Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Housing crunch

And so my season begins. Local rider brings in the bike he got somewhere else because the shifting went bad on him during his abusive first ride.

Kona Jake the Snake cyclocross bike. New 105 11-speed. "I read that it's hard to adjust," he said. "So I brought it to you."

"I kept twisting the barrel adjusters the whole ride," he went on. "It was never right." He added that the ride group wallowed through a lot of mud and snow.

The way the internal cable routing was done, the shift cables can't be cross routed. That would have helped with the angle up front. Either way, longer housing will feed it more smoothly into the stops. The in-line barrel adjusters need to be moved closer to the handlebars because the housing can't be led to the opposite sides of the head tube. All this could have been done by an imaginative mechanic during assembly. Now it will cost him a couple of shift cables and some new housing. As they're done now, the plastic ferrules on the constrictive 4mm housing are already kinking after about 50 miles.

This kind of rescue operation after some other mechanic's ethical lapse or simple inexperience really makes me tired. I could just dial it in as closely as I can and tell him he'll have to live with it, but I want to see if it can be improved. In terms of ultra modern bike componentry, that means, "be made to work more or less adequately for as much as a couple of months."

I already noticed that the housing for the rear cable disc brake aims upward, where it will surely collect water. So that'll be rusting in within months. But it's got eleven speeds. And carbon forks. Oo, baby. Value added.

Something sounds raspy in the impenetrable interior of the cable path through the frame. The bike came with the same weird, brown cables that Big G's Roubaix had, with some shreddy coating on them. On this bike, wads of scuffed-off coating are wedged like old snake skin at friction points in the system. Who knows how much of that is binding the new cable inside the down tube where no one can get at it.

With new cables and better-aligned housing, the shifting still won't dial in. But as you slog through the mud in your three or four working gears out of 22 (I'm being optimistic), you can rest assured your bike looks really sharp and is aerodynamically its most efficient, thanks to the internal cable routing.

As so often happens, you have to do the job to see if the job can be done. So after the extra rigamarole of a routine internal cable change I'm only a little better off than I was before. I'll know after more fiddling whether I can raise this annoying piece of crap to an acceptable level of function.


Steve A said...

Thanks. My 1970 Falcon is looking good once again!

cafiend said...

Ab So Lutely!