Bicycle mechanics

Before leaving for France, I got a wild hair and decided to attempt some bicycle maintenance on my Batavus. There’s no Batavus dealer in my area, and I was a little bit worried that no one had checked in on the internal hub after a year of riding, even though I haven’t had any problems. So I grabbed up my manual, thinking, there’s got to be something I can do in here...

And there was. According to my manual, the gear shift unit was supposed to have two red dots on it that needed to be aligned—if they weren’t, then the gears were “out of tune” (I can hear you actual bicycle mechanics laughing their asses off all the way in France—maybe one day I’ll master the lingo!).

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Luckily I had a faithful assistant at my side.

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he already has grease on his nose!

I looked for the dots in the location the manual indicated. Didn’t see them.
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My assistant took a turn. Still no dice.

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Finally, after rolling around a bit and craning my neck, I noticed the red dots—BELOW the gear shift unit, not to the rear of it. Possibly this has to do with some adjustment they made to the bike in Littlehampton, to make it better for hills. Or possibly my Bat is a mutant. Opinions?

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Either way, they were found, and adjusted (very slightly), and we all lived happily ever after. I thought this might be useful to other mechanic dilettantes who don’t have a Batavus dealer nearby!

Have you ever found that something on your bike was different from what was shown in the manual?

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26 thoughts on “Bicycle mechanics

  1. Ginger says:

    I don’t know a lot about bicycle maintenance, but your assistant is certainly the sweetest!

  2. mike says:

    love your friend…and was that “still no dice” or should it have been”still no mice” :D

  3. cycler says:

    The indicators are on the bottom of my IGH too.
    My furry assistant has learned that I make too many strange sounds to be trusted when I’m working on bikes, and he confines his assistance to cleanup when I’m cooking and lap blanket when I’m sitting.

  4. Reuben says:

    I didn’t realize bikes came with manuals… but I’ve never purchased a new bike before. The ones you pull out of dumpsters don’t usually come with manuals.

  5. Kara says:

    How do you make bicycle maintenance look so cute?!

  6. Simply Bike says:

    Trisha, first off, can I just say how much I love your little assistant? So cute! I love the picture of him (her?) checking out the bike hub.

    And second, good for you for taking the manual out and figuring this out on your own. I have a natural aversion to instruction manuals of any kind but find that when I get over than, the knowledge gained by reading one can be quite useful.

    Hope you’re enjoying France!

    • Trisha says:

      He! I can’t believe I didn’t give Walter more credit. I come from a long line of manual readers — when I bought my car from my dad in high school, he made me read the whole manual before turning over the payment book. :)

  7. Tinker says:

    My bicycle manual, doesn’t even give that much information. It doesn’t describe the removal of the front brake cable, or how you would remove the chain guard or, basically ANYTHING to do with changing a tire, or other maintenance or service. It’s occupied solely with warnings on what NOT to do, and nothing about what you should do (Don’t stand on your head while riding a bicycle, don’t spit on the sidewalk while riding a bicycle, don’t swallow grape seeds while riding a bicycle). It also states that the bike has a Sturmy Archer 3 Speed, when in fact it actually has a Shimano 3 Speed.

    You want information, you need to look up information online, about repair and maintenance of the Shimano hub, repair, removal, adjustment of the front (Roller) brake cable and minor details like that.

    Mine has no useful information at all. Just a spot to write down the serial number of the bike, on the cover.

  8. Coreen says:

    I’ve seen internally geared hubs with two sets of dots – it messed me up a little the second time I adjusted it because I was sure that the markings were in a different place the first time. For anyone making this adjustment at home, remember to put the bike in the neutral gear (4th on 7 & 8 speed shimano hubs) before adjusting the cable tension with the adjuster barrel. The only other maintenance these hubs need is an overhaul every 10000-15000km (a completely maintenance free bike is a disposable bike).
    Also, I love your helper! I’ve got a couple of furry helpers too, but they’re most interested in batting nuts & bolts & valve caps under the couch.

  9. love your assistant. furry friends certainly do make these weird tasks a little easier.

  10. Cecily says:

    Your Batavus came with a manual? I hope my Breukelen comes with one when I pick it up in a few weeks!

  11. 2whls3spds says:

    Thanks for saving me the trouble researching how to adjust a Shimano Nexus hub ;-)

    Furry assistants are great…most of the time.

    I had one that like to lie on my work bench, I had to make sure I covered up stuff. On one occasion I was missing a couple of bearings, apparently they stuck to her when she laid on the tray.

    Aaron

  12. Steven Vance says:

    There’re two GREEN dots on my internal gear hub. I didn’t know about them for a while and my shifting was wonky. I waslked into the bike shop and they said, “oh, put it in gear 4 (the marked one) and turn the dial until the dots match.”

  13. Brent says:

    I’m rather surprised you had dots at all, and that they were still red, and only ninety degrees off the expected location. Bike parts change most every year, although the same principles generally apply, the specifics tend to shift about. In my experience, bike manuals are, at best, top-level guides to the bike, but rarely an exact map, as they aren’t always written in response to changes in the parts. Perhaps last year’s model had the red dots in the back, or perhaps it was just last week’s shipment. In any case, you eventually were able to fix it, so one might count that as a success.

  14. Mr Colostomy says:

    My Raleigh Tourist came with Sturmey Archer gear hub (XRD-3) but a manual for an SRAM T3 hub.

    Geekiest. Anecdote. Ever

  15. Ashley Colagross says:

    My Velorbis has a Sturmey Archer hub that must be adjusted in the first gear manually because the indicator dots are misplaced.

  16. Frits B says:

    Maintenance? What maintenance? It’s a Dutch bike, so it’s meant never ever to be maintained. An occasional bucket of water perhaps, but that’s it. Are you sure it all works like it should after you so foolishly touched it?

    :-)

  17. Steve A says:

    The dots appear at different places depending on the dropout angle and the antirotation washers. The main thing is to line them up when in the specified gear.

  18. Trisha says:

    Ha. All is well, so far!

  19. Dottie says:

    That’s my motto! Trisha’s much less lazy than I, though. :)

  20. Trisha says:

    Hm, would have been nice if the manual had noted that! Should have said that I was in the specified gear (4).

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