Friday, June 03, 2005

If it ain't broke don't fix it

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Noble sentiments for sure. But in the world of bike geekdom it seldom holds true for very long. Every year we are inundated with the new word in cool at the Interbike show. It's always changing and it isn't long before we can justify anything in terms of getting something new.

Sure there are many holdouts and there are still some rigid hardtail riders with cantilever brakes, 150mm stems, toe clips, and 8 speed thumbshifters. But let's face it those guys are few and far between and most of us get new stuff long before we need it.

Though one component I have has not been changed out in over 8 years. With the exception of some routine bearing changes, my Real Designs. Crankcase bottom brackets continue to operate flawlessley.
Maybe it is the out of sight out of mind thing. And unless the bearings get play in them or have stiction than the BB is totally forgotten. I've got one Ti one for my race bike and two cro-mo ones for my other bike and my wife's bike.

I just love them. It's fun changing bearings. Get the ball peen hammer and the vice out. Tap out the bearing from the cup..tap..tap..tap..tap, turn axle over and tap axle off bearing...tap..tap..tap. repeat for other side, reverse process to re-install. You have to be careful installing the cups as they are soft aluminum. The age old hook-spanner will work but it is easy to strip out the slots. Use the Park BBT-8 for better grip on them. If you're careful putting in the bearings and use good ones there is no reason that the axle will ever wear out, unless you don't torque down the crankset well enough, But you'd probably screw up your crankset before the axle.

Real Designs was one of the boutique mtb component manufacturers that went under. They have been reincarnated into a boutique road component manufacturer. Oh joy, like the world really needs another carbon road fork, or tricked out aero road wheel. their new stem is cool looking. But I wish they'd come back into the mountain bike component business. Their brake levers are sweet too.

One trick if you've got a Ti axle and it makes some serious noises when you are installing it on your bearings. Lubricate it with Blue loctite. Counterintuituve, yes, but the tech guy at Real turned me onto this trick and it works like a charm.

The whole Isis-splined thing hasn't been gnawing at me. I speculate that I am so light that there isn't going to be a signinficant advantage to the new style of spindle. Though I've never ridden one so can't be sure. So square taper continues to be fine for me.

But don't let me stop you from getting some cool tricked out component just because you 'need' one.


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