one cyclist's adventures through the urban jungle

Sunday, February 24, 2008

braking news - Avid BB7

So I'd heard a lot about the Avid BB7s and there relative cats-arsedness when it comes to mechanical disk brakes on bicycles. When I had my Marinoni built up I made sure I spec'd them (they were the spec anyway). The bike came fully assembled for me so I played no part in the installation. The brakes worked out of the box with no problems, no squeeling. They were awesome. Last summer when I crashed the rear caliper was loosened. I played around with them a bit and got them re-tightened on my own without putting much thought to it. I figured they were fine.

Really, by all accounts they were fine but I didn't line up the pads perfectly so I ended up wearing down the pads a wee bit unevenly and they wore out prematurely. My rotor seemed to be fine thoughout this ordeal, I was a bit concerned that I had wrecked it too. So far so good.
Instead of dumping the bike at the shop to have them change the pads, I figured I might aswell learn how to change the pads myself. I'd read that it was an idiotproof process. Enter me.
I had the old pads out, purchased a new pair and figured I was 5 minutes away from having aligned and full strength braking once again. Not quite. What I didn't realize was that I had bent the pad retention clip (not the spring, but the little clip inside the caliper) and it was forcing the outboard pad to be off center). I fiddled around with the caliper, the spring, the pads for a few hours before I took everything apart and started from scratch, complete with the help of the manual from SRAM (I find there website to generally be horrible, but they do have a good service section). Oh, I opened a beer too. That always helps, though never really speeds the process up any.

Eventually I got it, got the pads in properly then trued the caliper to the rotor, tightened the cable and I was laughing.

I have no problem getting my LBS to do work on my bike, but I really try to do as much work on my bikes as possible so that when I am stuck miles from nowhere and something breaks, I'll have an idea how to fix it. Disk brakes were a new thing to me so much like figuring out how to adjust the pads on my cantilever brakes in my early teens, I needed to take the time to figure out the BB7s. Now that I have been through it once I am confident that future pad changes and adjustments will take minutes.

The Avid BB7 disk brakes really are a dream to use. The power is excellent, the wet-weather performance is great. They pair well with my Campagnolo Veloce levers, and they really are dead easy to adjust, install and maintain, at least after you get a chance to learn how they work.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More on Sheldon Brown

Grant Petersen over at Rivendell has a great story about Sheldon Brown up on their news page. I have read countless postings this week with everyone's personal message about him. There is no doubt that the cycling community has suffered a tremendous loss.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Ride some miles for Mr. Brown

Yesterday Eileen and I were traipsing around the neighborhood in search of avocados to make some guacamole. She pointed to the rear wheel of an old Raleigh and noted it was kind of different looking. I explained that it was an old internal geared hub and thought about telling her about that 'guy' on the internet that raved about them and still sold hard to find parts to keep them ticking.

That 'guy' was none other Sheldon Brown (aka CaptBike), one of cycling's greatest resources. It was with much sadness that I learned that Sheldon Brown passed away yesterday. We'll miss you.