SRAM X0 Pivot Bolt Replacement (bent hanger nightmare.)

At Suntop 50 I came to the nice free mechanic 30 minutes before the race asking if he could take a look at my rear derailleur shifting. He checked it and the rear hanger is bent a bit. He tuned it as best he could, tried to straighten it but said it would need replacing. The last thing he did, and I remember this now, he took a T25 wrench to make sure the derailleur was tight. He tried to tighten the hanger and couldn’t make purchase on it… hmm. Isn’t that supposed to be an allen? He tried an allen and made a face like… yep its tight.

Rode race and rear derailleur shifting was the least of my problems. I’m thankful for his time.

I go online and order a new hanger from Yeti ($20 + $8.50 for slow shipping). Hanger eventually arrives, time on the weekend. I get a flashlight to check what kind of wrench I should use and… its all silver in there… really badly stripped. I try to get an allen to fit but it just rotates with a bit of resistance. I try pounding in a Torx 25 but no dice. A few times I get a good purchase but the bolt doesn’t want to come loose.

Ok… Hmm. At least the bike is rideable, can keep riding until I figure a solution. Obviously I’ll need a new pivot bolt though because the current one is toast and will be super toast when I’m done with this job. Order new bolt from Amazon of all places, $17 for the kit which includes the hanger stop, two different washers and the bolt itself.

Kit arrives and then a weekend with freetime. Need to be able to finish the job before I start, otherwise I have no bike to ride.

First idea is to use a “drillout kit”, I have one from stripping other bolts. Unfortunately I don’t have a 1/2″ drillout bit. The inner diameter of the pivot bolt is > 3/8″ on the outside of the frame, and quite small on the inside but… if I want to drillout from the inside I’ll need a normal direction drillout bit.

HEY! I know, I’ll make my own “normal drillout bit” and screw in a burly stainless #10 metal screw into the inner side of the pivot bolt, that lets me apply a bunch of torque to the bolt to unscrew it from the hanger. I gently clamp hanger into vice and slowly drive screw into inside of pivot bolt from the “inside”. Right hand torque from inside is left hand torque from outside so it should drive pivot free. Screw slowly threads in, then torque increases. I gently ramp up torque on my corded half-inch drill and… the head twists off the screw. Serious torque and the pivot bolt doesn’t come loose!

I use channel lock pliers to twist screw end out, try again and same thing happens. The pivot bolt is really bonded to the hanger! No wonder the bolt was stripped inside, this bolt wasn’t coming loose!

Screw head twisted off rather than unscrew the sram x0 derailleur hanger bolt.

Screw head twisted off rather than unscrew the sram x0 derailleur hanger bolt.

Checking how pivot bolt attaches to hanger it looks like there is room for an angle grinder,

Hey, I know. How about the angle grinder!?

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I can cut most of the hanger away from the pivot, eventually I’ll be able to pry the pivot free?

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Hanger again lightly clamped in vice. Glass of water handy so derailleur doesn’t get too hot. Start at 1000rpm with universal grinding disc.

Things to notice:

  • Both the yeti hanger and the sram bolt are made from REALLY nice aluminum. Grinding disc takes its time with this stuff.
  • Only grind for 4-5 seconds at a time. Make sure the water never boils. Wait for it to cool before grinding more. Angle grinder can generate serious heat, usually the disc is red or orange when grinding steel. Would cook the poor derailleur and maybe anneal it?
  • Angle grinder has great control, no problem avoiding the parts I’ll be keeping.

Eventually I’ve ground through enough of the hanger that I can pull one side free. Put big allen inside pivot and pull, there is a CREAK and the pivot bolt threads detach from the hanger and I can see the pivot threads. Those suckers were really stuck together.

Pried the hanger free from bolt.

Pried the hanger free from bolt.

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Now to remove the pivot bolt. Pivot bolt is attached with the following features:

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Pivot bolt has threads at the end to go into hanger.

After threads is a shallow groove. This groove holds a “spring clip”, its a coil of flat wire that looks like a washer.

Under the spring clip is the hanger-stop ring

Under hanger-stop ring is a wave-spring washer.

Under wave spring washer is the derailleur.

Pivot bolt goes through derailleur and has a head on the other side.

Wave-spring exerts pressure to keep hanger stop ring and derailleur apart, basically it keeps the pivot head tight to the derailleur.

I fiddle with pivot bolt for 10 minutes or so. Can’t figure out how to remove the bolt. Read on interest it suggests using a small screwdriver.

I catch the ring with the tip of a razor, it lifts out and expands to show its a spring clip. And once it’s out the pivot bolt is free.

Hook spring clip with razor

Hook spring clip with razor

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Clean everything, then reassemble.

