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08/02/2010

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Andy

Yesterday I was on a 125 miles ride with a cycling club, and just after I had reached 100 miles, an awful noise started. It sounded similar to a problem I had on my commuter bike, which was caused from the bottom bracket bearing casing falling apart. I figured it would be okay to keep riding, and I would just buy a new BB when I got home. A few miles later, I realized the noise was only getting worse and quickly. It was even there when just coasting, so I then shifted my thinking to it being a rear wheel problem. No spokes were broken though, the wheel was in true, no issues with the brakes. I took the wheel off and noticed some play in the cassette, but nothing bad enough to cause this noise.

Then I realized the problem... The two bolts that tighten against each other on the axle had come loose. To properly fix this, I would need a chain whip, cassette lock ring tool, socket wrench, and two wrenches for the bolts. Of course these are not the typical tools someone carries, so I made a good-enough adjustment by sticking the flathead screwdriver part of my multitool against the inner bolt to move it around while turning the wheel. This is a tricky adjustment, even with the right tools, because if the bolts are too far in, there is pressure on the bearing and the wheel won't turn well. If they are too far out, than the axle will have play, and bearings can move around far more than they should (potentially very dangerous if a bearing jumped off the track). I finally adjusted it close enough, and just finger tight, but it worked for the 25 miles to get home, with just a multitool.

Breaking a spoke is really a minor concern. On normal wheels, with 32 spokes, breaking one can be remedied by adjusting the opposing spokes on either side to get the wheel back in true without putting a new spoke in. You'll want to replace it when you get a chance, but I did a 65 mile ride this year on my touring bike after getting to the start and realizing that a spoke had snapped earlier. On my touring bike, I did have 3 spokes of slightly different sizes taped the the rack stays just in case. They were only $1/ea from the bike shop. You could also carry a FiberFix, which works like a spoke but can be adjusted to any size. Check it out here: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fiberfix.htm. No local shops had them, and no online vendors I've bought from recently carried them, but I plan to get one before touring again.

Andy

Oh, and that star tool is also a saviour on old alen bolts that have stripped. I had a bolt that just wouldn't grip with the proper alen tool, and then I realized that the star tool was the same width, and it grabbed the bad bolt well enough to get it out.

Peter Maus

That star bolt is actually called a Torx head screw. Wikipedia has a good definition of them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torx

Eric

Or you could carry one of these:

http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fiberfix.htm

ME

they are not star bolts or star tool, they are torx.....torx come on. Plus, they are harder to strip out than the regular hex bolts and that is why they use them.

Demario Mitchell

During 1 of my morning commutes I was forced to leave late due to my girlfriend's fear for my safety. She insisted I wait till at least 6am and I did. While taking my normal commute, the street became crowded and there was a sign over hanging the right side of the road. My choices was to take the lane or hit the grass on the right. I went to the right side but my skinny tires could not handle the mud. Slipped off the side and popped my front tire in a ditch =(. I do not own a repair kit so, I walked the rest of the way home. I have yet to replace those road tires, but oh well.

Torben Putkonen

Because of their cam-out resistance properties, Torx bolts can be made with a lower profile than hex bolts. That space near the fork end is pretty cramped, so there might not be enough space for hex bolts.

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