Sunday, February 3, 2013


It is extremely rare for me to get frustrated to the point where I simply walk away from a project in dismay and agitation. I did it today. I've been trying to figure out what to do with my Alma frame and the other day I slowly started putting it together with old XT stuff I had in boxes. I did not have any extra brake pads so I bought new ones for the blue bike yesterday and was going to use the existing ones on ole blue for the Alma. Seemed like a great idea. This morning I went down made the swap. The Alma is in excellent shape despite all the mileage the drivetrain has seen. Threw the pads on and no squeal. Good power. 

I decided to hop on the SS and go for a longer ride. Immediately I was irritated with the brake squeal. If you don't know me...this kind of shit drives me insane. I stopped several times to adjust them but they kept squealing. I eventually came home and started from scratch and then I thought while I was at it I might as well install 2 of the brand new rotors I have laying around. This is where things took a turn. Now...I'm already having trouble getting the brakes dialed in. Mind you...they worked flawlessly with the older pads. I washed the new rotors in Dawn and then went down to remove the old rotors. 

The first bolt came out just fine. The second one twisted the 3 mm Allen wrench on my multi-tool. I was shocked. I grabbed a socket Allen, a driver and a ratchet. The head of the bolt rounded right out. Then I grabbed the Dremel to cut a slit in the bolt for a big straight blade screwdriver. The head of the bolt just broke in half. I was in disbelief. I got the rest of the bolts out and removed the rotor to find about 1.5mm of thread hanging out. With all the pressure off it there shouldn't be any issues??!! Wrong. Nothing. I ground it flat and then used the worlds smallest drill bit and nervously started. I have drilled out 100's of bolts but none of them have been in a really expensive hub before. The pilot hole was straight and eventually popped out the back. I had 2 really small EZ Outs in the toolbox but for some reason I was scared to use them. Eventually I grabbed the smaller of the 2 and put it in the pilot hole and gently tapped it. Then I grabbed a Vice Grips and slowly turned it. It turned a little but had not bitten into the bolt yet so I went a little further.

I could not friggin' believe when I saw this happen. My father was a tool thrower. I try to be better. I set the wheel down, got up and walked outside. I eventually went back in the garage and the hub was still cracked. I installed the new rotor with 5 bolts instead of 6 but it's not gonna work. Mike Curiak built these wheels for me in 2009. They've seen a lot of trail but this should not have happened. I can't imagine Hope is going to be willing to help out but I'll call them in the morning and see.

I think if I did it all over again, I'd probably play it the same way. Maybe I should have removed the bearings and seals and torched what was left of the bolt? I think it was bound to be a problem. These bolts are only held on with a little torque. I'm still baffled. And pissed off. Mike...I'll probably be calling you tomorrow too. Here's to "hoping" you have time to build me a front wheel.

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