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Your biggest mechanical blunder EVER!(25 posts)

Your biggest mechanical blunder EVER!TSlothrop
Feb 18, 2002 10:07 AM
I was wondering what peoples worst technical gaffes have been with their bikes?
I've just made a fairly major one involving a Cannondale frame and a faulty bottle cage bolt. (and I will continue to maintain that it is the bolt that was at fault and not my own stupidity). I just need to figure out where I'm going to carry a second bottle from here on.
bent derailleur hangerweiwentg
Feb 18, 2002 10:25 AM
I tried bending it back. it didn't bend enough. I bent it a bit more. there was a 'crack' sound. oh s--t. it was still attached, but obviously it was cracked. it was still a bit out of alignment. so, I thought, what the heck. may as well give it another shot ... and needless to say, I broke the damn hangar.
wait, it gets worse. there was a ride the next day, and I thought, what the heck, I'll show up on a singlespeed. so, I shortened my chain. the problem was that I made the chain too short. so, I added one link. and then I thought that it was just one link too short, so I added another. in the end I had a chain with something like 6 stiff links.
thus ends the story of my worst mechanical blunder.
re: Your biggest mechanical blunder EVER!IAM
Feb 18, 2002 10:31 AM
I hadn't rode my old MTB for a while but I do remember that it was me that adjusted the brakes. Two weekends ago my son and I go for a ride. I kept hearing this rubbing noise from the front brake and thought the wheel wasn't true. Guess what, I was wrong. The brake was adjusted too high and was rubbing on the tire and wore through it and the tube, hisssss.

Not really that big of a deal but I did feel pretty stupid. Oh well we had a nice walk and talk on the way home.
didn't some dude chop his steerer too short?nm
Feb 18, 2002 10:35 AM
on a $500 Colnago fork or something?
I think that honor went to Dog and the fork was $800...nmPsyDoc
Feb 18, 2002 10:43 AM
I'll never live that down, will I?Dog
Feb 18, 2002 2:43 PM
Yes, chopped a Star Carbon fork too short. Not destroyed, but just looking for a home on a 50cm or smaller frame...

Doug
I have a 49lonefrontranger
Feb 18, 2002 3:04 PM
Don't know if the Dream Plus really NEEDS a Star fork, but I might be interested (don't really have the $$ right now, tho).
make you a dealDog
Feb 18, 2002 5:49 PM
Here it is: http://www.midcalracing.com/bikephotos.htm#fork

Of course, it's the one Colnago fork, I think, that has the matching paint scheme -- Geo. That narrows the market a bit, unless you just like it.

The steer tube is just under 7 inches, as shown on the photos. With my 54cm frame and no spacers, that made it just under 1/2 inch too short with an ITM Millenium stem.

Can e-mail to douglassloan@yahoo.com if you're interested. I've had it for over a year, so I'd take just about anything, maybe even trade something.

Doug
with out a doubt...g-money
Feb 18, 2002 10:42 AM
Bending the aluminum drop outs on a carbon fork installing the crown race. Never even thought about the aluminum or the angles involved. F-ed it up REALLY bad. Plus chanked up the race as well. So just botched all the way around....

Cheers..
I was working as a shop mech at the time...lonefrontranger
Feb 18, 2002 11:17 AM
and BOY am I glad it was my own bike I did this to!

I got my new Redline frameset, and was too impatient to wait for the shop's owner's kid to bring back the facing tool he "borrowed" (which led to a "no remove tools from the shop" policy, but that's another tale).

So I figure the threads in the BB shell are "clean enough" without being chased, and start to install the BB. Driveside went in fine, and I'm figuring I'm home free. About halfway in, I noticed the non-drive cup was getting really stiff. Oh sh1t! So I start to remove it, and sure'nuf, it's seized, but good. I crank on it, nothing. The six-foot wrench next to me cranks on it, with me hanging onto the stand, nothing.

At this point, we resort to the engineer's maxim: when in doubt use a BFH. This is when the breaker bars appear. The 18" breaker bar barely moves it, and now it's tighter than ever. The squealing sound the cup is making along with our grunts / muffled curses is starting to make the customers in the front nervous. This is why the shop mechs are caged in a back room with "Employees Only past this point" signs, in case you ever wondered.

