mechanics Who Like Their Repair Manuals With an Edge Will Love ...
How To Rock and Roll : A City Rider's Repair Manual
by Sam Tracy

Summer 2004 Q & A's (40 posted this season, with 1,000+ in past seasons.)

Andy,

I have a Trek 1220 bike.  I recently purchased a new computer for it and am looking for accuracy. What wheel circumference shall I use for the computer setup?  The tires say 700x25 on the side, therefore the instruction manual said to use 2146mm. When I physically measure the tire, it measures 2083mm. That is 2-1/2" difference. Which should I use?

Mark C. Lanan

Mark,

For any computer, the tyre size settings are just suggestions, and they usually get you pretty close. However, there can be a big disparity between the diameter of two given tyres of the same width--the designation 700x25 refers to carcass width, not the height or profile. Therefore, the most accurate way to get your tyre size setting is to accurately measure the tyre circumference or diameter as the case may be.

Andy

Andy,

Do bar-ends work for numbness in your hands on longer rides? And any other info you can give me on placement and functionality would be appreciated.

Ian Martin

Ian,

Bar ends are designed to aid in climbing. They can be used to relieve fatigue, but it is important not to point them to the sky. Picture yourself doing an almost perfect endo, except for the body parts that get snagged or impaled on the radically upright bar end. Don't exceed a 45 degree angle, in fact, I would keep it around 15-20 degrees for safety's sake.

Andy

Dear Andy,

I am a long-time road biker who has only recently got a Hard-Tail. Because I am new to mountain bikes, my 'BS-o-meter' is not as well tuned for MTB folklore. Since I appreciate the variety of hand positions on a drop bar, I was considering getting bar ends. I made the mistake of actually researching this, and I found much conflicting information, especially about bar ends on riser bars. The recommendations generally fell into three categories, all of them against the idea.

1) "Fashion Police" argument (the most common): Don't put bar ends on risers. Other people will point and laugh at you.

2) "Wrong Geometry" argument: Don't put bar ends on risers because they were designed for flat bars, so the angles are 'all wrong' for risers.

3) "It's Unnecessary" argument: You don't need bar ends on risers as they already have a variety of hand positions compared with a flat bar.

I couldn't care less about what the "Fashion Police," but I don't entirely buy the others. I don't see a huge difference in how a bar end would mount on a flat or riser that it would matter. And all I can say about the last argument is, "What variety of hand positions?" I don't see 'em--grips are on the end of the bar on either the flat or risers, where else am I gonna put them?

Sincerely,
R. Chan

Ronald,

Put them on if you want to. I agree that they look odd, but so do 50- year- old men in lycra. Don't point them at the sky.

Andy

Andy,

I'm trying to get the lockring off a Campagnolo Record track hub. I've tapped it cautiously with a screwdriver and hammer (in a left-lock direction of course) and have already caused enough damage to not try that again. What tool should I get? I'm told there is no specific Campag tool for such a thing.

Thanks (from rainy England...),
Tom

Tom,

I'm not sure what to do here. As for tools, I'd probably use an old set of headset pliers, which fit into the notches on the lockring. This is reverse thread, so you'd be taking it off clockwise. 

Andy

Andy,

I took my Haro X3 apart to paint it it a while ago and I forgot how to put it back together and I don't remember how the gyro goes together, and the brakes and all that. If you could help me out on how to put it back together that would be great.

Matt

Matt,

Take it to a shop.

Andy

Andy,

Can you tell me how to remove the Shimano rear gear cluster from the old hub? 

Thanks,
Mike

Mike,

Get the right tools, and it's a snap. You either need a Shimano freewheel tool, or a cassette lockring remover and chain whip.

Andy

Andy,

I have a very nice Gary Fisher Tassajara bike (about 1998 or '99) with no front suspension. Can I put front suspension on it? And, if so, what will fit?

