Monday, 4 April 2011

Clean and lube

One of the delights of a dry trial in Lincolnshire was that the bike was ‘relatively’ clean post trial. I let what crud there was dry off before taking a stick to it to get any lumps off and then set to with a dry brush to remove what is left. Courtesy of Asda I use there 69p washing up brush, keep it away from the oily stuff and it will last a couple of months.  One of the mod's i had done midweek was to add some gaffer tape to the rear edge of the front mudguard to try and prevent the build up of muck around the front pipe during a trial, the root cause of which is the front wheel, not only does it look a mess but its difficult to get off post rial and during the trial does nothing for cooling as the barrel fins quickly become clogged and the exhaust pipe can often be buried under an inch or more of peat/ moorland/ cows**t within minutes of starting a trial.

The post trial pic of the front of the bike proves that this mod was successful. like wise the massive clearance around the rear wheel is visible in the other snap. one advantage of buying a southern made frame was that the rear clearances are massive, you can literally get your hand in most of the way around the inside of the swinging arm.

The photo also betrays the origins of the silencers tail pipe..  28mm copper, straight from the back of my van. a little modification to a 45 degree socket soldered to a small length of tube and the whole lot fixed to the silendcer with a very tight staright copper socket. All sprayed up with heat resistant paint, I was sceptical at first but 3 months down the line its proved durable and effective.

Whilst at Pennine Trialsports last week Andy showed me his own bike cleaner. Most riders of modern bikes opt for something like traffic film remover or branded cleaners some of which can leave a white or opaque residue so Andy’s come up with a product that lifts the muck and leaves the bike clean a big claim but one worth testing.

I squirted the stuff on quite liberally and used about an inch or so out of the bottle leaving enough for another 7 or 8 washes and  went and had a brew. A couple of  chocolate digestives later and I hosed the bike off, I always put a plastic bag or rubber glove over the air filter and try to keep away from the open end of the silencer and not to spray directly on the wheel bearings.
I was pleasantly surprised the remaining crud came off very easily and left the shiny bits definitely brighter than with soap and water alone. A result. To celebrate I even dug out and old tub of turtle wax and gave the tank a quick rub down (luckily the ty80 tank is very small as polishing is not a strong point!

I put the bike up on the stand and oiled the chain; I had been in a Lidl recently and could not resist thier own brand chain cleaner at only 1.19 for a stonking big can and engine de greaser for the same money. ( half a dozen cans of each 'fell'' into the shopping basket alongside the bacon for Sundays butties) I do not want to sound cheap but the stuff works…  To lube the chain I use a ‘white’ Teflon product… Harking back to my cycling days I make sure that I lube the rollers from above and below and the side plates, the critical areas been where the rollers meet the side plates as this is where the most movement occurs. I normally lube at the engine sprocket end between the sprocket and the swinging arm spindle this is accessible and any over spray is restricted to the engine cases around the sprocket.

I also like to take at least one wheel off to check the free movement of the brake armature and to clean out the drum (if the trial has been wet or muddy both wheels would come off and be left off at least over night. I had to learn this the hard way as once after a wet trial I left a bike untouched for a couple of weeks and only when I cam to push it into the van for the next trial did I notice that the friction surface had delaminated from the shoe so no sport that day! 
With the wheel off and the brake plate off all the muck was cleaned out and the shoes removed I cleaned up the metal work on the shoes with a flat screwdriver and my plumbers ‘Yorkshire Pads’ and reassemble after lubing the springs lightly and the pivot point and armature, re assembled I gave the brake arm a couple of dozen travels though its maximum movement to ensure all was free and easy before putting the wheel back on the bike.

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