Monday, 7 January 2013

A new bike joins the family

A short while ago we got a new bike in the family, which came to us in an unusual way. My wife discovered the bike in a ditch on a nature reserve she was working on. She dug it out and found it was in reasonable condition. Thinking it was likely stolen she contacted the local police. They had a look, found it was security coded and were actually able to trace the owner!

The owner claimed the bike had been 'lost' and they didn't really want it back. A more likely story is they the owner had dumped the bike. The police said that as the owner didn't want to claim it my wife, as the finder could have it. It was a good bike in decent condition so my wife decided to keep it. The bike is a Dawes City Vision 7.

It has Shimano Nexus 7 hub gears. It also has a rear pannier and a basket mount on the front. I have christened the bike "The Shopper".

After cleaning the bike off I gave it an inspection. The mechanicals are in surprisingly good order; I suspect it hadn't been in the ditch very long, just a few weeks perhaps. Wheels are true, brakes work, shifters and hub gears work, the tyres even hold air although I discovered the rear is leaky having had to reinflate after a few days. The only thing needing immediate attention was the chain, which was dirty and rusty beyond hope with several links locked solid.

A new chain came from Wiggle in the form of a KMC B1 1/8th single speed at the bargain price of £4.91. The chain comes with a snap link.

To replace the chain I first had to remove the chain guard, which was held on with three screws. The I removed the old chain with a chain splitter tool.

Here is the old and new chain laid side by side. I used the chain splitter tool again to shorten the new chain to the same length as the old chain. The length doesn't have to be exact as the chain is tensioned by adjusting the rear wheel forwards or backwards in its mount, but it needs to be a similar length as the wheel mounts only adjust an inch or so.

Don't put a new chain on the floor like this. I didn't realise how dirty the floor was and had to clean the chain before I put it on the bike.
Don't put a new chain on the floor like this. I didn't realise how dirty the floor was and had to clean the chain before I put it on the bike.

I gave the chainwheel and hub sprocket a thorough clean. First I used a high pressure hose to blast off dirt and grit, then I sprayed with degreaser and wiped with a clean cloth. The hub gears are a sealed unit but I wasn't sure if the seals were still good, so I was careful with the hose and degreaser around the hub sprocket. I spun the crank and it turned freely and smoothly, so the bottom bracket is in good order. The hub sprocket turned OK, but was a bit stiff and clunky.

To put the new chain on I loosened the wheel. There is an additional bolt attaching the hub mechanism to the chainstay, and this needed to be loosened as well. With the wheel loose it can be moved forward in the mounts and the new chain put on. Then the wheel is moved back in its mounts and three fixings tightened when the chain tension is right.

Here you can see the third fixing bolt attaching the hub to the chain stay. The mount has a 4cm track for adjusting the position and hence the chain tension.

Finally the chain guard is reattached. I also attached a child seat. Here is the bike in its finished glory.

I had another test ride and the bike was much improved. Pedalling was smooth and squeak free with the new chain. the hub gears were still a little lumpy but serviceable. I think I might need to give them some attention shortly.

One last modification was needed before the first ride out with my daughter. The bike seat has exposed springs below it, which are right in front of the child seat and a 2 year old can't resist poking fingers into small gaps, which could have nasty consequences. I'm looking for some sort of cover for the saddle/springs but until I find one I have just gaffer taped the springs.

Make sure you don' have exposed seat springs when using a child seat

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