Now the shop owner has seen our dilemma, and (besides laughing his ass off at us) comes to our rescue. He gets out "Big Bertha", which was a previously unknown-to-us SIX FOOT breaker bar (can see why he kept it hidden). The shop owner in this instance is a 6'2" 260-lb dude, and the spare pounds aren't fat, let me tell you. With him on the business end of Big Bertha, me hanging onto the fork, and the other shop rat hanging off the rear stays (the torque actually lifted him off his feet a couple times) the owner proceeds to tear the heck out of my BB shell, but the offending cup slowly...with much tortured shrieking...ever-so-slowly...backs out. By the time it finally comes out, the seat tube is so hot, I can't touch it, and the cup itself is literally smoking. The non-drive threads are now mangled beyond belief.

The customers have all left the shop by this point. I'm sure the sounds of tortured metal and curses emanating from the back had nothing to do with that.

Fortunately, the missing frame prep tools magically appear the next day, and I was able to salvage enough material in the shell to install a new cup. Worked like a charm, and never had trouble with the bike.

Hope the new owner never removes that BB and sees the aftermath of the threads ;-) (hint: they work, but it ain't pretty).
chick mechanics...DD
Feb 18, 2002 11:29 AM
I hope you didn't (or ever will) sell that frame without full disclosure
sold it last falllonefrontranger
Feb 18, 2002 1:17 PM
to a gal at my work. $300 for complete bike, and all the parts were in reasonable condition. I told her about the BB threading, but she will be using strictly for commute, etc... She wanted an affordable beater that would give a faster bike split than her Raleigh hybrid at the local tri. Ask for a beater, get a beater.
That story should win a prize!allervite
Feb 18, 2002 11:31 AM
You are the master of the FUBAR save! I'm not even gonna post my pathetic story.
please post! please post!lonefrontranger
Feb 18, 2002 1:13 PM
They're ALL good, and oftentimes stories like this can prevent someone else from making the same mistake.
not as bad butgrandemamou
Feb 18, 2002 12:12 PM
I did not remove my bb bracket for several years on my Peugot. She was 3rd string and I didn't ride her alot. O.K. it was more than a few years. It was completely seized. Tried heating it, soaking it and the BFH. Nothing worked. I had a friend cut it out with a pencil grinder. Luckily there were just enough threads to get a new BB on.

Moral of the story. Even if it's not your pride and joy any more you still have to do basic maint.
A long time ago...tempeteKerouak
Feb 18, 2002 12:21 PM
I think I was 13. I decided I wanted to paint my 3 speed Sturmey-Archer Raleigh road bike. (well, it had drop bars, so it was a road bike, ok?). After doing it all wrong, I realised I couldn't paint without taking the thing apart. So I did, all the while deciding to clean everything at the same time.

When time came to rebuild, I just picked the pieces from the garage floor, soaking in the thinner filled margarine plastic container, envelopped in a dirty rag...

Then I went for a ride. It felt like a new bike all right. I was going to a friend's house to show-off. There were two close sets of trafic lights... I went for a hard sprint to make it through the first trafic light and saw the second turn yellow. So I sat up and let go of the handlebar. I remember casualy resting my arms and hands at my side. Then something went wrong. Bearing missing? I am not sure and will never know. But the front wheel blocked and bucked.

I only remember the feeling of the hot asphalt against my face. When I came back from lalaland, I was surrounded by horrified faces and distorted sounds. I got up, saw the blood, felt the pain, got BACK on the bike! ( I had to pull and twist seat and bar) and proceded to slowly ride back home. (I don't really remember that part...) The bike was a mess, needless to say. (I threw it out the next day)

I came home and crawled in the bathroom and looked at my face. That's when I started to cry. My brother came in and saw my profile... then I turned toward him. He was repulsed! I had the side of my face missing! From forehead to chin, no skin. Bruises, cuts, bumps, open sores. I spent the summer with a cornflakes-like crust, worried it would never heal. Luckily, I was the type that could only look better from any accident anyway... hi hi hi! (it took two years to go and I am fine now.)

1) wear a helmet. It happened so fast I did not even protect myself with my hands. Head and shoulder took the whole impact.
2) Always count your bearing, and don't loose them over stupid paint colors.
They're called conesmr_spin
Feb 18, 2002 12:48 PM
When I was in 6th grade, I decided to clean up the old Sears special to make it screaming fast. There was a big ride coming up (15 miles!) and I wanted a clean machine. So I took everything apart and thoroughly cleaned it. Then I put most of it back. A few bearings got away, but no big deal. And none of that messy grease--that was the problem in the first place!

So the ride begins and I am cruising along when it starts getting a little shaky and I hear a strange noise. I stop and look, but it all looks normal to me. Ride some more. The shaking gets even worse. Another look, nothing wrong. Finally the back end gets really loose. Now I have to really inspect this thing. And suddenly the problem becomes apparent. I didn't know what they were called then, or how to adjust them, but the cones were completely loose and the hub was basically flopping around on the rear axle. You want play, but 1/4 inch each direction is too much. The bearings were also gone.