Thanks,
Gordon

Gordon,

If you have a threadless headset (Aheadset), you can use about any 1-1/8" fork. If you don't, you can either buy a new stem, headset, and fork, and use most forks on the market, or you can use an RST fork with a 1-1/8" threaded steerer with your existing parts.

Andy

Dear Repair Guru,

I have a 3-wheel Worksman Cycles bike with a Shimano Japan "3CC" internal gear hub. There are many problems with it, and I think it's just shot. Do you know if they are easy to fix or replace, how much they cost, or where I could possibly go to them fixed or replaced?

Sincerely,
Ben 

Ben,

3-speed hubs can be pretty tough to work on. You can probably replace it for $30-$50. I would charge at least $35 to rebuild a 3-speed.

Andy

Andy,

I am looking to purchase a new comfort bike.  How do you rate the Marin bikes?  Thanks.

Craig

Craig,

Marin is about as good as any other mass produced Asian-made bike. If you're looking to spend over $500, you can buy a US built Trek, Gary Fisher, or Cannondale. If not, most bikes are basically the same, made by Ideal, Ace Trike, KHS, Merida, with whatever stickers slapped on them.

Andy

Hello,

I am wondering how much weight a Xero XR-3 real wheel with velocity rims DT spokes and machined side walls can handle. I am looking to purchase a Felt F65 and I am a good 200 pounds. I don't want my real wheel to go out on me; can this wheel and set handle my weight?

Thank You,
Mike

Mike,

Wheels usually don't have a weight limit, but common sense dictates that more spokes will support more weight. I know guys over 200 pounds who ride Rolf and Bonty wheels with less than 28 spokes and get along fine. The wheel in question is probably okay for your weight. 

Andy

Andy,

Help! I bought a Trek 700 new in 1993, I rode it less that 500 miles. Now I want to get back to riding, mostly for exercise. I took my bike to the local bike shop for service and the owner had a Trek 7600 (1998) in the back room that belonged to his daughter (very few miles), she's into babes and told dad to sell the bike. I like both of them real well, but need to sell one. Which is the best bike? Is the cheaper Steel 700 better equipped than the later 7600? My 700 seems to fit me better, but I know I can get a good fit from the 7600. Both are 21 speed, but the 700 has an 8-inch chain ring, Shimano Biopace-SG. My 7600 has a 7-inch Shimano Stx- RC chain ring. Which is best? I've had a total hip replacement four years ago, so my ridding need not be so fast, but I do have some hills to pull. Please help. Is newer better in this case? 

Riding atop Lookout Mountain,
James 

James,

I'd keep the old one.

Andy

Dear Mr. Mechanic,

Well, I took apart my bike the other day so that I could spray paint my frame. I have red spray paint and something called "clear coat." My older brother said that I had all I needed to spray paint it, but he's not exactly a reliable source. I was wondering if I did need anything else.

Karen

Karen,

Spray paint will look a lot better than, say, house paint applied with a roller or brush, but if you want to do a good job, you need to pretty much strip the frame, use a good automotive primer sprayed with a touch up gun, and automotive paint, preferably acrylic urethane.

Andy

Andy,

How do you inflate a tire with a bent valve? This is my daughter's bike, just learning how to ride without training wheels. Looks like she has Schrader valves. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Elizabeth

Elizabeth,

Some small wheels require bent valves to fit the pump head onto, but I'm not sure if this is the case here. The valve is bent outward so that you can fit the pump on. You may have Dunlop valves, which require a special pump or adapter, or you may have a valve bent by some mishap, which would require a new tube. We often replace Dunlap tubes in Kettler products with regular Schrader valve tubes.

Andy

Andy,

When I first bought my Cannondale in '99 I took it out and well...submerged it in the Houston Bayou. The front fork has been seized up since then. The bike store told me to buy a new $600 so and so. What has been your experience with them? Are they serviceable?

Also, what rims would you recommend for a guy like me that likes to take rough trails, jumps and drops and weighs 220 lbs?

