I needed (wanted?) a new bicycle. The old one was still ok, but severely outdated in many ways and while I could replace and upgrade some parts, it just made no financial sense to do that. Thus a new bicycle it was. Assisted or not was an open question for a long time. I like those points:

  • easier climbing up hills (there’s plenty here)
  • being able to go further

I did not like those points though:

  • additional stuff which can break or needs maintenance (motor, battery)
  • additional weight
  • need to charge
  • price

In the end it became the Specialized Vado SL 4.0 EQ (2021 model) as it was almost perfect: it’s relatively light for an e-bike, without assist function it’s pretty much a normal bicycle (the motor does not interfere), and the price is, while not cheap, acceptable. The 2022 model is quite a bit more expensive and I would not have bought that one. I really wanted a removable battery as it would make charging easier, but it looks better as it is. I can live with that.

My new bicycle. The bag is an Ortlieb Single-Bag.

Update after some more tests: The motor is very smooth. It kicks in quickly at low speeds, which is important when starting from a stand-still, and by law it slowly decreases power output when you get over 10km/h. At 25km/h it disconnects completely. No jerking, no sudden drop in speed. And it kicks back in when I go below 25km/h and again it’s very subtle. Very smooth. Some engineers did a fabulous job here.


More Bicycle Fixing

The rear gear changing shift level I had broke partially. Downshifting was fine. Upshifting worked except I had to manually push the lever into its original position in order to change another gear up. Root cause was the steel spring to reset that lever rusted away.

Replacing it with a new one like this was surprisingly cheap and quick: 1900 Yen, about 15 minutes work.

I’m getting the hang of fixing my bike!

Fixing my Bicycle

While riding my bike a while ago, the bottom bracket gear cable guide broke. I got a generic replacement which looked similar enough. Made by Shimano. For about 350 Yen. Awesome! What could go wrong?

Turns out a lot: the diameter it’s made for is smaller than the one needed for my bicycle. And the included screw has a different thread than the existing one. And there’s an extra plastic alignment knob. So it seems those bottom bracket gear cable guides are not all the same. Well, live and learn.

However not all is lost! I still have the original screw and it fits into the screw hole of the new cable guide. The alignment knob I could easily cut off with a chisel. The plastic used is thermoplastic, to heating it up a bit makes it bend enough to fit. The cable for the front derailleur would (just) rub against the aluminium frame, so a piece of UHMWPE adhesive tape fixes that.

I replaced the complete gear cables. They were rusty although that seems to not matter much. The new cable with the new housing is smoother though. Without a dedicated cable cutter, I used my Dremel to cut the housing. That’s a tough piece of housing!

Adjusting the derailleurs was easier than I expected. It’s smoother now than it was before, although I cannot say why: could be the cleaning of the chain and other moving parts, or the adjusted derailleurs, or the new cables.

I also replaced the front break pads. I guess 14 years is a good time to replace them. The new ones I got work very well. Quieter and breaking better. I’ll replace the one in the back too, and maybe the complete brakes as they are rusty enough to worry me a bit.

Summary: Total costs of parts: about 4000 Yen. Tools I had to buy: mainly a bicycle stand (3500 Yen). Got a torque wrench, although I did not need it in the end.

My Bicycle

Long time ago, around 2007, I bought a bike: Specialized Crossrider XC Sport. Maintenance free except a dab of oil for the gears and chain. I recently replaced the wheel’s tire recently. And the inner tubes have been replaced I think a total of 3 times.

And with “maintenance free” I mean: not maintained.

Last weekend a small plastic piece (bottom bracket cable guide) broke and it rendered the gear mechanism useless. With no tension on that cable anymore, it changed to the 8th gear. I was able to use Velcro to change to 3rd gear, but it’s effectively a single speed bicycle now.

That needs to be fixed.

Turns out that I know next to nothing about this bicycle. Or bicycles in general. Bottom bracket didn’t mean anything to me 3 days ago. And I had no idea that you can have 12 gears now in the back and it’s very smooth to change.

Time for an update!

But first I had to know what I had at my hands. Only now I found the specs of my bicycle (from here):

定価(税込) \71,400
カラー ルートビア
サイズ 49、52、55
フレーム A1プレミアムアルミ
フォーク SPECIALIZED TCR-043D、63mm
リアショック NA
ヘッドセット 1-1/8″ Threadless、フルインテグレート、
ハンドルバー A1アルミ、フラット、600mm幅
ステム 3D 鍛造アルミ、15゜ライズ
グリップ BG Comfort、トリプルデンシティ
ブレーキ Vブレーキ
ブレーキレバー SHIMANO Alivio
フロントディレーラー SHIMANO Nexave、31.8クランプ、ボトムプル
リアディレーラー SHIMANO Deore、ロングケージ
シフター SHIMANO Alivio ラピッドファイアー
フリー SHIMANO HG40、8スピード、11-32T
チェーン SHIMANO HG53(違う?) 114リンク
クランクセット Sugino RD Comp
チェーンリング 48A/38S/28S
ボトムブラッケト SHIMANO UN25、68×113mm
ペダル アロイ
リム Alex DH-19、700c、ダブルウォール
フロントハブ SPECIALIZED、鍛造、32H、QR
リアハブ SHIMANO Paralax、鍛造、32H、QR
スポーク 2.0mm(#14)、ステンレス、真鍮ニップル、293mm(291でも可能だった)
フロントタイヤ 700×38c、アラミドビード
リアタイヤ 700×38c、SPECIALIZED クロスロード
チューブ SPECIALIZED シュレッダーバルブ
サドル BG Indie
シートポスト 鍛造6061 アロイ、27.2φ×350mm
ウェイト 12.7Kg

What I was looking for were the gears for the gear ratio (most popular for me is about 1:1.7) and the bottom bracket bearing type and size as I think I need a replacement. There’s enough rust there to indicate old age.

Update: According to this common single speed gear ratio are:

  • 700c off-road: 1.75:1
  • 700c on road: 2.3:1