Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Bottom Bracket Conversion / The Red Fixed Bike / And the Flu / And a New Project too!

Hello and Welcome, Please excuse my absence. I took a little time off to recover from the flu. Because of my procrastination I did not get a Flu shot this year. That turned out to be a big mistake. It started with muscle aches, in my arms for the most part. The next day I had bouts with the chills, I simply could not get warm. The next day I started to feel feverish. And the day after that everything hurt, even my skin hurt. I felt absolutely awful and did not feel like eating much. After about the fifth day I started to feel a little better. I lost 5 lbs in a week, which put me within 4 lbs of my target weight of 185. Not the best way to lose weight, that's for sure. I guess the lesson here is, if you have health problems (and even if you do not) and your doctor tells you to get a Flu shot. You should do so a.s.a.p. I read somewhere that I could still be contagious for 8 days after I felt better. So I kept my distance from everyone and so far it appears to have worked.

Above: The "Cycle Pro" shown with the original old style bottom bracket. When I was ordering the single Pake Track 46 tooth 1/8 Crank for the Cycle Pro. I took note of the size and type of bottom bracket required for the crank installation. It stated I needed a 107 mm to 110 mm square tapered JIS bottom bracket. So I decided to do a search to see what came up.
Above: When I saw the Shimano BB UN55 I thought this is "just the ticket" I can have the correct size and type bracket and a bracket upgrade "all in one". I actually like the old style bottom brackets that I can service and adjust myself. But, The times they are a changing. And I appear to be in the minority once again. I can`t help but wonder are these new bottom brackets really better? Or are they just easier? I mean seriously, you could probably teach a Chimpanzee to install one of these in about 15 minutes. I also noticed that it says in the information "avoid high pressure washing the new bottom bracket". So is it really sealed that much better than the old style? And I can not adjust the tension on the bearings. So basically "what you see, is what you get". I don`t know if I`m gonna like that very much.
Above: Hats off to Shimano for making this so simple. If this set-up makes it so that more people can service their own bottom brackets, well maybe that is reason enough to like them. Between the simple directions and markings on the bracket itself, it would be difficult to screw-up the installation.
Above: These are all the tools needed for the bracket install. Of course you can substitute the Teflon tape for grease if you like. I prefer the tape, as most of the bottom bracket shells I work on are on cheaper bikes. Most have pretty good threading, but some not so good. You will need the Shimano bottom bracket cartridge removal tool. The tool runs about 6.00 to 9.00 dollars US. For personal use, a good one should last you a life time.
Above: Here I am screwing the large piece or "main body" of the bracket into the shell. As always I start threading it in by hand. And I like to go as far as I can that way to avoid cross threading. The proper torque is listed in the instructions. I used the "that feels about right" method. If you have any doubts use a torque wrench. If you have never used a torque wrench before, remember to turn it back to zero when finished. Leaving it set or loaded will screw up the calibration.
Above: Here I am wrapping the smaller piece or "adapter" with Teflon Tape. If the threads feel tight I wrap the tape around the threads once. If the threads feel loose I will wrap the threads two or three times. I have no scientific data to back this up, it`s just the way I like to do it.
Above: This bracket definitely gives the bike a more modern look. I dab a wee bit of grease on the square tapered spline before installing the single crank-set. I have damaged two crank removal tools removing cranks that I know damn well were mounted on non greased splines. So yes "in my opinion" it is important do do this. Same goes for free-wheels and fixed cogs. This method is commonly referred to as "assembly grease".
Above: Here is the PAKE 46 tooth 1/8 Single? Track Crank. Let me keep this simple. I DO NOT LIKE IT! "In my opinion" it is not a true single crank. And although I paid a little more for it, IT is not as straight as the less expensive Tech 9 or the Origin 8 crank I used on the last couple fixed gear bikes. I feel like I was conned, hood-winked, bamboozled! So this is the first and last PAKE crank you will see me use. Enough said about that.(wanna bet)
