Saturday, July 27, 2013

A creak too far..

That annoying creaking sound.. 

I've had my Tern Eclipse X20 for nearly a month and finally had time to cycle it on a short and middle distance rides.
One thing was apparent when I took it out on a 26km ride - a creaking sound coming down from the lower left crank.
I can actually feel the pedal creaking each time I exert force on it.

I am a category-5 Kaiju...

Yeah, I am that Kaiju (Japanese for Giant Beast) on two wheels. 
Any folding bike that can survive a long haul with me riding it would be good to go. Seriously!
So, having felt the creaking on my left crank, I tried to see if my MKS Step-in Urban quick release pedals were giving me any problem.
Even with plenty of grease, the problem was apparent.

A trip to Master Johnny's bicycle shop...

Master Johnny Ng at work with the Pirate-Ninja
I knew that this persistent problem won't go away unless its treated aggressively.
There are only two people in Malaysia that I would trust when it comes to servicing a folding bike. 
High on the list is Master Johnny Ng of My Bicycle Shop in Bandar Utama. 
Johnny has a loyal following and a list of customers who brings their folding bikes for service at his shop. He even does Bromptons if the owners are cooperative and are willing to source for their own parts.
The other guy is Ben Thiew of Rodalink in Bandar Botanic, Klang.
Ben did a good job on servicing my wife's Dahon Jetstream P8 that was creaking like mad. 
His aggressive way of solving the problem is what I really liked and till today, there's no creaking sound coming from Michelle's Jetstream.

The ring that broke the Ninja's back..

Johnny asked if he could remove the quick-release catch on the MKS pedal which I gladly consented.
He took apart the precision piece and lubricated it.
But the creaking sound was still apparent.
Later, he took out the left crank arm and found out that it wasn't properly set.
The culprit was a thin piece of plastic spacer on the crank arm.
"You don't need this. When it was factory installed, the piece was put in so that the crank won't be over-tightened..
"When you add pressure, the force on the crank caused the gap to twist and you get that creaking sound," said Johnny.
He took it out, tightened the crank arm and the creaking was gone.

This little piggy had gone to the market.. 
If it was any other bike shop.. 

Well, with an issue as such, I would probably be told to send the bike back to Taiwan.
Or sell it to another cyclist for a song.
Thank God for Johnny and his inquisitive approach.
We found that the plastic spacer was the root cause and after removing it, I kept it on a plastic bag for future reference.

Test! Test! And test! 

After solving the problem, I took the Eclipse X20 for a 14km ride and there's no more creaking sound coming from the lower crank arm.
That said, there will be smooth days ahead with the Pirate-Ninja! 
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