Monday, February 27, 2012

GIANT Attraction, Crank-Set Replacement

Hello and Welcome.
Some of you may remember the Giant Attraction restoration I finished back in August of 2011. As it turned-out the original crank that I planned to re-use was bent. At the time the only suitable replacement crank I had on-hand was this generic triple crankset. A crank I suspect was off of Department Store mountain bike. It seemed to work OK, but it just looks kind of trashy. So much so that I pulled it off the market and used it for my part-time rider.
Above: The Giant as it still looks today. (pic from late summer 2011) Every time I look at this old mountain bike the same thought goes through my mind "you really need to replace that God-Awful looking crank-set". So I have decided this would be a good time to make the change. It is still really cold in the shop this time of year. So hopefully I will be able to do some of this work in the house.
Above: The crank is in pretty fair condition. But it definitely could use a good cleaning. So I broke it down so I could get all the hard to reach areas good and clean. Because of the fumes I had to do this part of the job in the shop/garage.
Above: As you can see the chain-ring teeth are coated with a hardened lubricant and sand mixture. I like to use Mothers Mag and Aluminum Polish to remove this. It really breaks this stuff down nicely and also leaves a nice finish as well.
Above: Here is the "Computer Designed" BioPace crank-set all cleaned-up and ready for re-assembly. If you look closely you will notice the BioPace chain-rings are not perfectly round. This is for a more natural rotation (that's the "Bio" part) that will maximize your power out-put to the crank / drive-train (that's the "Pace" part). And you know it works because it was "Computer Designed" (: Hey this was "cutting edge stuff" back in the day! Personally I have never noticed a positive or negative effect using this type chain-ring. So basically I have no problem with it.
Above: Since I have ridden this bike less than 50 miles since rebuilding the bottom-bracket approximately 6 months ago, I will not be doing that this time around. That would be "over kill" even for me.
Above: Here I have everything laid out for reassembly. Because this is a BioPace chain-ring set, it is important the it be assembled correctly. What I mean is, being the chain-rings are oval in shape it is important that the rings are in the correct position as they relate to the position of the crank arm. I have marked the peg location on the large chain-ring. The crank-arm must be directly over the pin when I start re-assembly.
Above: First I get the middle chain-ring ready. I have it face-up with the crank bolts (C) "receiver end" in place with the spacer/washers (W) in position.
Above: Here the crank-arm is in the correct position on the large chain-ring with the peg (P) hidden under the crank arm. I have marked the position of the label (Arrow) on the large ring that shows the size or tooth count. (in this case 48) This is important because for the middle ring to be in the correct position the label must a be visible just below the label on the large ring. As all three chain-rings are oval in shape they must all be in the same proper position as it relates to the crank arm to function properly.
Above: Here I have placed the large chain-ring over the middle ring with the chain-ring bolts (CRB) inserted in the corresponding holes on the large ring. I have marked the labels on the pic to show how both rings are in the same position. Now it gets a little tricky. As I insert the male end of the bolts for tightening I have to try to keep the whole thing together. I will loose a few spacers and crank-bolts in the process. But it is ok because I can replace them as I go. The main thing is that the rings are in the proper position.
Above: Here is one where I have lost the receiver end of the bolt and the washer/spacer. No big deal I just slide the washer back into place, I use an Allen wrench or small screwdriver to move it into position. When the spacer/washer is in place, I just insert the receiver bolt in through the bottom. And hold it in place while I start threading the chain-ring bolt in place from the top.
Above: Here I have inserted the receiver bolt in through the bottom of the middle chain-ring. Also through the spacer/washer and the large ring. Now I am ready to thread in the chain-ring bolt from the top. I will only put these in snug not too tight. Too tight and it might be tough to replace any other washer/spacers that fall out.
