zaterdag 17 november 2012

At the wheel

The past few weeks saw not only the first anniversary of my ownership of the beast (nearly 11,000 miles in the first year!), but also the first major bit of bike preparation for the coming summer: the dismantling of the front wheel! I thought it would be wise to start with this particular bit of maintenance already, since it will leave me plenty of time to dial out any unforeseen complications.

I took out the front wheel, and after some elbow grease I managed to free up the 13 year old stock brakediscs. As I removed them from the hub, I noticed that the sound of debris within the hub was not from the heads of broken spokes, but actually bits of dried up Scottish mud that had entered the wheel during the scuff in Cairngorms National Park. Also the brake calipers still had some Scottish soil lodged inside... now that was unexpected!

With the new Wave discs, the sides of the hub won't be covered anymore, leaving no more room for debris to be cluttering up the inside of the hub. I also changed out the speedo drive gear, since the past 60,000km the teeth from the drive ring had been carving out a groove in the nylon gear, rendering it useless and thus disabling the speedo. The speedo cable was OK upon inspection.

The wheel also had gotten a minor speedbump around 30mph (possibly also a late injury from Scotland), so to be thorough (especially with the big trip still coming up) I had it relaced, with stainless spokes.

This was how the wheel looked before, with some extra grimey spots on the rim to make the contrast of the following two pics even bigger:

And this is how it looked after treatment. New spokes, brake discs and speedo gear. Yumyumyum!

The wheel was relaced by Albert Rorije, who did a stellar job at getting the wheel back in prime condition. I've always really respected those who master an aspect of manual labour down to perfection, beit masonry, carpentry, blacksmithing or relacing a motorcycle wheel... and seeing what Albert could do just in his own backyard shed surely deserves alot of respect.

The only problem now is that I gotta get the rear wheel to look just as good... I think I'll need alot of elbow grease in the coming days, hahaha.

I also took the trouble of updating the Route page by the way, offering a detailed Google overview of both the roads down and back up. Everything is still tentative, but as far as destinations go it's alot more accurate. The supply of maps for the route is almost complete - only maps from Bosnia, Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia to go.

In any case, I'm just glad the beast is back in working order. I'm learning more about its inner workings with ever piece of prep that goes by, and there's something really satisfying in putting it all back together successfully. It felt as if I did something back for the beast, curing its infected ankle after it had taken me through Great Britain. I guess Jeremy Clarkson was right that, as strange as it may sound, you can really develop a bond with a machine...

For more pictures, check out the Facebook page, where I've dedicated an album especially to all the final preparations for Greece.