Tag Archives: Pedals

Clippy pedals #cycling

In all my years of cycling I’ve whimped out at the thought of clipless pedals (a.k.a. clip-in pedals). The price of them and shoes seemed to be putting me off too.

But it turns out there are cheap ones available and £60 will buy you shoes, SPD (Shimano) cleats and pedals. Before Christmas I purchased the shoes and cleats with a view of fitting to my single sided touring pedals that I’ve had in stock since I bought a bike several years back, that didn’t happen. Then I acquired some double sided SPD pedals from my brother, so I then had a couple of options that didn’t happen.

Yesterday:

  • I cleaned bluebell before swapping winter tyres for normal ones (she was pretty dirty and it’s a good idea to clean a bike before swapping tyres because you can then store the clean tyres).
  • I degreased my chain and tightened up the eccentric bottom bracket.
  • I fitted new brake blocks.
  • Re-indexed my gears…. Only kidding, I ride Rohloff 🙂

Then, I got carried away and in a fit of madness I fitted the pedals and put on my new shoes, cleats as loose as possible… Test ride around the garden… I don’t know what I was scared about!

   
These Shimano SH56 cleats allow easy sideways slide, twist or angled disengagement (I said it, it must be correct). The SH51 cleats are not for me and scare me, they are not for a learner like me. Since the cleats are cheap I may one day switch to them, but I can’t see why I would.

Other brands may be better or worse, I just went for what’s cheap and popular.

Here’s my attempt at a video showing my hand pulling and pushing the shoe in the right directions and then angling my foot (fishing???) to detach the shoe from the pedal:

  
First and probably last video! The birds in my back garden were mocking / heckling me.

Don’t fear cleats, just get easy release ones and setup the pedals for easy release.

I rode to work and back without falling off too, so can you!

I love new brakes.

A new chainring and pedal reflectors, yes, you heard me. #cycling

Lastly, firstly, pedal reflectors are a legal requirement in the UK, other than that, I think they are worthwhile, they can’t do any harm. Don’t be fooled though, reflectors give people false hope, get decent lights, spend a lot of money on them and be safe. Pedal reflectors won’t help when the vehicle’s windows are misted up or it’s a rainy day. Only bright lights will penetrate that.

But anyway… I was down to my last one, they keep breaking, falling off etc. So I bought some new bolt on ones, let’s see how long they last.

Now, the highlight, a brand spanking new Thorn chainring, 48T and reversible (eat that derailleur lovers):

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Notice how clean Bluebell is compared with normal? I treated her to a clean not so long ago 🙂

Also, note the black oil marks are on alternate teeth, bonus points if you can guess why this is? Wow, cycling trivia, almost.

And for comparison old against new:

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Extra trivia, is the original (on top) a reversible chainring and explain why 🙂

Lowlights for a change #cycling

This week started with a broken saddle:
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I replaced it and wanted to swap to better pedals too, turns out the old crankset I recently fitted is past it because the threads are corroded and stripping away.
So I’m now riding Rudy while I decide what crankset to buy… square taper 110 BCD 5 arm 170mm triple Thorn branded crankset was what I had before, but shimano hollotech has been recommended as a reasonably priced set, the downside is that I’ll need to buy another tool, it won’t be interchangeable with my other bikes, etc. It is worth pointing out that trying to read specs and compare crankset / chainsets is difficult because they often quote random mm measurements and not always the ones your looking for.

Today’s ride ended badly, half a mile from home (after the big hill) the police had blocked the road, I had to then go back over the hill and in a 5 mile loop to get home. I could barely walk when I got home. Numb bum to say the least. Sooo painful, I clearly don’t use those muscles and now can’t bend or sit down. Other than that I enjoyed Rudy and the chilled out ride. The local girls / teens in the park shouted “cool bike”, so there we are, Rudy is cool, even if I am not. Oh and my mudguard is loose, mirror is split and not long left on this earth and heaps more going wrong and we’re not even half way through.

How not to remove the crankset from your bike #cycling

Mistakes are easy and knowing issues and trying to use them to your advantage isn’t a good idea either.

The mistake

I forgot to grease my pedal threads when I last put pedals on bluebell. This plus steel, aluminium and salt water (two winters worth) meant the pedals are welded on. The Internet says heating the cranks will break the seal, but it might damage the threads. Seems like I’m unlikely to fix them, but I thought I’d take them off and try.

