Steel Is Real
Hi folks, welcome back to Colorado and my Serotta rebuild. First, I must say, this bike was a workhorse and fun to ride. I recorded my fastest cycling speed on this bike — 63 miles per hour. I did this descending the north dam of Horsetooth Reservoir, outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. The Serotta descended as if it was on rails — it was awesome! In recent years, I've been into the 50-mile-per-hour range quite a bit, but that's about my comfort limit on light carbon bikes. The Treks just aren't as stable at speed. I think it has to do with their ultra-light weights and some geometry differences, albeit Trek geometry is similar to the Serotta. Moreover, when carbon decides to die, it just breaks; there is no initial deformation to catch in a once-over. That is always in the back of my mind when speeds start to get serious.
Let's continue on to the wheel bearings. The rear hub pawl race looked good. Right side ball bearings drop into a bearing race behind the yellow seal. I like the simplicity of older hubs. Drop in the bearings and go; there's no need to press-fit anything, just remove, clean and repack.
Instead of dry and cracked, the old grease was almost a liquid. The pawls and springs just fell out into my hand. Bearing cones looked evenly worn and were in good shape. You probably already know this, but notice how the pawls are spring-loaded. This keeps them engaged in the hub pawl race (see previous pawl race pic) while pedaling. When coasting the hub keeps spinning while compressing the pawl springs. Hence, the buzzzzz noise when not pedaling.
Everybody cleaned up nicely after a bath. When working with loose ball bearings, always keep an eye out for different size bearings. Label each side as you remove the bearings. Be careful; they like to drop into and hide in a hollow axle during disassembly. The above example shows smaller bearings on the drive side (right side). The non-drive side has larger bearings. Moreover, bearing quantities can differ. Above, the drive side has 10 bearings, whereas the opposite race holds 9.
If you lose a bearing, just go shoot yourself because it's all over! At least that's how I've felt in the past. Just go to a good service shop and purchase what you lost. In general, common old hub ball bearings tend to be 1/4- and/or 1/8-inch balls. Use a micrometer to make sure. If your bearing cones are shot, buy new bearings with the new cones. Identical bearing cones may be hard to come by over the counter. However, a shop can probably order what you need.
The little tool compresses the pawl springs while you drop the free hub into its bay (race). It may take a few tries. Make sure the O-ring seal doesn't hang up outside its groove as you slide the hub into position. The good thing is only one way works; you will know when the hub is correctly installed. I made a mess with grease trying to get the pawls where I wanted them. A wire tie can be used in place of the shown tool.
Viola! After the drive side, I cleaned and packed the non-drive side, adjusted bearing play, and called it a done deal.
Clean cogs are happy cogs. Since you have to remove them, you might as well degrease them. I got to reminiscing here. The Serotta's gearing is 53/39 up front, with an 8-speed 12/23 cassette on the back. The numbers refer to the number of teeth on each chainring (front) or cog (rear). Back in the day, this was the gearing I always used, even when climbing. Now I run a compact 50/34 up front with a 10-speed 11/25 cassette on the back. I've become fat and lazy or wise and less macho — hopefully the latter. I'm even thinking of changing my current 11/25 to an 11/28 (the limit of my rear derailleur).
I was a bit disappointed in this wheelset. The braking surface had a ceramic coating to facilitate better braking in all conditions. Eventually, it started peeling off. Hopefully, this is only a weak spot, as the peeling doesn't appear to be occurring elsewhere.
Since handling the bike with greasy hands is now minimal, it's time for some fresh bar tape.
Here's some nice lug work at the intersection of the seat-tube, top-tube and seat-stays.
The carbon filament winding of the Wound Up fork is doing funky disco stuff in the camera flash. You ought to see it in the sun - very cool. The Wound Up fork is not original. The below paragraphs summarize why I have this fork. Carbon was still relatively new in cycling when I purchased the fork. Wound Up had won a "fork shootout" in a cycling mag, so I ordered one. I loved it. It actually enhanced the Serotta's ride. Wound Up Composites are a part of Advanced Composites, Incorporated, an aerospace company.
About 8 months after acquiring the Serotta, I was taking a Thanksgiving morning ride over the Colorado National Monument. It was cold. There was snow on the ground. Better yet, there was snow on all shaded areas of asphalt. Most of the snow was packed well, with lots of embedded sand. There was the occasional non-sanded patch of ice too, it goes with the turf. In a nutshell, I could ride most of the snowpacked asphalt without too much trouble, if slow and careful. Well, slow and careful put me into the flagstone security wall lining scenic Rim Rock Drive. Beyond the wall, several feet of desert shrub was followed by several hundred near-vertical feet of Wingate Sandstone. The above video screen capture is in the area where I hit the wall.
After hitting the patch of ice, I managed to instantly click out of my pedals, hit the wall at an angle, and manage to sprawl myself out flat on top of the wall. Seconds later, my bike was on the wall's safe side, I was still holding onto the handlebars with a death-grip, and I was cursing myself for being stupid and/or cocky. My steel forks were a mess — bent asymmetrically backward. My front wheel wouldn't spin between the brake calipers, so I had to perform some easy brake surgery. I rode the next 25-miles lopsided, and without front brakes. Moreover, I still had to descend off of the top of the Monument. I didn't own a cell phone yet, I didn't have any change for a public phone, and I didn't want to mooch. It was what it was!
The above video screen capture (near where I hit wall), shows how precarious Rim Rock Drive can be.
Here she be! Left side...
As for the remainder of the bike, cleaning and lubing the brake calipers was not a problem. Cleaning and repacking the front hub bearings was a no-brainer as well. Everything was in good shape. Perhaps a bit grease/oil-thirsty is all. Tires are starting to weather, but not bad. I did install new tubes. Ergo shifters appear to be ratcheting as good as can be expected. The front derailleur is ready for action, whereas the rear derailleur is tired and is going to take some finessing to adjust well.
All said and done, the steel Serotta Atlanta weighs in at 21.5 pounds. For comparison, my carbon Trek Madone 5.2 Pro, weighs in at 16.5 pounds. In addition, my aluminum Giant 29er hardtail mountain bike, weighs in at 23 pounds. Changing to a carbon Wound Up fork on the Serotta lowered its weight by at least 2 pounds.