This tyre is too hard…

May 15, 2015 at 09:16 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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tyrehardI finally got around to buying a new set of tyres for my fixie; you may recall the one on the back was rather the worse for wear, and I had to rather hurriedly replace it with whatever I could get at the time.

Well, the new tyres arrived, and sat in the shed for a few more weeks until at last I decided to put them on the bike. All easy-peasy,I thought, and within a few minutes I had taken the old one off the front, ready to replace it with a shiny new one.

Put it over the rim; bit of air in the tube, tuck it in, press the other edge over the rim, la la la – I hummed to myself as I worked, figuring this was all be done in a few minutes and I’d be swishing along on my new rubber.

And then I got to the final bit of tyre – you know, the really tight bit that’s a bit of a fiddle to get one. It did feel very tight, but I went back to the other side, worked the tyre around, pulling it around – something that is usually enough to do the trick. But no, it still stubbornly refused to pop on. I had a go with a tyre lever; I have a flat yellow one that works well for this.Then I tried a more heavy duty one. And another. Then I snapped one of them in half. And then bent another. No joy. That last bit of tyre just was not going on the rim. I scratched my head. Why was this so hard? I’ve replaced hundreds of tyres over the years, and never had one this intransigent. I’ve also never snapped a tyre lever, let alone two.

I took the tyre completely off again, and started from scratch. Round we went, popping it on, la la la, until – the same problem. I wrestled with tyre levers some more, but nothing. This was getting ridiculous!

Mrs Chillikebab came out to see how I was doing, and I had to admit that I actually could not put the tyre on the wheel. She suggested I might have to put the old one back on and go to the bike shop, and that made me feel simultaneously cross and ineffectual. Buoyed up by anger, I had one last go at the tyre with two tyre levers, and – pop – it finally went on. Phew.

I got my pump and started to put some air in. Whoosh. The air was leaking out as fast as it was going in. I had ripped a hole in it with the tyre levers; something that all the books say to watch out for, but which I had never before done.

leversIncandescent with rage I grabbed one of the few intact tyre levers I still had left, wrenched the tyre back off the rim, took out the tube and patched it.

This was not going to defeat me. I started again, this time paying a little more attention to where the tyre bead was sitting on the rim as it went on. It was sitting quite high on the rim, quite firmly held in the groove around the edge of the rim. I realised that by squeezing it in I could pop it deeper into the rim, against the rim tape. This gave me much more slack at the other side, and it was a doddle to pop the last bit of tyre over with just my thumbs. All so easy. As I then put air into the tyre, I could hear the tyre bead popping into its correct place all around the tyre.

So why the dramas? Have I never had a rim with such a pronounced groove just around the rim before? I have no idea, but I was able to put the rear one on with no fuss at all – and this is a different rim (the original Salsa one, rather than the Velocity one on the front).

So finally I was done. My thumbs hurt, I was dirty and sweaty, had broken four tyre levers and spent nearly an hour wrestling with it. But there is always that slight glow of satisfaction that comes with overcoming adversity…

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In need of attention

December 12, 2011 at 22:06 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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It seems my idea of getting a new bike for Christmas isn’t going to happen. I took the fixie in for a service, and it seems all is not well. I knew it would need some work; after all I ride it a lot in all weathers. However, the laundry list of things that need doing is quite long.

It needs a new drivetrain. This I was expecting; the chainwheel is four years old and the back sprocket and chain are probably three.  The tyres are also bald, but then the front one is the one I got with the bike four years ago, so it must have done well over 20,000 puncture-free kilometres.

The front rim also needs replacing. This I also suspected, as all the wet weather riding takes a toll, and I’m a shocker for cleaning my bikes, and digging all the bits out of the brake pads (which I read somewhere you are supposed to do. I never have.) The hub bearings are also shot, so new ones are required.

However, the bolt from the blue was the report that the forks are showing signs of cracking. The eagle-eyed repair tech spotted it under the paint. Oh dear. He’s going to try to get Salsa to replace it under warranty, but the forks only have a three year warranty (frame is five years), and the bike is four years old.

So this all could get rather expensive. I have to do it though. I love my fixie. But perhaps the new bike will have to wait a little longer…

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