Chris

Chris,

The Headshock is serviceable, but it's also a piece of crap. You can buy new bearings and races (I assume that these are rusty and that's why it won't work), but installation is a bear. Our typical seal replacement cost around $75, and bearing and races would be around $250, but I think Cannondale would do it cheaper if you sent the fork to them. Buy a reducing headset and a Rockshox or something, or better still, get a new bike. 

Sun Rhyno lites.

Andy

Andy,

I'm aware that the column guidelines say no old bike questions, but that's a small part of what I need to know. So here goes: Last summer, and on into last fall, I built myself a mountain bike from the ground up, with (almost) all the parts I always wanted. A woman I know was talking about her old road bike, and said she'd like to upgrade/convert/update it to make more or less a modern hybrid bike--that is, she'd like some off-road capability, but doesn't need a suspension fork. She just wants the availability to hit the occasional dirt trails as well as good on-road manners. I told her about how I put mine together, and she offered to pay me to do some work on hers. 

So, the question is, do you think it would be possible to convert the bike the way she wants, with some skinny but knobby tires, flat bars, and new components, or should I go with her other option, and just put together a whole new hybrid bike for her? I guess the main part of the question is just whether old-style road bikes are able to accept modern components. It looks okay to me, but then I'm not a professional bike mechanic, just an amateur one. Thanks for any help you can give me!

Biss

Biss,

The only limiting factor for this would be the size of the tyre that will fit into the frame. If it is a 700C wheel, you have many options, including hybrid or cyclocross tyres. If it is a 27" wheel, you can sometimes use a knobby like the Tioga bloodhound (27x1- 3/8" rather than 1- 1/4"). Make sure to use a mountain bike or hybrid stem with flat or riser bars, as the clamp diameters are different for drop and flat bars. Other components will fit as the budget allows. 

Andy

Andy,

I have a quick question for you, and perhaps it will prove suitable for your publication. My Bianchi Ocelot (lower-end, I know) that is in dire need of repair. Gears and chains and ball-bearings need replacing, cleaning, and tuning, and I'd like to learn to do this myself. I've heard Haynes makes a comprehensive bike manual, but can your recommend a good resource for newbies to bike repair? Perhaps something that could help pinpoint my particular model?

Thanks much for your time,
Tristan

Tristan,

Bikes are pretty generic, so there's no sense in making a book that only applies to one of several hundred thousand models. The Haynes book is okay, until mine comes out. I also like the " Zinn and the Art..." series a lot. 

Andy

Andy,

I'm inquiring about the Shimano 1998 Ultegra 600 STI group. Was this group as functional then as it is now? Are there any serious upgrade differences from then till now with Ultegra?

Thanks,
Brent

Brent,

The Ultegra 8- speed group was very good in its day. If you are considering buying used parts, don't buy used shifters. They have a very finite life, and for the most part, that life is over. You can not buy replacement parts for them, and you can't buy a new left or right blade if one of them should go out. In short, if you buy a used Ultegra group, and anything goes wrong, you'll have to buy a new 9- speed group. 

Andy

Hi,

I have a problem with my Ultegra STI Flight Deck 9- speed right side 9 (rear derailleur) shifter.

The problem is that when I want to "down shift" using the smaller lever I have to hold the bigger (outside) lever fixed and swing the little guy. Otherwise the little guy goes along with big guy and the two and up binding each other. 

I suspect there is an internal return spring that is fatigued or damaged that is causing the problem. I'm very tempted to take it apart but I hear horror stories about putting it back together with the million or so internal parts involved and no assembly drawing to go. I asked Shimano once to supply one and I never got a response. Trade secret I guess?

You almost get the impression that Shimano wants it to fail so you can go out an spend another $200 on a new pair. Aren't these suppose to last a lot longer than the three years I've had them for?

Anyway, any advise you got would be helpful. Also, I'd like to know if these units are indeed serviceable and if so by whom and what would be the costs.

