Often overlooked, the weight of a tool bag

Long ride or short ride? Mtb or road bike?
A tool bag is a simple thing, yet it does need a little thinking about, unless you want to carry a while toolbox with you, eventually to discover that 95% of the tools won’t be used at all.



So this is the Full Monty, the way I see it.

You can handle pretty much everything with this, perhaps missing an Hypercracker to remove the cassette in case a spoke fails on the rear wheel. image

In detail, here’s the contents, from top-left clockwise:

  • bag (made from a Thomson stem package)
  • 700c inner tube with long-ish valve
  • two tyre levers
  • small zip bag with 3-4 Nitrile gloves
  • small zip bag with 2 alcohol pads (useful in many things), 3-4 self-adhesive patches, 1 tyre boot (ripstop tape+gaffer tape)
  • chain links
  • a valve extender and a valve core, plus the little tool for them
  • chain Powerlinks
  • Leatherman Squirt mini tool, useful to remove staples stuck in the tyre (how do I know…), opening a beer, etc
  • small container of oil
  • Multitool, has a chain-breaker too
  • Pedro’s Trixie tool, has a box 15mm spanner perfect for a single-speed, and other things



But that is a bit too much in most cases, so let’s select what is really needed for a specific ride.
It doesn’t take that long, and the results are easy to see in weight and volume:

  • a small but efficient pump (that would give 80psi on a road tyre in <2 minutes)
  • tyre boot (ripstop tape+gaffer tape)
  • small single-use Krazy Glue, very useful to mend slashes on tyres
  • 2 alcohol pads (useful in many things, like degrease disk rotors, clean wounds -ouch!-, remove glue/sealant from rims, etc.)
  • 3-4 self-adhesive patches
  • a valve extender and a valve core, plus the little tool for them
  • small zip bag with 3-4 Nitrile gloves
  • Multitool (Lezyne), with chain-breaker
  • mini-insert from a different multitool, has spoke wrench and 8/9/10mm box wrench
  • chain powerlinks
  • one gear cable
  • small container of oil (from a Soy Sauce container, as found in supermarket-packed sushi)
  • two tyre levers



But I think we can reduce that even further, and this is what I carry on a normal road ride:

  • pump
  • tyre boot
  • tube patches
  • alcohol pads
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Multitool
  • chain Powerlinks
  • small container of oil
  • very small one-size spoke wrench
  • one tyre lever

That goes down to 234 grams.


Check it out, the tools go for a mere 140 grams.
After that, i’ve rolled about 1/2mt of gaffer tape around the pump: it can be a ride-saver, I’ve even mended friend’s shoes with it!. It takes no space and no weight (<10 grams, duh!)



Happy new year, check this video

This video dates back from 1989, a documentary about bicycle design/production/etc. from Channel 4.
There's some really nice stuff in.

Here is a glimpse of Mario Camillotto’s workshop when he wa building for Cinelli. Lovely and tidy workshop, can’t praise him enough

Columbus factory

And Monty young from Condor Cycles, shown building wheels.
It is great to think that some of those tools are still around here, along with his truing stand. I do feel honored to have worked for a couple of years with him

And a shot from Condor’s old shop in Grays Inn road, nice to mention that the shop is still on that road, and grown to need a much bigger space nowadays

Campagnolo factory.
A nice look at the hubs production line, those do look like been Chorus rear hubs.
The music in background is the famous “Và pensiero” from Giuseppe Verdi’s “Nabucco”

And dr. Alex Moulton (who sadly passed away last year) showing his legenday space-frame


And last, a view of a Cinelli Laser track

Random madness that passed by here

“my hubgear is not working….”
(yes man, you thrashed it)

funny stuff2 funny stuff1

“why this crank broke??”
(erm…. a little bit of rubbing from your shoe??)

funny stuff3

My bottom bracket is making funny noises….!
(How about the frame??)

funny stuff4


“my bottom bracket is making noises….” (2)

funny stuff9


“Do I really need to keep my bike clean??”
(Yes, alluminium too doesn’t like much salt/grit on the roads)

funny stuff5


It does exist!
Shimano UN72 bottom bracket inFRENCH thread 35×1

funny stuff6


This looks like air bubbles withing the rubber mould. See what happened when the tyre has been inflated

funny stuff7 funny stuff8

“my Di2 doesn’t work….”
(let’s talk about how to avoid the build-up of crap around?)

funny stuff10

Disk-Brakes on cyclocross? Not a novelty.