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I had a devil of a time getting the new spring clip into place. The trick turns out to be:

  • Place allen tool into pivot bolt, this is your derailleur stand
  • Realize the spring clip is a coil
  • Split the coil so you have an end in your needlenose.
  • Press pivot bolt into derailleur so groove is visible (need good light to see this!)
  • thread end of spring clip into groove, then use small screwdriver to press from end of clip around until entire clip has been threaded into groove.

Now secret trick: apply a single wrap of plumbers tape to pivot bolt. The problem is that the derailleur hanger is seriously exposed and grease washes away (I hope it was greased!) Plumbers tape will keep metals from welding themselves together.

Secret is to use a single wrap of Teflon pumbing tape. This prevents the metals from touching and welding themselves together.

Secret is to use a single wrap of Teflon pumbing tape. This prevents the metals from touching and welding themselves together.

Finally… was it worth it? Was hanger bent? Looks like it actually was!

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A few shots of installation onto frame.

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Good news is that bike shifts really well now. No issues. Glad I did it but cost 5 hours of research and labor + $45 in parts. Would have been much more if I’d left it at a bike shop. A shop mechanic suggested I just get a new derailleur (at $250!).

Hindsite… I know how to do it now. Probably could do it again in 2 hours. Depends what your time is worth I guess.

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Yakima Swing Daddy on 2012 Prius V (Yes, on a 2″ receiver)

Wife drives a 2012 Toyota Prius V. Its pretty dang difficult to transport one bike in the back, let alone a family’s worth. All along we figured we’d just find a 2″ receiver hitch and use our existing Yakima SwingDaddy rack.

Well, the time came where we needed a solution and it took quite a bit of research to find one.

First the car doesn’t really have a provision for a roof rack. The car has no rain gutters and the only way to attach a “significant” rack to the roof is with screws. She wanted a roof rack in order to use our pair of roof boxes. Oh well.

Second idea was to find a hitch. Problem is that the Prius isn’t really made to tow anything so the only hitch you can find are the toy “Class 1” hitches. Class one has a tow limit of 2000lbs, meaning the hitch can’t hold more than that when pulling (the prius has no tow rating so can’t even tow that.) But we don’t care we aren’t towing. The more important measurement is the “Tongue weight” meaning how much weight can be supported by the hitch. Class 1 limit is only 200lbs. That seems like a lot but remember the bike racks stick out from the hitch and the leverage magnifies the effective weight. A Class 1 hitch is limited because they are only made to accept a 1 1/4″ receiver meaning the square thing you put the rack into has a width and height of 1 1/4″. Consider it is a tube, and a tube’s strength grows very quickly with diameter, that 1 1/4″ will be very susceptible to bending. That’s why racks that hold 4 bikes are only built to fit 2″ receivers (well, that and class 1 racks aren’t strong enough to hold 4 bikes + rack.)

There are a couple of bad solutions. First you can buy an adapter that fits into a 1 1/4″ receiver and has itself a 2″ receiver on the other end. This is bad because the adapter moves the receiver out so increases the leverage on the tongue. Second bad solution is to have the old receiver cut off, a 2″ receiver installed on the hitch. That is bad because… the hitch itself was only designed to support a 200 lbs tongue weight so it can bend, or worse it can tear itself free of the car!

I then came across a place in nearby Kent Washington called “Torklift.” They build a Class 2 rack for the Prius V and they claim a max tongue weight of 350lbs when installed on a prius v AND they offer it with a 2″ receiver (permitted by class 2 spec.) I still can’t tow with it but can at least use a heftier rack on the car. The secret to their increased tongue weight is that they attach the rack at two additional places. The first normal attachment is under the tow rings that are under the back of the car. The second attachment spot is through the steel bumper beams. By spreading the weight they can create an actual class 2 hitch that can safely support a 4 bike rack.

Called Torklift and ordered. Hitch was available to pickup the next day. Hitch is beautiful in person, hard powdercoat and much nicer than I expected. The included hardware is quite good and complete. My wife and I installed the hitch when we got home, took about 45 minutes. Takes a variety of tools including a 19mm socket, two 17mm sockets (one deep), and various small wrenches. No need to lift the car but do get a good light. We applied blue locktite to all the threads, also carefully torqued to spec. Best part is that there was no cutting or modification to the car.

Sorry no pics of the hitch…

2012 Prius V with Yakima SwingDaddy

2012 Prius V with Yakima SwingDaddy

Prius V with 4 bike rack.

Prius V with 4 bike rack.

No regrets it appears to be a terrific solution for us.

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Destroyed Rotor

About half way through the Capitol Forest 50 I heard a clunk from my front brake and it started shrieking and not working without a lot of force. At next aid station (15 miles and a big descent later) a mechanic checked it out and declared “one pad has no brake surface left and the steel underneath has destroyed the rotor.” I just rode the rest of the event with crappy front brake.

