Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The problem with the bike

I got an Avanti Blade 2 about July last year, and up until recently, have had no problems. Last Thursday night, however, I was about to ride to Civic for a night of alcohol-fueled fun, when I accidentally bent the rear wheel. I have to say, this was entirely my own fault, I won't go into details, but it wasn't a manufacturing issue. Anyway, it looked like a capital C, this wheel. Fuck, I thought, and found another way into Civic for the night (incidentally, my year 7 English teacher gave me a lift). The following day I took the wheel to the bike shop, where the man gave me a free emergency true (he hit the wheel on the ground until it was straightish). This wasn't enough though, the wheel wouldn't go round. I went back, and bought a new wheel for $110. He changed the gears and the tire over, I paid and left. That was where it should have ended.

On Monday, I cycled into the ANU for some pre-enrollment stuff; when I got there, just as I was about to pull up and get off my bike, the chain came off. No problems, I thought, I'll put it back on, and be on my merry way. WRONG. The chain had come off and become jammed between the gears and the spokes. This bent the spokes and, as a result, the wheel. It wouldn't go round any more. Caught halfway between a bike shop and my next destination, there was nothing for it but an emergency true (I hit the wheel against the ground for a bit).

In the end, I got to my next destination, with my bike. But I had to call in a lift home again, because the wheel re-bent a bit. So now, I have to take the new wheel to the bike shop, and give them yet more money. On the plus side, I've discovered the only (thus far) flaw in the bike, and I've Isolated a problem that was bound to get me one day anyway, but in an infinitely worse time and place, during a chase from angry drug-lords for instance.

The problem was with the derailleur; when I got the new wheel, I should have adjusted it a bit. Oh well, now I know, and have fixed it.

The flaw with the bike, which is irritating, but not fault-inducing, is the positioning of the brake-pads. The pads themselves are located between the rear forks and the wheel, nothing TOO unusual, but... there isn't enough clearance (room) to take the wheel out easily without deflating the tires; even after you've disconnected the brakes. This is incredibly annoying when you're trying to do an emergency true with no tools in the hot sun, as to check the wheel, you have to put it back into place, then remove it again frequently. This is SO FUCKING PAINFUL when you can't do it without applying most of your weight. On top of that, if, as I did, you have to disconnect the rear brakes in order to ride, you also have to twist them and pull them until they're on the other side of the frame, a very difficult thing to do, especially without tools.

Basically, the brakes need a redesign. Look out for Blade 3.