Above: Once I have snugged all the chain-ring bolts in place I am ready to flip the crank over and install the smallest chain-ring. Again I need to make sure I have the small chain-ring in the proper position. The label should face outwards and line -up with the labels on the two larger chain-rings. Notice I have marked the order in which I snug then tighten the chain-ring bolts. This method makes sure everything goes on straight and does not warp or bend. This ring is simple to install, it has no spacers or washers and the crank arm has threaded holes for the chain-ring bolts to screw into.
Above: Here you can see that all three chain rings are in the proper position. When I tighten up the medium and large rings I use the same method I used on the small chain-ring. Just don`t work in a circle when tightening the bolts. Tighten one, then tighten the one directly across (or as directly across as possible) again this makes sure everything is straight and prevents warping. I like to use a very small pocket ratchet for bicycle work, this helps prevent over tightening.
Above: When doing the final tightening on the chain-ring bolts for the two large rings sometimes it was necessary to hold the receiver end in place with a screwdriver. A short wide slotted driver works best. Just pretend my other hand is on the ratchet, my volunteer photographer was out shopping. You could probably do this step with the crank-set standing in a vise. If you do, make sure you use two small pieces of wood to protect the crank-arm from being scratched by the vise. And only tighten it enough to hold it in place.
Above: Here is the triple chain-ring all cleaned-up and ready to be installed on the GIANT Attraction.
Above: Here I am back on the first floor (my wife does not like me calling it the basement) using my "one cent" dust-cap removal adapter on the Giant Attraction. It was cold and damp today, so this is a real treat working in the house.
Above: First order of business is to remove the pedalS. For this I am using a "Gear Wrench" 15mm open-end / box wrench. The Gear Wrench`s have a typical open-end wrench on one end and a ratcheting box wrench on the other. I have the straight ones with "no lever". Which means when I want to change rotation direction I have to pop the wrench off and flip it over. I really like this design, less moving parts / less chance of failure.
Above: Here I am using a 14mm 6 point socket to remove the crank arm retainer nut.(rightey tightey / lefty loosey) Actually I should remove the chain first. To take the chain off the chain-ring. First shift to the smallest (rear) sprocket. (stop the rear wheel first) Now with my left hand I grab the rear derailleur by the bottom of the jockey wheel frame and pull it forward. This takes the tension off the chain so I can now slip the chain off the chain-ring with my right hand and let it rest on the bracket housing.
Above: I talk about this a lot. Using the right socket for the nut or bolt head. It is a 14mm socket. But it is also a six point socket to match the six point nut. This greatly reduces your chance of rounding off the nut. Look closely and you can see this socket is ready to be replaced. A couple of the points (inside the socket) have round-off badly.
Above: Here I have threaded the crank removal tool into the crank. I always start threading this in by hand to ensure it is not cross threaded. You may need a wrench to screw it all the way in. Do not over tighten this, when you feel it is all the way in Stop. You should feel it bottom out when it is in far enough. It is normal to have some threads exposed when it is threaded in all the way.(see pic)
Above: Now I turn the tool clock wise using the blue handle. This handle is basically welded to the end of a threaded post. As I turn it clock-wise the post threads inward through the hollow threaded nut part of the wrench. (the part I screwed into the crank) As it does it will contact the threaded end of spline. As I continue to turn the wrench it forces the crank off the tapered end of the bracket/spline. You will need to hold the crank arm so the crank does not spin when you are turning the wrench. This is why I like the Sun-Lite wrench better. On the Sun-Lite wrench the handle is not welded into place. I can re-set it to the best position to hold both the wrench and the crank arm at the same time. Now most of the time this does not really matter. But when you get a "stuck crank" that has rusted onto the tapered bracket/spline it matters a lot. I don`t want to get any hate mail from Park Tool lovers. Hey! PARK makes lots of great tools and stands etc. But in this case, I think the Sun-Lite wrench is a much better design.
Above: Once the post part of the removal tool has worked it's magic, the crank will slide right off the bracket/spline easily. Now you will need a wrench to remove the tool from the crank. This is why I said "do not over tighten it" when you thread it into the crank.
