The Disc Detective

Ben Trefry

March 11, 2022

Author’s note: the misspelling of ‘bike’ as ‘bice’ is intentional and done in the style of r/bicyclingcirclejerk

Late one Friday evening, I was kicking the tires of various bices in the apartment locker when an all-too-usual suspect rolled in.

I’d seen this bice before. A fetching bice, really. A 2016 Breezer Storm 27.5, in burnt orange. But something was wrong–the same thing that had been wrong for the past year, that had brought this bice to my office time and time again.

As it rolled forward, the telltale metallic scraping could not be denied. This, I thought, was the sound of a sick caliper. But then I noticed something I’d never noticed before–a track of scuffed metal all around the inside of the brand-new rotor. In the eyes of the public, the caliper was the culprit. But I was the Disc Detective. And I couldn’t stomach a $50 replacement part. I was determined to find my man.

I began one of my highly intentional, tediously deliberate visual inspections. Nothing added up. Then I saw the caliper mount. The black paint had been scraped away to shiny metal. It was hidden away, tucked between the rotor and the fork, but as soon as I saw it I knew the sort of case I was dealing with. The pads weren’t rubbing–or at least, not much to speak of. It was metal mount on metal rotor, contacting only when the fork flexed under heavy wattage of the sort I was all too quick to put down.

I took out my trusty Allen keys and began wrenching. It was a bear to adjust, that caliper mount, because it’d gotten all comfortable in its off-kilter position. It’d been adjusted over and over by lesser detectives, but they never could shake it down, and as soon as they tightened it down it went right back to its old place. No, my job wasn’t easy. But I knew that bice would thank me when it was over, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t do it.

“How can I repay you?” the bice asked as I stamped my red “CASE CLOSED” seal on the piles of Park Tool manuals and Shimano bleed kit packaging.

“There’s a ride coming up.” I took a swig from my mug of mineral oil, choosing my words as the pink liquid swished between my teeth. “We call it the EPA Superfucked loop. 120 miles, 11K elevation. I’m in need of a steed.”