Installing the Lights: Pinnacle Update (Part II)

After choosing lights and a pair of new tubes for the 1981 Free Spirit Pinnacle road bike, it’s time to get dirty and install them.

Note: Unfortunately, due to the T450’s issues, this post was split into two parts and this second part was delayed. The publication of the first part was also delayed.

The tube and lights were installed on October 11, 2018.

The first part was to prepare the lights for installation. Getting everything ready to go was easy – I inserted my AA batteries into the holders (3 for the front headlight, 2 for the rear taillight) and tested them. They’re super bright.

Actually getting stuff on the bike took slightly longer than usual after I remembered I left my tools somewhere else. After grabbing them, I finally started on getting things fixed.

My first subject was the tires – getting them squared away. The front, as I mentioned in Part I, was wounded by a wild thumbtack that left more holes in the tube that I was willing to patch. The tire would only hold air for a minute or two before being completely flat again.

Changing the front tube was a piece of cake. Installing the new tube was fairly easy, as it was just the run-of-the-mill tube installation. Inflate the tube slightly, insert the valve stem through the rim and make sure its straight, make sure the tube is on the rim nice and snug, and mount the tire beads back on the rim.

I was originally planning on changing out the rear tube, as well. While it’s normally a good idea to abide by the rule “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” – the tube that is in there was installed back in August and purchased back in April. While it still holds air perfectly, I thought it’d be a good idea to swap it out to have a known-good spare, as well as have the long valve stems matching. (The new tubes have longer, 48mm valves rather than the small, 32mm valves I was running before.)

The new, 48mm valve installed. It’s much longer than the standard, 32mm valves.

But, there was one issue. The rim nut on the drivetrain side wasn’t budging. No matter how tight I gripped the nut with my wrench and turned it, it wasn’t moving. Before I damaged the nut by rounding it out, I stopped and walked away. A good thing that the rear tube has held up well!

After getting the front tire inflated, checked and installed and making sure I reinstalled the other nut for the rear wheel (which I removed first), I turned the bike upwards and installed the lights.

The taillight is easy to install. A silicone band straps around the seat tube tightly, and the light clips onto that. The silicone band doesn’t have to be removed, you just unclip the taillight and take it with you.

The headlight is somewhat more complicated. To install it, you have to stretch its silicone band around the handlebar as tight as possible and hook it into place. To remove it (to change the batteries, etc.) you have to undo the band, and reinstall it by repeating the process.

My concern is that over time, with weathering, these bands may simply just break and then you’re either left with something that won’t work or won’t work right. The many, many times the headlight band will be stretched may cause it to fail one day.

Headlight installed and ready to go…

For $20, though, I can’t complain. When I was looking at bike light sets from my online bike parts vendor, I was shocked at how they were wanting $40 for a similar, simple light set. Much like any other part on a bike, you can pay practically anything for a light set. Some cost $20, and others probably cost $200. (Similar to tubes – you can either pay $4 or $40.)

The bike… ready to go.


The day this was written… October 15, 2018

Since installing the tube and light set, I’ve barely had a chance to take the Pinnacle out for a spin.

Friday, Saturday, and parts of Sunday were all gloomy, rainy, and cold days. Since the repairs were made, the temperature has dropped from “nippy but bearable” into the “feels a bit like winter” category.

Today, I did take the opportunity to take the Pinnacle for a ride, despite the cold temperatures. This morning, when I rode to classes, the temperature was hovering around the freezing point – about 32-35 degrees.

The Pinnacle (left) poses with a fat tire bike (right)

Though I’m glad I took the opportunity to take the Pinnacle for the ride today. This may actually be the last time I’ll be able to take the Pinnacle for a spin for a while, as it seems winter has made an early arrival to Missouri.

I also got the opportunity to see something I missed with the rear tire/rim when I tightened it back up. The tire was rubbing against the frame in one area. I also deflated the rear tire before attempting to remove the nuts, so I had to reinflate it. Turns out the tire didn’t mount 100% correctly when I reinflated it, so I’m going to have to deflate it and even it out and see if that fixes things. Maybe it’s just an OCD thing, but the spot where the tire was “sinking in” was at the big, white lettering of the tire logo. The last place I’d want it to be.

(Since the Pinnacle’s rear rim has been slightly bent, the tire bead isn’t going to seat 100% evenly. But I’m going to try to even it more and get it away from the lettering. My main concern is the rubbing on the frame, which could destroy the tire in quick succession.)

Oh well, we may have a warm-up. Until then, the Pinnacle is getting to rest some more at its favorite bike rack. I’m hoping to get to ride the Pinnacle a couple more times before its replacement is put to use.