Last year, I had the opportunity to write a how-to article for the good folks over at C.I.C.L.E. Since then, I have amassed a small collection of hardware (about $15.00 worth) that makes a truly universal homemade headset cup press and crown race installer.

The parts of my handy dandy headset press:

The parts of the basic press include a selection of large washers, a piece of 3/8″ threaded rod (sometimes referred to as “allthread�?), a pair of flange nuts and two thick nylon washers to reduce friction between nuts and press-washers.

Don’t forget the nylon washers — it makes things a whole lot smoother:

As in the previous article, I must set out this disclaimer — I didn’t invent this…the concept of a homemade cup press has been around for a long time. I’ve seen versions using only washers and versions using sections of PVC pipe as cup adapters. However, I have discovered a piece of hardware in the plumbing department of my local home-improvement store that really makes this setup a piece of cake to use — some type of copper reducing fitting. Here is the heart of my system:

These little beauties taper down from about 2″ down to about 7/8″. Since they’re made of copper, they are way softer than the typical cups you might find in a vintage or modern headset — even lightweight aluminum cups. And, they are universal — they’ll fit the tightest vintage 1 inch threaded headset…oddball 1 1/4 inch headsets from the mid 90s…modern 1 1/8 inch headsets…heavy-duty One Point Five downhill headsets…even old one-piece bottom bracket cups (Ashtabula) found on cheap beach cruisers and old BMX bikes!!

The press is set up like this: grease up and place the headset cups in the top and bottom of the frame’s headtube. Grease and insert the copper fittings and stack appropriately-sized washers on top of those copper fittings. Pass the allthread through the headtube, slip the nylon washers down onto the washer stacks and thread on the two flange nuts. Here is a picture of how the assembly should look:

Then, it is a simple matter of cranking the nuts down with an appropriate wrench (sometimes you will need two wrenches if the cups are really tight). The copper fittings help to keep the headset cups straight as they enter the headtube. Go slowly — sometimes the washer stacks will slip to one side and they should be pushed back into place with your fingers. Crank those cups in until they bottom out and you’re done!

Now, all that remains is to assemble the rest of the headset and ride away into the sunset…but wait! What do you do about those stubborn fork crown races? Well, back to the plumbing department — you’ll need a length of PVC pipe and a plastic endcap. Bring your fork with you to make sure the pipe fits over the steerer. I wound up using a piece of 1 1/4″ thinwall pipe for this fork. Wrap the bottom 2 inches of the pipe with electrical tape to keep it from splitting, slip the crown race down, slip the pipe on and pound it down with a hammer like so:

When the bottom of the pipe becomes mushroomed and beat up from pounding, simply saw off a half-inch and rewrap with tape. I’ve used this same pipe for about 10 headsets…it’s steadily getting shorter, but the whole thing only cost about a dollar. Remember also that if you have to hit the pipe more than 5 or 6 times to seat the crown race, it’s better to take the race off and “dress” the base of the fork’s steerer with a needle file to remove excess paint and weld splatter — the crown race should just pop on and should NOT require brute force.

There, you’ve saved a bunch of money by doing it yourself — no expensive tools required, no trip to the bike shop. Doesn’t that feel great?

MtnBikeRiders.com

Power Grips Update

I installed the Power Grips Pedals on RL’s 925 and all I can say is that I hated them. Before you send me hate mail, please remember that the I’m riding the 925 as a fixed gear not as a single-speed freewheel. I was able to strap one of my shoes, but for the life of me, I just couldn’t strap the other. I was trying to do all this while riding around my non-traffic congested block, so the thought of fiddling with the pedals while riding with traffic just didn’t set well.

RL and I switched bikes again and when I removed the Power Grips pedals I left them on my truck’s bumper. Yeah, you know what happened next.. bye bye Power Grips. Too bad because I was going to give them a go on my other bikes. So what am I going to install on my Swobo Sanchez? I have a pair of Crank Bros Quattro pedals that are not getting riding time, this means that I’m gonna have to find some Vans shoes that are clipless compatible.

A few weeks ago, I posted a “first look�? at the Seattle Sports Fast Pack waterproof pannier.

I’ve had a chance to really ride with this bag — and I LOVE it!! The bag has carried some heavy loads (dress shoes, a stack of big library books, groceries) and has remained absolutely waterproof through some brutal late-summer Florida rainstorms.

In my earlier post, I talked about the great attachment system. The combination of rigid clips and a rotating toggle have made this bag impervious to shifting or “jumping�? off the rear rack of my bike, even with a 20 lb. load in it. It doesn’t rattle or sway in any way. Here’s a look at the attachment system for those who missed my earlier article:

I also really enjoy the ease with which I can open and close the bag to fill it and remove items. I was using some cheapie Nashbar-branded panniers before I got this bag to review, and with that one I have to unclip two buckles, flip open a flap and then undo a drawstring to get at my goodies. With the Seattle Sports pannier, I merely unclip the buckle and roll the top twice to open it. Reclosing it is just as simple — two quick rolls with my wrists, clip the buckle and I’m off!

The fabric, besides being completely waterproof, has also proved to be quite durable. It doesn’t show any signs of wear, even after I scraped that side of the bike against a narrow concrete passageway I sometimes pass through on my way to work. Sharp corners of books that I’ve carried haven’t damaged the bag in any way, either.

I still dislike the inky black interior of the bag — I wish the bag was lined with a lighter-colored material to help me find small items in the bottom, but in practice this really hasn’t caused me any problems.

In any case, this Seattle Sports Fast Pack bag appears to be just the ticket if you have stout commuting loads, live in wet areas and are tired of your other panniers flapping and jingling as you ride. For more information and pricing, take a look at Seattle Sports’ bike gear page.

Now, if I could only scrape together enough cash to buy one for the other side!

From LAist:

A cyclist westbound on Hollywood Boulevard hears a loud horn behind him as he rides in the right side of the #2 lane, alongside a row of parked cars and dangerously close to the door zone.

The motorist with the heavy horn hand turns out to be Metro Bus Driver #XXXXX and she passes the cyclist so closely that his left hand touches the side of the bus as it speeds past him. The number #1 lane is empty and nothing serves to prevent the bus driver from changing lanes to pass the cyclist except for a failure on her part to acknowledge the cyclist’s right to ride the streets of Los Angeles without having his life threatened.

The bus proceeds down Hollywood Boulevard to a bus stop at Wilton and stops. The cyclist pulls up on the driver’s side of the bus and addresses the bus driver informing her that honking at a cyclist with no room to spare will only serve to startle the cyclist and cause a dangerous situation and that as a professional driver she should know that if the lane is too narrow to share, she should change lanes in order to pass without endangering the safety of the cyclist.

The driver screams “You were in my way. You need to get off the road!? She slams the window shut.

The cyclist, who would have accepted a “Sorry, my bad!? and called it a day, pulled in front of the bus and informed the driver that he was calling the police to report the driver for Assault with a Deadly Weapon, the bus. She screams, points at her watch, tells the cyclist to move and puts the bus in gear.

To continue reading click here.

I woke up this morning just itching to go fishing. But I really wanted to go out for a ride. With the busy schedule I’ve had, it’s been a while since I’ve been on a bike. So I took the Nirve Ultraliner, strapped down my fishing pole and rode out to one of the local canals.

The ride itself was awesome. The temperature was cool and a breeze was constantly blowing. It felt great being back on the saddle again. Going fishing at this point was just an added bonus.

I definitely have to do this more often. The combination of riding a bike and fishing is definitely a plus in my book.