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Friday, December 7, 2012

Fat Chance Buddy

Some folks are gonna click past this post because they have more important things to do like clip their toe nails, sweep the front porch, or watch paint dry because they just don't know how rad this bike really is/was.

Others folks.... well, other folks are going to sit back in their chairs, sip on some coffee and let their mind take them back to a day when steel wasn't only real, it was almost the only choice a rider had while in the procurement stage of acquiring a new rig in which to ride through the woods with.

I never had one of these. Even though I worked in a shop in the early 90's that carried the brand, I was in my late teens and the thought of dropping that much cash on a bike was beyond me. After all, I nearly went broke just trying to get a Rock Shox Mag 21 on my (then) current bike. No, owning a Fat Chance meant that you were either sponsored or had a job that probably required you wear something other than a T-shirt and skate shoes to "the office".

As if ponying up for a Fat Chance wasn't enough, there's no way you would EVER build it up with anything other than XTR... something else that my status as "junior mechanic" wouldn't allow me to afford back then. Shit, come to think of it, I still can't afford XTR! No, all I could do with XTR back then was drool on it while adjusting its tiny bits and dream of a day when my bike would be adorned with such componentrial wizardry.



Ahh, cantilever brakes. I can almost hear dry leaves stuck in the straddle cable from here. Adjusting cantilever brakes is sooooo easy. (you can skip this part if you're not into dry humor, even though the following statements are completely true and legitimate) All you need to do is make sure that your brake pad angle is set so the brake pad posts are perpendicular from the rim and the trailing end of the pads contact the rim juuuussst before the leading end (known as toe in). Not doing this step means that your brakes will probably squeal as well as lack power which is important as canti brakes don't have a ton of power to begin with. The pads need to hit the rims braking surface in the center. If the pads are too high, you'll cut the sidewall of your tire. Too low and your pads will develop a "lip" on the bottom causing the pad to hang up slightly on the rim. Also, not having full brake pad/rim contact results in brakes that lack power. Don't forget to check for low spots on the rim while adjusting the position of the pad. A low spot on the rim means that the brake pad will hit the tire resulting in a cut sidewall (and probably lack of power). The angle of the brake arm in relationship to the rim is also critical and changes dependent on brand and style. On this particular brake (WTB) the arms worked best at a 45-ish degree angle. If your brake arms aren't set properly, the brake will lack power. Now that your brake arms and pads have been simultaneously adjusted, you need to have the straddle cable carrier (the piece that looks like a silver triangle thingy) positioned so the straddle cable itself is at a 90 degree angle with the brake applied. If the angle is too steep, the brakes will lack power. If the angle isn't steep enough, the brake lever will feel "spongy".... and lack power. So, now hook up your straddle cable and you're all set. That's it! Of course, this all changes after you ride through the first couple of mud holes and the brake pads wear down throwing off all of your angles.... resulting in a brake with a lack of power.

lack of power!

Last, but certainly not least, was the Nuke Proof hub. Ahh Nuke Proof. Something else that was (fortunately) out of my price range back then. This hub had aluminum flanges bonded to a carbon (yup... carbon) shell. Most of these puppies failed. Seems as though the glue that did the bonding of the flanges to the shell wasn't "gluie"  enough. This always resulted in an interesting warranty claim requiring the wheel to be dis-assembled and the hub sent back to the manufacturer resulting in an unrideable bike for a couple of weeks. After a successful warranty claim, the hub would get sent back to the shop, a mechanic would re-build the wheel with new spokes, nipples and rim tape. Then the customer and shop manager would have an hour long discussion about who's financially responsible for what aspects of the "warranty" which usually resulted in a pissed off customer, pissed off shop manager and a remaining quantity of  267mm spokes that was just shy of a complete build. Ahh, Nuke Proof.

In closing, I'd just like to say.....
lack of power!

1 comment:

tomi said...

sweet ride, would be a bit sweeter w/ some Z-Max sneakers on those hoops.