Monday, November 17, 2008


So the weather was so bad Saturday that I spent most of the day in my basement putting together my new bike...which is to say ripping components off the Fuel and putting them on the Stumpjumper.

This stuff never goes smoothly.

First, I realized that if I was going to do the job right I needed the use of three tools I didn't have. So off to the bike shop. Merv was kind enough to let me throw my frame on his stand and play with his toys. I effaced my headset and bottom bracket (well, I attempted to, then Merv took over because I didn't know what I was doing). Then I pressed my headset.

I would have thought that in buying a used frame the headset or at least the bottom bracket would already have been effaced. But no.

Second, in either pulling off or installing my rear brakes (I've disc brakes in the front, linear pull in the back) I broke off that little metal pin that goes in the frame to engage the spring. Crap. Brakes are now useless.

Luckily (sort of) I have a spare set of linear pull brakes from my cross bike (I replaced the linear pulls on the cross rig with cantis). I put those on...but the arms are about a centimeter shorter than the brakes they replaced, which gives me about 3-5mm clearance between the rear tire and the brake cable. So this falls into the category of a short-term fix. I've now got to get a new set of linear pulls...or a disc compatible rear wheel (I actually have a disc brake caliper to put on, I just don't have a disc compatible rear wheel--did have, but sold it to Kris).

Third, who knew there were so many standards for bottom bracket shell widths? I didn't. Turns out the Fuel has a 73mm bottom bracket shell and the Stumpjumper has a 68mm shell. In the long run, I think this is good news. The very wide Q-factor on my mountain bike always bugged me, but I figured it was just a factor of the triple chainring. I didn't realize that the shell added 5mm.

In the meantime, this has caused a headache. Of course it took me way too long to figure out that it was this difference in BB shell size that was keeping my bottom bracket from installing correctly. When I did figure it out, and when I figured out that the shell on the Stumpjumper is the same as on all my road bikes, I had a brainstorm: pull the compact crank off my tt rig (remember I bought a new crank for that) and use that for a while. That seemed like a good idea until...

Fourth, I now know that a 50-tooth outer chainring on a double crank will not fit on an '07 Specialized Stumpjumper. The 50-tooth chainring won't clear the chainstay. Ok, so I'll just take the outer chainring off. A 34-tooth single chaingring crankset will work just fine for a few shakedown rides. Right? Wrong.

Fifth, hardware stores are about the worst place in the world to shop for anything even remotely related to a bicycle. Since I don't have any crankset bolts that will accommodate a single ring setup I figured I'd throw a couple of washers on the outside of each bolt to take up the extra space. My local hardware store only sells washers that are very wide. So a 5/8 inch washer clears the bolt, but then is too wide to fit the indentation on the spider where the outer chainring nests. So I've got this funky looking crankset with five washers sitting at weird angles holding on my single 34-tooth chainring.

Last night, after I finished grading my papers and then finished adjusting brakes, installing the chain, and throwing on the saddle (by now 1:30am), I'm finally ready for a test ride.

Awesome. It feels much lighter than the one kilo difference in frame weight*. And the hardtail feels like a real bike. It GOES when you pedal, like a bike is supposed to, instead of that f/s wooshy sluggishness. But, when I pedaled hard...

Sixth, the chain drops. Apparently my five skewampous oversized washer crankset fix was a failure. At least at high torques. All that work for nothing. I'm just going to have to wait for that properly fitting bottom bracket.

* A Rival compact crank w/ bottom bracket weighs a lot less than a Bontrager mountain triple with a cartridge square-taper bottom bracket axle, which may account for some of the perceived weight difference. Also, no front derailleur.

An amendment: I am truly awful at verb tense agreement. I remember my sixth grade teacher getting after me for it and I still can't tell a story in a consistent tense. I don't know, maybe if I write well enough otherwise the error can be dismissed as a creative eccentricity.


ehyde said...

excellent effort, although I have to ask why your outer ring on your TT bike is a 50? I know how you like to TT and that ain't enough.

goat said...

That's why I bought a new crankset for the TT bike.

If you're asking why I had a compact on there in the first place, that's just because it's what I had on hand when I built the bike. Cranks are expensive.

KanyonKris said...

If you'd like to buy back the rear wheel to have a matched set, I could part with it. Just shoot me an e-mail and we can discuss.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a episode of that 80s show MacGyver except that you didn't work the duct tape into the fix!