Thursday, August 27, 2009

Don't Always Trust Free Shit

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday, one that almost cost me my fixed gear bicycle. Good components are important, because shitty ones will blow up on you.

Riding around Missoula trying to have some new prints ready for saturday's market, I started to hear a strange noise. At first I thought it was just my ipod headphones not being plugged in all the way, thus creating interference, but the noise kept getting louder. With my earbuds out there was a series of clicks, pops, and grinding coming from my bike; lets just say this scared me a little.

Flipping my bike over, the chain was extremely tight, and when set in motion would almost immediately come to a stop. At first I just thought my chain was binding up and being afraid to ride anymore in case something were to happen, I threw my bicycle over my shoulder and walked the mile or so to the nearest place I could get some help, Sports Exchange.

On getting there, the owner and I flipped the bike over out front of his store to take a closer look. We soon found a seal popping out of the bottom bracket at the beginning of the crank arm. Trying to pop off the crank, the internals of the bottom bracket were loose and moving around. At that point I decided to venture to a full service bike shop where they would have all the right tools for this job.

I hit up Hellgate Cyclery and they helped me out right away. Within two minutes they had the bottom bracket apart and found that the bearings in the bottom bracket had flown apart. Not only that, but it was a French bottom bracket in an English setup (the male/female threads are opposite - damn French).

Let me explain the history of the bottom bracket. When I was searching for a frame, I had come across a Nishiki with a bottom bracket already in it. At the time I had debated whether to replace it or not, and figured why buy something new when the part is already there and seems to work. The frame had obviously been through a few owners and setups as it had multiple pain jobs that I had to strip away. Someone had slipped (maybe not the right word since it would have been a real pain to get the bottom bracket in) in a French bottom bracket without knowing what they were doing.

So, now that the part had eaten it, my frame was potentially no good if the threads couldn't accept a new bottom bracket. At this point I wondered off to a bar a few blocks away to drown out my thoughts of having to find a new frame. They worked on the thing trying to salvage the frame and an hour later I checked back in.

Luckily, upon returning to Hellgate Cyclery, my fixie was all put back together again. I have to thank those guys for really saving my ass. Now every time I am able to hop on my bike, its all thanks to them.

No comments:

Bookmark and Share