Monday, June 15, 2009

a bear of a maintenance weekend

I have a WTB LaserDisc Lite wheelset. It might not be the most bombproof and it might not have the Chris King Bling but it's the best value in weight weenie hubs around.

From a bombproof perspective I mean having the ability to ride through anything without needing maintenance. It isn't sealed very well from wetness so after a few soggy rides the pawl mechanism gets a little crunchy. Also key is to use very lightweight grease or even thick oil or gear oil in place of they typical Phil on the mechanism, which means that is resists water even less.

Given all the wet weather we've been having it was in need of an overhaul. One thing I love is how easy they are and actually simple to work on. I get into these things so it doesn't try my patience that much to break them down. Some people can't handle the down time of working on stuff when they'd rather be riding.

Another little character flaw with this version of the hub is that the specs call for a little bit of play in the hub when installed on the frame with the quick release tight. This is a little disconcerting as typically you try to adjust hubs so that all play is gone when the wheel is tight. But with this one the manual says just a little bit of play. I heard that the newest version gets rid of this though.

Also nice is that there are replacement freebody kits and cam plates available which I'd actually changed out fairly recently after more than 2 years of beating on it.

Well when I put it together I think I erred on the side of too tight. Maybe wasn't thinking or thought I felt the play. But after some riding it started to feel funny. Difficult to backpedal , some skipping but I was out of town and decided to get one more ride on it, then pop, no more pedaling.

When I finally got into it it was ugly. cam plate was shattered and there is a spring on the under side of the freebody that was broken off in there. It had gouged out the innards as well. Thankfully I had the old freebody that was working ok just had one tooth broken off, and the new cam plate that had come with the replacement. I chiseled off the gouged out metal and put the old body on.

It was having lots of problems catching on the backpedal and it looks like the teeth were pushed out just enough to engage the pawls, so I took a file to it and wore it down enough so that it clears the pawls when backpedaling. It's not great but I think it will work. so back in business.

BUT...when putting the wheel back in I bent the hell out of my hanger. See, with gripshift/sram somewhere I read that it's easier to get the wheel back in if its in the biggest cog in back. Most other shifting systems they say to put it on the small cog in back. It does work better in the big, but not a good idea if the front chainring is also in the big ===crosschaining. Well for whatever reason I'd had it in the big and when tried to put the wheel in the chain was so tight and I was pulling on it so much that I bent my hanger.

I was going to bust out the safety replaceable der hanger but decided to have more fun with one of my favorite tools the park DAG-1

I manhandled it into alignment and shifting is much improved which means that it has probably been tweaked for a little while. I doubt it will stay well adjusted given how much I'd bent it trying to get the wheel in so It might be better to order a new one anyway. Also since IH is out of business and the parent company is under investigation there might not be many more around.

So hopefully I'm back and running. My hardtail is dead in the water with a busted rear wheel and I stole the front disc off it for a buildup for a new kid bike. Which leads me to my latest obsession, possibly trying to convert it to singlespeed.
more on that later. I've been there before and it was fun, but I'm going to do it different this time if I do it.


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