WT & The Art of Bicycle Maintenance
After more than 55.000 km (3.635 km pre-WT in Morocco and Tenerife, Spain) on different surfaces of the world, my baby – The Koga Miyata Worldtraveller – has naturally seen some changes over the years. Below is a somewhat detailed list of these changes.
I’ve been riding my wonderful bike through 6 continents now, and I strongly believe that it’ll serve me all the way back to Denmark in 2010. I treat it like a woman, and I guess that’s why she’s put up with me for so long without any breakdowns…
1. Mavic. Lasted 13.000 km (from Denmark to China). Small cracks in rim where spokes connect. Changed (to 2) in Kashgar, Western China.
2. Giant (standard). Lasted 17.000 km (from China to Australia). 10 USD rim. Side walls totally worn. Changed (to 3) in Merimbula, Australia.
3. No-name (double-walled from Taiwan). Lasted 23.000 km (from Australia to USA). New entire wheel, incl. Taiwanese hub. 110 AUD. Changed (to 4) in
4. WTB. So far 1.000 km (from Canada to Ghana). New entire wheel, in Shimano Deore hub. 110 USD.
1. Mavic EX 721. Lasted 53.000 km (from Denmark to USA). Changed (to 2) in Wilmington, USA. Incredible durability.
2. Sun Rim Rhyno Light. So far 3.000 km (from USA to…). New entire wheel, incl. Shimano Deore LX hub. 60 USD (special discount).
1. Continental Travel Contact. Lasted 12.000 km (from Denmark to Uzbekistan).
2. Schwalbe Marathon XR. Lasted 14.000 km (from Uzbekistan to Australia).
3. Schwalbe Marathon XR. Lasted 8.500 km (from Australia to New New Zealand).
4. Specialized. Lasted 7.500 km (from New Zealand to Ecuador).
5. Schwalbe Marathon Extreme. Lasted 8.000 km (from Ecuador to USA).
6. Bontrager. Lasted 1.500 km (from Florida to North Carolina, USA), but was changed before worn out, free of charge.
7. Bontrager. So far 3.000 km (from NC, USA to Ghana)
1. Continental Travel Contact. Lasted 13.000 km (from Denmark to Kyrgyzstan)
2. Schwalbe Marathon XR. Lasted 31.000 km (from Kyrgyzstan to Peru). Unbeatable durability.
3. Schwalbe Marathon
Extreme. So far 14.000 km (from Peru to Ghana). No flats until now. Knock-on-wood.
1. A welder in Turkey broke a gear cable trying to weld my (alu) bottle holder.
2. Same cable changed in Chiang Rai, Thailand (not broken, but hard to use).
3. Changed again in Santiago, Chile (not broken, but hard to use).
All cables have been cleaned and oiled a few times at bike shops when I had to make major repairs on the bike anyway.
All in all, after 56.500 km on the bike (3.500 km on pre-WT trips), I’m on my 9th chain.
I’ve used Shimano HG93 (27 speed) several times, which is my favourite. This chain normally last 8.000-14.000 km.
Due to lack of HG93-availability, I’ve used the weaker Shimano HG53 twice. They’ve lasted from 5.000-7.000 km.
I’ve used a SRAM chain once. It lasted around 8.000 km.
1. Lasted 5.000 km. Changed a little pre-mature in Hungary.
2. Lasted 16.000 km. Changed in Singapore.
3. Lasted 14.000 km. Changed in Santiago, Chile.
4. Lasted 19.000 km. Changed in Wilmington, USA.
5. So far just 1.000 km and still rolling.
VI. Front chain rings.
1. Middle ring changed in Singapore after 21.000 km.
2. Middle ring changed again in Medellin, Colombia after 23.000 km.
3. Small ring changed in Medellin, Colombia after 44.000 km.
4. Big ring not changed (but sort of needs replacement)
1. My beloved Brooks leather saddle served me for 54.000 km. I changed it (slightly heart-broken) in Wilmington, USA ‘cos I got a great deal for a new one, and the leather had started tearing apart around the bolts. Never mind, it took more than 5.000 km to sort of mold the hard leather to the shape of my ass.
2. The transition to my new saddle (a aerodynamic, non-leather one with an ergonomic whole in the center of the saddle. June 2009) has been acceptable, but not painless.
VIII. Tubes + flat tyres.
I’m not counting the number of tubes I’ve used, but I reckon around 20-25, in total.
Likewise, I don’t know how many flat tyres I’ve had. Around 30, I guess. Mostly on the rear tyre where most of the weight is.
At the moment I haven’t had a flat tyre in the front for a whopping 14.000 km, thanks to a) Schwalbe’s ironwall tyres, and – to a lesser degree – b) to my carefullness and near-constant visual nails-on-the-road scanning.
IX. Bike Shoes.
1. Diadora shoes. 60 USD. Lasted 52.000 km (minus a few thousand km of flip-flop cycling in Asia). They were a very trusty, if smelly and worn, set of friends to me. RIP in Wilmington, USA.
2. New Specialized bike shoes. So far 3.000 km and feeling great.
No replacement or problems whatsoever.
XI. Brake pads.
Naturally, I’ve changed the brake pads numerous times. Approx. 6-7 times on rear, 4-5 times on front. I remember a steep decent in heavy rain in Turkey near Posof and the Georgian border that almost wore out a set of front brake pads from all the braking in rain. Changing pads is a 5 minute operation.
XII. Bottom Bracket.
1. The original lasted 28.500 km and was changed in Melbourne, Australia.
2. The second one lasted 26.000 km and was changed in Montreal, Canada.
3. I don’t expect another chance of bb before I reach Denmark in 2010.
XIII. Head set.
Cleaned and re-greased in Singapore, after 22.000 km.
No replacement. Just occasional oil-drops.
No fiddling, welding or problems at all. It’s a Koga Miyata goddammit!
The frame has some strange surface freckles around the holes where the bottles are attached, probably due to a lot of salty sweat from me dripping on those parts. It’s only cosmetical. But the Koga is still a beauty!
The Tubus bike racks have done an amazing and impeccable job. No break-downs, weldings etc. Super strong and reliable.
XVII. Handle bar
Still the original butterfly multi-grip handle bar. I absolutely love it, not least because of the 5-6 layers of handle bar tape/duct tape/sports tape that I’ve put on it to get a super firm and fat grip. People are ofter astounded by the thickness of the handle bar. It’s my primary showing-off part on the bike.
NB: This bike maintenance page was made on my laptop 11 kilometers above ground level, on my way from Boston, USA to Accra, Ghana in a Boeing 747, operated by Lufthansa.
On this day..
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