Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Making my commuting bike squeak free - part 3

Here's my final post on how I used Sugru for the first time to make some repairs and improvements to my commuting bike. In cased you missed them, here's the post on the pannier rack and the post on my D-lock.

Front mudguard

I'd managed to crack my front mudguard when I was passing through a wooden gate on my way to work. A half a back pedal, a turn of the bars and my toe came up underneath the mudguard and twisted/pulled it and it cracked. Luckily these have a thin strip of aluminium through the centre of the mudguard, running the full length, to give it it's sturdiness, so the whole thing wasn't a write off.

This was necessary to fix or replace because the mudguards do an excellent job at, well, guarding you from mud and rain! If you are a commuter and don't use mudguards, I would seriously suggest that you consider buying some. The cracks in this guard meant that the guard would rub and catch on the tyre over rough bumps, which is obviously not very good.

Area of cracked mudguard to repair
The two rivets just about
held it all together
First things first, all of that mud needs to be washed off. Ensure that the surfaces are all clean, dry and free from any grease.

Clean and dry
Removing the dirt allows the
damage to be viewed easier
Another crack on the top mount

Cut open your foil packet of Sugru, again making sure that your fingers are clean and dry as you'll need to roll it and warm it up in your fingers to make it pliable.

Mould the Sugru into the cracks, making sure that they are all covered and smooth. I found that by using a damp cloth or wetting my fingers and gently smoothing over the surface gave a good finish. This fix was a little bit tricky because the mudguard had been bent and would not stay in the correct position long enough for the Sugru to harden. I had to ask my wife to wrap some gaffer tape around the guard and stays to keep it in place over night. After I removed the tape, the mudguard was straight and didn't spring back into it's twisted previous self. Also, I think the smoothness of the surface didn't give much for the Sugru to bind onto, so while I was trying to smooth it over, I kept pulling it away from the surface at the edges. In future, I would consider roughing up the surface with some sandpaper, depending on the job.

Using the rivets to help bind the Sugru in place.
Ugly underneath, but plenty of Sugru over the bracket helped
to make a strong repair
I tried to make the repair as smooth as possible on the outer surface
Try not to be too bulky on the inside of the guard for tyre clearance

What do you think?

Any good? What would you have done differently? Have you ever used Sugru to fix your bike? Let's hear it in the comments below!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Making my commuting bike squeak-free - part 2

Last week I wrote about how I stopped the rattle from my pannier rack by using Sugru. I made three fixes/repairs to my bike to prevent rattles and squeaks, so here is the second part.

Kryptonite D-Lock

Taking up the slack with a cable tie
My D-lock proved to be a big source of noise, especially after I fitted the after market mount due to the one supplied originally wearing loose over time. I had to cut down the rubber sleeving around the shackle and unfortunately cut too much off.

Far too much sleeving had been cut away

All of this extra space between the sleeving and the mounting bracket meant that the lock rattled about so much on the frame of the bike; it was very distracting. At first I thought it was the bottom bracket that was causing the problem, then the seat post and eventually I discovered where the problem was.

The rubber bumpers no longer sat flush
against the locking bar

Essentially, the rubber bumpers that keep both parts of the lock still by cushioning the gap just were no longer making the right contact.

It was again an easy fix. All it needed was a length of Sugru rolled out and wrapped around the shackle under the bumper and smoothed over to look more presentable.

One thing I would have done differently was bring the bike in the house over night as I waited a couple of hours before using the lock to secure the bike outside, but unfortunately the Sugru had not fully set. This caused it to be deformed slightly, but not so much that the repair did not work.

Of course, if I had been a bit more careful with the knife, I wouldn't have to be doing this, but this post demonstrates how easy it is to rectify small mistakes.
Roll a length of Sugru between your fingers...

Fill the gap between the rubber bumper and shackle sleeving...

And smooth over with damp fingers to get a nice finish

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Making my commuting bike squeak-free - part 1

A bit of background

I love my commuting bike, my Scott SUB 35. It's a no-nonsense bike, easy to maintain and looks good too. A bit heavy on the back end with the integrated hub gears and steel rack, but it's perfect for my needs.

However there have been a couple of rattles and squeaks coming from it recently. After a few listens over the rough tracks of my commute I was able to pinpoint where these were coming from. They were pretty obvious really, only one proved to be a bit tricky to locate. Incidentally, they weren't coming from the bike itself; rather accessories added after I had bought it.

I'd heard that Sugru was an ideal tool in repairing all sorts of things, so I bought some and gave it a go.

Instead of boring you in one post, I'll spread them out over the next couple of days. First up:

Pannier Rack

This was the obvious rattle. It was behind me and sounded like two bits of steel clanging together. It was the spring loaded clamp on the top of the rack.

Sugru bumpers stop the pannier rack clamp from rattling over rough surfaces

How I did it

Really easily! You first must ensure that the surfaces that the Sugru is to adhere to is clean from dirt and grease. If you washed the surfaces, make sure they are dry. Open the foil packaging, and roll the Sugru in your fingers until it becomes pliable, like Plasticine you used to play with when you were a kid. Then just put in place and wait for it to set. It takes 24 hours to set fully, so make sure you do any repairs when you don't need the bike immediately. In this case, I allowed the clamp to partially close to make indentations on the Sugru, then used some clothes pegs to act as spacers until the Sugru had set.

Clothes pegs allow the Sugru to set without sticking the clamp permanently in place
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