Thanks,
R. Maso
Avid Cyclist

R.,

Legend has it that some people with far more time than money can and do fix these things. However, they are not a serviceable part; Shimano provides no replacement parts, so if you could fix it (not likely, in any case) you'd need to make your own replacement parts. Actually, they are designed to work only two years, until the warranty expires. Consider yourself lucky.

Andy

Good day,

I have purchased a set of Rolf Siestriere wheels (second hand), and need to service the rear hub, as the free wheel (whatever you call the part that holds the cassette) chugs a whole lot. I have looked it over, and can't find anything to pry off in order to disassemble. Can you help?

Thanks,
Steve

Steve,

I believe that this is DT Swiss hub, and you can pry the freehub off with your bare hands. Leave the cassette on, and push on the biggest gear with your thumbs. I could be wrong, but if I'm not, it'll pop right off. If it's noisy and otherwise okay, save yourself the trouble and ignore it, as these hubs are inherently noisier than Shimano hubs, due to the extra pawl.

Andy

Andy,

I just moved to college this year and I brought my bike down with me. I haven't used it in a good two or three years and it has been sitting in my garage. Any advice on how to clean it up? How much should a reliable tune up cost? 

The bike is real dirty and I tried cleaning it off with a rag and mild soap, but there are still some resilient rust stains and spots. Is there anything I can do to take those off? 

Also when I pedal the bike, all the gears will turn (front and back), but the rear wheel does not spin, does this have to do with the bearings or axle, I guess, on the rear wheel?

Will the tune up cover this problem and tighten up my brakes?

Thanks much,
Arnond

Arnold,

You might try a degreaser such as Finish Line Echotech or White Lightning Clean Streak, but rust can be tough to get off without sanding and painting. If the chain is rusted, I'd replace it. Your problem is with the freewheel, and that will need to be replaced as well. A tune up should be less than $40, but that won't include parts. Expect to pay around $20 for a freewheel. 

Andy

Andy,

Can I use an 8-speed cassette with a Shimano LX rear derailleur? The bike came with a 9-speed. Will it cause a problem? (I would put an 8-speed chain on it.)

Thanks,
Paul

Paul,

You can use the 8-speed cassette with the 9-speed derailleur, but your shifters must be 8-speed to work right.

Andy

Andy,

Here is possibly the most pathetic, simplistic question you will ever get. Just try to feel sorry for me...

I'm putting together a fixed gear road bike, and just picked up a pair of used wheels, Campag Record track hubs on Mavic G40s. The rear had a 700x28 tyre and tube already fitted, but I've bought a new Continental Ultra Gator Skin 700x23 for the front--and I'm damned if I can fit it. I've not had to fit a brand new road tyre in a few years, but I never had more than minimal trouble with those last few inches. Right now I'm looking at the thing and there's at least nine inches of tyre that refuses to get on the rim no matter what I do. As I'm a little too young for weak wrists or arthritis to be the cause, can you please tell me what the trick is?

Yours with sore fingers,
Tom

Tom,

There's not much I can tell you here. Use baby powder. Start with a little air in the tube, and let it out as needed. Seat the tyre at the valve first, and push the valve into the tyre as you get around. Squeeze the tyre to make sure it's not stuck to the rim. You can use a tool, such as a tyre jack or crank bros. speed lever, but don't use anything else. 

Andy

Andy,

Which way do you turn the pedals to remove them from the bike?

Stephen and Patricia

Stephen and Patricia,

The right (drive side) pedal comes off counterclockwise, like most things in the universe. The left side, however, is backwards, and comes of clockwise.

Andy

Andy,

I read in an archived "ask the mechanic" that (in 2000) you were riding a Lemond (Trek) OCLV frame. Can you tell me what years Trek made carbon frames under the Lemond name, and are they as good as the current Trek carbon frames?  I have an option to purchase (from a friend, so he's not ripping me off) a carbon Lemond frame that he says is a Trek OCLV frame, and I'm just trying to find out more info. Thanks.

