Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter Commuter Project Bike: Day 22

So close, and yet so far away.

I put on the remainder of the components last night, and thought that I had a working bike. Using some Polish engineering and innovation (see below), I was able to cut the rear brake line much easier.
 Yes, that is a vice grips around the handle of some dikes. Works great.

For those of you that read and commented on yesterdays post, I ended up drilling out the brake stops so that I could run the brake cable housing all the way back. This ended up working well, except for my first attempt with it, when I had selected too small of a bit (not counting for the give of the paint) and scratched my frame, resulting in a surplus amount of cursing over the blemish in my newly powder-coated frame.

After getting everything on, I went for a quick jaunt through my sizeable apartment garage complex, and my chain kept skipping.  At first I thought that it was skipping because I didn’t have it lined up closely enough with the chainring, but when I watched it closer I found that it was actually jumping forward on the chain, a feat which I did not know was possible.  

Figuring that the chain was too loose, I spent the next 2 hours trying to adjust my chain, and quickly learned what a ‘golden ratio’ was – and that I did not have one.  I am running a 42/17 now, so Ill stop by the shop on my way home and pick up a 16 and an 18 to see if I can make one of em work. I have a Singulator at home, but in my stubborn determination want to try to make it work without one.

Hopefully I will be riding it tomorrow (of course, that’s what I said yesterday..).

Stepping back and looking at my apartment yesterday made me laugh. Some people prefer to have couches in their living rooms...


  1. Crap! That's what I get for being lazy. I started a post yesterday about drilling out your brake cable stops and mentioned the main thing you'd need to be careful of is scratching your paint. But I closed the browser on accident and didn't feel like re-typing everything I had just written. I'm pretty wordy and I had a good few paragraphs with website links I lost.

    Doh! Oh well. Looks like you're almost ready to hit the streets as it is! I too tried the magic gear situation and figured out it was much easier just having a frame that worked with single speed. Cause even if you get the gears/chain figured out to be just the right tension, the chain will eventually lengthen and the chain you replace it with may not be exactly like the original one was. In other words, you'll most likely have to use a chain tensioner no matter what.

    Oh, and as an aside, you really should look at getting some real cable cutters. Maybe a Christmas present from someone? Your dikes will become as dull as a spoon after cutting through a few cables and housing. It's always better to have the right tool for the job.

  2. munsoned,
    See what happens when I dont have your wisdom to go off of? Sheesh.

    I just got back from the bike shop and tried the 16, and it is super close on the back, like 1mm off. So close that I thought about forcing it in, but with QR axel I thought better of it. I know itll go with a 15.
    But now you have me worried...How long does it take to stretch a chain out?

    Agreed on the cable cutters.

  3. Chain stretch happens depending on the condition and care of the chain. Being that you'll probably put this chain through hell for commuting, it could happen faster than normal. It also depends on what kind of chain you have. If you start out with a 9 or 10 speed chain, which are lighter and thinner, they'll wear much quicker. If you go with an 8 speed chain, it should last longer.

    Although I know about general chain wear with geared bikes, I'm not an expert on single speed chains as I've just started commuting with a single speed. Otherwise, my mtb is a single speed, and with that bike I'd swap out chains (I have many) after a few dirty rides. With geared bikes, you do put more stress on a chain (especially with commuting through winter) since your chain kinks side to side to hit all the gears you have. So in that sense, a single speed chain should last longer as it doesn't have side to side wear.

    I think, as long as you keep your chain lubed to where it doesn't make any noise, you should be good. There's a myriad of internet debates as to how to care for your chain. And pretty much each person comes up with their own method of cleaning/lubing chains. I have one friend that slaps on a new chain with the factory gunk on it and rides it, maintenance-free, till his shifting goes to crap. Then he buys a new chain and repeats. This method can cause premature wear on cogs and chainrings, so it's not the best method. My method varies on the bike. The road bike gets thoroughly cleaned pretty often so the chain is near spotless most the time. My commuter bikes get beat up pretty bad and I really don't want to work on my bike outside during the winter. I don't have a heated garage or a basement. My frankenstein commuter I used last winter was covered in sludge from November till late March since it was such a bad winter. I think I swapped out the chain once during that time, after there was more rust than lube on the chain.

  4. You should just get singulator make sure you have the push up spring not the push down. It takes 5 minutes