After a couple of weeks of trouble-free riding, I ran into some issues.
In the past week, I rode nearly 3 miles. Unfortunately, my schedule and the weather has prevented me from riding farther – and now issues with the bike may put it out of commission for another week.
First, I flatted. Twice. The first flat was last Sunday (1/26) and caused by a tiny screw that punctured the tube on the rear tire. A quick patch allowed me to get home.
Unfortunately, after a month of trouble-free operation, something happened to the front tire that caused it to go flat. And, unfortunately, I couldn’t get it to seal back up.
But that’s not all. Lately the rear wheel has been getting more and more stubborn to reinstall on the bike, and the brakes are even worse. This problem happened around the same time I replaced the tires. While before the rear brakes didn’t have much tension on them (just enough to operate), they’ve had a lot of tension on them since installing these new tires. I once thought the brakes were being affected by the slightly wider tire (especially since the brakes had even more tension when the tires were fully inflated) but I figured that wasn’t the case since the brakes weren’t rubbing on anything anywhere.
I think I found the culprit. Behind the quick-release screw on the drive-side (not the skewer/lever side) there is a nut that came loose, which causes there to be a bigger gap between the frame and the hub itself. Behind that nut is the guts of the hub, which can now be removed. My guess is that loosening the quick-release also loosened that nut.
But since the nut needs to be centered (and now it isn’t) there’s not really a good way to reinstall it. I’m going to see if the guy who helped me fix the chain back in November can help me fix it.
As for the tires, that problem was solved quickly. As mentioned, the front tire needed to be fixed. I tried to re-inflate the tire but it wouldn’t even try to hold air. So I went to Walmart and bought (yet another) a 20” BMX tube to redo the tubeless setup.
Much like the rear tire last time, nothing – it wasn’t going to hold air for anything. I couldn’t get it to hold at all with the floor pump. (This tire was always stubborn, right out of the box.) The sealant was also causing both sides of the tire to stick together, which isn’t good.
Unfortunately, I had to tube it – which means the Sedona is back to being 100% tubed. While the tubes don’t retain air as well as the tubeless and won’t seal themselves if punctured (case and point – last Sunday), they’re much easier to install. While the tubeless tires required me to setup the split-tube method, install the tire, inflate the tire while crossing my fingers that the tire would seal, install sealant, inflate, rotate tire to work in sealant and then place the wheel back on the bike – the tube-type “clincher” installation just requires throwing in a new tube, placing the bead back on, pumping it up and putting it back on the bike.
Before resorting to going back to a tube, I decided to try the Gorilla Tape method one last time. Before, I didn’t have ANY luck whatsoever with the Gorilla Tape method, despite tightly applying the tape and putting a tube in to flatten it down even further. I took the tire to a gas station to inflate it, but it wasn’t doing anything – the air was going out as soon as it was coming in.
I think the issue with the Gorilla Tape method is that the Schwalbe Marathons have seemed to “loosen up” as they’ve broken in. When these tires were new, they were a very tight fit on the rim and were extremely easy to fit tubeless. (See this post.) Lately, they’re much easier to remove off the rim – not requiring much effort at all to remove. The split-tube method worked better with these tires because the tube closed the gap between the tire/rim where the air usually leaked out of with the Gorilla Tape method.
But, both tires are now back to being standard clincher setups – the way they were designed. I will say that there is a clear difference in weight when handling the wheel before putting it back on the bike; the tubeless is slightly lighter.
After consulting with people on the Bike Forums, I figured out what the hub problem is.
It appears that the rear axle on the Sedona has broken.
To be sure, I went ahead and removed the internals of the hub out. It appears to be bent, which will necessitate replacement. A ball bearing did fall out, but I was able to find it (thankfully it didn’t roll under something) and place it back in.
Apparently, the freewheel axles are prone to breaking easily. Therefore, I’m going to try to upgrade to the free hub wheel. Unfortunately, that means replacing the entire wheel – and the gearing. However, I was told that the free hub wheel design is much more robust and is well worth it.
I don’t know how long the Sedona will be out of commission. The bike shop I purchased this bike from is approximately 90 miles away, and the nearest bike shop is about 30 miles away. So we’ll have to wait and see.