Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chainrings and Demigods

My Tomac’s middle chainring is useless. I planned on replacing it before I left for Hanson Hills. An XTR chainring costs $180 which made me procrastinate. I found someone who had a used set that would have worked fine but we couldn’t seem to find a time to meet before I left for the race. I found a bike shop near the race that had a 32 tooth XTR chainring. I started to take off the old ring but discovered the chainring bolts take a torx instead of an allen wrench. I bought a ¼ inch drive torx bit at an ACO but stripped out one bolt. A local bike shop drill out the stripped bolt and I replaced it with a spare allen head bolt I keep on hand. Lost a second torx bolt but found another allen head bolt in the bottom of my tool box. Made another attempt to replace the chainring but realized the cranks have to come off. I have a XT crank tool but the XTR uses a different style. I couldn’t find an XTR tool anywhere near Grayling so I raced Hanson Hills in the big chainring.

Let’s compare my life to that of my older brothers’, just for grins.

Before I left for the race, Dave came by to take my Honda power-washer. He mentioned if I came across his 1964 AC Cobra slot car, he would like it. It was his favorite toy as a child and he had just gotten back from the East Coast where he bought a real 1964 AC Cobra. For $250,000. A quarter million dollars is a lot of money for a used car, that’s 1,388 XTR chainrings to put it in relatable terms. It wasn’t even assembled, just a trailer of parts that could be combined to make an original, number matching AC Cobra. Dave will have restored the car by August.

He has always been that way. Dave built a rat buggy when he was a teenager. Normally these types of cars are powered by a VW engine but he took the engine out of the front of a Cortina and used a crown adapter to modify it to fit in the back of his race car. The Cortina engine put out about twice the horse power of a VW. He beat pro teams.

Dave is a great brother but he set the bar too dam high.

Not too high for my other brother. Glen got the motorcycle in this picture from an insurance company back when he was 15. It was in a garage fire and considered totaled. He rebuilt it, got a salvage title, and patiently waited until he turned 16 so he could (legally) ride it. He is currently building an experimental airplane in his garage.

Tonight I will take another swing at replacing my middle chainring.


  1. Cool gear head connections. I'm not (or was) great at it - but have done a fair amount of gear head activities years ago - involving cars, motorcycles and yes, bicycles.

    I am okay at wrenching on bikes however, even though my bike shop days were a few decades ago...

  2. It is cool but also difficult living in a family where if you don't brush your Mikuni main jets after every meal then it's like you don't deserve them.

  3. Not the case with my family. My parents and brother had no interest at all with gear head or two wheeled fun. Where I picked this up from - a mystery...