Friday, February 3, 2012

Admitting Mistakes, Moving On, Hey Look Over There: Shiny!

The shambles of a double defeat

Not only did I twist off the head of an Allen bolt in a stem. I did it with a torque wrench. I think it takes a special kind of enthusiastic incompetence to accomplish something like that. That was defeat numero uno. On to defeat numero dos!

Bolt non-extraction, failure #2

After much drilling and non-extraction using a drill and broken bolt extractors, I gave up. It may be possible, some day, to just drill it out, but honestly, it may not be worth the time, or continued frustration. Time to cut and run, and move on to something that doesn't end in frustration and defeat: a set of new lights for commuting! Hey, look away from that pile of broken stuff and frustration, over there! Bright! Shiny! Retina-searing flashing!

PDW Radbot 1000, Cygolite Expilion 350

They seem compact, bright as necessary, and precision-made, as in, not made by enthusiasts who twist off Allen heads with torque wrenches. Have I finally found commuter lighting perfection? In a future post I will outline why I thought their combination of features would work for me on my bicycle commute, and how those plans worked out in reality. Will the bright and visible illumination help burn through the memories of bolt extraction disappointment? And, most importantly, what have I learned from my errors? Go easy with that torque wrench, I guess.


  1. Don't feel too bad - I once snapped a spark plug off in an Alfa Romeo head - while using a torque wrench.

  2. I love my Radbot 1K, hope you enjoy yours.

  3. I have a cygolite, it's a different model, but it's been great, especially for the price. I hope that one works out well for you. I've heard good things about the radbot, too.

  4. Aw, geez, that sucks. I had a similar problem with the allen keyed bolt on my 2 leg kickstand recently. In the end, just scrapped the $60 kickstand (after 2 years of use, but still). Maybe after my frustration has abated a bit I'll try removing the bolt again- drilling it may be the solution, but man is it frustrating. I think it's almost certainly beyond an extractor bit..

    And yes the lights are very bright, but what's the beam pattern like? I have a painfully bright Planet bike headlight- 2 watt. But the beam pattern is lousy and not very good for actually seeing where I'm going.

    1. cycler, the Cygolite states that it has a cycling-specific beam pattern, and initial results indicate that it does, including a little flat brim (like a cap, really) on top which appears to also curtail light beaming back into the rider's eyes, which is a nice touch.

  5. Thank you for your comments, I view it as an inevitable aspect of DIY hacking (bike, computer, or otherwise) that I will snap off a few bolt heads in the process.


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