Headset Overhaul

For weeks the Trek had been increasingly noisy.  I guess I am sensitive to noise in bikes.  It suggests something is wrong.  After all, when I got the machine it was silent; it was fluid; it was beautiful.  Since then, every kind of noise it has made has indicated something wrong—-a loose stem, a loose pedal, a deteriorated seat post, a loose bottom bracket, a flat tire, a worn chain, a maladjusted derailleur.  I wasn’t even sure there was a

The headset

Headset on my 2009 Trek 2.1

place on the bike that hadn’t made a noise in the something over three years I have owned it.

This time it was a sort of random “ticking” from somewhere up front, every time I pulled on the handlebars when I was climbing a hill, seeking sudden acceleration, or whatever.  The noise was not periodic, so I knew pretty much that it had nothing to do with the drive train.  I lived with it for a while, but when I realized that I was perhaps avoiding riding that bike, or dreading some hidden malfunction when I did ride it, I knew it was time to take it in to Spokes, etc., where I had purchased it in the first place.

The mechanic who first looked at it identified the problem right away.  Since he knew how the bike is constructed, he knew how to put the right kind of pressure on the right places to replicate the noise I’d been hearing.  He promised it in two days, that day being today.  But they actually got it done on the same day I brought it in.  I didn’t feel like running over in the evening that day, and yesterday it was raining, albeit lightly.  I just cringed at the thought of all that light drizzle and road spray working its way into every crevice on the bike, so I waited until today to retrieve it.

The bike was worked on and delivered by Ron.  Ron is an exceptional bike mechanic.  He and I have had several conversations about aspects of bike repair and cycling, ranging from how to use toe clips to the satisfaction of new bar tape.  I know that Ron loves his bike, and that he loves every bike he works on as much as his own.  If there ever was a person who delights in his own skills and equally as much in using those skills to please his clients, it’s Ron.  So when Ron explained why my bike was noisy and what he had done to make it like new again, I listened with delight.  Regular preventive maintenance, performed by an expert who cares deeply about what he does and about customers and their bike.  That’s the ticket.  That’s Ron.  It’s a pleasure knowing he worked on my bike, and I am confident that his work made the bike 100% right again.

Headset overhaul: $30.  Ron’s headset overhaul: priceless.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2011.

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