Friday, November 30, 2007

e-bike tweek

I added a shiny new part to the e-bike yesterday and am very excited. The lowest chainring had gotten bent somehow, probably climbing a steep hill with a dead battery, although I feel that a lot of this bike was already due for replacement when I found it by the Dempsey Dumpster(tm).

The way it was bent looked impossible to correct without mangling the other gears; besides I figured it would get broken again. Also, this gave me the opportunity to get a both a little faster gearing on the top (44 teef vs. 42) and a little lower one (22 teef vs. 24) on the small chainring to give me more relevant pedaling speeds on the fairway and help climbing aforementioned big hills.

Original equipment was one of those cheap cranksets with all the sprockets riveted on; the upgrade (Shimano M440) has replaceable ones in case this happens again.

The main thing is, it's a shiny new part, resplendent in the black and silver scheme that covers the rest of the bike. It really makes the cheap metal and plastic pedals it's attached to look like crap. They are actually rusted and screaming for replacement. I might just repaint them for thriftiness's sake. Also, the seat is quite tattered and corroded; I figure you don't want a bike to look too nice on the mean streets.

I researched this crankset a lot on line before taking it to a local bike shop in my parents' town. They did a surprizingly good job, fixing it while I was at lunch at a cost much less than I was expecting! They had to use a different bracket (they gave me a used one cheap) as the new crankset was lower profile than the original. I am glad I didn't take on this project myself as I would have spent two weeks even getting the right parts. That would have meant missed rides, and extra gas expenses.

Interestingly, this crankset is a 9-speed dealie, which means it can work with narrower chains than came with my 7-speed setup. I just had the rear cassette (and chain) replaced---an expensive, frustrating experience---but now if it ever goes I can theoretically add more gears there too. Anyway, the new part is better than the originally but it was still pretty cheap. Which makes me a happy man.