Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Miyata Fender Blues

Left - kitchen upon initial tinkering. Right - kitchen 5 hours later.
At least it's over. I can smile, store the Miyata and know it's in good shape for Spring commutes. I can say that now. Now that the marathon kitchen session is behind me.

There is nothing quite like installing fenders to test my patience. It's a project that's never cut and dry, but becomes complicated, especially on a 30 year old touring bike. It reminds me of excitement and angst over new computer software. One thing leads to another and before you know it you've spent hours configuring existing software to play nice with the new guy. It's never simple, much like fitting fenders.

What a grimy mess beneath the kickstand!
First off, I removed the kickstand. Hidden underneath were bolt and screws used to secure the old fender (broken on GAPCO trip), which was then easy to remove.

New fender hooks in place instead of using hardware. It's one less thing to worry about, though there will be more complications. I am a realist when it comes to fenderamics.

Snaking the plastic fender under the rack and through the narrow seat stays was a bit difficult. The new tire had more profile than previous tires, but that's another issue altogether. For now, with patience, I connected rear fender stay to frame eyelet. I used the existing frame bolt, tightened it then noticed that it butts to lower rack bend—the place I always hook my panniers. (Fenderamics anyone?) Fortunately, I located older hooks, once used for panniers with O-shaped attachments. That'll have to do for alternative latch positions.

Loop P-clamp around rack then bolt to fender brace. Now why didn't I think of that?
With both ends of the rear fender secured, difficulty lay in raising the fender an adequate height, allowing enough clearance between fender and tire. It wasn't possible with provided plastic clamp (hard to see in picture) to attach in the normal frame hole. I was beside myself, muttering, which fortunately my husband heard and came to my rescue. (Whine loudly enough and they will come!) Give me any sewing problem and I can fix it. When it comes to building or reconfiguring mechanical things I need help. My husband is pretty handy so he immediately came up with a wonderful solution: use a P-clamp to "lift" the fender bracket in the exact point along the arc where it needed additional space. Secure around rear rack with bolt and screw. Done.

The genius saves the day -- again! 
Front fork clearance has been a long standing problem with this bike. Since I was dealing with existing fender, the only way to gain more space was to drill a lower hole into brace that bolts through frame. Or so I thought. I asked the household genius to do this for me because I despise power tools. Okay, a better word would be "afraid" of plug-in tools. With some wrangling over the work bench, trying to perfect the angle with drill, the genius decided bending the bracket closer to the fender would do the trick. It took a few twists with pliers. Visually, the bracket looked like it might work better. 

Before trying the genius's handiwork, I also clipped the jagged front end of fender and used the power grinder to smooth the cut. And yes, I sucked up to the power tool gods this one time, didn't freak out and smoothed out that baby quite nicely. You wouldn't know it had once been a mangled mess (see GAPCO - Day Two). 

One last look before putting the Miyata in storage. And yes, I have black rear fender and silver front one.
To put the revamped fender in practice, though, I first set about fixing a flat front tire—something I noticed had happened the day after I stopped commuting to work. I couldn't put the bike away for the winter without tending to that, which was why I ended up performing fenderamics in the first place. Like I said, one thing leads to another...

Tire patched, wheel back in position, and indeed tweaking front bracket cured the problem. The fender is a good four inches shorter, but from now on shouldn't drag/scrape/annoy me any more. Hallelujah!

Replace kickstand and I'm finally finished after five hours in the kitchen workshop—a record I hope stands for a long time.

What's your longest bike session?

1 comment:

  1. That's a gutsy effort,Ms Bikes, and I'm sure you'll appreciate those fenders as you cycle through a spring shower.


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