DIY Skibike - Servicing Alpine Skibikes Adapters

Posted: Tuesday, 25 October 2011 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , ,
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Alpine Skibikes conversion kits have been around for a decade now, they are robustly made, some people may even say "over engineered".
The body is made from a sturdy extruded aluminium section, whilst the axle and cones are made from hardened steel. Where these two dissimilar metal surfaces meet there will be wear and sooner or later you will need to adjust them to reduce free play.

How do you know when this needs doing? I find it is most noticeable when the front adapter needs adjustment as the ski tends to clunk abruptly from one edge to the other and won't glide smoothly on gentle gradients and hunts around. As a double check, turn the skibike upside down put your foot lightly on the handlebars to prevent them from turning. Now check whether you can waggle the skis left or right of centre, if there is any movement, it is time for a service.

Luckily adjustment is very straightforward, if you have ever adjusted the bearings on a bike wheel, you find the method familiar. I have used the rear ski adapter for this example as it has more parts than the front adapter.

First remove the wheel nuts and washers from both sides of the adapter.

First remove the wheel nuts and washers

Next, pull the springs off the axle, they are an interference fit; firm hand pressure should be enough, if they are stuck fast use penetrating oil, WD40 etc. rather than forcing them off with tools.

Pull the springs off the axle - firm hand pressure should be enough

Using two spanners in opposition, free off the slim lock nuts from both sides; then with a pair of bike cone spanners free off the cones and spacers, then completely remove them from the axle.

Using two spanners in opposition, free off the locking nuts

Layout the parts and thoroughly clean out any old grease or other debris with a suitable cleaner, such as; methylated spirits, brake cleaner, etc. using a lint free cloth. If the adapters have seen considerable use, the threads on the axle can become worn and damaged, should this be the case, replace the axle.

Reassembly is the reverse of removal, apply grease generously to all mating surfaces, clean away any excess as you go.

Reassembly is the reverse of removal

Tighten the cones so that the axle can only just move without binding, don't be tempted to set them so they spin freely like a bike hub.
Clean away any excess grease, then tighten the locking rings and spacers. Finally install the springs, washers and mounting nuts.

It is worthwhile checking the adapters after every three weeks of use or annually, if you use your skibike less than this per year.
Remember 50% of servicing is visual inspection, so look closely at all components for any signs of potential failure, such as cracks or other damage.

If you want to make your Alpine Skibikes conversion perform even better, you really need to read the following article about modifying the Alpine Skibikes conversion kit.

Make your Alpine Skibikes conversion kit better with this modification

You can also take better care of your skibike by brushing all snow and ice off your skibike before putting it away after use. Never leave a skibike outside overnight, the freeze/thaw cycle and corresponding expansion of ice can have a detrimental impact on the all working parts.
Applying some light machine oil to all moving parts periodically will benefit the function and appearance of your skibike.

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