Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bicycle Flat Tires, Blow Outs and Slow Leaks

Hello and Welcome, Reoccurring flat tires and slow leaks can be baffling. It is not always obvious what the cause is. This post will talk about some not so typical causes of flat tires and slow leaks.

This clogged Schrader valve caused a slow but persistent loss of air pressure. This leak was found by inflating the inner tube and working it around slowly under water.

Above: This is an uncommon cause for a bicycle flat tire. Jagged edges caused by welds that were not ground down during manufacturing. Or sharp edges caused by not grinding down a weld enough during manufacturing. To smooth out this weld I ground it down using my 4 inch Makita angle grinder. I was lucky enough to be at Powers Schwinn one day many years ago when the latter was found to be the cause of a reoccurring flat on a new Schwinn bicycle. This is not a problem you are likely to have with higher end wheels.

Above: The incorrect tire size is a fairly easy cause to spot. If at the correct pressure the tire blows off the rim causing the inner tube to bulge out the side and rupture. That is a pretty good indicator that your tire and rim are not a match. I have been told by one of my suppliers that a 26 x 1.75 is not the same as a 26 x 1 & 3/4 I have never challenged this info and have no plans to in the future. Also some older Schwinn models require a special type tire like the S-7 . So read your tires care fully before ordering. And if you have any doubt call the supplier and ask for the tech person. (that is what he or she is there for)
Above: Incorrect or non matching ISO numbers are usually the cause of the type of tire blow-off described above. This is the ISO info for the same tire shown above. I mention ISO numbers a lot because it is a pretty common problem with beginners. As it was for me when I first got into the bicycle repair and restoration thing. The ISO numbers indicate the inside diameter of the tire.

Above: The incorrect valve stem type can also cause problems. This rim has a large hole for a Schrader type valve stem. If you were to use a inner tube with a Presta valve without some sort of adapter the tube can easily blow out at high pressure and rupture.

Above: Improper use of tools. Only one of the tools shown above,(Spoon type bicycle tire lever) is designed for removing bicycle tires. If you are going to use something other than the correct tool to remove tires, you better make damn sure it has only smooth rounded edges.(unlike the slotted screwdriver shown above)

About the only "other tool" I have seen used successfully to pry bicycle tires tires off rims was the handle of an old set of pliers. And that was on cruiser style tires. I doubt a pliers handle would work well on high pressure road or racing tires. I was about about 10 or 11 years old when I tried to pry off a tire off using a slotted screwdriver. Of course I punctured the tube and then had two holes to patch. Bill at the old Sinclair gas station (in my hometown) showed me how to use the pliers handle. Now days most pliers have rubber coated handles. And they do not necessarily have smooth edges under the rubber or plastic grips. So your best bet by far is to use a proper bicycle tire lever. Shown above Park Tool tire levers from a "Park Tool" bicycle tire repair kit.

Above: If your tire pressure goes all the way down when your bike has been stored long term. For The Love Of God don`t roll the bike around like that! Either bring your pump to the bike or carry your bike (or tire) to the pump. Next to the screwdriver thing "pinching the tube" might be the most preventable way to get a flat tire. And you will want to pump it up too about 20 psi, then release the air and refill this will help prevent the inner-tube from kinking.

Above: You can also puncture the tube while mounting the tire. I prefer to mount my tires by hand. If you have to use a tire pry bar, keep it to an absolute minimum. Also using a larger tube than you need is going to make it more likely that you will get the tube stuck (pinched) between the rim and the tire bead while mounting. In other words if my tire is 20 x 1.25 I will purchase a tube that is maxed out at 1.25 (if possible) It would read something like "fits 20 x 1.0 to 20 x 1.25 . In my opinion the fatter the tube the more likely it is to get in the way. I also prefer to have just enough air in the tube to hold it's shape while inserting it into the tire. If need be I can release the pressure when mounting the tire. As always...To help avoid your inner tube from kinking inside the tire inflate it to around 20 lbs psi. Then release the air and then refill the tire to desired pressure.

Above: The first thing I check if I have a slow leak is the Schrader valve. This Schrader valve tool is made for removing and installing Schrader valves. The tool has a hollow tube end with notches that fit over the top of the valve. The core of the valve is replaceable, the threading is typical clockwise to tighten and counter clockwise to loosen or remove. Or if you prefer "rightly tightly" / "lefty loosey". Obviously you do not want to apply a lot of torque when checking for tightness. If it does not turn clockwise with minimal pressure it is threaded in all the way.
Above: A Presta valve core is removed or tightened basically the same way. It does however require a different tool. The Park Tool VC-1 tool will work on both Presta and Schrader valves. I will not talk about typical punctures as we all know a nail or piece of glass (or metal) will puncture a tire. I will suggest that you check into puncture resistant tubes if you ride in an urban area with lots of glass and other debris. Also you might want to look into puncture resistant bicycle tires. Some tires have a Kevlar layer to help prevent punctures. There are also puncture guard strips that can be placed inside the tire to help prevent flats. And there are self sealing inner tubes available. I personally do not use any liquid sealer in my inner-tubes, but that is just my preference.

