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

  

INSTALLING "SS" COMPONENTS - WHEELS/CRANKS

One might think that installing a wheel set is the same, no matter what kind of set-up one is dealing with.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In the case of the multiple geared bicycle, such as the "Ten Speed", the chain is always under a certain spring loaded tension.  The chain tension is a result of the rear derailleur with its spring loaded cage assembly.

In a multi geared bicycle, the distance between the sprocket centers never changes, but the length of the chain required to go from sprocket to sprocket and around them does change every time a different gear is selected.  Let's say that the chain is set to the smaller ring on the crank, which in turn will drive the middle cog of the freewheel, the second from biggest cog and, of course, the biggest cog.  To achieve optimal chain length, one would actually need three chains but that would be impractical.  Instead, the derailleur's spring loaded cage accommodates the different chain length requirements, keeping the chain reasonable taught all the time.

However, when dealing with a single ring to single cog set-up, there is no need to accommodate different chain length requirements.  One length will do and the chain will never be installed under tension of any kind, hence no need for any kind of spring loading.  In fact, the "Single Speed" chain must always have a little slack in it when the bicycle is being ridden.  And this is very important.  Any built in tension will cause freewheel, hub and bottom bracket bearings to wear rapidly.  So too will soft alloy sprocket teeth see a short life if the drive chain is installed too tightly.  But do not despair, getting things just right is not a difficult or demanding task.

Let's start by installing the converted crank set.  This is a pretty straight forward task.  Start by ensuring the spindle taper is clean and dry.  Next, make sure that the taper cavity in the crank is also clean, free of burs and dry.  Slip the appropriate crank onto the spindle end and loosely thread on the nut or bolt that holds the crank in place.  Do not forget to install the flat washer first, if one is to be fitted.  The washer, or in many cases special nut, is there to spread fastener load and help prevent the soft aluminum alloy of the crank from being damaged.

With the crank in place, using an appropriate socket and torque wrench to secure each crank arm.  There are many different torque values for these old crank sets and most are addressed on the Park Tool website, an Internet resource which should prove to be immensely  useful to anyone wishing to learn how to maintain a bicycle.

Securing the tapered crank properly is one thing but you must double check your work in this area after the first ride and for a ride or two after that.  Tapered cranks can loosen off with initial use and it is a good idea to check to ensure that this does not happen to your assembly.  It is a simple matter to stop five minutes after your first ride begins to check the crank and everything else over.  Catch problems early and they become maintenance.  Catch them too late and the result is forced replacement.

With the crank installed, it is time to cut the drive chain to length.  I do this by mounting the rear wheel as far forward in the drops as I can.  The chain is then run around the ring and around the cog.  I do my best to pull the chain ends tight together and then guesstimate where the chain should be cut.  Make the cut, remove the rear wheel and join the chain together again, making sure that the newly assembled link is not left stiff.  You might have to work the reassembled link a wee bit to get it flexing properly again.

With the chain link assembled, install the rear wheel, ensuring that it is sitting square in the frame set.  This means ensure that the rim is centered between the chain stays.  The wheel should also be pulled as far back into the rear drops as the chain will allow.  This will likely leave a small bit of chain slack, but don't think that all is well just yet.

Most front crank and ring assemblies are not perfectly concentric.  In other words, as the cranks go round and round the ring will likely move in a small elliptical pattern.  This will allow the chain to become either tighter or looser, depending on the position of the crank  ring.  With this in mind, slowly rotate the crank and watch to see where the chain is its tightest.  If you feel even a wee bit of tension occur, loosen the chain of just a little bit.  Again, failure to address this situation will result in premature chain, bearing and sprocket wear.

At last the bicycle is starting to look like a bicycle.  But before being tempted to go a single step further, protect the top tube!  Wrap the front half of the top tube with a cushion pad of some kind.  Soft cloth, several layers thick, will do the job nicely.  I use an old piece of foam rubber to address the need.  And why bother doing this, you might ask?  Simple.  You will prevent the unwrapped handlebars from smacking into the top tube and possibly causing a dent in the thin tubing.  And you might as well install the padding right now because the steering stem and handlebars are next on the "To-Do" list.

NEXT - INSTALLING "SS" BARS AND SADDLE

 

 

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