An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Friday, November 15, 2013

Getting my bearings...

This past week, I've had two bearings go out on me. Sealed cartridge units that are supposedly impervious to the elements. Well, mostly, anyway.

The first was on the front wheel of my mountain bike. I suppose this one can be excused, as it's probably 16 years old (the wheel, the frame is only a couple years old), and has spent the majority of the last few years of its life in an outdoor bike rack at work (mercifully under a stairway, but not completely sheltered from the elements). This is the single speed bike Specialized Hard Rock Sport I keep at work for lunchtime forays onto the service roads that surround the manufacturing plant where I reside during the normal daytime working hours. I've purposefully kept this bike simple and cheap, as it's not locked up (it's inside a gated secure facility), and it's kept outdoors. I've been toying with the idea of upgrading the fork to something with more axle-to-crown height, less rake, and disc brake compatibility, but when I think about it staying outdoors...

ANYway... I noticed a squeaking noise as I rode last week, and it didn't go away when I stopped pedaling. Hm... Okay, not in the drive train. I schlepped the bike home on my one driving day (I try to bike commute as much as I can), and checked things out in the late evening hours. Nearest I could trace was the front wheel -- some slight play in the axle, and a rough bearing. I replaced that (just happened to have some even OLDER spares), reassembled, cleaned and lubed the drive train for good measure, and I was good to go.

The other was a little more involved, and on my trainer bike. This is an old Scott Waimea that I've configured as a road bike and kept on the trainer (I used this one in the "retro division" triathlon I did last June, so it does see SOME road use). Again, a squeak developed during a late evening session (I hesitate to call it a "ride"), timed with the left pedal. I added some NFS lube, and things quieted down for the remainder of the slog. The next time I got on, it started up again. Loud! I finished the session, and then pulled things apart. This one will be a little more expensive when it comes time to actually replace the parts -- fortunately I had another bike with the same configuration that I could cannibalize. What had happened is that the left side bearing had not just gone rough, it had seized entirely, and the squeaking was the spindle rubbing against the stationary inner bearing race. Yeah, metal on metal friction. So not only did the bearing need to be replaced, but it had worn a nice groove into the spindle. New crank time! I realize that FSA Gossamer cranksets are a dime-a-dozen and not really lightweight, and I've got them on several of my bikes. Now I've got them on one less bike (the one I cannibalized to keep the trainer bike at the ready).

Sure, living on the trainer it could be considered to see more harsh weather than the mountain bike that's stored outside -- not just getting rained on when I ride it, but SALTY rain. It just happens, no way around it really, even with a towel draped over the top tube.

So those are my maintenance tribulations of the last little while. Luckily it didn't take a long time to remedy, as I've had precious little of that lately -- the 3-month-old girl seems to want to take up a lot of it...

And a final note for today -- I saw this video on BikeRumor today, and thought it just looked like an interesting, cool race.


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