Broken Bike Bits 2
I watched as Willy tightened all my spokes.
'Do you know what you are doing?'
'Oh yes', he said.
The next day I went for a ride into the mountains with Nico.
Even before we got out of the town I realised I had a big problem.
As I rode slowly down the road I stood up and looked at my front wheel over the fairing. It was wobbling like mad from side to side.
Willy had completely fucked it up. Brilliant.
I explained the situation to Nico and we abandoned our ride. He took me straight to his own mechanic who removed the wheels and took them to a professional wheel builder.
That was six months ago in Cuenca, Ecuador.
Fabricio had just had my lovely new tyres fitted and I was admiring them from a distance. They were my favourite tyres that gave really good grip and lasted the longest time. The rear wheel rim was covered in the usual mixture of dirt and oil from the automatic chain oiler. I knelt down besides my bike and took a closer look.
Whilst admiring my lovely new rear tyre I noticed a large dent in the rim.
The wheel was still very dirty but something else caught my eye. There was a thin line besides one of the adjacent spokes. A closer inspection revealed an 8cm crack that went through two spokes.
After cleaning the rim I found another eight cracks. Every forward pointing spoke on the right side had the same problem.
The relacing in Cuenca had been done far too tightly. The KTM spokes are much thicker and stronger than most bikes. This means that the wheel builder tends to make them much tighter than they should be.
Luckily Fabricio found a smuggled black Excel rim the right size. When we went to pick the wheel up he hit a few spokes with a spanner.
They all rang. They were all too tight.
It had happened again.
Visit www.fowb.co.uk for more details on this and previous trips.
Posted by Jeremy Bullard at November 02, 2004 08:20 PM GMT