Above: The PAKE Single? Crank installed. It should have a P.O.S. logo on it instead of a P! Again "my opinion". I tried to leave a bad review, but amazingly the "review thing" was not working. So this will have to do. My rating "Zero Stars" and a T.P.O.S. (T = Total) You should already know what the P.O.S. stands for.
Above: On a happier note, The inner-tubes arrived. So here I am removing the tires from the new wheel-set. I had mounted them to see how they fit and looked, and I`m happy with both. Notice the tire removal levers I am using are not plastic. I had a plastic set but eventually they all broke. So for heavy use, metal levers are the way to go.
Above: The first delivery contained two "Michelin Pro4" tires (65.00 each) instead of the two Michelin inner tubes I ordered.(considerably less than 65.00 each) I e-mailed Niagara Cycle and they got back to me the next day. I told them about the mistake and they sent the tubes along straight away and instructed me on how to print out the prepaid postage to return the tires. I did not like the idea of UPS charging me to come and pick-up the package, especially since they are here all the time anyway. So I dropped the package off at one of their official pick-up points. Our Post Office has a "Fed X" drop off but no "UPS" drop-off. What's up with that anyway?
Above: The tires mounted on the new track wheel set (79.99 + 19.99 shipping) with the new Michelin tubes with threadless Presta valves. I was careful to order the recommended valve stem length for the medium v wheels. I think they are around 55mm.
Above: I ordered a couple of these clamp-on cable hangers. I am always borrowing them off future projects and I knew this is going to catch up with me someday. I also ordered a couple of straddle cable carrier hangers for the same reason. I also have a fork-crown mounted cable hanger I can use, but I think this one will be fine. I also got in some new shoes for the cantilever brakes that this flip flop touring style bike is going to have.
Above: Someone suggested that I turn the lever around on the Schwinn fixed gear bike. I never did, but the idea stuck in my mind. So I `m going to try it out on this bike. See I do listen, sometimes it just takes me a while to warm up to an idea. Don`t be surprised if you see them in a different position when the bike is finished though.
Above: I can`t believe I am still waiting for the saddle I ordered from Focal Price to arrive. I have actually given-up and ordered one locally. So now I am waiting for two! I think The Rolling Stones did a song called "I am waiting" What bicycle restorer / bicycle recycling person can not relate to that?
Above: This is my first "Tank Bike" restoration, a Roadmaster Star Rider. Here I am just trying to get all the parts together before I actually start to restore any of the components or parts. It arrived with no wheels or front fender and a saddle with no cover and no pedals or chain as well. I found an identical Star Rider for sale on the E Bay. I convinced the seller to sell me the light fixture for the tank and the front fender for his asking price of 45.00 for the whole bike. Plus I pay the shipping. Hopefully it is en route as I type this. I did say I would give his e bay store a good review on my blog if He got it to me asap. Of course that can also go the other way too! That ought to put the fear of God into ( And No I do not think I am God, It is just an expression!)
Above: I built and sold this Sprint about two years ago. It came back last week for a tire replacement and some routine maintenance. It was great to hear that the owner has not had any problems with the bike in the two years she has owned it. Anyway it was cool to spend some time checking out the old bike and seeing how well everything had held up. If you like, You can read more about this bike and it`s owner on the face book page.
Above: Removing 50 year old hardened grease lines from a upper headset bearing cup using the "Dremel like" rotary tool with a mini wire wheel brush and super bright mini flashlight. The mini led flashlight, another must have tool that never made it onto the Shop Tools post. I will be doing a big post about the Tank Bike soon. And also more about the fixed gear Cycle pro bike. And I plan to do a post about the top-tube ding repair real soon as well. Also once the saddle arrives, I will post a bunch of pics of the red/black fixed gear bike finished. Until Next time, Please RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always RESCUE,RESTORE & RECYCLE! Cheers,Hugh


  1. Hugh glad to hear you are over the flu and back in the shop. I am working on a friends Mt bike and it has a sealed bb like the one you are using above and it makes me wonder if there is any reason for removing a sealed bb while tuning up the bike since its not as if I can change out the grease and clean up the bearings.....?