Above: Soon I will soon be reviewing my first truly rechargeable bicycle headlamp. And reviewing the Diamondback 29er now that I have had it a while. I regret I have not done any bicycle restoration work lately. We are currently having our kitchen and dining area remodeled. Which also includes a guest bathroom and laundry closet. Right after this project began, we started the process of repairing our septic system. I have also been cleaning up the mess that having a new well drilled created. Once the inside work is finished I should be able to jump back into the bicycle restoration work.
Above: A pic from a recent ride along the north end of White lake. I have made it a point to get out and ride more lately. Riding is a great way to to get rid of the stress that comes along with having multiple home remodeling and repair projects going simultaneously.

Above: The road home from Alderman Lake. Photo taken on another recent bicycle ride. Until next time, Please Ride Safely and Remember to Always...RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE
Cheers, Hugh
A Special THANK YOU to those of you have been checking out Hugh's Online Bike Shop. The link to Hugh's Online Bike Shop is located on this page in the right column near the top, just below the followers / members. You probably noticed that I am now adding word links to components, tools and supplies ect. ect. that I mention in my blog posts. Like the Store these links are powered by . I am doing this to make it more convenient to purchase things that interest you on the blog. Also if you are new to bicycle work, and you are not sure what I am talking about? You can click on the word link just to see some examples of what I am referring to. I look at this as a positive change and I hope you do too.
Thanks, Hugh

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rhino Outcast F.S. mtb complete overhaul

Hello and Welcome, A friend contacted me the other day and asked me if I could possibly repair a friend's (of his) mountain bike . The owner needs it to get back and forth to work. He told me that they would also bring along a parts bike that might have some salvageable components.

Above: At this point I have already cleaned up the bike using about a half dozen Armor All Cleaning Wipes. I have also installed a salvaged seat post and saddle. The list of problems with this bike is long, so I won`t try to list them I will just talk about them as I go.

Above: The 26 inch mtb front wheel. The hub was very loose, (cones way out of adjustment) the tire was almost flat and the wheel needs some truing. The good news is! I pumped up the tires and they appear to be holding air. I was amazed to find grease on the bearings. And the grease did not have those hard specks I found in the grease on the New Thruster fixed gear bike. I should also mention that I inspected the tires very closely. They are still very pliable and don`t even show a hint of cracking. Also I did replace the cable housings that felt sticky do to rust. And both of the cables I took from the parts bike look like new. I did add a few drops of clear oil to the cable housings as well.

Above: After cleaning up the hub parts with White Lightning Clean Streak I regreased and reassembled it with the cones set properly (no grind/no play).

Above: I also cleaned up the hub inside and out. It now spins nicely and for quite a while. The truing needed is not that bad. I will true the wheels latter on without removing the tires. Or removing the wheels from the bike for that matter. On an entry level cruiser or mountain bike the using the wheel truing stand is not necessary.

Above: While the parts bike does look like a total p.o.s. it did prove to be invaluable before this overhaul was finished. I might add the 26 inch mtb tires and pedals on the parts bike show no wear at all. You know instead of going to the department store and paying 150.00 for a bike and then leaving it out in the yard to rust. Maybe this fool should have driven to a homeless shelter and given them 75.00 Then they would still have 75.00 and could have felt good about have done something positive for another human being. I do not mean to preach but being this wasteful is just wrong. Especially when so many are trying to get by with so little.

Above: Shown is the yellow front linear brake I salvaged from the parts bike. The original front linear brake, noodle and rubber boot were damaged. And miraculously these same parts were all in good condition on the parts bike. After some "fah nagle ing" I got the replacement front brake working pretty well. After I true the wheel I will be able to set it even tighter.

Above: I was able to regrease the headset bearings without completely removing the front end. Look closely and you can see my 1947 Western Flyer "fixed gear trike" propping up the suspension fork while I carefully wipe and re grease the lower headset bearings. I hung the handlebars and stem from the frame while doing this. I also brushed some rust off the wedge nut (stem) and smeared a little grease on it before reassembling the threaded headset /front end.

Above: The rear hub was also sloppy. Fortunately I did have the correct tool for removing the freewheel. After de greasing the axle, cones and bearings I started to reassemble the rear hub. It was at this point I noticed the rear axle was bent. This is a real kick in the a$$ because I really felt like I was making good progress. I removed the axle assembly from the parts bike and cleaned it up using White Lightning Clean streak. After matching them up I went ahead and greased the bearings and cups and reassembled the rear hub. It fit perfectly (even the spacers matched) and it is spinning real smoothly. I also cleaned and lubed the 7 speed freewheel and cleaned up the pie plate.

