Doing it all the hard way...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Elisha a.k.a Lennard Zinn told me to grease my skewers..

I hate it when any of my bikes make any unexpected sound. I take a pride in my mechanic skills. One of my teammates, when he emails me a technical question, uses the salutation “Dear Lennard.” This reference is to Lennard Zinn the sage mechanic who literally wrote the book on bicycle maintenance and repair. Associating me with Mr. Zinn is a compliment I welcome.

It was with great embarrassment that I endured a persistent clicking sound as I rode my wonderful road bike this past weekend. When Hottie and I shared a ride up Chewuch Canyon on Saturday morning I tried to keep the pedaling force down to minimize the sound. When I later took a hard solo training ride I pretended the clicking was a training metronome and tried to embrace the sound. Oh, the lies we tell ourselves….

I realize I have made mistakes about the source of creaks in the past. I was once convinced my headset was creaking when it was in fact a spoke creaking in my front hub. With all my experience I was pretty sure this was my BB. I have had my share of creaking bottom brackets (BBs) in my riding experience. I have learned to remove and re-grease a BB as fast as anyone. I keep plumber’s tape in my tool box for repairing creaking BB’s. I live on the fine line between being an experienced mechanic and being a creaking diagnostic snob.

A few weeks ago I re-greased all the Speedplay pedals that Hottie and I have, just in case. I have SRAM Rival cranks on both my road bikes. I had some creaking coming from my rain bike BB at a certain point of the pedal stroke. It wasn’t constant and seemed to have gone away sometime during the summer. Now the nearly identical creak was coming from my prized road bike. I was beginning to suspect SRAM, which was a scary thought.

I removed my road bike BB and removed the seals and cleaned (with an effective, but hazardous chemical that I will not list here) the bearings and races. I then greased them with a magic built-for-purpose grease. I replaced them and the clicking was totally unchanged. I then suspected the pedals so I swapped a pedal, and once again no change.

I jumped on the web and looked for other things to check. I read about loose derailleur hangers and broken bottle cages. Ungreased seat rails, ungreased seat posts and a myriad of other oddities. I looked at Lennard’s own words and he said after checking the BB, the next sources were pedals (and cleats) and skewers.

Feeling like I was on a wild goose chase, but wanting to check the box, I descended down to the man-cave and greased my rear skewer and frame interface points. Rolling out the door I took my traditional driveway up and back while listening. No creaking. I realized why my rain bike stopped creaking. When I built a new rear wheel I changed to a different, and perhaps greased, skewer. I am an idiot. Thanks Lennard.

I feel like the king of the world once again. This is Voodoo. But it is such cool Voodoo.

1 comment:

EvoDavo said...

Fast ride at lunch today on the wonderbike. No sounds !!