Above: Before installing the new crank I wipe off the tapered spline and smear just a very light coat of grease on it.
Above: Here I have slid the new crank into place and am threading the retainer nut onto place on the threaded end of the tapered bracket/spline. The crank will not slide on all the way. (if it does it`s too big)
Above: Here I am tightening the retainer nut which pulls the crank tightly onto the tapered spline. I have changed ratchets to a smaller one that does not require an adapter. I like to keep the set-up as short as possible it helps me keep the socket tightly in place while tightening the nut. And the smaller ratchet prevents me from applying too much torque. If you want, a little blue thread-lock on the threads is always a good idea too.
Above: Here I am removing the pedal from the opposite (left) side. I want to run this through the gears and the pedal is hitting the stand. I will turn the bike around on the stand before I replace the left side crank arm.
Above: A couple of quick adjustments to the derailleur and it is good to go! I am lucky here. The derailleur is big enough to accommodate the up and down motion of the chain is it passes through the derailleur. This vertical motion of the chain is caused by the oval shape of the chain-rings.
Above: Now I pop on the dust cap, and I think it is looking really good! Time to turn the bike around on stand and change the left crank-arm and re-install the pedal.
Above: So there you have it. I think this crank set is a huge improvement over the generic p.o.s. department store crank I had on it before. This is a very a comfortable bike for me to ride. I think I am going to swap the saddle for the one on the Specialized FS. It has a new WTB "Speed V Comp" saddle. One of my all time favorites. It is supposed to warm-up again real soon. I can`t wait to try this out with the new crank-set and the WTB saddle as well.
Above: I snapped a few shots with the Ze'Fal light flashing. Not bad of a light set under 20.00 US. Well fellow bicycle lovers that about does it for now. I know I got into way to much unnecessary detail for some of you more experienced mechanics. But I have to assume some of the people who view this will be doing this for the first time. So thanks for your patience. I`m running late for "coffee break" so See You Soon. Ride Safe and Remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

24in Unicycle / Mountain Conversion

Hello and Welcome,
The simplest of cycle designs and yet most difficult cycle to master. About 45 years ago my friend Mike and his brother Ron received a unicycle as a gift. And we all "tried and tried" to ride that #%&@ thing! Everyday that summer I was over there trying to ride the unicycle. Eventually I got so that I could ride it down the drive then turn and head down the road. Learning to ride the unicycle was probably the toughest thing I had ever done to that point in my life. Eventually Mike got another unicycle and sold the first one to me! Sometimes on Saturdays when the Detroit News was thin, I would use the uni to deliver my paper route. Even on Saturdays It was much easier to deliver my papers on my converted Schwinn Sting Ray though.
Above: This unicycle is badged (for lack of a better word) "SAVAGE" which I am pretty sure means absolutely nothing. Because last year I had a 20inch that was the same frame and design badged "LANDIS". Other than the wheel size, tire, quick adjust seat post bolt and saddle they are basically the same unicycle.
Above: Here is a close-up of the hub area on the 20 inch Landis unicycle. It was a smaller frame, built for someone I would guess about 5ft 6 inch max . Even with the saddle height maxed out it was too small for me to ride comfortably. And after riding a 24inch wheel I really have no interest in riding a 20inch wheel.

Above: A close-up of the hub area on the 24 inch unicycle. I am reasonably sure that at least the main frame, hub, wheel and crank/pedal arms were all made at the same place.
Above: I have noticed these past few years a trend in uni cycling towards fatter tires, both on and off road. So I poked around in the shop and came up with this Kenda 24 inch mountain bike tire complete with an inner-tube. I think it looks pretty cool on the uni. I also found these pedals in the "pedal box". One was missing two screws which I took off a real rusty beat-up pair of identical model pedals. Unfortunately one of the threaded holes in the pedal frame is stripped-out. So I will have to find another suitable pair. At this point the unicycle looks clean. But all I really did was wipe it down real good with Armor-All cleaning wipes.
