So I’ve been riding the bike for a little over 2 weeks now. From the moment I got on it I knew it was gonna be a great ride but unfortunately there were all sorts of tweaks needed. I’ll go through a bunch of them in no particular order.
This was the most scary one. Straight away the pedals felt wrong, with a skewed feeling on circulation and occasionally a clicking sound (yikes!). Initially I assumed either pedals or crankshaft. Several times I took the cranks off and refitted. I read up on the merits of using grease or not on tapered edges, under-tightening, over-tightening, pedal cracks. It was none of these. In the end I gave in and with tail between my legs went into the local bike shop and asked what was wrong. On inspection it turns out the bottom bracket hadn’t been fitted correctly - or not incorrectly, but there was too much ‘grime’ in there. So Mario’s brother hadn’t cleaned and primed properly before fitting it. Still, I was pretty chuffed that a) I hadn’t broken anything and b) I hadn’t personally got anything wrong. Bottom bracket fitted cleanly, cranks glide lovely. Lesson there I suppose is make sure someone does the bottom bracket who really knows what they’re doing. That’ll be the local bike shop.
This one has only just settled down. I could feel a slight give in the front wheel. I’d fitted Pinhead skewers for security and immediately assumed they were coming loose. But that wasn’t it, the headset wasn’t fitted tight enough. I went over the parts and it was a micro thin washer type thing that sits over the top bearings. Then I noticed I had another two in the headset box unused. I added one then re-secured the headset. Much better but not quite. Added the third and bang, all tight and snug without crushing the bearings. It was good in a way, I was forced to study the headset mechanism in relation to the frame and get it just so. It came slightly loose the other day but I think that’s it now and is merely the usual 2-3 week settling down period for a new build.
It wasn’t until the bracket and crank had been fixed that I heard this. A creaking noise, very slight, but annoying all the same after all the way I’ve come on this project. I wanted that baby silent. This turned out simple, the brooks seat wasn’t quite secured enough, a few turns with the Allen key and we were sorted. There’s still a slight creak but this is within the leather, I’ve got tub of leather wax that came with the seat I’m going to apply this weekend, apparently that preserves the leather and prevents this creaking, which tends to happen once the leather has been in the rain a bit.
Probably goes without saying that these needed a few tweaks. I always find gears such a black art. You can get them 95% of the way tuned quite quickly, but to get them bang on I just can’t quite seem to do. I can see me forever doing this to be honest.
Last but not least. The chain seemed fine but on the occasional ride it would come off. Confused I thought this was the gearing but it turns out this is how tight the chain is. While testing the gears you see the chain flying round, everything doing what it should and think all is well. Then it comes off. Asking around it turns out there’s a thing called ‘chain bounce’. You go over a pothole or speed bump and you bounce the wheels, this sends an upward ripple through the chain, and if you’re on a certain gear where its loose enough, your chain comes straight off the crank. This I haven’t fully solved yet, but know how to at least. I need to take a link out of the chain to just tighten that up slightly, then the bounce won’t matter as its got nowhere to go. I’ll be doing that this weekend.
So that’s it. I’m on the cusp of signing this project off now. But those things above have taken nearly 3 weeks to work through - a mix of some of the factors combining to make you think its something else causing the issue but mostly my basic lack of bicycle knowledge. In reality I learnt just as much the last two weeks about cycling as I did when reading up on the parts and what I’d need to build one in the first place.
All good really.