MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

"SS" BICYCLE BUILD - INTRO

"SS" COMPONENT - CHOICES

CONVERT A "SS" WHEEL

POSITIONING "SS" HUBS

"SS" CRANK/RING SET

ASSEMBLING "SS" FRAME

INSTALL - CHOICES

INSTALL - WHEELS/CRANK

INSTALL - BAR & SADDLE

INSTALL - BRAKE CALLIPERS

INSTALL - ADJUST BRAKES

RIDING THE "SINGLE SPEED"

 

CUSTOMIZED BICYCLES

BICYCLES OF CANADA

  

ASSEMBLING THE "SINGLE SPEED" FRAME SET

If you are anything like me, you will have already assembled your "Single Speed" a few times just to improve your feel for what the bicycle will look like when it is completed.  However, now is the time to actually build the bike up in preparation for that first great ride.

Clamp the bare frame set into a work stand or what ever you have to hold the bicycle steady, as you build it up.  A works stand could be a store bought unit or a quickly fabricated home made unit consisting of a couple of ropes hung from the ceiling.  The stand might even be a combination of store bought and homemade, as is the case with the one that I use.  The point is, you almost must have some means of supporting the bicycle while you build and/or maintain it, once built.

Begin by loosely installing the bottom bracket drive side cup.  There is no need to attempt to tighten up the drive side just yet.  Final tightening and adjustment will take place once the wheels have been installed onto the bicycle.  With the drive side cup snugly in place and bearings fit, slip the spindle into the assemble.  Make sure that the spindle is facing in the correct direction.

Spindles can be shorter on one end than the other.  Generally, the longer end will be situated on the drive side of the bicycle, the extra length positioned so as to accommodate the extra width of the ring mounted drive side sprocket.  When installing the spindle, look for any documentation on the part.  Looking from the rear of the bicycle, this writing should be right side up and read from left to right.  With the spindle in place, install the non-drive side bearings and then thread the adjustable bearing cup into place.  Once again, save final adjustment and tightening until the wheels are installed.

Next, install the forks.  This will require that you first install the headset which is a pretty simple task.  With the headset in place, slip the forks onto the bicycle.  Snug the headset up and leave it alone until the wheels have been installed.

Install both front and back wheels, ensuring that they are tire clad.  Place the bicycle on the ground and tighten up the drive side bottom bracket cup as much as you possible can.  Next, adjust the drive side bottom bracket bearing cup until there is no play or preload.  Play can be felt easily enough just by trying to wiggle the cranks from side to side.  Preload is a bit more difficult to identify.

With the adjustable cup not quite snug, the spindle will rotate very smoothly.  The spindle will continue to turn smoothly even with zero play and zero preload.  But the minute preload occurs, the spindle will begin to feel rough as it is slowly rotated.  This roughness means that the adjustable cup is too tight.  And too tight means that the bearing will not be able to roll properly.  The will actually drag in the bearing cavity instead of roll as they are supposed to.  This is called preload and must be avoided.  Bearing preload will cause very rapid bearing and bearing race wear!  To much preload and your bottom bracket will fail in fairly short order.

Getting a bottom bracket adjusted just right is a trial and error process.  Sometimes I can get it prefect with the first attempt.  Other times, I will fuss for several minutes trying to find the sweet spot.  But I know how important it is to find that spot.  Once again, paying attention to each little detail will lead to have a bicycle that performs well, is easier to ride and last longed when component wear becomes the issue.

For the time being, the headset will not be final adjusted.  It is best to final adjust the headset after the front brake is installed.  At that time, set the bicycle on its wheels and hold the front brake lever firmly, ensuring that the front wheel cannot turn for this test and subsequent assemble.  Hold a finger near the joint between the top of the headset and the top bearing cup.  Now, still clamping the front brake, rock the bicycle gently back and forth.  Try to feel what is happening at the headset to top bearing cup joint.  If you can feel movement, tighten the head set up a wee bit until no movement can be felt when rocking the bike.  Secure the headset.  Now...

Place the bike back into the work stand and remove the front wheel.  Slowly rotate the forks in as full an arc as possible.  Do the forks rotate smoothly or do they tend to move in little increments or inaudible clicks?  If so, the headset is too tight and needs to be loosened to the point where the clicks, commonly called indexing, stops.  With the headset secured in this position, install the front wheel and go through the rocking back and forth task to ensure that the set is not too loose.

It takes time and patience to properly adjust the headset bearing clearance but take the time to get it just right.  A headset that is too loose will be immediately felt in your very first ride.  The bike will feel unstable or twitchy.  At high speed, things will get really dangerous if the headset is loose.  On, the other hand, if the headset is too tight, the bearings will wear out quickly even though the steering will feel OK at first.

That just about concludes the building of the "Single Speed" frame and fork set.  Now the fun and apparent progress really begins.  Installing the bicycle's components goes quickly as the bicycle takes shape right before your eyes.

NEXT - INSTALLING "SS" COMPONENT - CHOICES

 

 

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