Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Bicycle Search Engine

Google Custom Search

Have you ever went through endless pages on search engines like Google trying to find some information about bicycles and just having to waste time going through all those search engine optimized commercial websites before getting to the meat of what you are looking for? You, me and millions of people have bought that T-Shirt, well not anymore! I have made a custom search engine using a Google utility that permits searches only to those websites that I choose. So I chose from what I consider the best bike websites around and if you search in that little "Bicycle Search Engine" box at the top of this article or at the bottom of this blog, you should get immediate relevant information quickly. Of course this site is included, but I also included Sheldon Brown and some bike related forums as well.

So enjoy and if you notice an important bike related site missing, just email me at xddorox (at) gmail.com I will review the site and add it.

Til next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry :)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

How-to remove a bicycle cassette or freewheel

Derailleur equipped bikes have a cluster of gears installed on the rear wheel which permits to change the gear ration while you pedal. When you stop pedaling or coast you hear a click click click noise that is made by a ratchet mechanism that allows for the pedals to stop turning while the bike is coasting. Sometimes this mechanism fails. In the case of our reader Jay, the pedals on his bike keep turning while the wheels are in motion. This gear cluster cannot be serviced in my experience and must replaced.

However, you must determine which type you have since there are two different ways to accomplish this: The threaded freewheel or the cassette. The threaded freewheel is screwed on the threads that are on the rear hub. The mechanism is inside that freewheel. In the case of the cassette, the coasting mechanism is inside the hub itself. So if this fails, you must replace the rear hub. The cassette offers the advantages of being able to replace only the smallest gears when they are used up and offer a straight line of pull on the chain. If you observe a freewheel while the rear wheel is turning, you will notice a slight wobble caused by the fact that it isn't sitting perfectly flat on the threaded hub.

I've enclosed a video on how to remove and reinstall both. Take note that to avoid an industrial amount of takes for the making of that video, I removed those parts before taping. They take a bit more energy to remove. That explains that humongous open ended wrench that I have, it's not just for show. When reinstalling those parts, make sure that they are screwed in tight. Not a big issue with the freewheel since it tightens itself with each pedal stroke. But the cassette lock nut will not and if it becomes loose, the results will be ugly.

By the next video, I hope that my "studio" will be painted. At least now I don't have the noise of traffic and overhead 747's.

Til next time, ride safe and Godspeed!

Gerry :)

Monday, August 06, 2007


Well it's been a long time coming, but here it is. I have attached a video to this article. It's not great, but it will have to do for now until I figure out a better studio set-up.

Truing a wheel is not that complicated. The rim is attached to the hub with the use of spokes. The spokes are divided equally on each side of the rim and are held there by brass nipples that can be screwed or unscrewed. A brass nipple is basically an upside down screw, so you have to go counter clockwise to tighten it and clockwise to untighten. Tightening a brass nipple will make a spoke "pull" the rim to the outside and the reverse will "push" it inside.

This means that if the rim is too much to the left from the center and this happens in front of a spoke located on the right side of the rim, you would have to go counter clockwise so that the spoke will "pull" the rim back to the right. If the same situation would occur in front of a spoke located on the left side of the rim, you would go clockwise to unscrew the nipple and that would "push" the rim to the right.

The main thing to remember is to go at it one spoke at a time. If you try to straighten the wheel by adjusting 6 spokes in one shot, you will have problems. Also, if you have to make more than one turn on a brass nipple, make half as many turns on the 2 nipples on each side of it to avoid creating a flat spot in the rim. When you are close to finishing the job and the adjustments are minute, you don't have to do this.

If you want to try this, get a truing stand, find some busted wheels and practice, practice, practice. Remember though, not every taco wheel can be saved. Sometimes it's better to start with a fresh rim.

Til next time, ride safe and Godspeed.