Sunday, August 10, 2008

Q&A: strong wheel, finding old bike parts, fixing a foot brake

Q: Hi Jim,
I'm a large male - twenty stones (280 pounds) - and I use my cycle to
and from work about eight miles a day most along a cycle path. I also
use it for pleasure. But the problem I have is that in the past twelve
months I have buckled three rear wheels. I have been told it is
because of my weight and that I should get a reinforced wheel. Could
you give me any advice?

Many thanks

A: Hi John,
My recommendation is to bring your bicycle to a good local bike shop
that has a reputation for high quality wheelbuilding. If you ask other
cyclists you should be able to find out who builds great wheels at the
local bike shops. A good builder will look at what you've been riding
and listen to how you use your bike and design a custom wheel that
will hold up for you. There are many options from different spoke
gauges, to more spokes, to heavy-duty rims. A good custom builder will
pick just the right components, build a very nice and strong wheel and
then guarantee his/her work, too, so that if you have a problem in the
future you will get your wheel fixed for free.

That's what I recommend and I'm sure you'll get a dependable, nice riding wheel,

Q: Jim,
I have a 1936-7 Roadmaster classic cruiser bicycle that I reacquired a
couple years ago after my Mom passed away. I am trying to restore it
to it's condition at my boyhood. My step Father did some changes to
it a several years back
discarding the fenders and apparently misassembled the coaster brake. I
have downloaded the exploded diagram of the brake and find that the clutch
retaining ring part# 110B1/2 is missing. I either need a replacement ring
or the specifications for it so I can make a replacement. Also I would like
to purchase replacement fenders.I hope that you can help me with these items.

A: Hi Richard,
Morrow hubs and parts for classic old cruisers are getting a little
hard to find. I think your best bet would be to search for
Morrow hubs or wheels with Morrow hubs or a complete bike with a
Morrow hub that you could buy and rob parts from. Similarly, you might
find a bike with the right fenders, too, if you're lucky. You might
also try contacting the guys on the website and see if
any of them can help you out. Maybe they have an old hub or some
spare parts. Another way to find vintage parts is at bike/car
swapmeets if you're lucky enough to have one in your area or are
willing to travel to one. One of the biggest is the Hershey swap meet,
which takes place in April each year. It's primarily for antique car
buffs, but is known for having loads of two-wheel deals, too, since so
many car collectors love bicycles, too. But, any car meet might have
vintage bicycle stuff, too, so they're all worth checking out when
you're hunting for parts. You might also try the folks that run the
Copake bicycle auction each year:

I think one of these things will get you going with just a little luck and
persistence. Good luck!

Q: Hello Jim,
Maybe you will have a possible answer that I just can't find on the internet.

I'm having a problem with a Shimano CB E110 coaster brake hub that
came with a single speed bike I purchased about a year ago. I've been
working on bikes as an enthusiast for about 30 years, but not much on
coaster brake (foot brake) bikes.

The Shimano CB worked fine until recently, when it developed a 'clunk'
and 'release' sort of response to pedaling backwards to engage the
brake. It brakes just fine however. Mostly annoying, but probably not
a safety problem. I hope. That's why I'm asking around as to what it
might be.

I've had it apart, put in a new spring, new bearings, new grease (high
temp), and adjusted it perfectly. No play, no binding!

But, now it's starting again, just a little bit though. I can't get it
to 'clunk' and 'release' on the bike repair stand, only in operation.
My LBS owner and friend suggested possibly the front ashtabula
chainwheel was moving a bit because of looseness (NOPE), or that the
rear cog was worn and chain was catching and releasing (NOPE - all
brand new and not that many miles on them). Any ideas?

Thanks much,

A: Hi Phil,
It sounds like you've checked the right things. I would have checked
the ashtabula sprocket, too, that was a good suggestion. Did you check
that the rear cog is not damaged? It attaches to the hub with small
tabs on the inside hole in the sprocket. These tabs can get worn and
if so the cog can slip under pressure and then release as the damaged
tabs refind their respective slots in the driver in the hub. You'd see
this on the cog but only if you look closely. There can also be
snapring problems that allow the cog to move and can cause problems.
You might check those things - that the tabs aren't worn and that the
cog is sitting securely and stays put on the hub driver. A new cog
would fix these issues, maybe a new snapring, too.

The other things that you didn't mention are the brake shoes and the
hub shell. These hubs are pretty basic and not too terribly tough. The
brake shoes can wear funny and that can make them jam a bit. You could
compare yours to new ones and see how they compare and put in new ones
if yours look worn or shaped funny. And, you should check the inside
and the bearing surfaces of the hub shell to see if you can spot any
small cracks or bearing wear marks and even scoring inside that could
be caused by lack of lubrication or bad, worn brake shoes or grit,

Oh, one basic thing some people don't realize: you should lube all the
parts up with a decent bicycle grease. If you run it dry or nearly
dry, it's sure to jam. You need to lube it good.

Maybe something here will help. Good luck!

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