Check this out.

Condor cycles, made out of steel (very likely by Dave Yates), with Hope mechanical disk brakes.
Yes, you read it well, Hope did this mechanical disk brakes. note the rotor that is just “screw-on” the Hope hub.
And yes, the mechanical leverage of the road shifter/brake lever wasn’t ideal, but it worked a hell of a lot better than cantilevers in that time, and today’s ones too when is wet

This was in the second half of the ’90s, if I’m not wrong.





As far as I’ve been told, the frame does use some heavier gauge of tubing for the seatstays and fork blades. This bike reported no particular “juddering” while braking, nor the frame shows weakness. I like the solution of the rear caliper in between the end of the seat and chainstay, it does the job to oppose the torque generated while braking.
The rims had been replaced at some point.

Let’s talk about bottom brackets. BB30 to Shimano Hollowtech2, for example

I see the BB30 standard as a good idea, and so far seems the longer lasting and more compatible one.

The idea of having the bearings easy to replace is a good thing, and so is the narrow b.b. shell to achieve a low Q-Factor whenever the cranks are made to be “BB30 native”.
But this has drawbacks, the bearings easy to replace are actually too thin in width and prone to mis-alignement; and the narrow b.b. shell makes the bearings being in an unfavourable position when adapters are used.

In this case, the frame is BB30, and Shimano Hollowtech2 cranks are used.
The adapters are the widely used and reliable Wheels MFG; nothing more than two blocks of hard Nylon machined to good tolerance.

Let’s start by removing the cranks.

Pinch-bolts have to come undone. Make sure that the allen key is a good one, those bolts have to be tight when fitting the cranks (12-13Nm), and their head is prone to get rounded. Be wise then


Now is time for the preload cap to be removed. Use the specific tool, like the Shimano TL-FC16 or the Park Tool BBT10 shown here. There’s plenty of compatible ones on budget, they do the job: this cap is meant to be “finger-tight”.
Oh, there’s fancy alluminium ones, mostly to be moved via an 8mm allen key. Just be careful to not get carried away by that long allen key handle…

bb30Bearings&Adapters2             bb30Bearings&Adapters3
Note the “safety plate” in between the slot, lift it up before removing the L/h crank

Slide the R/h crank altogether with the axle, gentle use of a rubber mallet may help. Do not touch the rings, if you have to, go on the spider on alternate points.

Then the b.b. shell is left with the BB30 adapters, to remove them you can use two plastic tyre levers. I won’t recommend to use a Splice tool (like the one to remove headset cups), for a couple of reasons.
First, it won’t go easy trough the hole (tool is more than 1″, hole is 24mm); second and important thing, is that you may actually catch the circlips that work as a shoulder for the BB30 bearings. That would make a bit of a mess.
Also, I like to limit any “hammering” on the frame, especially if we consider that is very likely we’re dealing with a carbon frame…

For the same reason as the second and third one above, for removing the bearings I do prefer this little tool.
Very effective, would catch the bearing from the inside (note the moving flaps), then extract it with the screw attachet to the flaps. Genius.
bb30Bearings&Adapters6    bb30Bearings&Adapters7  bb30Bearings&Adapters8

bb30Bearings&Adapters9  bb30Bearings&Adapters10

Now let’s clean the b.b. shell from inside. Note the circlips in the second picture

 bb30Bearings&Adapters11  bb30Bearings&Adapters12

This anti-seize from Finish Line is actually a variant of the “copper-grease” used in automotive industry.
It is very effective in preventing rust and corrosion between any kind of metal. It is also very sticky, this mean that would not get “moved” when a part works on it, it is very adhesive (and stains your hands and clothes!)

