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Created on Friday, 30 May 2014 18:04
Here's another little tale from the workshop, which will hopefully get you thinking seriously about a proper, regular servicing routine. It will potentially have you considering how you clean your bike, too.
We have all sorts come through the door at XbikeX. And I'm not talking people, I'm talking bikes.
Sadly, I'm pretty useless at remembering the names and faces of customers, but I can tell you everything about their bikes, long after they've left.
I particularly remember the neglected examples, especially the higher-end bikes that have been 'let go'. The subject of this story didn't fall into that category at all. At least not on the outside.
It was a 2013 Specialized Allez, and it looked immaculate. It's a real pleasure to work on customer's bikes that I don't have to clean first, and you could have eaten your dinner off this one.
It was in for a full service, and although it had apparently been well looked after, it had clearly covered a few miles. The wheels had recently been upgraded as they were basically worn out, and the bottom bracket was shot to bits. The headset bearings felt rough too, so it was time for a bit of serious TLC.
Now, bearings wear out. They wear out a lot quicker if they're exposed to wet weather and 'road grot' on a regular basis, or if the bike has been hosed down too vigorously, or worse still, pressure washed. If you are pressure-washing your bike - please don't. High pressure water - even that straight from the tap - can cause major damage to a bike if mis-directed. 'Sealed bearings' are not actually sealed from that kind of attack, and once water gets in, it can stay there. In fact, it can have a bit of a party alone there in the dark - in a place to which you are simply not privy.
One wrong squirt, and you could see this kind of horror story in the headset of your year-old pride & joy.
Yep. It's not just older bikes that get to be this rusty. And it's not just over-enthusiasm with the post-ride wash programme that can cause this. Water ingress can happen during just one long, wet ride. The Specialized's are a good example of bikes prone to this. Generally, they're good value mid-range bikes. Bikes which can be bought for less than a grand, yet look a million dollars. This is what sells them, and with the rest of the money going on the bits that make the brochure headlines - groupset specs in particular, there isn't much left in the kitty for the greasy bits. The manufacturers might chuck in a few proprietary techno-words for this season's models alongside the fresh new liveries, but where they certainly don't spend any money, is on the bits you can't see.
Cheap square-taper bottom brackets and throwaway headset bearings on the base/mid-models definitely fall into this category. Even the higher models in the range don't tend to be blessed with the best kit on the market, and even if they were, you still need to have them looked at on a regular basis.
You kind of expect cheap bikes to suffer from penny-pinching in the less glamorous areas, and truly high-end bikes will no doubt be as well specified here as everywhere else. But it's particularly in this mid-range, £500 - £1500 bracket, where you can be fooled by the high-end looks and the low-end reality. The simple answer to this, is regular servicing.
If you want to stay safe, enjoy your next ride without the niggling mechanical gremlins, and actually save money in the long run, have your bike serviced regularly. With periodic cleaning and re-greasing, bearings could last ten times longer than an overlooked service item such as this rather sad-looking headset. No self-respecting bike mechanic will perform or recommend unnecessary service procedures or part replacements, so you shouldn't concern yourself over that. A good mechanic will save you money and more importantly, keep you safe.
And here endeth the lesson. Let these images make you think twice about skipping that next minor service.
Last Updated on Saturday, 31 May 2014 11:18
Created on Monday, 26 May 2014 11:58
What? You haven't sorted your bike for this years event yet? Best you get a move-on!
The 22nd Burgess Hill Bike ride is nearly upon us - SUNDAY 8th JUNE.
Organised by Burgess Hill District Lions Club and Burgess Hill and District Rotary Club, the proceeds this year will primarily be donated to the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance as well as other local charities.
10, 20 or 40 mile routes through the countryside around Burgess Hill will be laid out, starting and finishing at Oakmeeds Community College.
South Downs Nurseries is providing a welcome stop on all routes, Wickwoods Country Club will have a water stop for 20 milers and 40 milers can take a break at the Half Moon, Plumpton.
See you there!
Last Updated on Sunday, 08 June 2014 23:53
Created on Sunday, 23 February 2014 18:06
Our intrepid event reporter pitched up at the start of the SRS-Events Winter Cyclosportive event from/to Burgess Hill this morning, to witness the (actually pretty impressive) turnout for this pre-Easter warm-up ride.
