Loose crankset

I set out this morning in beautiful, warm weather under partly sunny skies for the first ride with Kuroko’s new crankset. I didn’t get far, though, before it became clear something was wrong. I could feel a slight hitch in a certain part of the pedal stroke, and the front derailleur wasn’t happy. First I’d hear chain noise on the big chainring, and then the big chainring would be fine and I’d hear noise on the smaller chainring.

I got through my first climb of the route, and am satisfied with the new low climbing gear. I can’t wait to give it a try on a really serious climb. (Well, maybe I can … ) But meanwhile, just after the climb I turned left and that brought me to Meiji Jingu, my first stop on the route. Here I encountered a barricade, so I dismounted and found: a group ride in progress.

Group ride station at Meiji Jingu
Group ride station at Meiji Jingu

(I’ve had a quick search on Google and I can’t find any information. I suppose I could have asked one of the riders while I was there … )

Meanwhile, I took the usual photo with the portrait gallery in the background and then pulled Kuroko into the shade. I did my best to check the derailleur settings and then I gave each pedal a tug up and down and side to side. As soon as I pulled on the right side, it was clear: the crankset was loose! I’m not sure why, because I definitely tightened it to the manufacturer’s recommended 41nm. (I even bought a torque wrench for the purpose.)

Kuroko at Meiji Jingu
Kuroko at Meiji Jingu

More to the point, I need a 10mm hex to tighten the crank, and I didn’t have one with me. I had briefly thought this morning to include the torque wrench and socket in my bag along with Nana’s onigiri, just in case, but I’d immediately decided it wasn’t worth the effort. It was only now, that I had a definite need, that I recalled I have a 10mm hex key that I easily could have carried for just such an emergency.

Anyway, no use crying over spilled milk. I was still close to home and so it was best that I turn around immediately. (I suppose I could have asked some of the riders at the group event if anyone had a 10mm hex … I didn’t see a mechanics booth, though.) I messaged Nana that I was on my way home and started back, pedaling more gingerly than I had on my way out. (A group of riders from the event followed me out of Meiji Jingu.) On the way home, I could definitely feel the crank was loose, and I did my best not to bear down with too much pressure.

I got home without incident. I brought Kuroko up to the Garage in the Sky and tightened the crankset once again with the torque wrench. It seems to be on firmly. I spent more time readjusting the front derailleur, and it’s working well — at least on the stand. I’ll have to make sure to bring the 10mm wrench along next time I ride.

It’s a pity now that Nana has to wash my riding clothes after just a half-hour jaunt. On the bright side, I’ll be able to vacuum and mop so she won’t have to.

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