    1. Hey Ryan,
      Thanks, it is good to be feeling well again. If the crank feels smooth and there is no play in the crank, I would not bother removing it. I removed the sealed b.b. on the "Fuji Thrill" just to get a look at it. But I could have "just as well" left it alone. I am under the impression that none of the sealed units are serviceable. But I could be (and probably am) wrong about that. I wonder if any of the sealed b.b. units have a tension adjustment? Maybe someone will
      chime-in on that.

    2. Hugh I had thought about the tension adjustment question after sending this to you and it occurs to me on the "old style" (Loose bearings) BB you have an adjustable cup with lock ring whereas the modern sealed units have the same type of cup on each side .i.e. I am not sure how you could adjust it if you wanted to.

    3. Hey Ryan,
      That is exactly what I was talking about when I wrote this in regards to the B.B. cartridge conversion unit...
      "And I can not adjust the tension on the bearings. So basically "what you see, is what you get".
      That and the fact that they are not designed to be broke-down, cleaned and re-greased. I find this bothersome.
      We have become a "disposable society". Growing up in the trades and learning the things I did as a child. I was amazed when I started doing this. Amazed to find that "most casual riders" haven`t a clue as how to maintain their bikes. Many don`t even own an air pump.
      That is the reason my blog has morphed into what it is now. It bothers the hell out of me, That no one took the time to teach these young people how to fix anything. Knowledge is great. But if we are "totally helpless" every time something needs to be fixed. Maybe our education system is out of balance. Maybe we need to throw in some practical knowledge as well.
      OK, I`ll shut up now :)
      Cheers, Hugh

  2. Is there nothing to service on that new BB? sealed cartridge style?

    1. Hey John,
      As far as I can tell, You use it until the bottom bracket wears out and then replace the unit. But I honestly don`t know if that holds true for all cartridge units.
      If they truly are "cartridge units" I suspect it does. Hopefully they are recyclable. But I`m not real sure about that either, as apparently some have some internal plastic parts.
      I`m still "on the fence" about disposable sealed cartridge bottom brackets.

  3. Sorry to hear about the flu. I had it in January and it took forever, it seemed. And then it came back.

    I was very happy to see your comments concerning the BB replacement. That is my next chore on my Schwinn. I had planned to go with a UN 54 and when I saw that you had used a 55 it was off to the internet to see what the difference was. That of course resulted in several hours of conflicting answers and getting sidetracked and I found myself reading about cycling in Tibet when I came to and tried to remember what I was doing and how I got to Tibet. The apparent difference is that the 55 has a metal cup vs. the plastic one on the 54.

    But during my journey I stumbled across a dire comment saying that the Shimano units don't work so hot with the Sugino cranks, which I have. (Super Maxy). So now I have to start over and see about the Sugino bottom brackets.

    Sometimes sorting out bicycles is like doing a crossword puzzle in a language you don't know.

    I love it. Thanks for the post Hugh. I'll stop now before I get into a rant about the Post Office. Your FedEx/UPS story is rather parallel to my BB dilemma.


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  4. Hey TJ,
    I am often overwhelmed by all the choices and all the specs that need to be correct when shopping for components.
    Like is it JIS, or old-style square taper? Is it English, French or Italian? Is it 1/8th or 3/32. Was it made before or after the war? It is left or right hand thread? What is the thread count? Is it 107 mm or 110 mm? (and countless more)
    When in doubt contact the "tech person" at your supplier. If they don`t have one, see what the late Great Sheldon Brown had to say on the topic. What a life saver that man continues to be.
    Or go to a bike forum and post a question. Or just sleep on it. My Dad told me (more than once) "If it truly is a good idea today, It will still be a good idea tomorrow."

  5. LOL its only taken me just shy of half a century to heed the "sleep on it advice"! Sage words indeed from your Pops.


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