Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh arse!!

There are always times of frustration in the progress of any project, today the P3 project encountered another one. The bosses arrived in the post and I went outside to fit them in a spare 5 minutes at lunchtime. They looked a perfect match, the thread an exact match for the screw in mount housing on the forks. The the first grrr moment. In order to screw them in I was going to need a 9mm spanner - I had 7,8......10, 11?!!! What the? Where? Resigned to not finding the missing spanner I walked up the road to the local hardware store and bought a cheap replacement.

Almost, all in and the bosses are getting tight. Wondering how much further I slide the XT brake arms on to the bosses, only....they won't reach. Not they won't reach because I need to screw the boss in further. They won't reach even when screwed in flush. Arse!!!

I unscrew one, extra time wasted, and extract one of the brake arms from the old bike out of the shed. This slides on perfectly. I go and check the XT arm again, no dice. There is a ridge on the boss which allows you to tighten the boss in the mount. It is also where part of the brake arm locks in, it is too bid for the XT arm, but not for el cheapo fitting. I'm left with a quandry, do I fit el cheapo and look for an alternative? Do I file off the excess? Perhaps a little chat with the suppliers and a chance of an exchange? First though, I need to get the other boss off the forks, and its stuck! The cheap 9mm spanner is bending under the force. I give up and get on with living the rest of my life. I can have a real crack at it some other day.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Homeward bound

Today I started on the home straight. A bit more internet searching and I found the brake boss parts I needed, or so I hoped. The sales team at UKBikestore were really helpful in sorting out if the bosses would fit and in no time at all the order was on its way. I should see these next week. In the meantime the crownrace fitting tool arrived from the folks at Wiggle.

Crownrace tool
The Cyclus Crownrace tool is heavy and chunky which is what you would expect from a device that is essentially a heavy tube for tamping down a ring on to the outside of the tube. It does come with an adaptor to allow the fitting or the race to road forks (1") and at £25 it is not too expensive. It does lack the finish of a pro-tool and I have to say mine has rust on the exterior suggesting the finish is not that good. Personally, I have at least one headset to change and alongside those for friends it will pay for itself in beers in no time at all.

Crownrace fitted
So confident that I will have all the parts need, I set about fitted the new Marzocchi MZ comp forks to the P3 frame. First, the crownrace, tamped down onto the forks. Then simply fit all the parts in the correct order onto the frame, to check they all fit. Thank goodness that the stem of the forks is not too short! Finally, grease the stem and then tighten all the bolts to hold the handlebars and the headset together. Finally,I fitted the front wheel again to avoid having to rest the bike on the front forks. Next week, brake bosses, brakes, chain, rear dérailleur alignment and cabling and we are in business.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Who's the boss?

Well not me it seems. I had expected small hiccups in the process of putting this bike together, but really I didn't expect them all to come at the end. I feel like I am at an evolutionary dead-end. The forks arrived this week, and yes they are all they were descrived to be. Certainly not the forks to sit on the machine forever, but good enough for some casual cross-country/downhill riding. They are also dual brake capable, that is you can fit disc brakes or the more low tech V-brakes (also known as side pull cantilevers). There is a snag. I could fit disc brakes to the forks, but the hubs I have are not designed to take the disc. I can't bolt on V-brakes straight away because the forks lack the brake bosses needed to fit the brake arms. This would not be a difficult proposition if there was a surfeit of brake bosses on sale. I think I might have found a kit for the forks, but it only mentions forks produced from 2007 onwards. This leads me to some concern as I am worried that my local bike shops will not stock the spare parts I require.

This is what leads me to feel at an evolutionary dead-end. The trend is towards disc brakes on sports mountain bikes, and although V-brakes are common on low end leisure bikes, no-one takes a high spec sports bike and puts V-brakes on it. A problem for all those retro-bike builders out there. Soon the spare forks will only be off leisure bikes, which are not capable handling the punishment or a more aggressive riding style, and we will no longer be able to ride some of these classic frames. The bikes will not be superceded because they were unable to compete in the environment, but they lack the input of the manufacturer's resources. The world has changed and moved on.