Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Contemplating Madness: Part 3

That circular object inside the caliper is a stuck piston
With my test ride the other night of the titanium Mukluk set up for Odin's Revenge, I noted that the front brake was rubbing and making noise. No big deal, I probably just needed to recenter the caliper, right? Wait a minute there, Podner! it was more complicated than that!

Apparently fat biking on wintry city streets has its downsides, namely corrosion. I found a few washers were broken. Those "CPS" style concave/convex dealies? Those were broken and badly corroded. I replaced all the broken and suspect ones and tried again. No go! Still rubbing.

Upon further inspection, I noted that one pad was not moving. Yep! A stuck piston. Great! I did some online research. (It is the "information super-highway", after all!) I found out how to treat the problem and then I found out my pads were shot. Dang! Stopped again. I ordered a new set of pads which showed up yesterday and I continued to move forward again with repairs. Hopefully it would be a simple fix.

I didn't have the proper brake block!
In the meantime, I had bled the brake, since it had not ever been done since the bike was built up. I happen to have the proper bleed kit and a fresh bottle of DOT5 fluid which I used to purge a bit of air from the system. After I was satisfied that I had all the air out, I looked for an Elixir 9 brake block in my kit, but I didn't have one! So, I fashioned a wine bottle cork to do what I needed and that worked really well.

The new pads came and went right in with no issues. I was hopeful that this would solve the issue, since I wasn't about to have to buy new brakes or mess with this anymore this close to Odins. I'd just ride a different bike instead of dealing with this and wasting precious time before the event. I grabbed the front wheel and battened down the quick release, spun the wheel and.......
New pads- Lookin' good!

It was better! Much better. I centered the caliper and tightened everything down. It should be good to go. The lever feels the same as the rear brake again, and there should be no noise. I'll know for sure later today.

This just raises awareness on my part for maintenance of fat bikes. If you go for the more demanding aspects of fat biking- snow, mud, and Winter streets treated with chemicals, you'll need to pay attention to corrosion and its affects upon your hardware. Fortunately my issues did not impact a big ride or cause a crash or injuries, but the damage could have, so I was fortunate to catch all this before it went pear shaped.

Now I just have to decide if I can live with the lower than normal gearing, and if I cannot, I need to make a chain ring change, or pass on the titanium Mukluk for another rig........ Stay tuned........

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