Fresh new bearings.
BB30 use the size “6806”, which is 30x42x7. They do exist in various levels of quality, my opinion is that there’s no particular need to spend 50 bucks for one bearing, get one that is good quality (SKF, INA, FAG, Enduro, etc.) and press it correctly: it is pointles to have the best quality of bearings if you have to hammer them in, and/or leave the not well aligned.
This press is made by Wheels Manufacturing, you can have it alone, with a choice of drifts, or with full kit of drifts.
I do have a panel of bearing drifts 🙂

The same Anti-Seize on the crank spindle, note that when the adapter slides onto, the Anti-seize is very much entirely still in place, and the adapter fits just tight enough.
bb30Bearings&Adapters15   bb30Bearings&Adapters16

We’ll fit the R/h crank with the spindle (well, that is obvious, it’s a one-piece) and the R/h adapter on. not shown here (you can see below) is the Anti-seize on the inner and outer part of the adapter, the part that holds onto the spindle and the bearing.
But first, a run of grease just off the inner border of the b.b. shell: this will reduce the water seeping in

Normally, the spindle with the R/h adapter, and the L/h adapter, will go by hand
bb30Bearings&Adapters18   bb30Bearings&Adapters19

Anti-seize on the L/h crank clamping area, too; then the preload cap goes in position again. It has to be finger-tight. Check that the cranks would spin as free as possible, still no axial play is allowed

bb30Bearings&Adapters20   bb30Bearings&Adapters21

Don’t forget to check the safety plate: if you can’t push it down in position until it almost “clicks”, then the adapters are probably not fully seated. This makes the L/h crank not clamping on enough portion of the axle.

If the safety plate can be pushed down correctly, the you’ve done well. Now tighten the two pich-bolts to 12-13Nm.

And that’s that

Carbon rims, ok, but the bladder?

I do understand that in some ways, the carbon-fiber has to be moulded, and it seems that using a bladder makes life easy for manufacturing. Because I am no expert in composite materials, I won’t go in details about this.
However, I have to say that some “cleaning-up” should be done at the factory; especially in parts where the space to work around becomes a premium.

This rim gave me a bit of headache for about 1/2hr, removing the sunken nipples took a lot more than what expected.

See the nipples, there’s one with the leftovers of the bladder that’s still on. Look how it managed to wrap around while unscrewing the nipple. Note that this part is well inside the rim.
Yes, nothing that would become impossible, just some more time required.

Had to pull out some of this plastic, which when the matrix is cured, has obviously no part in the structure of the carbon fiber

Something is still there, but the holes are now clear enough to insert the nipples, in order to rebuild the wheel.

I will use a little grease outside the nipple, for protection against corrosion.
Best thing will be some Lithium-based grease (the manufacturer is called Nimrod) of which I have wast experience on long-term basis, and never found it to react or create problems with any composite material.
Being a radial-laced front wheel, I will add a little of Loctite222 on the spoke thread, just to “keep it there”. I quite like the 222, it doesn’t lock, but rather makes the small threads to stay in place without loosening. And when cured, the torque to break the compound, doesn’t require too much force, resulting in moderate twisting of the spoke.

Down-tube cable stops. An emergency repair

Clever guy.
Home-made frame respray, you can live with. But make sure that barrel going across the down-tube will stay in place!

This gentlemen removed it, so there was no way to stop the cables on the frame… what to do, what to do?
We never have too much time to waste. Had to take advantage of the curve on the tubing, while keeping tight the cable-stops blocks with the frame (copying its tubing profile), this would make them steady enough.
All we need then, is a sleeve threaded on both sides, and long enough to reach the two sides of the down tube.

“detto e fatto” (spoken and readily done, in Italian)

Preparing the sleeve, two M6 threads are cut in this alluminium sleeve

How the frame looked like: a big hole with nothing that could hold the cables!

The sleeve is then Loctite’d to one side with the cable-stop block, dome-head M6 bolts are used (the hole in the cable-stop had to be drilled to a bigger diameter of 6.5mm)

Just flush with the frame!

Doesn’t look that bad.
downtubecablestpos9 downtubecablestpos8

And it works! I was able to stretch the cables with a very small amount of rotation of the cable-stops blocks onto the tubing.
Needs to be said that an old-ish fromt mech was used, which tipically featured a return spring that is weaker if compared to modern units. If that was the case, a modern front mech or one with a strong return spring, I would have certainly used alloy cable-stops, like the good Campagnolo or Shimano Dura-Ace: being metal ones, they would hold better on the profile of the tubing.

Note that this repair is fully reversible, whenever we’re given the original barrel to bond where the hole was!