Sunday, August 30, 2009


Bah humbug. A very fun round of the PNP MTB series came to nought for me today when a slow speed crash once again broke my Formula Oro brakes.

What happens is the lever rips the push-rod out of the piston assembly and you are munted until you get the arm off to force it back in. A 5 minute job in my shed with the correct 2mm allen key. (Note to myself - put a 2mm key in my kit).
I was having a great old time dicing around the 4-5th spot with Simon Kennet and Clydesdale Kerei Thomson in the very competitive Master two class.
Theres a fair bit of difference between the bottom age group in m2 and the top, as this is the time when as old bastards (Ian Paintin excepted) we really tail off in fitness. I remember when I came up from M1 to M2 as being the fastest period of my life, but back in those days, you didnt get burglars rarking it up ; ) . Angry Clive announced that he is up to M2 next year so that's something else to look forward to!

The Makara trails are real fun when you know where they go and I have to say I am pretty envious of the buggers that have them on their back doorstep. Signage was very good this time, but pre-riding is essential on this kind of multi-lap "portions of loops" kind of course and I suspect that all the wrong turns I made were because I had used all my mitochondria for pedalling and hadn't saved any for cognitive thought.....

I know Marco prayed for good weather and went to bed early last night cos when I rang him at 9.30 he was in la-la land chasing rabbits. It must have paid off as the course was completely mint (apart from the t2 obstacle course) and the weather stayed good right up until the prize giving.
Well done Marco and crew, and of especially Iva, plugging away on the lappy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cyclo-cross in the Hutt Valley

Its hard to understand why, but Mike Anderson from The BikeHutt was a little disappointed with the weather last saturday. Mikes 2nd Cyclocross race of the year sported the best weather for an off-road event that I have seen since......well, since his last Cyclocross event on July the 4th!

How can that be bad?
Well Cyclo-cross (CX ) is supposed to be all about racing around a short muddy circuit while plastered from head to toe in mud and sweat.

There was plenty of sweat, but the mud pretty much stayed on the dry firm ground. The course was still challenging, and favoured the CXers more than in the last event, which had a short muddy hill in it. I am pretty sure Mike was hanging out for some more mud! Mike had the traditional CX man-made obstacles placed in exactly the right spot to bust your rhythm.

CX is a great sport for the family and spectators with a constant stream of riders coming past the start finish - most people taking between 2 and 4 minutes to do a lap.

Mike held a 1 lap kids race which could easily become a big feature if the word gets out. These courses are fully doable by any kid with 2 wheels, and you know that's a very rare thing in hilly Wellington.

Mike has a good relationship with the Council who are no doubt impressed with the state he leaves the grass in!! The numbers were down a little from the 4th of July event which also had a fancy-dress element to it with a very popular appearance from Wonder Woman. (More pix from round 1)

This time around there was more Coffee and and an impressive mobile Pizza Oven from NYPD Pizzas. Craig Madsen was there taking pix with Cycletech supplying extreme value for money prizes given the $5 cost of entry!
Well done Mike.

The saturday morning time-slot might be a tough one to fill with family's and kids sport but time will tell.
Top image supplied by Craig Madsen.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Formula Oro Puro brake dismantle/disassemble

There is an exploded diagram at bottom of this post.

The Formula Oro Puro disc brake has been around for a few years now. Its a very light brake with good stopping power and modulation.

The only downside I have found is with the FCS (Feeling Control System) adjuster, which can break, in impacts where the lever assembly is pushed "away from the handlebars". When this happens the push-rod usually dislocates from its seat in the end of the "piston" which is housed in the lever or "pump" body (as it is called).

You can usually carry on riding after forcing the push-rod back into the piston-kit Assembly, by applying the brake very firmly, in the normal braking manner, and replace the FCS adjuster later when you have the required tools.

In order to recondition the "pump" body you need to remove the actual brake "lever".There are two types of levers, alloy and carbon.

If you have the alloy lever you need to look carefully inside it. Above the threaded end of the push-rod, recessed into the lever, is a small 2mm grub-screw. This screw fixes the pin which the brake lever pivots on. Loosen the grub-screw a few turns and push out the pivot-pin with the end of a 3mm allen key.

There are actually two types of carbon lever, one has no grub-screw! The pivot-pin lever is "pressed" into place. Carefully tap it out with something of a slightly smaller diameter.

Although you have removed the pivot pin, the brake lever is still attached by the push-rod, to the piston, which is housed in the "pump" body.

Hold onto the brake lever assembly and gently but firmly, and with a lot of force slowly wrench the push-rod out of the end of the piston kit which is still firmly attached to the pump body. It is only held in by a firm "press-fit".

When the lever assembly with push-rod attached, is removed from the pump body, you will be able to see the piston-kit assembly and FCS adjuster are held into the pump body by a small torcx screw. (see above)

If you have broken your FCS adjuster in a crash, or your brake levers are no longer returning to their neutral position after use, you should undo the torcx screw that holds the FCS and piston in place, while keeping pressure on the top of the FCS adjuster in case it flies off after the screw is removed.

If the FCS adjuster is broken, then replace it with a new kit.
If the brake lever was not returning properly then replace the "pump-piston kit" with a new one, after coating liberally with the grease supplied in the kit.

Assemble in reverse order. This time you will need to apply a bit of force when seating the end of the push-rod back into the piston assembly.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Whakapapa, an attempt at skiing

The snow was great.
Day 1, white out and 20cms of fresh powder.
Day 2, more snow, 5 metres of visibility and slight rain.
Day 3! More snow, sunny all round but high winds so the chairs werent open other than Happy valley. We got in 1 whole days skiing overall and stayed at the Graduates Lodge. They have a great chef there call Paul. This is the view from the bathroom window on day 3.