Once I see that it is going to work with the "phat tire" and the new (different) pedals I will break it down and clean it up properly.
Above: These pedals were a BIG mistake. For starters they have a top and bottom side, and only work properly with the top side up. Riding a unicycle is tricky enough without complicating it more. Also these pedals locked my feet into position. I was unable to adjust my foot position on the pedal once I started to ride. That was also partly because of the Nike Trail Shoes I was wearing. They have a saw-tooth jagged tread that really made it impossible to move my feet once on the pedals. So I am going to swap-out the pedals for some old style block pedals. And while I`m at it, I`ll just go ahead and break the thing down for rust removal. The rust is much worse than it looks in the above photo.
Above: Removing the pedals using a 15mm Gear Wrench. Both pedals tighten by turning them towards the front of the bike or unicycle. It is important to use the left pedal on the left (usually marked L) and the right pedal on the right. (usually marked R). How do you tell left from right on a unicycle? On this one it is easy. The seat-tube (frame) where the collar clamp tightens has a slot cut in it. This slot always faces the rear. And like any bike, left and right is as if you were sitting on the bike. Also the pedal arms are marked (R and L) on this unicycle as well. I only mention this "pedal thing" because it is a typical beginner mistake to mix-up the pedals. When this happens you end-up with one pedal cross threaded and the other that loosens it self and falls off while riding. You really want to avoid doing this.
Above: Removing the wheel assembly is simple, just remove the two bolts on each side of the frame/fork (A & B). After which the whole wheel assembly is simply pulled out of the frame/fork. I took the extra precaution of marking one side with red tape. Just to make sure I did not accidentally turn the whole thing around during re-assembly.

Above: Removing the unicycle saddle and seat-post is done in the usual way. Just loosen the quick release collar clamp and pull-up while turning. The post should slide out of the frame/seat-tube. If it is stuck you will want to apply a little penetrating oil to the bottom of the post so it can flow into the tube/frame. Sometimes it will help the oil to penetrate if you pry the slot open with a large slotted screw-driver. You will want to remove the collar bolt before trying this.
I find it easier to remove the seat-post if I leave the saddle attached.
Above: Here I have started to remove the rust on the unicycle frame/fork. Because this is not a high quality chrome plating job, I will not be using the power brass wheel-brush. Instead I will be using "Turtle Wax" Rust Remover/Chrome Polish on the entire frame/fork. I will touch up the upper frame/fork by hand with a copper wool pad. Chrome of this quality
"or lack there of" will flake-off like paint. And the brass wheel brush would likely do more damage than good. How do you tell cheap chrome from quality chrome? Experience. But if you see the tiny paint like flakes of chrome when cleaning that is not a good sign. Also if even light amounts of rust expose bare metal when polished, that's are real strong sign of cheap chrome. And just over all appearance, good chrome just looks better!
Above: Here I am using the copper scrub pad on the upper frame/fork to remove very light rust. I am very careful not to rub too hard or too long. If you look closely you can see the tiny flakes of chrome on the work-bench. They photograph white for the most part.
Above: Here I am removing the saddle rails for polishing. On these I use the copper pad and a little "Turtle Wax" Chrome Polish/Rust Remover. These are easily removed with a 10 mm wrench. These rails being high-up on the unicycle are in pretty good shape rust wise.
Above: One of the pedal arms is rusted real bad, the other just regular bad. I will use the copper pad first, very gently on the badly rusted arm.
Above: Here I have applied a generous amount of Turtle Wax Chrome Polish & Rust Remover to the pedal arm. I won`t let it set long before I buff it off with a paper towel or clean rag.
Above: Although pitted and scratched this pedal arm still looks much better polished up.
Above: About 1/4 of the rim was badly rusted. I brushed the entire rim with a brass detail brush concentrating on the bad part. Afterwards I did the whole rim with the Turtle Wax.
