Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Do It Yourself: You are doing it wrong

There is a great feeling of accomplishment that comes over a person when they devise and execute a solution to a problem. A sense of pride for a job well done is natural. Pride however, is its own stumbling block for most, as the path to Hell is paved with the best intentions.

As you can't be proud of shit like this...

(Photo credit: Shaun Sweeney)

Indeed, for the bike mechanic, the path is paved with every homemade solution to all of life's bike problems.

For the unfamiliar, let's break this image down:

First, you have a stem that is too large to fit in a smaller diameter steer tube.

Then you have this guy:

Who figures, "fuck it, I have a lathe and some free time."
  I can only imagine that this was his logic behind the next step which was: machine that sucker down to the proper diameter. To the lay person that may seem okay. In all honesty, it might have worked had Mr. Doityourself payed attention to one very important thing...

A line called "Max Height" or "Minimum Insertion," if you want it to sound dirty.

 (bike porn of the Insertion variety ;)

 How ever you slice it, the stem has got to be in the bike to at least that line. Period.
That means it is in the bike far enough that wedge can expand and hold the bars securely. 
If not observed, the rocking back-and-forth motion on the bars will fatigue the stem enough that it simply shears off...

 ...then you look like this in front of your friends...

(you suck)

What's more is that machining away material that is integral to your safety and well-being is in itself, risky at best. Machining it away below that line and sitting back exclaiming "good enough for who it's for!" Is just asking for disaster. 
 Meaning, if the dude had turned the stem down to the smaller diameter to a point above minimum insertion, it may have had a chance. But it didn't have a chance because the idea itself was fucked to begin with.

Kinda like building your own axle. Don't have an axle nut? Jam a fucking checker in there...

"King Me"

Yes, even checkers have been ruined for me because you were too lazy to get the right parts or a new wheel. I wish I had taken a picture of the internal parts as there was literally a BOTTLE CAP jammed into the hub to serve as the bearing race. Seriously. I wish I were kidding. Remember when I said I had seen the "most cobbled together assembly of a major bearing system..."?
I was wrong. 

...and I am losing faith in you.