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SPD’s or flats?

Categories: Maintenance, Mountain Bike Skills Courses | March 2nd, 2008 | by Clare | no comments

nicky-1-2-1-2nd-march-002.jpgNicky
from Stafford pictured left, attended a 1-2-1 skills course on Sunday 2nd March,
super keen and raring to launch herself into the biking world. With only a
handful of rides and two hand fulls of falls she broached the subject of pedals,
as most of her falls were slow speed stumbles still clipped in.The pedals she
had chosen for her brand new steed ( a very nice Gary Fisher Caliber) were
a Shimano single sided pedal, normal (flat) on one side and a single SPD (cleat)
on the other.

The main problem with these pedals, when trying out new skills, is that its
hard to get clipped in, sometimes the cleat side will turn down and you will
try to clip in with 0% chance of clicking in, until you look down to check
if your pedal is the right way round. Conversely you might want to ride a section
without being clipped in, if that’s the case you might hear and feel the click
of cleat just when you don’t want to.

pedal-cropped.jpg
Here lies the problem, single sided pedals introduce an extra option, something else to be thinking about before that step or drop off, the one with a limited run up to it. To click or not to click is a huge distraction, especially if your knees and elbows still smart from your last comedy stops.

My advice to Nicky was to swap her shinny bling pedals for a set of dog rough flats, i keep for just such occasions in my car, it took 2 mins to switch them and it meant she could focus on the day ahead without the worry of slow speed falls, still clipped in. The result was fantastic progressive riding, standing up (where before she had sat), lifting the front wheel over sticks and logs, reducing her turning circle from that of a small bus to one of a nimble agile cat. She was soon riding drop off’s and descents the likes she had only dreamed of before.

What Nicky lacked in skill, she made up for in determination and arrived back
at the car park a different rider than when she left.
Parting advice was to ditch the bling, get on ebay for a set of used Shimano
or Wellgo double cleated pedals (cleats both sides) with a full cage see picture
below. If you can get your hands on a set of second hand ones they will be
much easier to get in and out of while you make the change from flats. Apart
from that choose your first clipped in rides with care, go for some softer
options, and always take some friends just for comedy value because everyone
takes a few tumbles first time out.

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Bearing up

Categories: Maintenance | February 26th, 2008 | by Clare | no comments

france-and-clares-30th-041-blog.jpg

After advice from a big bike shop (near Kendal not far from Kentmere in the lakes) that my Cove hustler frame has six bearings that would cost £50 i went to a local bearing stockist and paid £24 for same. Call me cheap everyone else does, but i hate paying the middle man if i can help it. I drove home with smug smile like i had got one over on the western world a saving of £26!!!! Back at base in my work shop i Stripped the frame removing the six bearings using one large one small socket and a vice no problem.Once the bike was stripped i noticed a bit of play in the main pivot, on some bikes the main pivot has a set of bearings and sometimes its just a shaft that is in contact with the metal of the frame. In the latter any play can be the first sign that your pride and joy might have a life span or at least you might have a bit of a headache sorting it out via an engineer.I removed the chain set (right side) as the main shaft is removed from left to right. At this point i had to admit that the guys at Cove in Canada really do things right and that sometimes friendly advice form big shops can be a bit duff. (for future reference, place more trust in the man in the LBS with greasy fingers)  The main pivot uses four more bearings derr, should have checked before going shopping (lesson learned) priced these up £5 each in stock 5mile drive from where i live. 

Time to down tools mad rush to get the booty before they shut!

Total Price for bearings £46  plus fuel and slightly bigger carbon footprint. But bike sorted. For very usful information about your Cove bike dont go to Coves web site they’re too busy building fantastic bikes, instead go to  http://www.covebike.com/cove-specs-05.pdf bearing sizes and numbers you will need for a bit of DIY plus loads of other spec.

 good luck

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