Sure enough that’s what had happened. Looks like one of the pads detached so I was braking with the steel. Sure enough the rotor was gauged.

Hmm, online, that’s $25 for new pads, $40 for a new rotor. 😦

Looking online this was at some point common, lots of folks reporting the problem of a pad detaching. I called shimano in case this could be considered a warranty issue since I’d bought the pads only 2-3 months ago. Operator said to send it in and they’d see. I mailed it in and two weeks later I had brand new replaced parts!

Sweet! Thanks Shimano!

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Dropper Post

Thinking and talking after the crash in February, I think I was hoisted over the bars by the seatpost. All the cool kids have been recommending dropper posts since forever. I researched and decided on the Specialized command post since it is mechanical and has proven very reliable and is rebuildable.

Looked for a while on pinkbike before finding a barely used one for cheap.

First the weights, the command post is 482g without cables vs 252g for the lovely Thomson elite:

Thomson Elite 252 grams.

Thomson Elite 252 grams.

Specialized Command Post, 125mm drop, 482 grams without cables.

Specialized Command Post, 125mm drop, 482 grams without cables. Total weight is 520 g, so this feature added almost 1/2 pound.

Nice adjustment built into cable.

Nice adjustment built into cable.

Specialized Command Post trigger

Specialized Command Post trigger

Specialized Command Post Actuator installed on bars.

Specialized Command Post Actuator installed on bars.

Post was pretty easy to install but I was very close to having a huge problem.

The post has 3 set positions. Top means full extension. Middle is about 1.5″ down, and low is 125mm down from top. You normally ride in full extension, then adjust the seat height down based on conditions.

Because the post is a 125mm dropper meaning you need 140mm or so between the top of your seat tube and the seat. Turns out the post is in the perfect location for me when it is set slammed at its lowest height. Even changing to low profile pedals means the post is too high for my feet to reach.

Note to world, when buying a dropper post make sure that its min full extension height is less than your desired riding height.

Specialized Command Post at Min Height (Yes I've since routed the cable under the shock)

Specialized Command Post at Min Height (Yes I’ve since routed the cable under the shock)

Specialized Command Post Max Height (Yes I've since routed the cable under the shock.)

Specialized Command Post Max Height (Yes I’ve since routed the cable under the shock.)

Last note, my bike doesn’t have fittings or routing for an internal dropper post. Internal routing posts have no external cable near the seatpost. Much nicer looking, doesn’t get dirty, etc. Anyway in the picture above I was playing with the post. After I was conviced it worked I stuck the cable behind the shock mount in the top tube. Doesn’t get in the way at all.

Five month update: Rode the dropper all spring and summer and kept it on for all the races. Really helps to have that seat out of the way when descending. Strongly recommend its worth the weight cost (at least for a fat old guy like me.)

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Crash and New Helmet: Poc Trabec Race

Had a crash in early February. Riding Grand Ridge, slightly rainy, getting dark but having a nice day. There’s this log across the trail that I always ride over. I guess I wasn’t paying attention but somehow I went over my handlebars and smacked the side of my head on the log. Broke my helmet, a high riding Giro, but really the helmet was too high on my head to protect against a side impact.

Hit right over my temple and had a bit of a concussion. Two days off work and feeling woozey and dim for a few weeks after.

First it was a terrific excuse to get a new helmet. I have a huge noggin so my choice is limited. The Poc Trabec Race fit best so its what I got. Why didn’t I get the MIPS edition? Well, there was a Poc Trabec Race on pinkbike for $100 vs $250 for the Race MIPS. I admit I made the choice based on saving $150. Stupid I know.

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Three mph over the bars into log did this. What happens if you go into a tree at full speed?

Comparing Poc Trabec Race against Giro

Comparing Poc Trabec Race against Giro

helmetside

Comparing Poc Trabec Race against my old broken Giro.

I was surprised when I saw the pictures. The Poc feels so much more secure because it fits my skull, it won’t move when pushed. The giro feels like its resting on the top of my head so lots of mobility.

In the photo the Giro is a little higher on the head, the Poc feels like it comes much lower than it actually does.

From the pics the Poc clearly has a lot more volume, hopefully that’s used to decelerate my head more slowly.

The good news is that the Poc is a very cool riding helmet for me, feels at least as good as the Giro and the visor is excellent.

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Suspension Maintainance Woes

Forever and ever I’ve been skeptical of all the complexity that suspension entails. <whine> What happens when it gets dirty and wears out? Won’t that be expensive? Won’t it be a total bitch?

Well I had good luck with that first used Yeti ASR-SL, the fork lasted a year of riding and a year of low usage from my son. Still seemed ok.

Then got that fancy new(er) Yeti ASR5C with its “2011 float 32 140mm fit rlc” and the fork worked great for a year and roughly 80 hours of mostly dry riding.

