I wrote a review of the bike equipment after a year on the road, from Yaounde in Cameroon, after 17,000km. Now, having completed my ride to Cape Town, after 25,000km in total, it’s time for an update.
Since Yaounde there has been little to fix – the wobbling wheel got worse but I lived with it, I did another oil change, the cable of the Rohloff internal mechanism frayed and had to be replaced and I got two more punctures. That’s all.
And now for a detailed run-down:
Frame (Thorn Raven Tour)
A few scratches but otherwise good for plenty more km’s.
Paint has gone where panniers have rubbed and so some rust where metal is exposed. Otherwise good for plenty more km’s too. Not a single loose bolt the whole journey.
Tyres (Schwalbe Marathon XR)
Moved front tyre to back at 12,000km and replaced rear with spare. Not really necessary though. Less than 10 punctures in total. Both good for many more km’s.
Wheels (Rigida, ceramic)
Never needed truing and not a single broken spoke. Minimal signs of wear on rim. So no problems, good for more km’s.
New pads at 17,000km. Current pads ok for a summer of cycling in the uk but will change for the next trip. Cables lasted whole trip… just (should have changed them at about 24,000km but struggled on to end) and having removed them now I can see the wire is frayed at the lever end. The cable housing has split at ends also. Brake levers still work fine. So, cables, housing, v-noodles and rubber boots all need replacing.
Chain, Chainring and Rear Sprocket
Replaced at 15,000km. Needs changing again, but nowhere near as worn as last time (remember the ninja-style sprocket weapon)!
Headset (Cane Creek with Orbit sealed bearings)
The headset is fine except that the sealed bearings are badly worn and will need to be replaced.
Handlebars (straight bars with ergon grips and bar-ends)
The grips are totally worn and splitting so will replace for the next trip. Although, having suffered with loss of strength in one hand and some minor pain due to pressure on the palm trapping the nerves, I will probably look into alternative styles of handlebars – possibly the butterfly style.
– very comfy now it’s well worn in and don’t even wear padded shorts. Difficult to keep out of wet for entire trip and now the rivets are rusted. Otherwise, it’s fine.
Besides the oil changes, no maintenance required. Unfortunately the rear wheel started wobbling at 14,000km and progressively got worse, but made complete journey… just. Wobbling due to worn hub cap bearings. Desperately needed replacing so I took it to SJS Cycles for repair – read more about this at end of post.
Rohloff Internal Mechanism
The cable runnning through the mech frayed and caused the unit to jam so couldn’t change gears at 20,000km. It was an easy roadside repair to remove the internal mech, trim the frayed wire, put it back together and keep cycling with all gears working. I then changed the whole unit when I got to town.
The rubber twister is totally worn with no grip remaining, once triangular in shape, it’s now round. The rest of the unit is still in working order, but looks rather battered after attacking it with a screwdriver to loosen it after it seized up after 15,000km – due to cycling in wet season with sweat and dirt and grime getting inside. Probably in part due to the o-seal which broke at 13,000km. Still usable for now but I will replace at same time as replacing the gear cables.
Rohloff Gear Cables
The cables are just about ok, but since these are the originals they are near the end of their life. The housing has split at the twistshifter and where it bends to go along the frame. The bayonet connectors and cable stoppers look pretty old but still do the job. Will replace whole system for next trip.
Notes on Rohloff Hub and SJS Cycles
After email with both SJS and Rohloff while in Africa, they agreed that the wobbling wheel was due to worn hub bearings. I could send the wheel back to either SJS Cycles or Rohloff and it would be repaired under warranty. I was told I would do no further damage to the hub if I continued cycling. It would be about at least a 2-week turnaround. I continued cycling on it.
Last weekend, now I’m back in the UK, I took the wheel to SJS Cycles expecting to leave it for repair. I explained the problem and Dave said he’d take a look to check it out. Five minutes later he returned and said that if I could wait half an hour, he would fix it and I could take it away. That’s what I did. The sealed hub bearing was worn, as suspected, but on further investigation, the axle was wobbling within the assembly and a groove had worn into the internal mech due to continued cycling on the wobbling wheel. The whole unit was replaced, including the internal mechanism and a new rear sprocket put on at the same time. All covered under warranty which meant I walked out without spending a penny – oh, except that I bought a few Schwalbe Marathon XR’s to stockpile, since Schwalbe don’t make these long-lasting tyres any more and they were on offer. Excellent service, which has gone a long way to reversing my original opinion which I wrote about SJS before.
I’m just sourcing all the new parts I need so the bike is ready for the next trip. It’s quite a lot, but that’s to be expected: new brake cable set, gear cables and housing, twist-shifter (think I’ll buy the ‘light’ one which is cheaper too), chain, chain-ring, sprocket (replaced at SJS), headset bearings, and handle bars/grips. And as mentioned, I have a new hub now too.