Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Got caught out in the rain on your bike? A little light oil might help. Here is how to service your wheels.

This might be a little on the "hacky" side, so take this with a grain of salt.  If you feel that this is a bit dangerous for your super pricey carbon fiber bike, well don't do it. 

The Standard Internet Warranty applies:  At Your Own Risk, but It Worked For Me!  In fact I gained more than 10% speed.  On the other hand, I found that I did foul my front brake and will be cleaning the pads as soon as I can find the time.  You may too.

What is "It"?

I'm in South Florida.  The rains finally started up.  The tropics are one band of storms at this moment from the Caribbean to Africa. 

I was out and got caught in one.

We all know riding a bike in the rain stinks. 

I got to the mid workout water stop after a cloudburst and the wheels were riding slower, my speed dropped, and I was one spandex covered pile of wet.

I was thinking of what to do and applied a little Inline Skating logic to it.  The lube had washed out of my bike's bearings.  Mind you, the chain was still greased, as my no longer grey Reeboks can attest.  But when I spun the pedals and the two wheels, they did not spin as much as I remembered.  If the bike used "standard" accessible bearings I would have properly cleaned them but this will "suffice".

How I fixed it was like this.

First, lay down a layer of plastic, cardboard, or anything you can use for protection on the dining room floor.  You don't want to ruin the finish there.

Second, lay the bike down on its side on the plastic sheeting.  Make sure that if you have disc brakes like I do, the discs are on the up side.

Third, note that you will likely have some water pour out of some nooks and crannies.  I did.  Dry that stuff up.

Fourth, there are three points that will need to be oiled.  Front and rear wheel hubs, and the crankshaft hub.  Add a high quality oil to the points and allow the oil to flow into them.  The oil will help to push out extra water (as mine did the first time).  Spin the wheels gently/firmly to allow the oil to get into the inside mechanisms.  Spin it each time you walk past the bike.  No, don't put the bike upright, allow gravity to do its thing.  Don't spin them so hard that you will spin the oil onto your brake discs!

Front and rear wheels are the same-ish.

Extreme closeup of the crankshaft.
You know, your pedals?

Fifth, allow the oil to run through the bearings and lube the wheels and hubs for an arbitrarily long time.  I allowed a solid day but I had the time, at least an hour and more if you have it.  Again, spin those wheels.  No, don't put the bike upright, allow gravity to do its thing.  Don't spin them so hard that you will spin the oil onto your brake discs!

Finally, make certain that you wipe the discs for the brakes down with a solvent.  If any oil is on your discs you will contaminate them.  I am using rubbing alcohol but acetone will work as well if not better.  Bearings should be oiled, not your brakes.  Give everything a once over and if you spot any extra oil lurking, or anything that obviously needs tightening, this is a good time to clean or service it.

Mind you, when I took the bike out after the second time, my front brake was useless and contaminated with oil while back brake was acceptable.  When I get the time, I'll sand the pads, take pics, and post everything here.  After all, I have miles to do!

Happy Multi-Use Trails, Cowboys and Cowgirls!

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