A little while ago I cleaned up the Bonelli Slusher and transformed it from winter mode into spring mode. This actually involved quite a bit of work! It was caked in road grime from the winter riding, and the entire bike had to be pretty much disassembled down to the frame for cleaning and re-greasing.
Project Bonelli Slusher
Chapter: 2 – Spring Transformation
Cost So Far: $410 CAD
Model: 199X L Bonelli Lite 1
Nickname: Bonelli Slusher
Purpose: Rainy Day Beater Bike, Grocery Getter, Winter Bike
Odometer: Approximately 650km
Setup: Spring 1×7 Shimano Tourney (11.6kg)
What’s up with the Bonelli Slusher?
Since we last took a look at this bike, there have been another 200 or so kilometres racked up in grimy, salty, Ottawa streets. The result? A very, very dirty bike. I decided to give it a good cleaning, disassembly, and re-greasing. Besides a good cleaning, I also threw on my spring set of wheels. You may recognize the wheels from my other article on repacking a bike hub. It weighs a little less now thanks to the lighter tires (The studded Schwalbe’s weight quite a bit!) and the braking has been greatly improved thanks to new pads.
Hopefully this will serve as a notice to anyone thinking about winter biking in Ottawa – the Bonelli Slusher takes quite a beating throughout the season. It should also serve as a notice to anyone thinking about using their “nice” bike in the winter time as well. You may want to reconsider!
First – Some Cleaning
I took the Bonelli Slusher outside for an initial spray down with the hose, sprayed it with some car wash soap, and gave it a good wipe down. Even with just an initial spray down the bike was starting to look a lot better. All that built up salt and corrosion from the winter really put the drivetrain through a lot.
You can see that even with a good spray down there was a fair amount of gunk still stuck in the chain, and all of the smaller areas of the bike. I took it inside, mounted it on the bike stand and started with the disassembly. I removed both sets of brakes, the rear derailleur, chain, and cranks. Look at that dirty chain!
After a little wiping down of the frame, things were already looking quite a bit better. I really like the green colour of this frame.
The front brake pads were completely toast, and one of the arms was actually seized. The rear brake pads were completely toast as well. The bottom bracket looked to be in good shape (It was replaced last year after all), but the aluminum narrow wide chain ring had definitely seen better days – look at all that wear on the teeth! Let’s take a look at that rear derailleur in all its gory detail.
Wow, disgusting! I took it apart as much as I could and gave everything a good cleaning and re-greasing. The jockey wheels now spin much more nicely.
I cleaned up the brake arms, and threw out the brake pads. For the seized brake arm, I took some pliers, some 3-in-1 lubricant, and just went at it for a while, wedging it back and forth with a little muscle. Eventually the corrosion broke loose, and with some more 3-in-1, it returned to its usual smoothness.
The chain, meanwhile, took a dunk in some diluted simple green (A pretty basic environmentally friendly degreaser) for a bath.
It’s all Worthwhile
Wow – that was a lot of cleaning. There was quite a bit of gunk built up pretty much everywhere, but it’s nothing a little patience, and a lot of rags can’t fix. Everything was then re-greased and reinstalled. Looks pretty spiffy now doesn’t it?
I picked up a spare brake lever from a local sport shop (Bushtukah) to replace one that broke this winter (Actually a bit of an odd story – my one and only wipeout this winter involved me carrying the Bonelli Slusher down a few concrete steps when I slipped and dropped the bike – ouch!). To replace the lever, I twisted off the grip, removed the brake cable from the lever, removed the lever, put on a new lever, as well as a new brake cable, and then to put the grip back on, I sprayed the inside with a solution of diluted dish soap – this trick works really well. Once the dish soap dries, the grip sticks nice and tight.
Well, the Bonelli Slusher is running just as fine as she ever does. With all the wear on the narrow wide chainring, it’s got me thinking that it will need to be replaced, and it’s got me thinking that it’s probably causing a bit of unnecessary wear on the chain, which is not great either. The brakes are performing really excellently – it’s my first time using these type of pads, and they are soft, quiet, and grip the rim well in both dry and wet conditions so far. I’m also liking the wax-based lube that I’m using on this bike. Since it’s only really used for commuting on rainy days, it doesn’t get lubed that often – so far, this lube has been lasting long, and has been keeping the chain looking great as well.
Here’s to summer riding!