An Equal Opportunity Offender


Friday, August 5, 2011

I present to you the Orbea Orca. Winner of the worst cable routing EVER Award!

I got the opportunity to wrench on a 2011 Orbea Orca with full Dura Ace this morning. The lady was complaining about her shifting. Seeing that I had worked on this bike and tried to explain to this lady over the phone what was going on, I took the occasion to explain the problem. I took pictures so you could all enjoy how fucked this bike is.

Obviously, this is the bottom bracket cradle. The cable runs down the down tube, making contact the entire way. It is then routed through a small metal bracket on the BB. Fairly straight forward except that the cable makes contact all the way down the down tube and then enters the bracket at one angle and leaves at another. Kind of like this, >.

After leaving the BB cradle, it heads toward the rear derailleur. I see three problems here. 1. the cable makes contact with the chainstay as it enters the cable stop. 2. The cable is again required to enter at one angle and leave at another, >, remember. 3. It then has to route right around the QR nut.

Ah, to the beginning of the problem. The cable enters at one angle and leaves at another, >. It leaves and makes contact for about three inches on the down tube. I don't know how long this customer ran the cable casing down the down tube, but there was wear almost all the way to the BB.

The customer was obviously, as mentioned, having shifting issues. I mean, how could she not? Right? I took the time to show her the problems and explain why it would shift poorly. She got it. She was smart. I said we had two options. I could make it shift perfectly with Di2. Seeing that there wasn't any cable friction to worry about. 2nd option, I could put Gore cables on the bike to reduce the friction. She opted for the latter and also decided to go with a Dura Ace chain. They are directional and can help shifting as well.

When the bike was done, it shifted almost flawlessly. As it entered the lower spring tension of the bottom of the cassette it would take an extra tooth or two to drop, but did drop. She left happy.

Luckily, I also gave her the disclaimer that Teflon can wear off and therefore the shifting may not stay as "awesome" as it is right now. She's looking at her options.

Good job, Orbea!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rolf releases another mediocre wheelset

The ad reads, "Long Awaited - The first mountain bike wheels from Rolf Prima."

I have two problems with that. I don't think anyone has been waiting for Rolf to release any new wheels. Actually the last time I heard of Rolf making waves was in the '90's. Second, even though they may not want to admit it, there were Rolf mountain wheels back when they were affiliated with Trek. This apparently was a dark time for them. If you call to get parts for any wheels during that time period they make sure that you know that they are not Rolf wheels and that you have to call Trek. Whatever.

And to end things off, how many times have you been truing Rolf wheels only to find that they are perfect where the spokes are but have significant wobbles in between. Not much that can be done for that. Considering that it is a problem with their road wheels, I can only imagine how the mountain ones will be.

The best wheels are still hand built, 32 or 36 hole on Shimano hubs. You can beat 'em with a stick and come out the other side with a functional wheel...


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Pile of Shiv

It has been rumored that the shop will be receiving the biggest Shiv award this year. Seeing that we have built 7, four from this model year. The first six have been fairly straight forward if you don't mention the time spent customizing Di2 cables so that the build looked descent (21 hours plus having to outsource to a small electric motor specialist). Number 7 turned into a pile of Shiv.

As you can see from the pic, the first issue I ran into was the fact that the factory did not thread the hanger. Being the kick ass wrench that I am, I did 'em a solid and took care of the problem After tapping the hanger I completely finished the build with a full group of Super Record 11 including the new return-to-center shifters (which as a side note are kick ass and way fucking better than the shit that ScRAM makes. I mean you can adjust the angle of the lever, and smooth, I mean smooth shifting...). Finishing a Shiv build takes a while, try 5 hours due to the intricacy of the cable routing and the thousand piece extension stacker.

To finish up I just need to straighten the stem and torque 'er down. Customer is patiently awaiting their $10,000 bike.

Before I continue with this little tale of Shivness, let me interject some personal philosophy. Torque wrenches are awesome and absolutely vital for high end builds/repairs. I know a lot of "old school" wrenches that refuse to use a torque wrench because they claim their elbows are calibrated or some other dumb ass shit. Well, take your calibrated elbow and see if you can consistently hit 40 inch pounds without going over ten times in a row. Can you? Fuck no. A good, careful technician will be under 7 times and over 2 and pretty damn close once. What does all this mean? If you are a bike mechanic who likes to work on high end stuff, invest in a god damn torque wrench. And I don't mean the shit that is floating around the industry and  toted as a "torque wrench." Park's wrenches are a joke. Pedro's? Don't make me laugh. Topeak? Getting better... I personally prefer Snap On's digitial. Good to within 1% accuracy and the read out gives you an exact number for the amount of torque reached. Vital! Plus they self calibrate when turned on.

Ok, to continue.

I grab my trusty Snap On torque wrench and a 4 mm bit and begin the daily task of torquing a stem on a carbon steerer. The recommended torque is 4.5Nm. Yes, I looked it up to be sure before starting. I'm tightening the top bolt but just as I feel things start to slightly tighten I feel a slight pop and then the bolt will only tighten to 3.77Nm (trusty digital read out). Being that I am deprived of sugar in my blood and have been working on this bike for almost five hours, I try the bottom bolt. Same result. A little confused, I check the stem and see that the threads have pulled out of the stem...

Five hours and a bike that can't be ridden... Thanks Special Ed.