Wednesday, March 06, 2019

The Sound of Silence

There’s a Pedego Facebook page, one meant for owners to connect and not just the company pimping their wares for the masses. They moderate the page, but rarely interfere, even when there are complaints.

I appreciate this, I really do. It leaves the members open to discuss the bad along with the good, and one of the things most complained about is the brakes. For a spendy bike, the brakes are annoyingly squeaky; you’d think a company making a bike this expensive would figure out how to put brakes on it that you can’t hear from 5 blocks away.

I’ve put up with the squeal since I bought the bike in August 2017. It’s annoying, yes, but the brakes always stopped the bike and felt solid.

But this week it felt like I was pulling the rear brake lever further to the grip than usual, and I assumed it meant it was time for new brake pads. The dealer is an hour away and I really didn’t want to haul the bike there, leave it for who knows how long, and then make the drive back to get it. So we took it to a local bike shop; really local–as small as this place is, there’s a shop that sells and repairs bicycles, and the owner was willing to take a look.

Initially, he didn’t think I’d worn the brakes down,so he did a few adjustments and I took it for a test ride…and it still squealed horribly.

I admit, I would have left it like that. He’d done more than adjust the brakes; he tightened some loose parts on the front end, reattached the wires on my headlamp, and taken some slack out of the brake cables. But he wanted to figure out the squeal, so we left again so he could figure it out.

He wound up changing the pads and discovered that they’d not only worn unevenly, one of them and a weird little lip on it. The brake was engaging, but was off alignment so part of it never touched the disk. New pads, more tightening of things, truing the disks…and the squeak is pretty much gone. The front has a tiny squeal to it, but given how bad it was before, I can live with that.

It feels like a new bike now. I didn’t realize there was anything amiss up front, though now I can feel the difference. I’ll be able to brake more efficiently; I’ve been letting up at the first squeals and riding the back brake since it wasn’t quite as noisy.

Finger crossed it doesn’t start up again.

And I discovered I won’t melt while riding. It was raining on the way there, and it was raining on the way back, but other than my glasses getting wet and it’s annoying to try to see through droplet-covered lenses, the bike still felt solid on the street surface.

I’d almost be willing to do it again.

I also started researching road bikes online. I don’t think I can do the same 20-30 miles I do now on one, but I’d like an entry level hybrid to ride around the neighborhood, and build on that. I don’t want to spend a lot, but damn, some of the prettiest bikes out there are $10-13K.

Yeah, no.

I can’t imagine ever getting to point where a $13,000 bicycle would be optimal for me, not at my age.
But, we’ll see what I eventually wind up with…as long as it’s under $600 or so. And spiffy looking. And fast.

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