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My stuck Ricardo seatpost is finally free!

December 6, 2009

Readers will know about my long time problem with a stuck seatpost in an old Ricardo ‘Elite’ steel frame bike I inherited. The classic Adelaide made bike is bit too big for me and with the seatpost immovable it gave me no way of making it a bit easier for me to ride. I had quite a few bloody good goes at it. The last attempt left me feeling like handing it over to and engineering firm. The last, untried, suggestion was to pour a can of Coke into it from the bottom bracket and let it soak. The reason is the post is aluminium, not steel, so a reaction has occurred.

In summary it was stuck, really, really stuck. I had many attempts at getting it out. I tried smashing it with a mallet, heating it up up 300 degrees,  freezing it with dry ice and a quick inflate canister, twisting it with a monkey grip, pouring WD40, CRC and Penetrene into it, forcing the frame apart by hammering a screwdriver between the post and the frame tube and as I said the final option was something mysterious called Reducteur H-72 but cutting it off and trying to roll it into itself or getting an engineering company to drill or ream it out was looking like the final option.

Finally, with the help of my cyclist neighbour Simon (who also has a Ricardo) the post it free, and it was no easy effort.

You can see by the rust how much it was affected. The grooves are full of gunk. With the front wheel off we put it into his vice and tried twisting it. He didn’t believe me how seized it was. After some reasonable force were were having a beer when I I gave it one last ditch big push/pull and we heard a crack. Making sure it wasn’t the frame we did it again and heard another crack, then a crack, crack, crack and it was moving sideways. After a few minutes it was twisting back and forth about ninety degrees. It was amazing how hot the post and frame and were getting.

It was one thing to have it moving but it wasn’t coming out so we needed to put some upward force on it as well so it was twist and push. Marking the starting point with tape we were slowing mm by mm getting it out. More WD40, more beer and more twisting got it going. Finally when we got it out past the grooves did it slip relatively quickly out.

When we looked inside the seat tube (and feeling how hot it still was) Simon commented on how dry it was meaning all of the stuff I’d been pouring down there had not gone anywhere near penetrating the area that was holding it.

Now to cleaning it up. I’m not sure if I’ll put the old seatpost back in, I have a feeling it might have been a bit oversized. As it will almost have to be all the way in for me to ride it, it probably doesn’t matter. Then to get riding her about the burbs. After all of the servicing I’ve done on here it’d be a shame not to. The only problem I have now is it doesn’t have any top mounting points for a pannier rack.

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From → cycling

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