Saturday, September 27, 2008

The $12,000 Beater Bike

A wealthy summer resident dropped off his Seven Odonata at the end of Labor Day weekend.

"Give it a complete overhaul and anything it needs," he said.

With all that titanium I worried that I might not be able blast some things loose. The bike is about ten years old, but he's never asked us to go further than a tuneup on it. I don't know what care it might have had at the owner's other homes, or if this is just his New Hampshire ride.

I found good news and bad news in the BB shell. Whoever assembled the bike had used enough anti-seize compound to keep it from welding itself in. That was good. When the first cup came out, about half a pint of water poured out of the frame behind it. That was bad. I would have thought so, anyway, but I have trouble understanding how it is to have immense wealth.

This bike isn't as abused as the Seven that came through our shop a couple of summers ago, with the stem held into the steerer tube entirely by corrosion, without even a bolt in place, but it clearly gets ridden as obliviously as any Schwinn Varsity. The steerer tube was rusted, but nothing had rusted solid. I haven't seen him ride in the rain, but maybe he has the staff hose the bike down when they're washing the extensive fleet of family cars.

The chain has worn halfway through the cage of the XTR front derailleur. The owner rides with headphones, so he wouldn't hear the chain rubbing. The damage has made shifting in the front almost impossible.

Strip away the enormous price tag and the image of the brand name, and it is just a bike. Within the owner's economic bracket it's a fairly minor purchase. In 1998 or'99 he probably paid about six or seven thousand for it. The $12,000 in the title refers to the upper end of the price range for Seven's current corresponding model, the ID8.

This bike is so old, XTR was eight-speed. The XTR drive train is controlled by Ultegra 9-speed brifters with no discernible extra click. It's a strange expensive mutt. I was able to track down a new set of chainrings. The front derailleur is giving me more trouble. I have not turned up a top-swing, bottom pull derailleur that will fit into the tight clearance between the rear tire and the seat tube. The carbon section of the tube feels less substantial than on full carbon bikes designed to accept a derailleur clamp. The original derailleur clamped the titanium section closer to the bottom bracket. On Monday I can call Seven to see what my options are.


bmike said...

so... when installing a phil BB into Ti - do you take the word from Phil and use the lock tite compound they ship with the bb rings... or ti anti sieze? I've heard both sides of the argument... currently I have the BB installed with the lock tite compound. Previously with the anti-sieze. I'm coming up on my fall strip and rebuild... wondering what I should do.

cafiend said...

With ti the important thing is to use SOMETHING and use plenty of it to create a barrier between it and the other metal component. If you have successfully had the BB in there with each compound, flip a coin and play another round.

Whatever you use, go over the bike once a year and try to bust everything loose to make sure you still can. Do it more often if you're riding in grody conditions, but no so often that you mar everything by the constant tool wear and threading in and out. Sooner than later is probably better as long as you don't make it a self-abrading obsession.

bmike said...

thanks. overhaul coming up after our fall colors ride this weekend...