Ted

PS: If certain color bikes are associated with certain years they were manufactured, please let me know that, too, so I can date my friend's bike. 

Ted,

Lemond OCLV frames (basically identical to today's Trek 5200 and 5500) were available in '96 and '97, I think. The Chamberys were white with Shimano Ultegra, and the Maillot Jaunes were variations on gold and purple with Campy record. I know for sure they were available in '97, and I'm reasonably sure about '96.

Andy

Dear Andy,

I have been riding a Ridgeback Genesis Day 01 with Shimano 105 gears plus an Ultegra front mech. I want to upgrade to a Dura Ace cassette. Can this be done with my 105 double 53-48 crankset?  And if so, what's the difference in an 11-21 ratio? Will that be faster considering that I'm not doing that many hills?!

Regards,
Alex

Alex,

There's no good reason to spring for a Dura Ace cassette. It saves only 24 grams over Ultegra, and while it is rotational weight, it is mass at the center of the wheel, which is not nearly as important as mass at the outside--the rim, tyre, tube, rim tape, spoke nipples. While any weight saved is theoretically important, lighter tyres are cheaper and will improve performance more. A lighter seatpost will cost less and make about the same difference. You can replace any 9-speed cassette with any other 9-speed (road to road, mountain to mountain) cassette. The difference would have to be determined by what you currently have, which is unknown to me. Most people should avoid 11-21 gears, but if you live in Nebraska or some such place, or you can turn a 53-11 (you'll be going faster than most cars) then it's probably okay. 

Andy

Andy,

Is there a significant difference, other than price, between ramped Race Face chain rings and flat Race Face chain rings?  Would you recommend one over the other?

Joe Adams

Joe,

I didn't know that you could buy flat rings for applications other than downhill (Sans front derailleur). Ramped rings are designed to improve front shifting. Unfortunately, as with most things that actually work, Shimano owns the patent for the ramps that work with Rapid Fire systems. Other ramps attempt to duplicate the smooth shifting you get with Shimano, but most fall short.  As much as I like Race Face (and dislike Shimano), I can't tell you that the RF rings will perform as well as the Shimano counterparts. If you can actually buy flat rings for multi-speed cranks, they would work best with a friction (gripe shift) front shifter. 

Andy

Andy,

Got a question about disk brakes.

Is it okay to store the bike upside down for extended lengths of time (hanging in the garage) or does this hurt the brake components, or cause any leaking of brake fluid?

Skye

Skye,

According to Hayes, it doesn't matter how you hang the bike.

Andy

Andy,

Recently I bent the gooseneck on my bike. It is a freestyle type bike and I was wondering how I would go about either fixing it or removing it. 

Thanks,
Kyle

Kyle,

Don't try to straighten it. Loosen the quill bolt, that runs through the middle. If you can't turn the bars independent of the front wheel after loosening the bolt, tap it with a mallet. It should go down, and free up, so that the bars turn easily. At this point, the stem should pull right out of the fork. If you have a freestyle stem with the brake cable running through the bolt, you'll have to disconnect the brake and pull the cable out of the stem first.

Andy

Dear Sir

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this question but I have a problem with my Rolf Vector Pro wheels. The rear hub is cracked and needs to be replaced. I'd like to find a replacement hub so that the wheel can be rebuilt. With the demise of the Vector Pro line, this is turning into a tough proposition. Can you provide me with any advice as to where I might be able to search for such a hub? It is a Huegi.

Thanks, 
Len Klun 
Maple Plain, MN 

Len,

I would assume that you could get a hub through a Trek dealer. If not, they are made by DT Swiss (formerly Huegi). You should be able to get something from one of those two sources.

Andy

To whom it may concern,

I am doing a project bike manufacturing for school and I have several questions regarding this.

1. What are the main metals (aluminum, stainless and titanium etc.) that are used to make pushbikes and what types of plastic are used for making things such as handlebar grips?