Above: I sprayed some WD-40 on the rusty rear derailleur springs and hinge points and wiped it off. Then I removed some slack from the cable and it is now shifting fine. I will spray some Tri-Flo on the rear D and sprocket group before I test ride it. I also sprayed some WD-40 on the rusty chain (in sections) and wiped it clean. I will put some chain lube on the chain before I ride it. I might mention, contrary what many people think.. WD40 is not a lubricant. But it is great at breaking down rust and loosening up rusty components.

Above: The Falcon front derailleur was froze up and the cable was badly frayed at the anchor point. I checked the Twist Grip Shifter and shift cable on the parts bike and they looked surprisingly good. So I carefully removed those and swapped them out with the originals on the Rhino. I found this Shimano front derailleur in my collection of salvaged front derailleurs. It seems to be straining to shift onto the largest chain ring. If this does not improve after lubrication and adjustment I will install a different front derailleur.

Above: Because the chain guide on the Falcon front derailleur was not removable I had to break down or open the chain to remove it. The little Park CT 5 Chain Tool is still working like a champ! Here I am finishing pressing the pin back into the chain. I am always careful to not remove the pin completely, this saves me a lot of aggravation. When using the tool to open the chain I always press the pin out towards me. This makes it much easier to press the pin back into place.

Above: QUICK TIP... I use a Velcro strap to hold the derailleur in position to give me slack while using the chain tool.

Above: Here I have removed the three piece crank and bottom bracket assembly. Earlier in the day I noticed the dust cap on the left side crank arm was missing and the nut looked real rusty. So I sprayed it "in advance" with a little WD 40. It worked great as the nut came off easily using a 6 point 14 mm socket. I have mentioned this before so I will again.. When removing the retainer nut or bolt for the crank or crank arm use a socket that matches the nut or bolt head. It it is six sided make sure your socket is as well. These nuts and bolt heads are shallow and are not always the best quality of hardened steel. This will greatly lessen your chances of rounding off the nut or bolt head.

Above: Here I am ready to spray the bottom bracket spline and bearings as well as the left side cup. This is a rush job (that don`t pay $hit) so there is no time for the Ultrasonic parts cleaner. As usual I have lined the pot with dirty paper towels and placed the strainer in the pot. This is a very inexpensive and effective way to clean parts. Just don`t use Mom's strainer and pot! As always I will be spraying them with White Lightning Clean Streak.

Above: Here the bottom bracket is reassembled. I want to repaint the left side crank arm with Rust Oleum flat black before reassembly. Which I am going to do right after I finish here. The easy adjust seat post collar clamp is also from my collection of salvaged parts. This work was done yesterday Saturday, it is now Sunday. If I paint now I can finish the bike and this post tomorrow. See you tomorrow! Sorry the mixtie project was delayed for this and other repair work. I will hopefully get that going again Tuesday or Wednesday.

Above: It is now Sunday evening. I forgot how fast flat black paint dries. The bike is finished! I took it for a short ride (3 miles) and it performed really well "for what it is". I have been spoiled riding my DiamondBack Overdrive 29er. This bike felt like a lot more work to get where I was going.

Above: Looking pretty sweet considering that "so far" I have only used salvaged and reconditioned components from the parts bike and my own stock. I say "so far" because I will probably be installing a new multi speed chain tomorrow. Other than that, I only have some cosmetic detail work (cleaning and rust removal) to do.

Above: I was amazed riding the bike by how smooth the bike felt. I think being a department store bike I expected it to feel more clunky. Also it did not jump gears at all. And the chain never slipped on the sprocket group in any gear. Also I was pleasantly surprised by how well the brakes worked. For liability reasons I made sure that the reflectors were remounted correctly. I have no idea if this fellow is going to be riding in the dark.

Above: I have not yet had a chance to take the L.L. Bean bike out for a real good ride. Maybe I will do that tomorrow morning :) That is about all I have for now. Until next time Please RIDE SAFELY and Remember to Always..RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE
Cheers, Hugh

A Special THANK YOU to those of you have been checking out Hugh's Online Bike Shop. You probably noticed that I am now adding word links to components, tools and supplies ect. ect. that I mention in my blog posts. Like the Store these links are powered by . I am doing this to make it more convenient to purchase things that interest you on the blog. Also if you are new to bicycle work, and you are not sure what I am talking about? You can click on the word link just to see some examples of what I am referring to. I look at this as a positive change and I hope you do too.
Thanks, Hugh
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