Specialized Turbo Parts Installation

The Turbo S comes mostly assembled in a large sturdy box from Specialized that also has plastic support handles in lieu of simple cardboard ones since it still does weigh about 48 pounds.  The battery is separately packaged in the box in additional cardboard and usually has a decent charge right from the start.  I always un-package it and plug it into the included AC charger so it is at full charge once the bike is ready to ride.

The handlebars and stem need to be installed onto the steerer tube of the fork ) appropriately spaced with the right amount of spacers.  Once this is done, any remaining packaging is recycled and removed.

The seatpost is installed with grease (for alloy) and fiber grip paste (for carbon on the older models).  Right before install the two wires coming from the saddle’s LED need to be connected to the opposing two wires coming from the seat tube.  One of each set will have a blue line on it.  Connect those two and then connect the other two.  Coil the additional wire into the seatpost as you mount it into the frame.  Torque the seatpost binder bolt to a value of 5Nm.  Clamp the bike in the stand with moderate pressure to hold the bike firm while finishing the build and tuning.Turbo Integrated Tailight

The Turbo S uses a MegaEVO386 bottom bracket and compatible crank (30mm spindle).  I remove the crank and use a torque wrench to check the outboard bearing bottom bracket cups to 40Nm.  I then make sure to use a thicker grease on the spindle before installing it into the BB.  This helps ensure that there are no creaking or clicking issues.  Most of the time, I find that the factory build installs it correctly and I have to just double check it.EVO386 Bottom Bracket

I then take both wheels off of the bike.  The front is a thru-axle as is the rear wheel.  Both are necessary to adequately support the wheel in the frame.  After greasing the thru-axle and checking to make sure the cassette lockring is tight, I true and tension both wheels.  Nearly every time I find the wheels are already well-built and simply detension the wheel from shipping and production and lubricate the spoke nipples.Rear wheel motor specThru axle and torque spec

After getting the wheels ready, I like to take care of a few things on the bike that is easier to do without the wheels on.  I wipe the frame down with rubbing alcohol at all points of contact between parts and components. For instance, this would include crank arm pedal threads, both front and rear dropouts, all frame fitting contact points (where cable and wires enter and exit the frame), brake calipers (with pads removed), handlebars, the surface area under the grips, and the rotors on the wheels.  Then the wheels are installed and torqued to the required spec with a torque wrench.

At this point the handlebar is installed, the bottom bracket checked, the wheels checked and trued and cleaned, and the frame is prepped.  After the wheels are installed, it is time to center the brake calipers on the rotors.  At this time, it is also suggested to toque the rotor bolts to spec as well (3.5-5Nm).  Loosen the top and bottom mounting bolts for each caliper and  until they move freely back and forth.  Normally there is blue Loctite on these bolts.  If none is present, apply some.  Then, with the mounting bolts loose, use one hand to press down on the caliper body and with the other hand, squeeze the brake lever.  Slowly snug down the top and bottom mounting bolts until the body does not move easily.  Release the brake lever and place a white piece of paper below the caliper and rotor.  You should be able to easily see the space on each side of the rotor from the pad.  If it is uneven, slightly loosen each of the mounting bolts and center the pads over the rotor.  Once this is done, tighten and torque the bolts to spec and spin the wheel.  Listen for any sound of rubbing and observe that the rotor is true and straight.WP_20140515_008

Shift through the gears in the rear until the chain is positioned in the largest cog (the lowest gear).  Set the LOW limit screw so that the derailleur may very slightly go past the last cog (about a half of a millimeter).  Then, down shift and use the barrel adjuster to correct the cable tension for the smoothest shifting.  Once the chain is positioned in the smallest cog (the highest gear), adjust the HIGH limit screw so the chain is in line with the cog.WP_20140515_018

Now that the ‘bicycle’ parts have been checked and tuned, it is time to install the frame fittings the wires enter and exit.  These are small 2mm hex bolts that should have a small amount of blue Loctite on them.  If they don’t apply some.  Avoid using a ball head hex key to install or remove these as it tends to either strip the bolt head or simply not apply enough bite to turn the bolt.WP_20140515_011

Check the rubber pad in the frame slot for the battery to make sure it is flush against the base of the panel and is covering the wires that run the length of the down tube.  Then, clean the contact points at the top and bottom of the battery slot and on the battery with isopropyl alcohol and place the battery in the frame bottom side first.  When the top half connects into the frame, you should hear a distinct click, indicating the battery is installed correctly.  Attempt to wiggle the battery to ensure it is installed right and test its removal by turning the key located near the bottom bracket on the non-drive side.  Keep this key handy at all times!  It is ridiculously hard to remove the battery without the key.

With the battery installed, the Turbo is ready to rock!  Press the power button on the battery to start up the system.  Now on to the electronic parts and diagnosis!

 

– SNC

 

 

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Basic Wheel Truing and Tensioning

Wheels are perhaps one of the most complex parts of cycling in that they are the contact between the rider and the ground or pavement and can be considered the best upgrade a bicycle can have.  Properly trued and tensioned wheels at all levels greatly improve the quality of the ride and the longevity of their peak performance.  Attention to detail, patience, and practice will provide you with worry free operation time and time again.  In the rest of the article, I’ll be referring the true and tension of a wheel as simply wheel truing because both are necessary to keep a wheel straight and rolling correctly.

