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Daily Archives: November 12, 2016

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One Quick Tip for Cyclists:  If Your Ride doesn’t Feel as Smooth as it Once did, Look at Your Wheels.

Several weeks ago I discovered a small problem while investigating a minor handling issue on the Venge.

For some unknown reason, bumps seemed just a little more jarring than they should have.  There was the slightest “clunk” that shouldn’t have been when I hit a decent expansion crack in the asphalt.  It just didn’t make sense to me.  Originally I thought the fork might be a little loose but the simple “brake and rock” test showed the fork was solid.  The handlebar turns like butter so it’s not too tight either…

I decided to pull my front wheel off and give it a once over.  I took it off the bike and gently bounced it on the ground.  There was a rattle that didn’t belong.  I grabbed a stem nut I had in my tool bag and tightened down the valve stem to the rim (I don’t use them on the wheel while riding because they’re pretty useless).  I gently bounced the wheel again…

Same quiet, almost imperceptable rattle.  The next logical place to look is?  The hubs.

Take the skewer off and bounced the wheel….  Still that little rattle.

Checked the hub….

See the gap and that o-ring?  Yeah, we shouldn’t see either.  Here’s the other side:

I unscrewed the lock cap from the left side, lubed the threads and tightened the cap again:

Rattle is gone and my bike handles like it was new again.
Now, in case you’re wondering why I lubed the threads (it’s Park Tool Polylube, the heavy lube), we do this because dry threads give a “false tight” because of the way metals and friction react when they’re tightened on each other.  With the threads lubed, you get a true tight.  Every threaded bolt on a bike should get lube (or Loctite) so you get a good, proper “tight” with the proper torque.

Now, it must be stated, this does not cause a major problem that most people would/will notice.  I am extraordinarily sensitive to how my Venge rides.  I noticed it because I’m ridiculously finicky.

PS. I was going to let this post go but I didn’t want my second to the last post to be one about politics and the topic is an important one to cyclists. After finding the problem, it just didn’t sit well with me to not write a quick post about it. Next Friday at 7 am Eastern Standard Time will be my last for the foreseeable future.  It’ll make sense when (and if) you choose to read it.

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