By 8:15am, the Cyprus Road car park was filling up quickly, and whilst it was difficult to estimate the entry, it could easily have been over 100. We'll have a better idea when the results are posted online of course.
There were some decent bikes lining up for the start, but nothing too special. I guess most people are still on their winter hacks with cheap wheelsets, especially given the appalling pothole situation we're having to suffer at the moment. To be honest, it didn't look like anybody had even bothered waving a damp sponge at any of them prior to turning up either - tut-tut!
It was a grey morning, with light drizzle on-and-off, but it was relatively mild for mid-February. It would have been nice to have had the weather of the previous day, but safe to say that it could have been an awful lot worse.
Riders were given a sensible talking-to before being dispatched in groups of around a dozen from outside Cyprus Hall. Groups obviously set off in clumps of riding buddies, and overall there was a good mix of men and women, both young and old(ish!)
There were a fair number of riders tackling the course in ones and twos, but there were also a handful of fairly large knots forming up before too long, once out on the open road.
Three course lengths were laid out, with all riders being sent first South and then West out of Burgess Hill to Hassocks, Albourne and beyond, with the extra mileage added in varying loops onto this common start/finish section to give the three distances. These ranged from 49 - 75 miles, and were designed to give the riders an invigorating ride without testing those thigh muscles too hard on any of the numerous notorious local ascents.
All the essential preparation work had been done by the organisers in terms of mapping, with detailed directions for the non gadget-enabled riders plus downloadable GPS route maps for the techheads. I have to say that the physical on-route signage was also very good, with large clearly visible yellow cards to keep everybody off the M25 and out of the sea.
I did manage to catch up with some of the riders out on the course - as they came into Hassocks - and snapped a few more images against the stunning backdrop of the South Downs National Park, right around the time when the sun put in a feeble but cheering appearance.
There were up to four feed/drink stations (all with toilet facilities) depending on which of the routes riders were tackling, and all the other support services you might expect on such an event were all professionally laid on - mechanical support for the bikes, and even sports massages for the pilots!
All in all it looked like the competitors were enjoying blowing some of the cobwebs out of their cycling tights (ah, I'm already regretting typing that...) and we look forward to the Spring event, when there will be a huge field of more than 500 riders.
All our photos of the day will be made available free for personal and cycling-community use (but with commercial rights reserved) on Flickr - a link to which will be posted as soon as they're uploaded.
Update: There were actually 152 riders total! Results for the three classes can be found at SPORTident.
Photostream available now on Flickr - Burgess Hill Winter Cyclosportive 2014
Last Updated on Monday, 24 February 2014 23:50
Created on Thursday, 06 February 2014 23:52
SRS Events are running the Burgess Hill Winter Classic Cyclosportive on the 23rd February 2014.
Burgess Hill town centre will host the start and finish, and three excellent routes are available. They are the CLASSIC - 75 miles (120 km), the CHALLENGE - 61 miles (98 km) and the TOUR at 49 miles (78 km).
XbikeX will be there to report from the start/finish and from out on the course, hopefully capturing a few worthwhile photos.
If you haven't already, get your entries in ASAP. This should be an excellent warm-up event for later in the spring, should we ever get one.
For more details, routes and entry information, check out their web page below:
Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014 00:35
Created on Sunday, 11 August 2013 13:33
The fifth running of the Brighton Big Dog at Stanmer Park in Brighton yesterday (Saturday 10th August) was a real credit to the organisers, and was also blessed by the Sun gods, which all helped to make it an event to remember.
A challenging course of around 8 miles in length, which included a fantastic mix of climbs & descents, fast wide-open motorways & nasty, twisty bar-clipping singletrack kept everybody on their toes.
The Big Dog is becoming a premier event in the mountain-biking calendar, and has its own unique feel and culture already. It's pretty laid-back, with the emphasis on fun and camaraderie, but don't think for one minute that the riders turn up wanting to come second!
The resident XbikeX photographer (err, that's me then) was dispatched to capture the essence of the day, and that has resulted in nearly 700 photos, which are currently being uploaded to Flikr for your amusement and delectation. Some of them are even quite passable as photographs!
Please feel free to download and keep them for your own personal use (not commercial, please) as a memento of the day ==> Brighton Big Dog Photos 2013
Last Updated on Sunday, 23 February 2014 22:20