Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cheap Parts: Not So Bad After All

The fixie is up on blocks, getting its post-winter-crud overhaul. Damage report:
  • Front brake? Toast. The quick release got mauled somehow, so it likes to release at the least opportune time, adding to the thrill of riding in traffic. Replacement en route, and replacement pads from the stash are already waiting for it.
  • Paint? Surprisingly unscathed, once I got through the grime.
  • Wheels? Shockingly true. Note to my fat self: If you aren't going to stay in shape, you'd better keep riding 36-spoke wheels with zero dish.
  • Drivetrain? I would measure the chain, but I can't tell where metal ends and sludge begins. When I went near the chainring, the Jaws theme started playing (sheesh, now there's a bike mechanic geek in-joke for you), and the cog has more chipped teeth than I do. Again, replacements are either installed or en route.
My biggest surprise was in the bearings. Sure, I have full fenders, but winter around here has a tendency to find anything that turns and punish it, no matter what sort of cycle-prophylactics you install. I had all but written off the generic hubs, headset and bottom bracket as one-season disposables, only to discover that the hubs simply needed a quick adjustment, the bottom bracket was as smooth as old Campy, and a couple fingers of grease resulted in a nice, non-indexed headset.

Once all the assorted shiny new parts roll in from the four corners of the globe, I'll be maybe an hour of wrenching away from that proud moment... opening the hole in the ceiling, raising the lifeless carcass up into the thunderstorm, flipping the giant switch, and exclaiming, "It's alive! It's ALIVE!"

(It's pronounced Fronken-SHTEEN, by the way...)

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