This post is for people like me: people with a shocking level of mechanical ineptitude, people who have to mutter “lefty loosey, righty tighty” quietly under their breath as they undo a bolt. To those people I say: you’re not alone! There’s no shame in detesting the grubby business of fixing your bike, not if it makes you cry with frustrated rage when things don’t go right.
But this month I’ve forced myself to do serious tinkering with the Dixon, partly because the bike was crying out for some TLC and partly because the recent ‘drought’ has turned our trails into unrideable quagmires. Hose pipe ban indeed! Cleaning your bike with a bucket and sponge as the rain hammers down is like a massive slap of irony right in the face.
I started at the bottom, replacing my SRAM GPX bottom bracket. I was going to describe the process here, but it’s pretty boring and remarkably easy, which comes close to spoiling my story.
Instead, I’ll skip to the really exciting fix of the month, which really will spoil my story because it proved so bloody easy — fitting offset shock hardware to drop the BB height on the bike. I’ll just take us back a stage there though, because before I started I actually needed to replace the worn shock bushing, but didn’t really know what a bushing was, and everyone in the office laughed at me for it. So here it is: a bushing is just a crude bearing, in this case made from nylon around an aluminium top-hat. That’s it. The shock in your bike then pivots on two of these, one at the top and one at the bottom. By ditching the standard shock mounting hardware for some that are drilled off-centre, I could shorten the effective eye-to-eye length (top bushing hole to bottom) of the shock and drop the bottom bracket height. Think of it as letting the bike sit a little bit into its travel, only it hasn’t actually used any of the shock stroke yet — the bike is just lower and slacker. It’s very clever and a very easy way to tinker with the geometry of your bike.
Fitting was a very simple operation — undo the shock bolts with an Allen key and spanner, take out the shock, pull off the old top-hat hardware and press in the offset ones with a vice. That really is it. Not bad for €20 plus P+P from Steamer Industries. Next month I’ll report back on whether the new hardware has made a difference to the ride quality of the Dixon.