Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fine-tuning the Schlumpf Speed Drive

Many of my readers may remember that I have a Schlumpf Speed Drive on Brompton, Brahma. Since I got this very advanced gearing system installed, I never had to even think about it. It always worked like a charm.

Recently, in the last month or so, I noticed that when I climb the two big (big for me) hills near my home, which measure about 18% or more on my Garmin, at the very top of the hill, as I am struggling to make it up the hill, the Schlumpf would slip. The combination of gears that got me up these hills is the lowest in the Schlumpf, SA BWR 3-speed and the lowest gear in the 2 external gears on Brahma. Brahma was built as a 6-speed (in the rear) Brompton P-Type with the Schlumpf Speed Drive in the front.

Knowing Schlumpf's reputation for bullet-proof engineering, I didn't worry about this much, but it was nevertheless bothersome, especially given I could lose my balance and crash, because of the instability brought about by the slipping of the Schlumpf.

So, it was time to dig out the Schlumpf manual and read-up.

The first thing that I noticed was that it was a good time to lube my Schlumpf. The picture below gives instructions for the same.
My Schlumpf Speed Drive is the version 08, for which one would need the instructions in H.2.3 in the picture above.

So, I hurried up and used my torx head to remove one of the 10 Torx screws on my Schlumpf.
Next, I rotated the Schlumpf crank arms, such that I could align the Torx screw slot with the Schlumpf drive's oil port.
That was relatively easy. I only tightened the Torx screw slightly when I put it back. Schlumpf has specific recommendations on how much torque to put on the screw, in Newton Meter units. I am planning to buy a Torx driver set soon, just so I can have one handy. 

Unfortunately, lubing the Schlumpf did not solve my problem. The Schlumpf still slipped, under load, every time I climbed the two big hills.

This afternoon, I decided it is time to get to the bottom of things. So, I started my 3 stage troubleshooting process. My plan was as follows:

  1. Check the SA hub to make sure it is adjusted properly
  2. Check the Chain for tension and wear
  3. Check the Schlumpf for any play and rectify without making any major adjustments
Item # 3 in the list above is a very important step. Schlumpf recommend that you do not adjust the settings too much, especially if you do not understand how the Schlumpf works thoroughly. I don't claim to understand the inner workings of the Schlumpf in its entirety. 

I did check the SA hub and it didn't need any adjustments.

Next was the chain on Brahma, which I replaced roughly a year ago, when I was in Dallas. I wrote about my experiences here and here.

When I checked the chain on Brahma, I was surprised to find that it had at least 75% wear on it. I checked the wear on a few links, before deciding it might be time to change it. However, I didn't think this was the problem, but I wanted to get a second opinion from a professional bike mechanic.
So, I called the bike shop at Perimeter REI. I talked to a newer tech, by the name of Ben, who sounded very confident and logical (both are very important in my book). He too thought that chain-wear may not alleviate the problem.

Anyways, I got in the Chevy and headed over to REI. Shortly, I met Ben. When we examined the Schlumpf together, Ben pointed out to me that there was some side-play in the Schlumpf, which was easy to adjust. Ben simply followed the instructions in the Schlumpf manual got it done**. Once the side-play was eliminated, I requested Ben to change the chain also. Luckily, REI had a 7/8 SRAM chain, which Ben assured me was equivalent to the 3/32 chain that was on Brahma. So, Brahma got a new chain as well.

**The adjustment needed to remove the side-play was the tightening of the part next to the bottom bracket on the non-drive side; this part is called a lock-out mechanism.
After the installation of the chain and the adjustments need to remove the side-play, Ben test rode Brahma and gave it a clean bill of health. I drove back home, after perusing the merchandise at REI. I even bought myself a little holiday gift, which I posted about here.

After I got home, I took Brahma for a test ride. I rode a short bit on a fairly flat road and then rode downhill to the bottom of the hill at Martins Road. From there, I rode up the hill, twice, in the same gear combination which would make the Schlumpf slip. Thank Goodness, no slippage. Phew!

I am hoping that the problem has been solved or as Clouseau would say, "Sol-ved" :)

I am very happy that I went to see a trusty professional mechanic.

Paz :)

PS. All along this process, Channell Wasson at Foldabikes, has been very helpful, by providing tips on troubleshooting. Thanks, Channell!

PPS. I found one of the Torx screws in the Schlumpf stripped. I know I did not strip the screw, by over tightening it, accidentally. The screw I removed to add lube, was not the one holding the trouser-guard in place. It must have happened, quite possibly when the unit was put together. I have found a temporary fix; replaced the stripped Torx screw with one from REI. The replacement does not match the color of the original and it is not of the same length; so, I have used a few washers to make it work for now. I plan to contact Foldabikes and Schlumpf Innovations and see if I can get a replacement. Hopefully, I can get a replacement from Schlumpf or Foldabikes.


