Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Bicylcle maintenance .. Part II

I've been working too hard this last week or so (most evenings and a little at the weekend too). Nasty little data conversion tasks are an ongoing theme - to much human controlled data means lots of special cases and a never ending stream of little problems. Ho hum.

However, I am happy to report that DerailleurHanger.com came through on their online offer and identified the correct part for my bike from my photos. The internet is a wonderful place - it allows companies to exist that are incredibly specialised by extending their catchment area to a global market.

So my experiences so far are good. I've found two online shops I'm very happy with, but I am afraid I hope that I don't need to be a customer again any time soon. Chain rivets and derailleur hanger ordered and my bike is preped and ready to have that new rear deraileur fitted when they arrive.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Bicylcle maintenance

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will be well aware that back in February (on my birthday no less!) my bike was vandalised. Some enterprising mind burdoned, no doubt, by the unending pressures of modern life, decided to releave a little stress by kicking my rear deraileur through the spokes of my back wheel.

I thought breifly about having a bike shop repair the resulting damage but instead I decided I would repair it myself. I bought a new Shimano deraileur unit, a set of Super-B bike tools and a Haynes bike repair manual.

Today I finally got round to working on the bike. Dilligently I cleaned the bike and then used the chain rivet remover to break my chain. Problem number 1. Shimano UG, HG and IG chains use rivets that leave a bigger hole when removed than when put in - I need to buy some special replacement rivets to rejoing the chain. Bugger... still, I pressed on and removed the bucked and broken deraileur, only to find that the deraileur hanger is both hideously bent and the thread holding the deraileur has shredded as a result. So now I need a new deraileur hanger - trouble is, these seem to be very hard to find - in principle every bike can have a differently shapped hanger and the manufacturer of my bike seems not to bother to sell parts.

Big fat arse!

So.. my next best bet is to contact http://deraileurhanger.com - they specialise in selling just this part. Even they don't list my bike (even though it's one of Germany's biggest brands), however, they do let you send them pictures and see if they can find a match.

On the upside I am learning a lot about how modern bikes are constructed and how to maintain them. As a new father in a household where bikes are the primary means of transport for spring, summer and autumn time, I doubt this will be the last time I need to be involved in bike repair work.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Voigtländer Vitomatic II

Voigtländer Vitomatic II, originally uploaded by de ney.

I've purchased one of these on E-bay for the princely sum of 20€. This is essentially the same as the Voigtlaender Vito CL I have been using recently but with a coupled rangefinder and with the meter mirrored in the viewfinder.

Ebay listing suggests it's fully functional, and given the classic West-German build quality of these late 1950s / early 1960s Voitglaenders I have high hopes.

To date I haven't really found the "perfect" 35mm camera. In 120 format I think my Bronica RF645 is the one. I suspect the 35mm camera would be similar. To be a really comfortable, natural experience I need a lightmeter, preferably visible in the view finder, a decent rangefinder and an excellent lens - this Vitomatic might fit the bill. An East German Zeiss Werra IV might also fit the bill, but they're a little rarer and command a higher price so I have not yet had the funds or opportunity to find out. Talking of which, Zeiss-Ikon Contax and Leica M's (and Nikon and Canon copies) are obvious contenders but alas they have names and reputations that carry an unreasonable price. At a push I might one day find the funds to buy one of the new-fangled Besa R4M or R3M models.