Had heavy-duty classes on Friday and Saturday, plus a last-minute houseguest starting Thursday, in addition to regular work stuff. So, when the friend headed off to the airport on midday Sunday, my working plan had been a leisurly ride, enjoying the silly-warm weather and comparative lack of traffic. Something about a sports event causing the latter. I was suprised that so many people were going to stay in and watch the Cyclocross Worlds, but maybe there’s hope for us afterall.
But, I could tell Saturday night that the week had taken its toll a bit. Wasn’t exactly fighting something, but my voice was off and head a little loopy. When I reevaluated things on Sunday - or more precisely, when I asked myself whether I wanted to ride and didn’t bounce around the house like a dog who sees the leash get taken down - it just made sense to underdo things a bit. Another Anti-Costanza workout.
And there was some real pressure to knuckle down and clean up the bikes. Or, at least one bike. As I’ve mentioned before, my “workspace” is basically in the art room, so if it involves cleaning, degreasing and other nasty byproducts, it’s banished out back. With the weather we’ve been having (or more appropriately, “not having”) this winter, it’s been tough to trade away a ride for some scrubbing. In fact, I ‘d rather don the raingear and boots and do the cleaning in the rain.
But, the “to-do” list on the Quickbeam had grown to a lengthy list - nasty-noisy drivetrain, road gunk, the dirty-dishwater-won’t-clean-up anymore bar tap, a
little hop in both the front and back wheels, dry pedal bearings, dry
spots on the saddle, a little “tick” sound out of the headset every once in a while, that embarrassing rear-brake squeal. Oh sure, it still looked good in the sun, but wasn’t ready for its close-up.
I actually had been trying to do this for a while, as the brake pad issue was reasonably egregious. For some reason, it had been very important to replace the OEM Shimano pads with some Kool Stop Salmon compound. Even the half and half would’ve been OK. The first set was easy enough to find - a little pop into A Bicycle Odyssey after class. But, they’d only had one set, and since new canti pad installation is a dish best served in four courses, I needed another set. Should’ve put more weight on the suprise of the staff that they’d had it.
Five other shops had only the standard compound. Another had no smooth post canti pads at all. Another stop in the Sausalito shop brought news that the next shipment had not arrived. Luckily, they took the extra retail step, checked an upcoming order and confirmed that they were coming.
In the meantime, I exfoliated enough of the trail grit and lube goop from the chainring to see that things were ugly. One of the curses of a simple drivetrain is that you don’t really assume things are wearing like they do on many-geared setups. So, you don’t flip the chainring. And, I’ve been running the same chainring since February of 2006, when the Quickbeam arrived. As mentioned above, it had developed a grindy sound that was not really part of my singlespeed asthetic.
The drivetrain kept catching my eye as well. On the “Fixed Up” ride a few weeks earlier, the position of the rear wheel seemed rather far aft. It seemed that a stretched chain and ground down ring might have that effect.
Parts accumulated with a small package of bits from Rivendell, another trip to the shop, and a bit of rooting around the parts pile (actually down to my last 8 speed chain). The warm Sunday afternoon tipped the cow… wait. Is that a phrase?
First step was a quick eval - with the gearing set in the 40/14 fixed mode, the effective chainstay length was 45.7 cm’s. The chain measured - I kid you not - 12 1/4″ for 24 links. The 40T chainring looked like breakers at the beach.
Got drivetrain noise?
Things mostly chugged right along - everything got scrubbed and no anomolies appeared, new chainring setup easily, pads went on quickly, a little adhesive residue from the bar tape. The only thing that didn’t get addressed was that I couldn’t budge the freewheel so I’ll have to use a big bench vise at some point. When things went back together, the chainstay measurement came in at 44.9 cm’s. (Insert Roger Rabbit-y rubbery headshake sproing noise here.) Yeah, almost a centimeter is a change.
It got me wondering about dropping another link out of the chain. It might be interesting to experiment with a slightly shorter wheelbase. Of course I need to make sure that the 18T freewheel setup wouldn’t bottom out (or, technically “front” out) on the fork end. Food for thought. Project for another day.
Got things mostly wrapped up and stowed in time to shower and zip out to see “Slumdog Millionaire”. Which is brilliant.
The Quickbeam is much happier now. And ready for its close-up…