You may have noticed an absence of photos of the Crested Butte over the past couple weeks. That’s because it’s been in the shop. I brought it to Upcycles because I figured the freewheel was toast, and Kai confirmed it, so he was going to replace it. Simple? Not so. When he removed the wheel, he also found that the axle was busted. Now this should also be “simple” but the problem was that the freewheel was seized up and he couldn’t remove it.
So I was in a bit of a quandary as what to do. Build a new wheel? Find a suitable replacement? But all of these things of course cost money. And I was trying to spend as little as possible on the Crested Butte for two reasons: I needed to save up cash for parts for the New Mystery Bike Project, and I intended to sell the Crested Butte at some point after the completion of the New Mystery Bike Project. One of the great things about the Crested Butte was that because it was a garage queen with a great frame and quality parts, I haven’t had to worry much about stuff on this bike. (For comparison, I did a lot of stuff to the XO-3 to make it how I liked it, which in hindsight seems like not such a great idea since I sold it not long after doing a bunch of stuff to it, nor did I ever take it on a serious tour.)
I briefly thought about just selling it, but this would be wrong for two reasons: the resale value would suck with a broken rear wheel, and I still need this bike until the New Mystery Bike Project gets built up. As much as I hate the idea of sinking more money into it,* I don’t really have a choice, at least if I want to do any touring in the next few months. So fix I must.
Thankfully Kai did eventually manage to get the freewheel off, so he got the extant wheel repaired. He had a good used Suntour Superbe freewheel to replace the old Suntour Suberbe freewheel, the only difference being a slightly smaller big cog (32 teeth vs 34). So my granny isn’t quite as low, but that’s okay, as the old granny taxed the capacity of my rear derailleur.
When I got the bike back, I was amazed how good the bike felt. I wonder how long I had the broken axle and didn’t notice it. It must have had quite the impact on performance, as riding the fixed wheel feels like night and day. The bike is fun to ride again. So I’ll have it around a little while longer. But how much longer?
And in a side note: If you are an experienced bike mechanic, Upcycles is hiring!
*And of course I say this after all the tire follies!