The misuse of known issues

For the same reason as above, it’s advisable to grease the bottom bracket spindle else getting cranks off can be tricky. I initially had a problem with the left crank coming loose, so, I thought I’d clean off the grease in a hope it would bind on better. The real solution would have been to put more force on tightening the crank bolts. Anyway, as a result, the blasted crank wouldn’t come off.

Where it all went wrong

Having the tools for a job is all good and well, but sometimes one can overdo it, put too much force on something and watch your dreams shatter in front of you. What did I break?
The crank puller / removal tool, not only that, I also destroyed (stripped) the thread on the crank, thus destroying chances of removing it.

The plan to fix it

I figured the crankset was done for, so remove the crank somehow, replace crankset with a recently acquired crankset (that was being thrown away) put on other used spare pedals I had lying around (boxes of junk), didn’t even steal then from one of my other bikes!

Step 1

Hacksaw, not much room for it, a bit nervous about the frame, but got a chunk off….
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Still unresponsive to my hammer, wiggling etc.

Step 2

Drill plus HSS drill bits, started small (nervous) then once through up sized the drill bit to cut through. Great care was taken not to drill the steel spindle. Of course steel is harder than aluminium, but being careful was key (since I hadn’t been earlier). This worked a treat, wedging a claw hammer in the gap broke the seal and freed the crank. He’s the crank and the sheared off crank removal tool:
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A closeup on the crank:
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Phew, glad it’s over with.

The lessons

  • Grease it up
  • Forcing it will only break it
  • Keep boxes of junk lying around just in case

Of course I would recommend that most people don’t do this, take it to a bike shop and get their help.

Bluebell is up and running and a crank removal tool is on the shopping list.

Introducing Rudy the RANS Fusion ST with a Rohloff Speedhub #cycling

Meet Rudy:
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Named after the dinosaur in Ice Age 3.
You will notice he is a crank forward style bicycle which makes you feel a bit gangster as you cruise along. Rudy is a RANS Fusion ST (step through), the RANS Cruz is very similar, but has curved tubing. Rather than the normal derailleur gears, he’s kitted out with a mint condition Rohloff Speedhub. I’ve written about my other Rohloff before, that one is old and well used, this one is barely used, newer (hence lower friction seals) and is a fancy red colour. I bought Rudy as a complete bike second hand (but barely used) and I made a couple of changes, but nothing massive.

Introductions over, let’s go through some of the issues he had.

Notice anything wrong here?
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Yes, the blocks are on the wrong sides 20130202-153615.jpg
But that is not all, notice anything here?
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Yes, the pads were for different blocks and didn’t fit properly on one side. Closer inspection and the left and right are different, might be a manufacturer trying to prevent generic inserts being used as replacements
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Anyway, I swapped them for a different set and all is well
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Notice the bit of gaffer tape on the rim, I use that to toe-in my pads if I’m not feeling dexterous or i’m not having much luck at the time.
The second one shows Rudy is covered in road filth already – from the first test ride – mudguards are on the shopping list.

Next one, notice anything wrong?
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Yes, apart from the colour of the pedal, it is on the wrong side, which leads to the pedals loosening as you ride and eventually falling off. Why’s that? Check this
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Yep, they are a LHS crankset! Doh!

The fitted chain tensioner (required because of length of chain and no eccentric bottom bracket) was rubbish, fortunately I had a decent one i picked up second hand from eBay a while back, so I fitted that
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It’s far better and meant I could fit a standard triple chainring and manually choose a chainring (should I want to)
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Those are 152mm cranks so my midget wife can comfortably spin without hurting her knees.
All this of course meant I needed to extend the chain slightly
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Can you spot the shiny new KMC X8 quick links joining it? I hope there will be enough chain remaining for the donor chain to fit Bluebell, hopefully nothing wasted. Worth mentioning, I like KMC chains, though the quick links are anything but unless you use a pair of pliers.

That’s it pretty much, a few other accessories fitted and I was cruising in style (or as close to it as I get).

I’ve since tweaked a few more things, snapped the mirror off, fitted a new one, etc. The wife took a quick test ride today and the summary of her thoughts:

  • seat is comfortable
  • both feet can touch the floor at once
  • knees aren’t too high, so no knee strain
  • gears change without fuss
  • great gear range and very low bottom gear
  • no pressure / strain on hands, wrists or shoulders
  • it’s cool and different
  • I didn’t feel as stupid as I thought I might
  • I try not to think about how much it cost