Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ready for Tucson

I've always been keen on preventative maintenance on my bikes. It is pretty rare something breaks on my bike while riding. Something is far more likely to break on my body! This doesn't mean I obsess over keep my bikes clean though...

With a trip planned to Arizona in a couple weeks, it was time to address a few things on my daulie I plan to bring. First, the tires. The Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires are great for smooth hardpack, but the onion skin sidewalls are no match for sharp rocks and cactus thorns that are plentiful in Arizona. Even though the tubeless ready tires were not even halfway used up, they came off. I decided to go full UST tubeless, with real sidewalls. I've not ridden Kenda's Small Block 8 tires before. Reviews claim they are fast. They are also the heaviest tires I've bought at over 850g each. This will add over 1.5 lbs to my bike. I hope the low rolling resistance helps compensate for the extra heft.

My rear shock, a Fox RP23, holds air flawlessly. I can't remember the last time I even checked it. Maybe 6mo ago? Anyway, I'm noticing more greasiness on the shaft these days. Fox sells seal kits cheap and no tools are really needed to rebuild the shock. It seemed like a good idea. Turned out to be really easy. Other than an Allan wrench to remove the shock and a small screwdriver to pry out the seals, no other tools were needed. The shock screws apart by hand. No weight penalty here. Going on 10 days now, shock still holds pressure, so I didn't botch it.

The rear pivot bushings were picking up a hint of play. These are some type of polymer material. Also cheap and easy to replace. Took just a few minutes to pop four new ones in.

It's been a while since I replaced the shifter cables. We've all ridden with somebody that's lost one. They end up with one gear in back and two or three up front if they are lucky. Turns out my front shifter cable was badly frayed at the derailleur and I didn't know it. Disaster averted. A section of rear shift cable housing was delaminating too. It flexes with the suspension, so it will last only so long. Replaced.

Then there's the drivetrain. I subscribe to the philosophy that you let the whole works gracefully wear out as a set, then replace the whole thing as a set. Foolproof this way. I've had too many instances in the distant past where I tried replacing just the chain when it started showing signs of wear, only to find it would skip over cog teeth in hard efforts, nearly sending me over the bars. Never again. Chains aren't cheap anyway, so replacing many chains to squeeze a little more life out of cassettes and chain rings isn't worth the risk. So the small and middle rings, chain and cassette were all replaced. XTR rings are not cheap! Fortunately, the largest, most expensive ring, usually lasts 2-3 drivetrain replacements. I go with CN-7701 (Dura Ace) 9spd chains but XT cassettes. XTR cassettes are stupid expensive and seem to wear out faster than XT cassettes. I just added 700g in tire weight, I shouldn't fret over a few 10's of grams cassette weight.

A pad check showed the front brake pads were too thin to make it through a trip, so new onces went in. I noticed the rotors were getting pretty thin too, so new Shimano Centerloc rotors were ordered. I should be good for the trip, but next time I replace pads, I need to put new rotors on to be safe.

Complete overhaul

My daulie is a bit of a behemoth now with the new tires. It weighs over 27 lbs, which is a lot for a 4" travel, 26" bike. I contemplated bringing my Superfly hardtail, which weighs 4 lbs less with 29" wheels, but not sure my taint can take that much abuse in a week.


DaveP said...

You must have been a cub scout or something. Be prepared! (F that.)

Hill Junkie said...

Nope, never a scout or something. I just know how annoyed I get when guys show up for a ride with dilapidated equipment. Like that one time Steve joined me with his rear tube bulging out sidewall tares in no less than six places. He flatted three times in the first 30 minutes. Consequences could be much more serious on a 100km loop through the desert.

Mookie said...

I'd like to replace the bushings on mine. Where'd you get them?

Hill Junkie said...

Got bushings and Fox fork seals from EnduroForkSeals.com. The original fork seals sucked, always blew hydro fluid. I've been riding the Enduro seals for a while now, and no leakage.