Above: Here is the better part of the rim and the nicer of the two pedal arms after rust removal and polishing.
Above: To the right of the valve stem is the worst part of the rim. Considering how bad it looked (rust) I am quite pleased with the results. Also, For the sides of the rim (breaking surface)I first used the copper pad then polished with the Turtle Wax C.P./R.R. Theses came out very good.
Above: These are the block cruiser pedals I am going to use on the unicycle. I will clean them up a little first. I know these will be a huge improvement as every unicycle I have ever owned had similar pedals to these. This is by the way my fifth unicycle and my second with a 24inch wheel.
Above: After cleaning up the spindles with the copper scrub pad, detail brush and Turtle Wax C.P./R.R. I cleaned-up the blocks with this little scrub brush and some liquid hand soap.
I did the end caps with the Vermont American fine brass wire wheel brush on the low-speed 18volt drill. The brass wheel brush will remove those asphalt scrapes although it does take a little time.
Above: The block pedals all cleaned up. Not to shabby :)
Above: The saddle I cleaned-up with "Armor All Cleaning Wipes" when I installed the phat tire. I polished the seat-post with the Turtle Wax C.P./R.R. Now all I have to do is the easy part, put it together and go have some fun!
Above: Here I am reattaching the wheel assembly to the unicycle frame. I put a little blue thread-lock on the bolts threads just for good measure. I used the red-tape to make sure I have put it back together correctly.
Above: The left pedal clearly marked. Always remember both pedals tighten turning the threaded post towards the front of the bike. If the left pedal was not reversed threaded, it would loosen itself while riding and eventually fall off.
Above: As always a little bit of grease on the threaded post before installing the pedals. I like to start screwing them into the arm by hand, just to be sure I am not cross threading them.
Above: I never removed the saddle from the seat-post. So re-inserting the post was simple since this unicycle has a quick release type seat-post collar bolt. (no wrench required)
Now to see if I can ride this thing with the proper pedals and shoes on.
Above: Pretty good riding for an Old, One eyed, Fat man! :) I`m really rusty, but being this unicycle is so comfortable, I think I`m gonna keep it and sharpen-up my unicycle skills a bit. I really like this saddle. Most comfortable unicycle saddle so far, hands down. Maybe it`s all the extra padding I now have!
Below: (A-B) Attachment holes for Lollipop bearings. (C) The cotter key. (D) Pedal or crank arm. (E) Lollipop bearing (F) Spoke. (G) Axle. (H) Hub. (I) Flange. (J) Valve stem and cap. (K) Spoke nipple. (L) Rim. (M) Rim side-wall or breaking surface. (N) Kenda off-road tire.
NOTE: You will probably need to click on the above pic to enlarge and see my markings.
Above: There are a few reasons I chose to leave the crank and Lollipop bearings alone. First the bearings are smooth, and it does have cotter crank arms (C). So why should I go looking for trouble? Another reason (not that I need another) is the bearings. It does not appear to have bearing caps. (I have since learned these are called lollipop bearings) It looks like the bearings are encased in a one piece sealed unit (E). I don`t know if these are serviceable or if replacements are even available.(have since learned these are obsolete and difficult to find) So seeing no real need or "up-side" to taking this mess apart, I will go with one of my favorite expressions. "If it ain`t broke, don`t fix it". I was going to say something about the government, and how they should learn that. But this is about bikes so I will keep quiet. Oops!
Yesterday in the early morning I heard Geese flying over honking. I test rode the unicycle in the driveway in the late afternoon. Last night on the news they were talking about the Detroit Tigers in spring training down in Fla. All signs that spring will soon be here. This morning Winter came back to north west Oakland County. Reminding me that "SOON" does not mean Now.. So it goes. Today was a good day to finish this post :)
Until next time, Please Ride Safe and Remember to always.. RESCUE,RESTORE and RECYCLE
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