Saturday, March 14, 2015

Steahly Off Road Flywheel (Just Like Mom Used to Make!)

Well, this is shaping up to be the lousiest winter ever as far as seat time is concerned - big fat nothing since the snow has fallen, studded tires aren't even on. Terrible though this is, I'm getting a lot of wrenching done. The odyssey of my top end rebuild is destined for Trail Rider Magazine, but let me show you my new flywheel weight.

See that? God's own camera just took 200 hours off my bike!

It is from Steahly Off Road, it weighs five ounces, and it came with two pages of instructions... with small font and few pictures. Also included in the package, ominously, were a tiny pot of epoxy, a syringe, and rubber gloves. You'll also need a flywheel puller, a center punch, a torque wrench, maybe a strap wrench, and an oven. Yep. An oven.

The first task, removing and cleaning the old flywheel, was difficult for two reasons: one, I have a Rekluse; two, the old one was dirty. The Rekluse made life difficult because the bike is essentially in neutral all the time--you can put it in sixth and step on the rear brake, but if you crank on the flywheel nut, the engine turns right over. I had to utilize teamwork and a strap wrench to hold the flywheel still and loosen the nut, and the same was true of putting it back on.


With the flywheel off, a significant amount of de-rusting had to be done: the stator side of this bike has a vent that apparently lets in water--well, and the gasket looked pretty bad. The flywheel surface needs to be squeaky clean where the weight will attach so the epoxy will bond correctly. To this end, the instructions recommend cleaning it with ethanol or acetone and only touching it with gloves.

Next, one places the weight over the flywheel and strikes the flywheel surface with a center punch through holes in the sides of the weight. Now it's epoxy time. Wearing those gloves, you mix up the epoxy and, using the syringe, inject it into the holes on the sides of the weight. It is viscous stuff and you really have to crank on the plunger - I eventually gave up and made my boyfriend do it, as apparently I have wimpy hands. You keep injecting epoxy until it starts oozing out all the holes and makes a mess.

Like our countertops? No? Ugh. You peasant.

Clean up the overflow, install the provided clamp, and let it sit at room temp for 24 hours (this meant taking it out of our near freezing basement), then bake it in the oven for 2 hours at 250 degrees. Once it cools, pop it in the bike and away you go.

"Don't overcook those, they get really chewy." - My aunt

The whole process went more smoothly than I expected it would - especially more smoothly than I expected it would after I saw the epoxy and the part about the oven. I haven't tested it out yet riding, and I probably won't until the snow/dirty slush currently blanketing New England melts. Fortunately, I have a couple more repairs and modifications to do to keep me entertained -- including plugging up that vent in the stator cover and running oil in there, as my go-to maintenance web guru Jeff Slavens of Slavens Racing suggests here. More on that later.