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Black arts

Today was pretty interesting in the shop, quite a varied bunch of jobs and people coming in and out.  We’ve got a pair of wheels to rebuild at the moment, reusing the rims and replacing with new hubs and spokes. Long story but a seized in rotor bolt which was so seized in even a drilled in helicoil couldn’t remove it, meant the customer asked me to build a set of strong wheels.  First job of the day was to order a front hub (we had a rear) and more spokes as we’re running a bit low, its surprising how a box of 100 spokes can soon disappear with all the repair jobs in!   Wheel building seems a black art, not because of the complexity, but because of obtaining the correct spoke, hub and rim combination which more often than not are due in stock a week or so after you need them!

After getting all the orders done we had the first job in, servicing a nice GT racing BMX.  Its old brake arms had given up so we replaced with a nice pair of Deore brakes, cables, grips, pedals and some gold chain tensioners.  The bike had a flat rear tyre and the freewheel was needing some feeding with oil.  The rear wheel was pretty buckled so gave it a good true, wasn’t very happy with the result so checked spoke tension and most were well below what they should be.  Re-tensioned it and it turned out great. The bike looks lovely with the gold cable ferrule, nice crimping I hope you’ll agree!

Gold ferrule
Chain tensioner
Deore brake

Next up an oldish bare naked shiny alu Marin mountain bike, which was pretty nice, although beat up.  This is for a Polish guy who is a great customer, not the one who spends the most, but very friendly and pops in once every couple of months for some small item.  He was riding somewhere and the chain snapped so it was just a simple job of putting a new chain on.  Well that wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t great pointing out that the brake blocks were down to the plastic, the bottom bracket was wobbly and all the cables were frayed.  He’s very grateful I pointed all this out and is going to bring the bike in soon to get the rest done.


We had a bike dropped off with a Kryptonite lock attached to the front wheel, lost key see!  Its lucky I know someone with an angle grinder, the steel in those locks is hardened so bolt croppers might be a dead loss.  Finally I finished up the end of the day sorting out the order for components for a 3 speed fixed hub gear road bike conversion.  The bike frame is with Argos in Bristol, so I sent them details of the components just to check that they’re all going to fit and so they can decide if any modifications are needed to the frame.  So a really varied day all in all!