Thursday, August 9, 2012

Seats, nuts and bolts: keep 'em tight

The other day I was riding errands on a Cruzbike Sofrider.  This isn't a story about the Sofrider.  It simply so happens that this has been my city "beater" bent for the past month.  I was somewhere between Brooklyn and Manhattan (like on the Brooklyn Bridge) when I felt that distinctive looseness that can only mean one thing: loose seat bolts.  I don't have a lot of mechanical problems, but one I do seem to have, and always at the more inopportune times, is loose seat bolts.  The last time this happened was road-side in the Taconics while riding a StreetMachine Gte with the 8-bolt BodyLink seat.  That time I had tools.  This time I didn't (let that be a lesson), so I began making alternative plans: go to a bike shop and beg an allen key for my cool bike?  Try and "be careful"?  Ultimately, in spite of having about 25 miles of errands to run -- or ride -- and very, very slowly so as to try and diminish the loosening of the bolts -- I was home before the bolts shook entirely loose.  Thank goodness.  By the time I took an allen key to them, both seat pan bolts were nearly -- but not quite -- too loose for comfort.

Unlike standard frame bikes, where there are generally only two seat bolts that can come loose, a recumbent usually has several, and they are usually small diameter bolts with low torque values.  I've had seat bolts come loose on me on just about every brand of bike, so it isn't only a problem for certain brands.  It's just a recumbent thing, sort of like The Smile.

Here's the preventative maintenance tip of the day.  Seat bolts become loose through ordinary use.  That means using Loktite threadlocker blue.  Remove all the bolts on the bent seat.  Apply the Loktite.  Screw the bolts back in.  You're done.  For now.

Keep an eye on those bolts and keep 'em tight,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2012 Robert Matson

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