I was at REI this afternoon, where I came across something very unique inside this package.
Inside the package was a handmade, pewter, bicycle Christmas ornament.

The ornament is well made and made in the US of A!

It is not every year that we put up a Christmas tree. For instance, we may not have a Christmas tree this year. But, I figure I will save it for a future tree.

Until then, this beauty will serve as a decoration on my wall. Why not?

I am in a particularly happy mood to celebrate the holidays this year, more so than in the recent past. I hope you are too.

Peace :)

Brompton turns 25

Brompton celebrated its 25th birthday yesterday.
To read more about this event, please click on the picture above.

Paz :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bee careful

Bee careful. This would have been a great piece of advice to give everyone who visited the Butterfly Garden at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. There were plenty of bees there. I went with the primary intent of photographing the flowers and the butterflies.
But then, bees are fun too, if you are a cautious and patient photographer. Wouldn't you agree? :)

Paz :)

Scary Blog Statistics

It appears I posted the most in 2010 - 160 posts. Not bad 2011 either. But, in 2012 and 2013, I didn't post much at all.

Blog Archive

2012 was a very challenging year for me, given I had to deal with some not-very-nice people. I am glad I came out unscathed.

2013 was a different story. I was traveling a bunch for job interviews and then there was the big move to Atlanta. However, I think I have posted more often in my iBrompton blog than here.

Do I see a trend? Heck yeah!
Perhaps, time to consolidate the blogs? I don't know yet.

Something to ponder about…

Peace :)

Feeling Dirty

There was a price to pay in taking the shortcut during construction around the MUP.
Brahma was dirty. Needed a bath and I gave him one and lubed the chain, cables, etc. Clean as a whistle.

Temps have dropped in Atlanta. Nighttime temps are in the 20-30s. Daytime highs are only in the 40s this week, with the exception of one day - tomorrow. However, there is rain in the forecast, tomorrow and the day after.

Now, whoever said, you wash your car, it rains…Brahma is my car…well, you get the idea :)

I won't be commuting to work this week. It is a short week and I will be working from home when I need to.

Hope all is well.

Paz :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Schlumpf website has a 'New DO'

I have not been back to the Schlumpf website in a long time, since I bought Brahma, but I did yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised to see some changes.
They have an updated website and some information on some changes. Worth a read, if you have the product or if you are just a the curious kind, like many of us.

Paz :)

PS. Image above courtesy of Schlumpf Innovations.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Colors around my commute

I did not get to venture out too much to post a lot of pictures of Fall foliage. But, I did see these two, in Dunwoody, that caught my eye.
Both these are, obviously, in parking lots of office buildings, near the Medical Center Marta Station, in Dunwoody, GA.
Hope your are enjoying your Fall.

Paz :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Busy worker

I think have seen more bees since moving to Georgia. I think I saw a fair number in Missouri, but I can't say I saw a whole lot of them in Texas.
Shown in this post is a Busy Bee, working to collect food for the family or just hanging out (doubt that).

Georgia has the Yellow Jackets. I can't say I am ready to photograph them yet.

Location: Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC)

Paz :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Another lovely scene from the Chattahoochee Nature Center. I have several photos of this gorgeous place, which I plan to post, one per post, for the next week or so.

When we got to this particular spot, the lovely mix of colors, particularly the lavender color, caught our attention.
I am slowly getting back into photography. I hope to post pictures from different places as and when I can.

Paz :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Blue, Green and Yellow

Photo from early Fall at the Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC).
I simply love this place. It is very serene and the staff are awesome.

Paz :)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pretty Purple

I have been having some issues with camera shake. I suppose it is part of growing younger :(
Any suggestions? I am starting to use a tripod where I can, more often than before.
Saw these beauties at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, when I went there earlier in Fall. Such intense coloration. Love it.

Paz :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shortcut cut short

In a recent post, I wrote about how my wife found a new shortcut to get home. However, there is construction (seawall installation) going on at Martins Lake has put an abrupt end to the shortcut. For the past few weeks, I was at least able to walk parts of this shortcut and ride parts of it, to get to the bus stop.
However, the livelihood of the shortcut has been cut short by more construction on the path along the lake. 
Now, they have dug up the Multi-User Path (MUP) completely. So, until the construction is complete, I will be taking the long way. I can't wait for the construction to be completed.

Paz :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Not news, but some very nice nuggets of information

Many of us may know that roads were not built for cars. I recently came across a very nice website, with lots of information on this topic.

Click on the image below to go to this website.

Peace :)