My first ever bicycle mechanical repair went well. I successfully replaced the cassette on my road bike. The process was mostly easy. The only difficultly I had was getting the old cassette off because it was so tightly stuck on the wheel. But it was nothing that a few love taps from a hammer couldn’t fix.
The new cassette is a 12-23 Shimano HG-50 8 speed cassette. The old cassette was a Shimano HG-40 mountain bike cassette with super easy granny gears, which I am sure I’ll miss when I start climbing some big hills. I think the biggest cog on the old cassette has 31 teeth.
After seeing all the road crud on the cassette, hub and cassette holder, I am going to try to clean this one more regularly to keep it running smoothly.
My second mechanical upgrade didn’t go quite as smoothly as replacing the cassette; though it also wasn’t a total disaster.
I was so excited last night that I went outside to replace the chain at about 10:30pm; well after my bedtime. I was feeling cocky so I didn’t pay enough attention to the way I ran the chain through the rear derailleur and I made a bit of a mistake. I fed the chain around the outside of one of the derailleur guides rather than through it. I spent the whole night tossing and turning trying to work out what I’d done wrong. When I went out to check on my bike in the morning I saw my mistake.
I stopped at my local bicycle shop on my way home from socialising at running club to get a new chain pin. They charged me $4 for a single Shimano pin. Needless to say I told them what I thought of that (and the price they quoted me for a 7-speed HG-40 Shimano chain and cassette for my mountain bike). I realise shops have overheads etc but there are limits as to what mark-up I’m willing to pay and I felt quite ripped off for being stung $4 for the pin.
Anyway, I bought it and fixed my chain. After adjusting the derailleur I’m happy with the result.
My old saddle bag was great when I bought it in 2005 but since then one of the zips has seized, the velcro strap that holds it to the saddle snapped, and it only barely fits a tube and my wallet. Kathmandu have a big 50%-off sale so I bought a nice big saddle bag. It easily fits a tube, repair tool (which I also bought) and five food bars.
It’s the ability to carry food without needing a handlebar bag that really sold me on this little gem. It means I will be able to go riding all day without having to worry about running out of calories. I can still carry some food in my jersey pockets but now I can also carry extra for 200+km days (which I hope to be riding more regularly). I could also use it to carry a bicycle chain during my commute, when I don’t need to carry food.
After the fuss at Bike Nirvana (my local bike store), I went out to 99 Bikes in Underwood (25km away). They are a larger chain of stores so have better buying power. I wanted to see what they had and how their prices compared with both Bike Nirvana and the online stores, such as Wiggle and Chain Reaction. By local standards, 99 Bikes were quite reasonable. I got three spare chain pins for $2 each, which is double the online price but half that of Bike Nirvana (I didn’t feel ripped off by paying $2 each).
I decided not to buy any parts from the shop because I just can’t justify paying double what I can buy parts for online. To be fair, the biggest issue is the 40% import duty and 10% GST. But I work hard for my money so aren’t going to throw it away unnecessarily.
However, I did get myself a cool impulse buy: a mobile phone top tube bag. It’s touch-pad compatible so I can use it for cycle geocaching and to see whether I need to bother answering the phone if someone calls while I’m out (I don’t always answer it but now at least I don’t have to stop to make that decision). The bag is also large enough to hold my wallet, keys and a food bar. It’s probably the coolest accessory I have, other than the Ayup headlight.
So that’s stage 1 of my bike pimping done. I’m now ready for tomorrow’s big bike epic. I’m participating in a 100km mass participation ride from Brisbane to the Gold Coast with 10,000 (yes ten thousand) other cyclists. I’m cycling home after the event, which means I’ll ride somewhere between 160-200km.
Once I get my new tyres, frame pump and mirrors I’ll probably leave this bike for a while. When the chain needs replacing again I’ll probably also change the chain ring and bottom bracket. But they’re working well enough for now so there’s no sense rushing.