Monday, March 27, 2006

Changing Tires


It's true that I don't have much experience or aptitude in mechanical matters. My auto service is done at a shop, and the same goes for the bike. However, I thought it would be easy to change my tires.

I switched from my Pirelli "Mid Towner" slicks to a pair of Michelin "Wild Grabber" tires. The Michelin's have a hash mark style tread that grabs pavement well without giving a bumpy ride.

I had never before used the tire levers I bought a few years ago, and I found they work much better than the pair of screwdrivers I used in my youth. What I found odd was the tubes were stuck to the tires. I had planned on using new tubes anyway, but I'm guessing the old ones are shot. I got the front tire with new tube on the wheel and took it out to the van to pump it up. As the pressure went up, I noticed markings indicating that this tire is designed to spin a certain way. Who knew?? Of course, I had it on the wrong way. It didn't take to long to switch it around and reinflate.

After changing the front tire twice, the rear wheel went quickly. Unfortunately, I found that the cause of my wobbly rear wheel is a broken spoke. I wanted to try out the new tires, but I didn't feel safe riding on that wheel. (Sure, I've been using it for two months, but I didn't know then!)

I packed the bike into the van and took it down to the bike shop for a spring tune up. The guy asked me if I needed it back right away. I joked that I could wait until tomorrow, and he gave me a very serious look of surprise. It was going to be 10 days. 10 days! I gave the bike a quick hug and left.

On the way home, I stopped to visit a friend that had a used Specialized bike for sale. It is an entry level mountain bike with just a little rust on the components, and I picked it up for my son. However, it may be my bike for the next 10 days.


Blogger Unknown said...

I think you'll like those tires! The only wayu you could have gotten better was if you had bought Geax Evolutions! You were probably safe enough with one broken spoke, but you would have rapidly broken the one opposit, and so on!

12:49 PM  
Blogger steve said...

Replacing a spoke isn't too tricky, so long as it isn't a drive side spoke (ie, right next to the cogs). Once you've threaded the spoke in through the hub (and it'll bend fairly well, and straighten up fine after) it's essentially a matter of screwing the nipple onto the spoke thread and truing the wheel up - you can do this ghetto style with just the brake pads, you don't need to get a truing stand unless you do a lot of truing. You will need a spoke wrench, though - it's tempting to using a pair of pliers, but the nipples are easily stripped. It's worth dropping $10 for a half-decent spoke wrench, or if you have a bike multitool you may already have spoke wrenches that fit your nipples on there...

If you want to learn more, I'd recommend getting one of Lennard Zinn's maintenance books (he even has a DVD version now if you find that easier).

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woo hoo for your new use of tire levers! I still screw up the direction of my treads all the time.

And now, it sounds like you've got "two bikes". Congrats on your repairs.

That rules.

8:36 PM  

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