My Rides

Monday, January 24, 2011

Trakstand Ultra Service

In my previous post you'll see I had trouble with my Blackburn trainer.  I missed most of my Saturday, and all of my Sunday workout & ordered a new trainer so I won't miss my Tuesday (tomorrow) workout.  Their customer service e-mailed the following recommended service.  I had been performing most of these steps, but I thought I'd pass on their advice because it's not part of the manual, but apparently something to be done "periodically." (I've organized/formatted into a bullet-list, and added my comments/observations)

  • Unbolt the RU (resistance unit) and clean the surface between the friction pad and flywheel with rubbing alcohol.
    • also check the friction pad for any shiny spots that might indicate "glazing" of a high spot that could be reducing friction. If there are any shiny spots, take a bit of medium grade sandpaper and wrap it around something flat and lightly sand them down. 
    • (below is what glazing looked like on mine, note the 3 "waves" - more on this later)
    • (I used 400 grit on a wood block, and wiped with alcohol after sanding, as well as before)
  • Remove the flywheel and clean the axle, and add a layer of grease on the shaft of the RU
  • Check the side with the 3 bearings to make sure there is only a light amount of grease on the balls and that they move freely in the ramps. Too much grease could cause uneven pressure, or changes in resistance, as the unit heated up. The balls should only have a light film of grease on them 
    • (When I disassembled mine, a second time, I noticed black rings in the ramps, and some black discoloration on one of the balls - I think things got hot, and a ball got stuck, causing the 3 waves of glazing...  I didn't want to apply "grease" if they can really get stuck so I put a light film of 10W-30 on the other set of balls, to use in a 2nd set of ramps to increase resistance, that come with the trainer)
    • (I cleaned the ramps with alcohol and a q-tip - I can still see some light rings - you can sort of see this in the picture below)
  • Look at the silicone rubber covers on the 3 pins that stick out of the Aluminum drum. The covers should be trimmed so that they are about 3-5mm shorter than the pins and push them on as far as possible.
    • (my covers were not 3-5 mm shorter than the pins - I trimmed them with a razor blade)

  • Slide the flywheel on and wipe off any excess (be sure not to get any on the resistance pad).  Reassemble the RU  per instructions. This should be done periodically.
    • (In my response I asked what to expect "periodically" to be, since the manual does not prescribe any periodic user service)
General notes/observations:
  • These are heat-related issues, glazing of the pads, and "scorching" of the bearings/ramps.  The friction plate has a lot less thermal mass than the flywheel, and lacks any heat-sinking (the friction plate is stationary).  I would suspect a 120mm CPU fan aimed at the friction plate and/or some simple CPU heat-sink(s) would help dissipate heat, and be a good work-around.  As far as heat in the fly-wheel - maybe it's reduced if the friction plate is cooler, maybe it needs its own fan.  I hate to re-engineer power dissipation on a product whose primary purpose is to dissipate power.
  • Except for the 1up USA Trainer (on which this one is based and/or the RU came from), I can't find other trainers that use this method of resistance.  Blackburn does not currently offer a model that uses this method of resistance.  Perhaps this is why.  You can see "evolution" of the current 1up Trainer's RU, so it seems to me some lessons were learned...