An Equal Opportunity Offender


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Whats Italian for....

This C-clip thing is way stuck and I cant get it out..... well got it
 out after 30 minutes of yanking on it with a brake cable

It may be time for a new cable...

One strand was all that was still attached. I guess we should just be happy that it held until it made it to the shop.

At least it isn't like the bike in this Dirt Rag review, which I am pretty sure that regardless of what you do it won't shift... Pay close attention to the penultimate picture, the cable makes a 90 degree turn inside a plastic sheath. Pure brilliance... Orbea took a shitty design from their Orca and trickled it sideways to the Alma. Great idea guys!

The mail bag.

Discovered your blog a few months ago and have been following.  Thought you'd appreciate these gems that passed through our shop recently.

The first two pictures are of a Superfly hardtail a customer brought in a while ago.  To give some background, this customer treats everyone at the shop like shit and appears to do the same to his bikes.  He does by bikes from us though, so we roll with it (for some reason).  He came in this past fall with the hopes of warrantying a beat to shit, old-ass Trek 6000 mountain bike that he had been attempting to free-ride with.  Against our better judgement the bike was warrantied and he chose to take a credit to apply to a new bike instead of just a new frame.  We explained to him at least a dozen times that he would be best served by a full suspension trail or all mountain bike for his riding style (and gross lack of ability).  Of course, he is the most unfortunate breed of asshole - the stubborn asshole... And an uninformed one, at that.  As much as we warned against it, he bought a carbon race bike because it was the lightest one we had on the floor that day.  We told him he would break it.  He refused to believe us.  

Two month later he brought the bike back completely unmaintained.  Drivetrain hideous, headset ridden while quite loose, fork leaking oil, everything caked in dirt.  There were two really special things about the bike.  One, he had come down on a rock and smashed in the down tube (pictured).  Second, he converted his crankset to a double by not removing the big ring, but by cutting it off around each bolt (also pictured).  Ironically, if he had still had a big ring, he would have hit that and not his down tube.  The best part is, he berated us about how he noticed the damage while "meticulously cleaning" his bike as he "does after every ride".  The bike showed no signs of any cleaning except an occasional power washing, of course.  Side note: on the carbon guard there is a distinct impact mark with scratches leading directly to the carbon damage, evidence of hitting a rock and sliding off of it.  He then told us how the damage was not from an impact, but from his sheer power.  "I must be too powerful for carbon", he told us.  He continued on to inform us that Trek should stop making carbon mountain bikes if they break just from strong riders.  This is the same guy who argued with me about a tubeless conversion and said that what the internet told him made me wrong.  He, of course, has never attempted a tubeless conversion nor has any experience with mechanics but the internet makes him a better mechanic than I, apparently.

In the end, Trek sold him an aluminum Superfly at a crash replacement price.  I'll give it six months, max.  

The third picture is an example of the good old "JRA"  He claimed he was just riding along on a fire road when his bike felt "really squishy" and he looked down and saw both chain stays cracked straight through.  Trek thought the story was legit, so whatever.  The fun part will be the parts conversion.... nothing is compatible; I'm sure the customer will be thrilled.  Either way, this bike is fucked.

The last picture is a prime example of why you buy bikes from bike shops, not Wal-Mart.  A friend who lives out of state sent me pictures of his first time mountain biking and the bike he bought.  I almost cried.  The fork and handlebar are the most noticeable mistakes.  If that went unnoticed during assembly, who knows what else slipped by.  I'm amazed he survived his ride.  

Anyway, keep the good stories and pictures coming, I'll send along the few that pass my way.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Always leave the house with clean cables just in case you get hit by a car and your bike ends up in the shop

So your bike isn't shifting properly? OK. Come in, sit down, we can talk about this.

Now, now, tell Uncle Knuckler everything. Oh, so it skips around. It takes two clicks to get it to shift. Anything else? It's driving you crazy. Last question, when was the last time you changed your cables/housing? Six years ago? Holy shit, let's start there.

There are three parts to most shifting systems: (the exceptions are Di2 and that new Syncros stuff) the shifter, the cables/housing and the derailleurs. The shifter is where your input is applied. Want a harder gear? You hit the button releasing or pulling cable tension. The derailleur receives that input via cables/housing and moves the direction that you wanted it to. It's a simple system.

The weak link to the system is the cable/housing. Over time grit and shit will enter the housing degrading the inner sleeve causing friction. The outer sleeve of the housing will also wear exposing the inner radials adding flex to your system. Sure you can buy that fancy Gore stuff to extend the life of your cables but one thing is certain, your shifting performance will degrade over time, regardless of what you do. Yes, I said regardless of what you do, at some point your bike is not going to shift like it should. Big fucking deal, get over it and buy some new cables/housing. How often? Well, if you need me to give you an exact time frame, once or twice a year. If you think you can handle a little more freedom, change them when your shifting isn't working perfectly.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Was asked on the phone about "SWORKS" bikes? maybe a hyphen was missing? S-Works perhaps? 

