Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday Thoughts

Knocking firmly on my reconstituted wood-product work surface, I declare that I feel surprisingly good. It could be that it is sunny outside and we are facing the potential for the temperature to reach mid 50’s to maybe even 60!

I have been riding rather aggressively all week. Pushing the pace, attacking hills, riding to the point where I feel like my legs want to give in. With a long ride of 120+ under my belt from last Saturday, a snow ride home through the sloppy mess on Monday, a Tuesday morning snow ride, and Thursday’s mega-commute… I would think I might be exhausted. I feel great though.

Decided that it is not a Ferrari Friday and rode the workhorse to work. Hoping Jim is going to get my much-needed replacement rim (Velocity Dyad) in today and I can pick it up on my way home. Not exactly sure how I will strap it on my bike, but I will figure it out.

Scott left a comment yesterday about his thoughts on dynamo hubs: “Schmidt” I couldn’t agree more. Pony up the dollars and get the best, forget the rest. (I'd recommend Hiawatha Cyclery to pick one up.) My second Shimano is in the process of self-destructing. It pops and pings and grinds intermittently while riding. Having taken my first one apart, I know it is the sound of the magnets contacting one-another. Small parts break off. Since they are magnets, these small parts will occasionally stick in an out-of-the-way place and the hub will be silent…. Until it is not.

I will ride it until the point (like my last one) where the wheel will barely rotate. On my last one’s final ride, the rough rotation was causing the fork to visibly shudder. If I lifted the wheel off the ground and tried to turn the wheel by hand, it would not complete a whole rotation, no matter how hard I tried to spin it!

Once the current hub reaches this point, I will then disassemble the wheel to remove the hub and send it back to Shimano and ask for a replacement AGAIN. I do this because I get a sick satisfaction out of wearing the shit out of bike parts. I do this because I know how to build wheels and actually really enjoy the process. I do this because I have spare wheels, parts, and whole bikes that I can use while something is being repaired.

As I continue to rack up the miles, I wonder about the non-bicycle mechanic who might decide to use a bicycle for everyday transportation. Sadly I don’t see it happening for a long time. Among many other reasons, there is currently no support for this type of person in the event of a mechanical problem.

Towing: forget about it.
Service Loaner bike: forget about it
Rapid turn-around of a repair: maybe
Repair while you wait: not likely
Catch a ride with someone else while your bike is in the shop: forget it.

Today’s dream product request from the genius crew at Shimano as an Alfine version of their dynamo hub: Disk brake compatible. Serviceable cup and cone bearing on BOTH sides. I do realize that in order to do that, the actual dynamo portion of the hub would require some type of torque-arm to keep the armature of the generator from turning. If doing so, make that a mechanical clutch mechanism like a freehub body that could be mechanically disengaged for the times when no generator function is required. This would “eliminate” any arguments about increased drag while not in use. You are welcome Shimano, feel free to send the royalty check in the mail.


Anonymous said...

Hey hoss:

There is a little support out there for the non mechanical bike commuter:

I give you, the guaranteed ride home.

Not perfect, but at least you get reimbursed eventually! And no, I never used, it.

rigtenzin said...

Those are good ideas for the generator hub. I'm sold on the idea of a generator hub and will buy a Schmidt next time I need one. With the decline of the dollar, it would be better to buy sooner rather than later.

Steve Fuller said...

This has some merit as well

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