Last ride though… kept hearing a funny sound. Like a beeping? Was sort of annoying, first thought it was a bird, or an electronic toy? Finally got home and when taking bike off the car I noticed these big black smudges down the stanchions. What the heck? The stuff is really on there, takes a fingernail to scrape it off. After removing it I press down on the fork and hear a big squeak and theres another big rubber scar. Oh shit!

I look up my fork online and see that rough retail is $800+? Jeese!

See that fox offers a fork service for $175. Uh…

More reading on internets it turns out I was supposed to be caring for the seals and lube every 15 hours of riding. Reading more and the maintenance isn’t so bad for the fork lowers.

Reading a bit about oil there’s suggestions to use Mobile 1 atf, or motor oil, or, or, or, but seems like knowledgable opinion is that fox fork oil is specially made for them to have increased tackiness, etc. Makes sense since this application is not the same as high temp use in engine or transmission. So I decide to just get the 10wt green fork oil as recommended by fox, should be $12/liter.

Stop at local bike shop to purchase the 10wt fox green fork oil and a seal kit for my fork. The guy brings the seal kit, but the oil he brings is 20wt. Huh? I need 10wt I say. Ok, he brings a bottle of red. Uh… no… I need the 10wt green?

Guys in the shop are like: no… fox replaced that with this stuff, 20wt “gold”. New seals are required to be “gold compatible.” Huh? Possible that this shop actually knows what they’re doing? I suppose I can look it up when I get home so get what they offer. Seal kit is $25 and oil is $12. Nicely also throws in a little baggy of Fork Butter. Nice of him as a small 2oz tube is $17!

Home and research, sure enough this is a new recommended compound.

The steps are well documented by fox on the internet. Special tool to press in the seals isn’t really needed, they go straight in.

Gotta say though, that 20wt “fork oil” is some crazy stuff. I’ve never seen such tacky oil, its like pancake syrup. Very very sticky yet flows well. It certainly feels like an improvement.

Pump up shock and am really impressed by the lack of stiction. I didn’t notice much degradation in my forks performance over the past year but could be I don’t pay attention. I strongly suspect its never felt this good, is incredibly plush.

After completing the work I check my old ASR-SL: holy moly those seals are dry as a bone. No doubt it needs the exact same treatment! Ok, another $25 seal kit…

Now understand the work isn’t really done. There’s a damper that will need rebuilding someday. The bushings look like a lot of work… There is a notch in the stanchion… 😦 The rear shock needs love too? The rear shock bushings? The frame bushings?

Starting to feel overwhelmed.

Posted in ASR5C, fork seal replacement, fox 20wt gold fork oil, fox fork | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Yeti ASR5C – my freakin’ hero

Rode capitol forest 50 this weekend. First time on the new bike. Survey says: Holy Moly that sucker can scoot!

For the race I was set up to use a nobby nic on the front, maxxis aspen on the back but got to thinking about how fragile the nobby nic is. I looked at it carefully, its also pretty well worn on the sides. I chicken out and put an aspen on the front as well.

Turns out that was a good move, the aspen was the perfect tire for the dry conditions. Super confidence and grip on the hard packed dust.

My hero. This bike rocks for the Capitol Forest 50.

My hero. This bike rocks for the Capitol Forest 50.

While I’m still slow on the climbs and flats I was passing people left and right on the descents. Unbelievable to me how I’d just keep my eyes up and fly down the hills. Roots, rocks, 2-3 foot steps… I’d just ignore and go flying down. People that had passed me on the climbs went flying by, I’d see them 15-20 minutes later on the next long climb. Man, fast descending can make up serious time! Think of the energy it takes to get a minute ahead of someone on a long hill, and then lose it all as the dude goes flying by on the descent! So cool.

I did get utterly humiliated on a descent though by the 100 mile leader on his carbon hard tail. OMG those guys have bike handling skills. Awesome to watch.

The suspension was terrific. I would usually switch to open shock to descend, it was a big help for rear wheel grip, I’d sometimes forget to close it when climbing. Open shock offers more grip there too though slightly less efficient. My rebound was set a little lot so I’d get kicked on some bumps but otherwise perfect and plush.

Sort of feels like I could use a handlebar control to switch the shock setting? Sometimes its hard to figure out which way is up at the top of a climb.

Best thing of all was the bikes comfort. No hand or ass pain. Bike was quiet and smooth. Climbs so well! So light when pushing over the few loose rough climbs that I chose to run up instead of riding.

Worst thing: the bottom bracket is pretty low. A few times I hit my foot on stuff while descending, sometimes my left toe would really hurt when I kicked a rock or root. Lots of the single track was deeply eroded so not much pedal clearance. 10+ times I consciously ratcheted the crank to avoid a downstroke into a root or rock.

No regrets, awesome bike! Much much more fun than last year!

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