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Existentialism-- Just a bloody good excuse to go riding...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wasabi-Mayo Bearing Grease and the iMobile Tool Table [ >:}} Decepticon iNspired]

Now that GE2011 fever is over... guess its time to get back to bike related scribbling...but this piece is really mundane maintenance stuff cos I have nothing better to write.

Fixing a broken hanger last Sun on what's probably the first "dry" ride of 2011 after an unusually long wet and gunky season, to my amazement, parts were actually still movable while "camouflaged" and  looking more like the trail its ridden on.. A continuous evolutionary process of  cumulative dried mud and grease that no amount of hosing down after each ride ever quite got rid of.

Under that oxygen deprived state in blistering 34 degrees C heat, there I was, contemplating if the chimera looking mud + grease could in fact be some sort of symbiotic inorganic lifeforms thriving on a highly concentrated salty liquid media, like the perspiration yours truly was dripping onto it.

Ok, ok maybe it wasnt moving bike parts... but that glob of greasy mud exhibiting amoeba-like movements. I swear the heat hasn't caused a neural melt-down.  Its aliens right in our backyard attracted to persistent mud loving mountain bikers that resist all effort to be kept out of the trails.

But a Nobel prize for the discovery of the century can wait... Yes, its about time for a major cleanup and overhaul on the EG, be it undiscovered species or dying digested bike parts playing host to these parasitic lifeforms.

The never ending mudfest was just a poor excuse to let things rot. In reality if the gunk is truly alive, I will hypothesize further there must exist some unseen wormhole in the house.

Stuffs forever disappear when needed, freshly dismembered parts from the bike gets mysteriously telported into another dimension. No, its not bike specific, happens everytime any wrenching is done.

Or is it like that episode of Twilight Zone with little blue men running around making everything disappear and then magically reappear a few days later...

iMobile Tool Table
(Disclaimer: the "i" in front of "Mobile" has nothing whatsoever to do to with an iPhone or iPad simply stands for " i{came up with this dumb idea of a}Mobile Tool Table).

Moving from a pathetic tool box with contents hardly worth a second look, the obsession grew into a purpose built floor-to-ceiling cabinet for tools and bike paraphernalia. It even branched into what some friends termed as a obsessive compulsive fetish for lubes (...though I would certainly take more kindly to parallels drawn to my days as a Bio student, advancing into areas like genomic comparison across species of Calmodulin). Both aspects are similar in a way-- ie. who apart from me actually gives a flying elephant's damn!

And then came more parts, thus more space were permanently designated as "Bikes Only" restricted area around the house with 5S efficiency of Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke (if anyone is interested, it translates to Classification, Organization, Cleanliness, Maintenance, Discipline). I dont know how that translates to efficiency cos the bloody tools are still missing when needed!!!

Over countless sessions of bad coffee and bike talks with the Dirty-Tiny gang, everyone was telling me to do it like what good LBS does... wall 'em all up, biggest to smallest wrench all in a row yadda yadda.. Nah. Only problem is that the Art of Apartment Living aka Pigeon Hole Shafting in Singapore means all the usable walls are already plastered with gigantic LED TVs, my favorite tattoopaintings and what not... So I was still sucking thumbs and greasy chips where time spent on bike was errr.. transformed into watching another round of Transformer 2 on one of the said big ass TV....

...when suddenly an idea hit! Faster than Optimus Prime can change into some dumb truck without getting first into a telephone booth (hey who needs one! we all got iPhone these days, no?) I retrieve a much hated piece of furniture by the wife---- an about to be thrown out TV table for an era of cathode ray picture boxes long gone, sitting around forlornly for years in the storeroom.

With lightning speed and boxes of tools already labelled into "Frequent Bike-Specific Use", "General Usage" and "Occasional" the devious transofrming speed would outstrip any Decepticon's slick moves--- all in record time before the wife can list down her 10 000 reasons why it should be thrown out.

No doubt, more modding would be added soon; with an organized section to lay out the components and small bits taken off a bike thus ensuring it has its own invinsible force shield to prevent those wormhole teleportations.

A little planning would probably see the sides and rear transformed with hooks to put up more commonly used tools.

All neatly covered up when not in use would pass as a coffee table with a nice little piece of cloth thrown over that even the wife wont notice. tA dA--- THE iMobile Tool Table...   dEcePtIcOn.Inspired.

For now its good enough-- rolling from left to right depending on which part of the bike I'm working on, so far been two blissful evenings of no missing tools or parts...

Minus the usual cursing and time wasted searching high and low, it means more effort could be channelled to picking apart every little thing short of a heart transplant type surgery like pulling the new fork apart.

The Wasabi-Mayo Bearing Grease Concoction
Choking bearing full of new grease is no surprise fetish to all that knows me well enough... Recently obtained some "hush hush" grade supposedly super duper grease from an unnamed friend working in some hush hush no address place on hush hush "I-have-to-kill-you-if-I-have-to-tell-you" equipment. Was all excited if the holy grail of grease that will make a steel bearing rival that of ceramic smoothness was finally found.

First look and no doubt its some quality grease but I was not too certain if its the best for bearing, given its dry pasty texture that was more like some cementing putty. Had to rub it on the back of the hand like ladies testing out the latest cosmetics t oascertain what kind of greasy quality it possess.

Conclusion: Good for smooth surfaces (eg for application between seat tube and seat post) and would be relatively waterproof but too "stiff" for bearing application where the bulk of it would be spinned out to the sides leaving the balls with little lubrication as the bearings move.

Greasy alchemy time.....

Breaking out the trusted Dura-Ace bearing grease with its decidedly radiocative looking fluorescent green hue...I wonder what the end result would be like....

Wasabi Mayo!!! with a texture to match like the real thing... if anyone still has doubt, please head down to your nearest supermarket for a bottle of Kraft mayonnaise and those plastic tubed wasabi to  experiment.... not recommended for bearings but shouldn't go to waste if you can find a spare guppy or two in your aquarium tank though.

Next up, application to rocker bearings  followed by those in the bb. Couple of things I learned about bearings through trial and error: 
(1) Most "rough" bearings can be salvaged and reconditioned unless the balls have already been severely  worn down with excessive gaps to the race thus causing lateral play.

(2) testing out any new bearing grease on old bearings-- if they don't work, you pretty much now after awhile as that would cost you new bearings as bearing play is detected (usually with some accompanying squeak) and you know its time to thin down the wallet a bit.

Ok time to finish up putting back everything in place and be ready for this weekend worth of pedaling...

On the first day he strip...
On the second day he cleaned...
On the third day he rebuild...
On the 7th Day he rides...

Update: The Wasabi-Mayo goo seems to be holding up good. Bearings were really noisy before they got smothered..(usually if bearings are goners...any new greasing will only make them last 1-2 rides worth before play and squeaks reappear, had seen quite a bit of mileage since and so it looks like my 2yr old sealed bearings will be able to take more hammering before breaking out the spare $40 Enduro replacement).

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