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During the developments of the cycling tragedy in Baltimore last week, I found myself needing something else to think about.  I had been sick (cold and fever) and home and technically on vacation, so I decided after finishing what work I had to do from home (that I missed earlier that week) to see how well I really trued my wheels last week.  With it being so late and my being so tired, I wondered if I really did a good job.

The sound that I thought was my rim hitting my brake pads before I trued them was still present.  I took off the tire and tube and put everything on my truing stand.  Noise was still there.  It was almost like a scraping sound.  Quick fix: might be the dork disc (Zack had this problem last year).  Took off the cassette and dork disc, and the sound was still there.  I thought it might be my hubs or axle.  I opened everything up, re-adjusted the hubs, got extremely messy.  Noise was still there.  I didn’t feel like overhauling my hub and even less so when I realized the front hub was making the same sound.  These are new wheels, and I haven’t gotten to ride in any serious weather yet.  So I trued the wheel again (not leaving well enough alone) and put everything back together.

Then that night, it hit me.  It was the rubber seals rubbing the hub body.  Had to be.  So I took Mr. Wheel off again and removed the cassette and both rubber seals.  The noise was gone.  I even asked the ever patient Eleanor R/Frankie to lend her ears.  She agreed.  I put the seals back on, and the noise was back.  BINGO!  Specifically, it was the seal that went into the body of the freehub.  I wasted two and half hours during a nice summer afternoon, when I could have been watching a movie or reading or taking a walk on my vacation.

So, if your hubs are making a noise, rule out the rubber seals (if you have them) before you tear everything apart like I did.  Unless you like tearing things apart.  Which I do, so I guess that day last week wasn’t exactly a waste at all.


Excellent post by Citizen Rider on the ethics of how thorough of a job could/should be done to new bike assemblies. Read the post here.

The bike that I returned this week wasn’t what I would call put-together well. I had requested that they leave it in the box, which the big company said they would (they can ship them to you at home in a box, too). But the guy at the store/shop said they couldn’t, that it was too late anyway because they just put it together. Okay. I think I might have insulted him on the phone. When I met him, I told him it was because I couldn’t ride, not because I didn’t trust their mechanical skills. We laughed about it. We noticed goo on the downtube, and he offered to get it off. He hung the bike by the horn of the saddle on the repair stand, instead of using the clamp, got off the goo with something in a squirt bottle and left it swinging there. Swinging. As in, I totally thought it was going to fall. I got outside to find a large gash in the seatstay. I know; no bike comes perfect. But this was huge and really something that he shouldn’t have let me walk out with on a steel bike.

Other: rear brakes were too tight and touching the rim on both sides; front brake pads were mal-adjusted (one touched the tire, one went inside the rim); the rear fender was rattling against the tire and needed adjustment; the folks who returned it for me (thank you!) reported squeaking while they pushed it; the stem was never adjusted to be straight; they let me walk out without even mentioning the idea of adjusting seat height; reflector on rear wheel was moving around. These are things I noticed without ever getting to ride it. It seemed like a sweet bike that was hastily assembled when the truck came in.

I know. It’s probably my fault for buying my bike at a large chain store. I got spoiled by the nice shop (Phoenix Cycles!) we had a relationship with in Carbondale. We’d chat with Doug for an hour when we’d stop in to get something. He thought it was awesome that we went car-free. I thought his recumbent was awesome. They did excellent work there and carried good stuff like Planet Bike and pants clips.

If there’s anything good to come from getting my foot run over, it’s getting the chance to buy my new bike all over again. I know what to do and where to go this time, and I might not have to limit myself to the funds from the replacement of my crashed bike. Even if I go with the Xtracycle Radish, I’m hoping to get it through a cool local shop and to stop buying bike accessories off of the freakin internet all the time.

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