And a pretty fbar'ed linkage for your viewing tonight!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fucking, fuckity fuck fuck fuck you Vuelta USA.

So here's a great idea for a wheel. Let's take some tiny ass washers and put them between the nipple and the rim. Just to make it better, let's make the rim deep dish and have hidden nipples. It will be rad and everyone will love us.

This has got to be one of the dumbest, asinine ideas I have ever seen realized. Zipp uses washers but they actually increase the surface area of the nipple. These little shits only cover the end of the nipple. The only use I can see is to add some flex in the nipple to rim interface. But isn't that what the rounded end of your god damn nipple does. I seriously have no fucking idea what these are for or how the fuck they are supposed to go in the rim. I've tried everything I can think of, any ideas?

Not only are the washers a bad idea, but Vuelta USA can't even get there fucking ERD right. Nope, you were off by a factor of those spokes are way too short. Did you forget to measure the distance from the outer side of the rim to where the nipple actually rests? I thought so. Thank you for wasting my time. I guess next time I know to tell the customer to send your wheels back and try buying something from a wheel company that doesn't have to contact Taiwan to get a fucking ERD on a rim they sell.

And right about now, I think Vuelta USA can go fuck themselves. Anyone interested in sending them hate mail, you can use my name. It's Moose K Nuckler.  Thank you and good night.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

3 day weekend penance

You know sometimes you just ask for it....

Have a semi productive day getting bikes fixed and in a happy mood because your Friday is indeed a Friday.

Then a Cervelo p4 rolls in, owner asks can brake pads be changed? sure you need Enve pads to go with you tubular carbon rims...great have them in stock, all is right in the world

then I notice rear shiftier ferrule is f'D! so have our service writer call up customer, and he wants it by Saturday (yay for being in a shop with a service writer if you dont have one I highly recommend you get one!)...

anyways to change pads and one cable, crankset has to be removed, both wheels, and TT bar had to have tape un wrapped to remove housing.... use thin plastic tubing before removing old shifter cable to prevent a full on gang raping of the P4's innards...

Also to note had to cut rear pads to 2/3 the size to fit on the rear brake!

all in all a very big time suck... with 1 hour to close

Friday, January 20, 2012

PSA #2. How to Fucking Clean your Bike

I've seen a lot of creaky bikes with rusted out cables and hubs that won't turn to save their lives. I also happen to live in the desert. There is not a lot of rain, humidity or salt floating around. This isn't Hawaii. Remember desert means there isn't a lot of water. From where do all these fucked bikes come? You've all seen the photos, the rusted out bb's, the housing with orange radials hanging out the sides and the dumbfounded look on the owner's face when you tell them they need some new stuff. Well, in my case, of living in the desert, it comes from the method used to clean the bike.

Over the years, we have noticed a significant trend for bikes that are shiny clean but are rusted out. Bikes that should be dirty, we know they are being ridden regularly, but when they come in for service not a spec of dirt can be found. Of course, Lake Bottom Bracket is there. If you push down on the suspension you can hear the bearings grinding against each other causing that awful creak we all want to avoid. Shifting is always sub-par and often creates a similar sound as the suspension linkage.

Oh, we know exactly what happened. You fucked your bike. You took it to the car wash and paid to destroy the thing. Sure it looks clean but let me show you what is inside.

What's to be done? Well, let me teach you how to clean your bike...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Six Things to Remember when Servicing Mavic Freehub Bodies

When servicing Mavic freehub bodies (old bushing style) there are a few things that you should remember.

1. The little adjuster knob on the non-drive side of the hub is not meant to hold the hub together. The axle and the fixing bolt for the freehub body should bottom out on each other and be tight. Once this has been accomplished you can adjust out the play with the adjuster nut/knob, whatever.

2. When disassembling said freehub body, there is a good chance that at least one pawl will fall out accompanied by the washer. Oh, yes there is a washer. It goes between the external shell and the hub body, it's kind of important. Pay attention to what came out and where it went.

3. The rubber seal is the only thing that keeps dirt out. Don't cut the thing in half. It is not causing the drag your customer is complaining about. Keep the seal.

4. The drag and possible loud squeal at high speeds your customer is talking about is caused by the lack of lube on the bushing. This is why you pulled the thing apart to begin with. This lube is important. Do not use grease. Especially the green Park kind. It's too heavy for this application and will not solve the problem. Use the Mavic lube or the newer Dumonde Tech Freehub Body lube. Both are designed for this application and work great.

