Saturday, October 3, 2015

annual breakdown & rebuild

Every fall, I take the Yellow Maserati, my titanium bike, down to parts and rebuild it, partly because the titanium can seize the other parts (although this is mostly a problem with titanium-on-titanium), partly to see if any problems are developing (more later), but mostly because I like to do it. This weekend is predicted cool and rainy, and the Ciclovia for tomorrow has been cancelled, so today was the day. Here's the bike on the rack with the wheels off:

One of the first things I do (because it's a thankless, dirty job) is take off the cassette and clean it. Here's the rear wheel with the cassette on, and the chain whip and wrench:

Beneath the wheel, you'll see a political poster; this one is corrugated plastic and it makes a great drop and parts-and-floor-protector. (It might be the best thing those two particular politicos are good for. Hrmph.)

After some heavy scrubbing and the judicious application of some toxic hydrocarbons, behold a cleaner cassette:

On to the cranks. I took them off to clean 'em up (and to have access to the bottom bracket). As I started to clean the large ring, I noticed the teeth were uneven and worn; I'm not sure you can see it in the picture below:

I had a large ring from another crank that was in better shape and I put that in.

Now to the bottom bracket. It's a sealed Mega-Exo, so it doesn't take much maintenance (I put some black car grease where the crank axle goes across), but I take it out every year to make sure it doesn't seize in place. When I put it back, I use an anti-seize goop called Ti-Prep in the threads; it's got copper in it that does something that makes the titanium play nicely with other metals (and with other titanium parts); you can see the coppery goop in the pic below, before I've re-installed the bottom bracket. (The drive side is reverse-threaded; both sides of the bracket loosen towards the front of the bike.)

After the cranks are back in, I disassemble the fork and drop it out. This steel fork develops some rust on the inside of the steering tube every year; not enough to affect its integrity, but enough that I don't like it, so I use steel wool to get the worst of it off. When I put the stem back on, I put a little white grease between the parts (and around the threads of the bolts) so they'll come apart nicely when I need them to do so. Here's the white grease on the top of the steering tube (I put a bit of black grease around the crown race, where the bottom bearing of the steering assembly is, and at the top bearing).

My aluminum saddle post doesn't need much maintenance, but I take it out to put in a new dab of copper Ti-Prep. You can see the remains of last year's application in the pic below:

My brake pads are still in good shape, so I didn't have to replace them.

Time to cable. The SRAM shifters I use give me a difficult time running the shifter cables, and it was worse this year after the crash. There's  bit of damage I didn't see that I'll have to keep an eye on, although I don't have to replace them right away. Still, the end of the shifter cable was a bit bent up after forcing it through the shifter on one side (it looks like a scratch on a negative, but that bent line is the end of the shifter cable after I was done manhandling it):

The handlebars, after the new cables are on, but before they are taped down:

I found some inexpensive tape in a dollar store. Some of the colors are decent, but that not-quite-Bianchi-celeste does nothing for me... so it's a good color for UNDER the bars:

And for my 60th birthday, Snakehead got me some good SRAM tape in yellow (well, it IS the Yellow Maserati, even though it's usualy decked out in black and grey). Here's the bar in her finery.

(One of the things I'm not good at is wrapping and taping bars. I had to do this twice before I liked the result, and a fussy rider would probably do it yet again.)

The bike's still on the rack; in the morning, I'll readjust the cables to deal with the "cable stretch" (those cables are stainless steel; they don't stretch; it's the housing that shrinks... but I'm getting too pedantic here). I hope to take it out for a shakedown 20-miler tomorrow.

Edit: Blogger won't let me respond to the comment below; so I'll do it here: today, it took between three and four hours.

'Nother Edit: I did NOT replace the chain, which I did about 100 miles ago. I DID take off the bottle cages and clean 'em up.

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