Day 333 | bike maintenance: choice of $320 vs $78

Esperance Day 35

The long suffering bike, (Nomie, short for the Nomad model name that’s printed on the frame) has had a much needed overhaul.

The bottom bracket’s bearings were completely shot, (fierce wobble to the cranks and an unsettling grinding sound), and the middle chainring is history as well. Basically it’s disaster for all the bits in proximity to the pedals.

The beast is a ten year old model so all things considered it’s done extremely well to get me this far.

The offending chainring had become an issue over the last two months in two ways: going uphill the chain would jump and I had been risking castration; and at any intersection when I thought, I can just nip across in front of that truck, the consequences could have been even more severe when the chain would fall off completely once get me outta here pressure was applied to the cranks.

Yesterday I got a call to bring the bike in to Esperance’s only bikeshop to confirm the size of the bits that needed to be ordered, (we’ve had a delay over Chrissy with the parts suppliers being shut).

The news is worse than I imagined. Shimano doesn’t supply the old square tapered bits anymore, we now have Octalink. My style of chainrings have been superseded. In fact nothing is standardised down in that area of the bike: each manufacturer is a bit different. I’ll now have to replace the complete chainset with a new type and there’s a considerable flow on effect of now required replacements. Cost: $160 for new octalink chainset + $25 bottom bracket + $40 new octalink crank + (an hour’s labour, I guess).

Chi ching! That sounds like plenty more than $300.

A slow, thoughtful, ride into town.

Anyway my mate David at the shop managed to scurry around out the back of the workshop and find some old style chainset out the back that had not quite fitted another bike and we bunged that on. It’s a bit of a bodge job but in the end total cost: $78.

After a service of the gear cables etc all included in the $20 total labour charge (he has spent some time on it) the bike runs like new: I can even get into all the gears. Haven’t been able to do that for a while.

I’m waiting for a new tyre to come in and had hoped to get 2. My Marathon XR on the back wheel had started to delaminate due to the combination of very low tyre pressures on the dirt roads and very hot conditions on the blacktop. The front XR tyre has been on the bike for much longer, I first changed it while cruising through the Snowy Mountains back in January last year so it’s revolved about 15,000 km.

But at $120 a pop only the back one will be replaced. It’s got a hole in it that I can put 2 fingers through despite the tread still having many more km to go.