5. After you have cleaned all the insides, inspect the parts. If there was a lot of play to begin with you may have worn bushing. It should be yellow. Is it black? How about them pawls? Are some of the corners missing? Replace broken, lost or worn parts, there aint no reason to be puttin' broken shit back together.

6. When the customer returns and you show them that the wheel spins freely and barely makes a noise. They will be ecstatic and tell you how much of a genius you are. At this point you need to remind them that the whole problem was caused by a lack of maintenance and that they should come see you again in about 700-1000 miles to have the freehub serviced. Or sooner if the damn things starts making noise or had lots of wear on the fixed side of the bushing (the part that can't be replaced).

Orange is a good color.

OK. OK. Here's a tip. Even if you own a sealed cartridge BB take it out every once in a while and apply some fresh grease to the threads and clean the puddle out of the shell. Just a thought. You might also want to avoid that power washer you have been using to clean your bike.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lefty's are so 2002

What you need is a rigid righty!
no rider was harmed and builder is taking care of said rider

Fuck the Cool Factor!

I'm gonna go ahead and say what none of you want to hear.

You know all those blingy parts you recently purchased, all those fancy colored due dads that were supposed to be so much better than last year's model, all those Chris Bling and American Crassic lightweight parts. Those are all shit. You might as well throw them away. You might as well recycle them.

Yes. I get it. There is a cool factor involved in every purchase. Having the latest and the so called greatest is a way of life and if it motivates you to ride, I'm cool with that. I'm just sick of all the bull shit marketing that goes into those fancy parts that everyone is drooling over. Fuck the cool factor!

This is how it all breaks down. The safety bicycle came out a couple of hundred years ago, or so, and not much has changed since. You have two hubs, a bottom bracket bearing, a crank, a chain, some cogs, a steering bearing, a frame and a few other miserable parts that aren't worth mentioning. If you came across one of the original safety bicycles, or a penny farthing for that matter, you would notice that all this hyped up bull shit is almost identical to what came out a hundred years ago. All of our fancy manufacturing practices have done what? Provided you with a better selection of colors.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Designed to fail

The Light Bulb Conspiracy is a documentary that drags us through the annals of time via the idea of planned obsolescence. The name of the film comes from the collusion of light bulb manufacturers to set the burn time of light bulbs to guarantee a steady flow of "need" from the public. It explores the thousands of patents that have been filed that are for longer burning, longer lasting filaments. They even show a light bulb that has been burning in Fire House back east for over 100 years. For the past decade or so they have had web cams watching the bulb. Two of them have had to be replaced.

The idea of planned obsolescence is not a new idea, nor is it an idea that seems to be fading into the sunset as we have increased our knowledge of materials and industrial processes. Quite the contrary, as better, lighter, stronger materials have become available, we have seen a decrease in product life expectancy. Not only have the products become less and less durable, but the season cycle or the idea of the never ending need to have the newest and the best has replaced the consumer's desire to have a product that will last. Why would I want a light bulb that lasts forever?

Friday, January 6, 2012

This bike shop is fucked!

A couple months back I found myself sitting around a tall table in a sports bar sharing beers with other bike shop owner/managers. I was in California at a retail management course specially tailored to the needs of bike shops. We were out after a full eight hour day of classes. No riding, not much moving around, lots of book work. We needed to unwind and let things air out. If you know what I mean.

As it goes with these types of events, there was a lot of shop talk. The bull shit was getting so deep our server had to put on rubber boots to make it to the table. Most of the evening consisted of what do you do about this? and how are you doing with X brand? Stuff that would bore even the most passionate industry insider. However, there was one guy at the table that had a pattern to his stories.

One story would be about how hard it is to make any money owning a bike shop and how he was struggling just to make ends meet. Then he would tell stories about "dumb" customers who he had to throw out or just didn't get that he was trying to "help" them.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fuck you! This is how to lube a chain.

Editor's Note: As many of you have noted, I see a lot of crazy shit throughout the natural occurrence of my day. I would assume that a doctor, if allowed, could create a similar blog entailing some pretty nasty human shit. It just goes with the territory that if you are supposed to "fix" something you will see a lot of broken stuff. As proprietor of this blog, I am going to be somewhat self-indulgent and post certain "articles" detailing some of the most common or biggest mistakes that I see and how to avoid them. I am not a scientist and will not provide empirical data to back up my advice. All I can offer is the constant observation of a mechanic over the past 16 years aided only by those who I would consider mentors that have tried to pass on their years of observation to me.

Choosing to jump into the abyss is my style and as such will start with the polarizing topic of chain maintenance.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Customer dropped this one off. And admitted that he knew the cassette had come off and then tried to go for another ride...