2. Approximately how many people does it take to make a standard pushbike?

3. What machinery and tools are used to make pushbikes and what purpose do they serve?

Thank-you for your time.

Yours sincerely,
Smith (a student)
Australia

Smith,

I can't help you much here. I am basically ignorant of bicycle manufacture. I can tell you that cheap 7000-7005 series aluminum is the predominant frame material, and that these frames are mostly machine made. Better bikes use 6000 series heat treated frames, or so called "zirconium aluminum."  Really good steel bikes are made from Reynolds 853 or Columbus Fuoco tubing, which are "air hardened" chromoly variants. The 6/4 (6% aluminum/4% vanadium/90% titanium) ti and 3/2.5 ti are most commonly used for ti frames, as opposed to CP (commercially pure) ti, which is considered too brittle. Nice high end frames are made of carbon fiber, or aluminum, steel, or ti bonded to carbon fiber.

I would contact a big manufacturer, like Trek, for information on mass produced and hand made bikes. (www.trekbikes.com

Andy

Hi,

Hope you can help. I have a Fox Float rear shock on my two year old bike. I have not been doing much harsh riding, mostly using the bike to commute to work. The other day the rear shock just collapsed. It is stuck in the down position and even if I pump the shock up to 300 psi it moves only slightly back to the neutral position. My manual suggests that air from the positive pressure chamber has slipped into the negative pressure chamber where it has become stuck, with no way to escape. Fox recommends sending the shock in for repair ( $130.00 and 10 plus days). I'm more than a little miffed that this shock should already be malfunctioning especially considering most of my cycling has been on paved roads. Can you please tell me how can I repair this shock myself?

Thanks,
Mike M.

Mike,

"Stuck down" happens sometimes when a shock is brand new. I don't know how to fix it, and I believe that it may be beyond the capabilities of most people. It seems that I read that it's potentially dangerous to disassemble a stuck-down shock. I'd either send it back or replace it.

Andy

Andy,

What is the best type of racing bike to buy?

D

D,

What a loaded question! Absolutely no qualifications! There are many types of races, but when one says "racing bike" I assume they mean road racing, as in Le Tour de France, etc. That being the case, and without economic restrictions, buy a Calfee Design Dragonfly. If paying over $6,000 is a strain on the purse, buy what Lance rides. You can get a Trek 5200 (ultegra equipped) for under $3,000, or you can get a lesser Calfee, like the Luna. I don't like Ti for big guys, but if you ride smaller than 56cm, look at a Lemond Victoire Tete de Course. My favorite racing ATB is a Fisher OCLV (same as Trek 9800) frame with assorted lightweight stuff. For full suspension, I like the Trek 9.8 or Fisher Sugar 1.

Andy

Andy,

I'm looking at buying an aero wheelset which I would use for time trials and at an outdoor (i.e., shallow banked) velodrome. I would rather get clinchers for convenience, as the track is shallow and I'm not concerned about the tyre riding off in the event of a puncture. I'll use a Surly converter that will let me switch between a cassette and fixed setup. I'm looking at second hand deals. I've been looking at Specialized Tri Spoke and Spinergy RevX, which seems more aero but appears to have a bad reputation (especially for the risk of catastrophic failures!). Do you have any recommendations?

Graham Pierce

Graham,

Don't buy used RevX.  The Specialized is probably okay, but I'd be worried about any used, or aged, carbon wheelset.  An aluminum wheel, like Rolf or Bontrager, would be a less expensive, safer alternative.

Andy

Hey,

Neat column. I am trying to change out a coaster brake hub into a freewheeling type hub. Any chance?

Thanks,
Tim

Tim,

Buy a new wheel.

Andy

Hi,

My wife and I are looking at buying a bike trailer to pull our two-year-old son. We are torn between the Yakima Tot Rod and the Burley Encore. They are both priced about the same. The quality of the hitch, comfort, and overall quality of construction are the main factors. Any opinions?

