Exorcise Bike, Part 1: My Ti-Rush is Haunted

My new-to-me bike, Titania, needs an exorcism.

I bought her in June, used, off San Diego Craigslist. I’d been seeking a Ti-Rush – a rare, coveted titanium Easy racers recumbent – for years. Easy Racers is no longer in business, and used models seldom come up for sale. I stupidly passed on a size Medium right before the pandemic started; when this size Small appeared, I jumped on it, even knowing it would only just barely fit me. It took quite a bit of finagling to find someone in San Diego to pack and ship, but I managed to arrange it (and met an interesting person in the process), and the bike arrived at the end of June.

When I unpacked her, water leaked out of the frame. On our first ride, the left rear brake got loose and strummed against the spokes, which was easy enough to fix, although I did so incorrectly. I noticed her seat mesh was laced wrong. I reinforced it with zip ties, but that was an insufficient kluge.

Was the seat mesh mis-laced by a demon?

The pedals clunked; I replaced them, and when they still clunked I surmised it was a bottom bracket problem. My local bike shop replaced it, and in so doing discovered the crank bolts had been greased with motor oil. The original bottom bracket was a fancy, ceramic-bearing number, and the bike itself is fairly young, from 2014.  How did it get this much damage in just a few years?

The answer can only be A. Florida (where her previous owner rode her before he moved to California, and where humid salt air corrodes metal) and B. Demonic possession.

Over time, I came to realize that every part of her that wasn’t titanium was corroded. Her frame appears to be in fine condition, but everything else is aluminum or steel.

This kickstand is aluminum. I think the screws are steel.

The left adjustable seat support strut “sank” while I was riding, in spite of my thoroughly tightening its clamp bolt. Turns out the bolt was corroded.

The aluminum plate that holds the seat to the seat clamp broke on a ride; I had it re-fabricated by a local machine shop.

Pre-Pack Machinery made a new and improved aluminum seat plate, without the gratuitous holes.

I took apart the seat first, to find the most corroded aluminum I had ever seen. I cleaned it up with steel wool but it’s still pretty ugly.

I bought some paracord and re-laced the seat mesh (which I washed) correctly. I got new bolts for the struts.

I also got new shifters, brake levers, bar grips, front derailleur, and kickstand. The bike is currently at the shop having new parts installed. The mechanic will also clean her thoroughly and replace more bolts. Where else will he find she was lubricated with motor oil?

Meanwhile, I am preparing Titania’s exorcism, which I shall discuss in my next post.

Other than being haunted, Titania is a great bike.
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Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

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