rule two of bicycle commuting

ted | bike | Monday, December 11th, 2006

Diagnose and repair any issues ASAP.

I had a slight creak from my bottom bracket. No big deal, I thought, I’ll just open it up and regrease the bearings one day. I’ve got the tools, grease & know-how. No big deal.

I finally got around to cleaning my bike of the asphalt tack coat I stupidly rode through. It was then I noticed I had at least 1/4″ of play on the right side of my bottom bracket. Rut roh. That ain’t good.

So I sat down on a white plastic bucket in my unheated garage, and with my cheapo tool kit and by the light of a CF bulb in a lightweight clamp-on fixture, I took the bottom bracket apart. First the pedals then the spindle dust caps then the retaining nuts then the crank puller then the bottom bracket bearing races and HOLY CRAP WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO MY BEARINGS, BUBBLES?

bearings gone bad

I know that picture sucks, but you get the idea. Notice the nice flat spot on the lower leftmost bearing and the one next to it. Oh and those metal chips. And how the ball retainer is more mangled than a 12 year old’s braces. These are the worst-looking bearings I’ve ever seen.

Fortunately the races were fine. Even more fortunate, the bottom bracket shell was set up for a standard 68mm wide sealed cartridge bottom bracket – I checked the length, diameter, spindle length and even the thread pitch, so off I went to my LBS and purchased a replacement. $24 for their finest generic sealed unit. Hopefully this will be a lot more durable, as it appears they used the absolute cheapest-assed bearings they had in China.

Finally got it all back together yesterday and it rode great on my way in today, except the part where I decided to ride partially through some slush (which was actually solid ice) and almost ate the curb. I guess that should be rule three: always ride around stuff. Fortunately a couple years of mountainbiking and motorcycling has taught me how to correct wobbles, at least somewhat.

But even if you’re riding through doggy doodoo and frozen vomit slush next to a bass blasting lowrider full of homies brandishing Tec-9s, keep an ear out for any new squeaks, creaks or clunks, and fix them as soon as possible, you lazy jerk.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress | Theme by Roy Tanck