For a simple couple of jobs, change bars, bar tape, brake blocks, it descended into the usual drama that seems to be percolating through my life at the moment.
I cleaned the bike thoroughly, I hate working on a dirty bike. Took the old bars off and changed them no problem. New tape on too. Fizik Black if you’re interested. That was fine and very good the new kit looks too.
Then the blocks. Old blocks off, new blocks on. Rotate the wheels to ensure no catching. Errrm, a problem, even with the calipers open the blocks were catching. Both wheels were out of true, the front one by quite a bit. Now as a rule I leave wheel truing to the experts as I have done more harm than good, but I decided to have a crack. And miracles of miracles I succeeded. Both wheels side to side true was perfect, but the rear has a slight flat spot rotationally. I whizzed it down to Graham at my LBS and he couldn’t get it out either, but it is minimal. The Shimano wheels I have and I quote Graham “are entry level racing wheels and not really designed for Birmingham commuting”, that’s a fair point, and they’re probably not designed for a Clydesdale like me either.
Back on the bike the new blocks were still catching though. I have brake blocks that have cartridge mounts, in that the rubbers blocks themselves can be removed. But I couldn’t get replacement rubber blocks so needed to get a similar set up. It was the new ones that were catching.
Looking at the 2 sets of brake blocks I noticed that the cartridges were pretty similar and the fixing was a tiny allen screw to retain the cartridge. The new housings were the problem. Their profiles were wider and that was the issue. So I decided to remove the new cartriges and see if they would fit in the old housings. I cleaned the old ones and removed 3 of the cartridges and fitted them successfully to the old housings which fitted perfectly.
The fourth one was the problem. The tiny allen screw had rounded off and the key was rotating in the head. I tried pliers and mole grips but it was too small to grip. So, hacksaw out and cut a slot carefully in the tiny head for a screwdriver. It worked. I replaced the cartridge into the old housing, used a new tiny retaining screw from one of the new housings and fitted it to my bike. New brake blocks fitted, but what a palaver!
But I can stop now, which is nice.