Thanks,
Ken

Ken,

Buy the Burley. They are American-built by a cooperative company that doesn't use Chinese slave labor, and they have been making high quality trailers for over 20 years.

Andy

Hey Andy!

I bought some 517 ceramics and they work great but my front brake squeals like a pig in heat. I tried the toe in, sanding the pads surface, and sanding the ceramic surface (just kidding).

Any ideas?
Naz

Naz,

If you are not using ceramic pads, get some. If you have XT or XTR (parallel push mechanism) brakes, you could need what is laughingly referred to as a tune up kit. This is a bunch of thin washers that you cram in between the pivots to take up slop. If the brakes wiggle back and forth, they scream. It may be possible that something like your fork brace or brake boss may be loose or broken.

Andy

Andy,

I have a set of sealed bearings from a 3-piece crank in my bike and I can't get them out in order to put in a new set. How do I get them out? Do I need a special tool? 

Chris

Chris,

To remove the bearings from the cups, you need something relatively soft to support the cups, and something that fits into the center of the bearing to pound it out. There's really not much to it; you just knock it out of there with a hammer and perhaps a piece of 1-1/2" pipe. Carefully press the new ones in with a bearing press or you could use a vise.

Andy

Andy,

I have a Hoop D Mongoose and I want to take off front brake, but I have gyro. How do I take off the brake?

Justin

Justin,

You have to pull the cable out of the stem. First, cut off the cable tip. Loosen the anchor bolt on the brake. Guide the cable up through the fork and out of the cable guide. It should pull through at this point. If you have a side pull brake, remove the nut or bolt on the back of the fork. The brake will pull off the fork in a forward direction. If you have U brakes, remove the allen bolts that attach each arch to the fork, and the brakes come off.

Andy

Andy,

I have a month-old Steintrike Nomad with off-the-shelf Shimano componentry. I have an 8-speed cassette with bar-end index shifters, which worked fine when I first got the trike. Now I find that as I change gears some are skipped. I can get the two smallest gears without problem but when I push the lever forward there's no click until gear five, then another jump to seven and and eight. I can still find the missing gears by wiggling the lever, there's just no click. The only thing that has changed since it worked correctly was my Other Half tried unsuccessfully to change the brake levers (he put the originals back on). I have tried tightening the big bolt on the side of the shifter labeled "friction" but this would hardly turn and appears to make no difference. Any ideas?

Rufus

Rufus,

Either your shifter is stuck between index and friction modes, or it is defective. You can loosen the center bolt, and turn the indicator fully to the index mode. Maybe you should turn it back and forth a few times, but make sure that it is fully turned to the index mode. If this doesn't work, you'll need a new shifter, at about $30.

Andy

Andy

I've read several of your Q&As. Very interesting and a lot of good advice. Also, I know what your response to my question will be. Nevertheless, I have two adult Mt. Fury Roadmasters from Wal-Mart. In low gear, pressure on the pedal will cause the chain to jump several gear teeth and/or completely come off the gear. This really takes the skin off one's leg. I had hoped to at least be able to go from the street to the sidewalk via the handicap ramp without becoming handicapped. Any ideas on the mechanical cause or how to rectify the problem?

Thanks,
Jack

Jack,

Using the information presented, I'd say that you have a chain/cog mismatch. This usually occurs when one installs a new chain on a worn cassette/freewheel, but can happen when a cog or chainring is not machined correctly. If it occurs on two bikes of the same model, I'd say that even with Mt. Furries that would be odd. It's also possible that your chainring is bent, but since you did not indicate which low gear (front or rear) is the problem, I can only guess. If the chain is just coming off, you have adjustment issues, and this can be solved using the low limit screw on either derailleur, or making sure that the front derailleur is properly aligned. You will very quickly surpass the value of these bikes if you start replacing cranks, freewheels, chains, so it might be wise to just give up.

Andy

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