Bike Repairs – new bottom bracket

English: WD-40
English: WD-40 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to repair and upgrade my old road bike regularly, taking it from a 12-speed to 21-speed in the process.  The only things I haven’t replaced on that old thing are the front rim and hub, brake callipers and the frame.

My newer bikes are a different prospect.  Firstly, my big old tools aren’t needed or just don’t fit.  My Cannondale Super V is weird anyway and my Trek Domane can be taken apart using only Allen keys.

The Cannondale has been clicking on the bottom of the pedal stroke for a while.  At the last service I was assured that the BB was fine, whereas the rear hub bearings were stuffed.  I wasn’t so sure.

Luckily, I only needed a new BB tool, Park Tool BBT-32 as my old crank puller would do the rest.  I also bought new Park Tool PPL-1 PolyLube from Bike Culture.

Crank bolts were removed with 8mm Allen key, then the cranks were pulled.  I used the BBT-32 on the non-drive side to remove the plastic cup.  Removing this side first releases pressure on the drive-side thread and will make removal a little easier.  The hardest part is keeping the splines of the tool engaged; clean the cups with a brush beforehand.  Even then, the tendency was for the tool to twist out.  The thread is quite stiff until the cup is all the way out.

The drive side wasn’t budging.  I sprayed WD-40 from the other side to penetrate the thread and a few minutes later the BB was free.  The threads are integrated into the body of the BB.

A few turns of the axle and the grinding was obvious.  It is not unusual to have some resistance when you turn the axle, but this was gritty and sticky and yucky.  And not a user-serviceable item, either.  While everything was off the bike I removed the chain-wheels and gave everything a good scrub in the parts washer.  The black cranks and chain-wheels polished up nice.

As luck would have it, Pushys Wheels were having a Boxing Day sale, so there was hope of getting a new BB.  I needed a 68mm (width of the frame at the bottom bracket) x 111mm (width of the axle) but had to settle for a 68 x 113.  The extra 2mm would require a change of chain-line at the front, which shouldn’t be too much to compensate for, I thought.

Fitting was straightforward, using plenty of lube on the threads and a very thin layer on the cranks tapers.  (Old timers might shudder at the idea if greasing the tapers before replacing the cranks, but a thin layer will help to seat the crank and won’t make the cranks round out.)  Once it was all back together, I rode around for a bit and re-tightened.

The front dérailleur needed adjustment.  The front mech has always been temperamental; last weekend it threw the chain off the small ring and the large ring on one ride.  I shifted the limit screws to some semblance of 2mm and put some tension in the cable adjusters.  I had enough to get into all front chainwheels, though the middle needs a little more thumb than usual.  I really wanted a ride by the afternoon, so fine adjustment could wait.

During the ride (more on that later), I adjusted the shifting a little, but it is still hit and miss.  Fortunately the rear shifts as sweetly as ever, so I could stick to a chain-wheel and grind one out.

Or rather, not grind.  The smooth action from the new BB was immediately obvious.  I often put a lot of expectation on any adjustment or new component to have benefits several orders of magnitude greater than their cost.  But I could tell that even steep and loose hills were easier to climb and the pedal action was much smoother.  Not bad for $40 (+$40 for tools and lube).

Bicycle repair can be liberating and cheap; not only saving on labour costs but also by extending the life of existing components and knowing when to replace before failure in an inconvenient location.  Proper tools are essential to avoid expensive injury to bike and self.  And a workstand helps (Pushy’s have a nice one reduced to $99.)  And it keeps your mechanic honest.


Crap, Hogwash, Wikipedia and Other Strong Evidence.

I’ve never understood why people think that it is unacceptable to NOT have a favourite footy team, opinion on who will win X Factor or DWTS, but it is perfectly acceptable to profess ignorance and mistrust of science. And they’ll type that on a smartphone to appear on the Internet.
Wouldn’t it be nice to switch the science off for an hour so that people like our PM could see what happens if the geeks and boffins left the planet.

The Australian Independent Media Network

“I mean in the end this whole thing is a question of fact, not faith, or it should be a question of fact not faith and we can discover whether the planet is warming or not by measurement. And it seems that notwithstanding the dramatic increases in man made CO2 emissions over the last decade, the world’s warming has stopped. Now admittedly we are still pretty warm by recent historical standards but there doesn’t appear to have been any appreciable warming since the late 1990s.”


From Abbott’s Interview with Andrew Bolt:

Bolt: (Volunteering to fight) the fires. Was there an element of running away from the office?

PM: Ha! Mate, I got up to the station at 4pm Saturday and I got back to the station at 10 Sunday morning. So there’s no question of running away from…

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Just Remember We’re Not Independent and We’re All Idiots.

I could not have put it better myself.

The Australian Independent Media Network

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of taking a class called “Oral English” which was one hour a week and in it Year 10 students were meant to improve their oral skills by short talks, debating and intelligent discussion of issues. The intelligent discussion of issues nearly always descended into them raising their voices and insulting each other at which point I’d bring a halt to proceedings and remind them of the rules of the class.

One day, instead of doing the same ineffective thing, I simply asked them, “When was the last time that someone changed your mind by yelling at you? Or by insulting you?” The general consensus was never. “Then why do you think it’ll work when you do it?’

“We don’t,” said one girl.

“Then why do you do it?” I asked

“Because it feels good.”

“Well, just so long as you’re not expecting…

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Usually, they wait till you’ve signed the contract before revealing the fine print!

I hope/fear that the contract would be every bit as successful/disastrous as the “Contract with America [sic]” was in the mid-1990’s.
“Spoken/scripted” is the new “core/non-core promise”.

The Australian Independent Media Network

Who else received a Contract from Tony Abbott? Just wondering, because I misplaced mine and I’ve been searching for it on the internet, and I can’t seem to find it there either. Perhaps, it was an individual contract…

”You’ll notice we haven’t said we’re going to get to a surplus by a particular date.” Tony Abbott

“But missing from the independent costings will be the analysis on three of the Coalition’s key policies: broadband, Direct Action and the plan to stop asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat.” The Sydney Morning Herald

Anyway, I was searching for it, because I couldn’t remember if it said anything about surpluses, but as I can’t find it, I guess he’s off the hook.

Still, I wonder whether it was such a good idea to send me a contract at all. I mean, I hadn’t asked for one. And if I was going to…

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