I believe that anyone can true their own wheels (except for some tubulars and several specific racing wheels) with a bit of guidance and attention to detail.  Taking the time to check your wheels after long rides and on a regular basis will allow you to minimize the amount of truing needed.  A wheel can only be trued so many times before there are no more threads left to tighten on the spokes.  Below is a diagram of a section of rim, a spoke, and a spoke nipple.

Components of Wheel

In this diagram, the spoke is threaded into the spoke nipple, which is anchored by the small lip on the inside of the rim. There are about 10mm of threads on the majority of spokes. Usually, 5-8mm of threads are threaded into the spoke nipple, based on correct spoke length calculation.  This leaves several millimeters of thread to be tightened during the life of the rim and spokes for truing.

Tightening the spoke nipple will guide and pull the rim to the left or right laterally as well as pull it inward towards the hub.  A diagram below illustrates this.

Cross Section of WheelIn this diagram, several of the elements were recreated from the first diagram (the spoke, spoke nipple, and rim).  This is a cross-section of the rim to show how tightening and loosening the spokes will cause the rim to move to the right or left.  Notice that the spoke and spoke nipple does not anchor to the rim at a direction 90 degrees, but at an angle because of the fact that the hub (the center part of the wheel) is wider than the rim.  If you tighten the spoke from the spoke nipple in this diagram, the rim will be pulled to the left.  If you loosen the spoke from the spoke nipple, the rim will move to the right.  This is how, over the course of the rim and all the spokes, that the rim can be straightened and thus, trued.

Now that the concepts are a little clearer, we can then focus on how much to tighten and loosen the spokes.  Once a wheel is built the tension of all the spokes should be relatively even.  Factory built wheels tighten all spokes to a specific tension, causing the rim to usually be slightly out of true once it gets to the shop from a distributor.  The reason that the rim is not true from every spoke being at the exact same tension is because of all the variables in the wheel add up and even high quality parts have small imperfections and variations in machining and manufacturing, summarized by the term, tolerance.  Remember that term because it will come up later.

When truing a wheel, it is wise to make small adjustments each time until the rim is straight (1/8th turns to 1/2 turns).  Never just crank down on one spoke and tighten it until the rim straightens.  This will cause uneven tension of the wheel, which will lead to spokes breaking and the rim to develop a ‘set’ and a shorter lifespan.  Spin the wheel and notice how much the rim moves side to side and settle on the worst sections first.  If you see the rim move to the left or right over a section, take note of how many spokes pass throughout the bend.  Find the worst part of the bend and tighten that spoke about a half turn and then the spokes on either side coming from the same side of the hub.  Tighten those spoke less and less the farther it gets from the spoke you first tightened a half turn, tightening less as the bend recedes.  Lightly squeeze spokes with your hands and spin the wheel in between truing to settle the adjustments.  This ‘shares the load’ between the spokes to straighten that section of the rim and allows the tensions to be gradually increased.  The spokes in a wheel do not work individually as much as being a team.  All must help to share the load of the rider on a bike.

Earlier I mentioned that spokes could also be loosened.  This is only really acceptable in very small amounts and as a second option after tightening spokes.  Loosening decreases tension in the wheel, which can also lead to spokes breaking and less threads engaged in the spoke nipple.  In particularly difficult sections of a rim, tightening and loosening is used to correct a bend, but only with practice and experience over time.  Even with this basic tutorial to help you better understand how a wheel is trued, your first few wheel truings will be a little frustrating.  Know that as you progress and true more wheels, you will begin to understand how much you must tighten a section of spokes to eliminate bends in the rim.  Lastly, sharp bends in a rim are nearly incurable and you will notice that one or two spokes must be tightened by a large amount to even get the wheel ‘mostly’ true.  If this is the case, the rim may need to be replaced and new spokes.  The spoke itself is very very strong and can easily hold 300lbs hanging from its end without much wear.  This being said, the spoke’s main enemy is uneven tension and the fact that there are only so many threads on the spoke’s end to tighten.

In summary, remember these two things.  No spoke works alone and thus, tighten groups of spokes to share the load small increments at a time.  The tolerance of machines and production allow a wheel to be only so true.  Low quality wheels can be trued to moderate expectation and high quality wheels can be trued to high expectation.  This is the difference in tolerances of machining.

Feel free to email or message me regarding any questions you might have.  People have written many books on this subject and I could continually talk to you about wheel theory all day.  Hopefully this article will help you to better understand wheels, how they are adjusted, and your confidence in being your own bicycle mechanic.  Thanks for reading.  Monday night, I’ll be posting Part One of the Specialized Turbo S Long Term Review and what things I have come to learn about working on them, adjusting the electronics, and general knowledge as far as how the technology is progressing.

 

– SNC

 

Wheel Truing and Specialized Turbo Long Term Review

I will be posting a short article tomorrow evening on wheel truing and will also post Part 1 of all the info and tuning/adjustments I have been through and discovered with the Specialized Turbo S Pedelec bike. I look forward to your thoughts!  Stay tuned for for great info and photos.

P.S.  I also edited the Dura-Ace 9000 front derailleur setup article after reviewing a few comments from readers and my own experiences with the setup.

 

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– SNC