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The Cycling Industry and COVID; The $#!+$#0w Continues… Stock Up On Your Essentials, My Friends

I took in my Trek to clean and service the headset at the shop. Chris King GripNut headsets are a little tricky. There’s a washer with a key that slots into the main nut that has to be lined up for the lock nut to thread on properly… if that key isn’t lined up, the headset lock nut threads won’t start. So, I went to learn how to put the thing back together the right way. The last time I tried, I took my bike to the shop in pieces.

At the heart of this is the King headset on my Trek is the last known part on any of our… let’s see, one, two… ten bikes I didn’t know how to pull apart to service – and I know how to service everything on my bikes, especially my Trek. The shop manager walked me through the process and let me put everything back together so I could get the feel for what was required to get the thing back together. The key is actually getting the GripNut system together first, then starting the assembly on the threaded stem, whilst keeping pressure on the system as it’s threaded on so the key stays locked in.

After I’d gotten everything back together and lined up perfectly, I found the system to be a little loose, so I had another mechanic check my work and he agreed, so I loosened the lock nut then gave the main nut a half-turn and locked it down. That did the trick. While I was tinkering, the mechanic (a friend of ours who rides with us on Tuesday night when he doesn’t feel like riding with the A guys) lightly suggested that I pick up any spare parts I might need to get me through the season as manufacturers are woefully behind. We’re talking tubes, tires, chains and cassettes. He said anything that isn’t manufactured in the states is going to be a problem for the rest of the year. I picked up two 10-sp chains and one 11-sp, along with two tires for my wife and one for my Venge (they only had one 26 mm Turbo Pro in stock). I also grabbed one of the last bottles of Squirt chain lube they had in stock. It was a hefty bill, but I’m set for the season.

I’m no prognosticator, but it might not be a bad idea to make sure you’re set in wearable parts for the season before March. It sounds like the same problem they had with bikes last year* is going to metastasize into replacement parts this year. According to my mechanic, the suppliers went through all of their shelf stock to get through last year. Now there’s no shelf stock left.

*If you weren’t aware, buying a new bike has been unbelievably difficult. A friend of mine ordered a brand new $5,000 Specialized Tarmac in October and he’s hoping to have it in April. If you get in the que now, it’s 2022 before you’ll see your new bike. We may all be in this together, but I’d prefer to be in this together with all of my replacement parts sitting in my bike bag…