I didn't have a toolkit, and there was no one to take me home, so I had to finish the ride like that. I tightened the cones by hand to keep the wheel generally centered, and I had to retighten them every mile or so. To my dad's credit, he never said a thing! He got new bearings, put it back together, and I never took it apart again.
re: Your biggest mechanical blunder EVER!look271
Feb 18, 2002 4:50 PM
In an never-ending search to save grams,I foolishly swapped out my nice steel chain-ring bolts for aluminum ones and swapped out the wheels on my rear derailer with "lighter, easier rolling ones". What a bone-headed thing to do! The bolts failed at one point, coming off and then twisting the chainring so that I had to walk home. The pulleys? One seized up, causing the rear derailer to bend the hanger, stopping the bike IMMEDIATELY. Call to wife, brought me home. Fortunately, the shop was able to bend the hanger (it was not replaceable) back so that I didn't have to trash the frame.
re: Your biggest mechanical blunder EVER!walter
Feb 18, 2002 6:46 PM
As a youngster of maybe 12 or so I had a pile of bike parts and a few that were actually intact. I had access to my father's wrenches but no bike-specific tools (and no knowledge on how to use one even if I had one). Anyways for some reason I wanted a chain off an old frame to put on some new project. How to get the chain off? Well if you hacksaw a chainstay (I didn't know the term then)you could slide the chain out of the frame easy enough. As I'm sawing away my father asks what I'm up to and I explain my latest greatest project to him. He stands and watches and after I'm done and proudly holding an intact chain in my hand innocently asks me how I'm going to install it on the intended bike? As he walks back into the house he leaves with the advice to not hacksaw the frame I intend to ride.
re: Your biggest mechanical blunder EVER!mosovich
Feb 18, 2002 8:30 PM
Built up new bike, forgot to recheck all bolts and such. After 10 miles, my right crankarm came off and it was so screwed up that I had wallowed out the crank arm and had to get a new set of cranks. I never leave home now without tightening or cking the cranks arms.
Wheel-less wheelieStraightblock
Feb 18, 2002 10:56 PM
Back when I was a kid, I'd fixed a front flat on the old Huffy Stingray wannabe, but failed to tighted the axle nuts. Zooming up and down the street in front of my house, I didn't notice the wobbly wheel & decided to pop a wheelie. I pulled up on the bars & the front wheel just rolled out of the way. When I came down the fork buried into the asphalt & I endo'd. Somehow I managed not to land on my head & ended up with just scrapes & bruises.

Years later I was replacing the worn-out Ofmega headset on my first "real" bike & found the fork crown race on the Campy headset I bought had a smaller I.D. than the Ofmega. Rather than take it to the LBS, I took the fork to my school's metal shop and chucked it up in the lathe, of course forgetting "measure twice, cut once." One cut and a few too many thousanths later, the new Campy race now rattled loose on the fork crown. After a few minutes of feeling like I wanted to throw up, I slunk over to the teacher & showed him my mistake. Luckily I hadn't gone too far & he showed me how to build the crown diameter up a few thousanths with a center punch, just enough to get a good light press fit. The fork & headset held up for a few more years as a winter trainer & commuter before I finally sold the bike.
them dents give it characterkcd
Feb 19, 2002 12:34 AM
got this old 6spd that will not die. been trying to unseize the stem on it for months now. taken it to maybe 3 different LBS w/o luck. even posted on this board for help. during one of my frustrating efforts, i started banging away at it with my steel hammer...needless to say, it was a mistake. didn't have a rubber mallet at the time but i have one now. them dents give it character, in a way. still working on the seized stem. gonna give it the heat treatment next. got this old hair dryer looking gizmo that was last used to remove caulking from around the bath tub....
"What about the stem?"Dream plus
Feb 19, 2002 8:42 AM
I broke my mtb fork at Snowshoe last year. Scrambled for a replacement and found a nice SID for more than I wanted to pay but what the heck. I'd already removed the fork. The mechanic measured the steer tube twice, added some spacers and even used a Park cutting guide with cutting oil. After replacing the crown races, I noticed something didn't look right. Then I asked "What about the stem?" It was then the mechanic realized he didn't add the stem height. Argh!
"What about the stem?"mhinman
Feb 19, 2002 11:39 AM
That is why I always cut the steer last after I have set the race, and done a full trial fit with the steerer poking up from the top of the stem.
new chain..to short...jrm
Feb 19, 2002 8:49 AM
Sucked up the rear derailleur and twisted the hanger. All this while on the way to work.