Tomorrow the second half of the luge season starts up. I am psyched because my ride got a pimp job. Not the kind of pimp job you can see from the outside. It will still be the same scratched sled in need of body work.
Nope it’s an under the hood pimp job. You know like one of those sneaky jobs where you put a 12 cylinder engine in a Triumph.
At the end of the first half of the season I gave my sled over to my friend Jeff for an adjustment. I was able to acquire some new steel runners and I wanted to switch them over to my sled. A couple of weeks ago I got a text…..
“You sled didn’t need new steels, it needed surgery.”
“WHAT are you doing to my sled?”
Turns out my sled was extremely loose. (Authors note: I knew this. I was told that when I originally got my sled. It’s the extent I didn’t realize.) That makes it a very steerable sled. You might think that’s a good thing. Yup. You might think that you want to be able to steer your sled. And you would be correct. But you don’t want a sled that will steer at the slightest nudge or thought. A loose sled means you are constantly steering and correcting and steering and correcting.
The other problem is that a loose sled will not go back to neutral when you stop steering. Neutral is when the sled just goes straight. That’s the point a sled should be at when you are just laying relaxing on the sled. It’s what you expect the sled to do when you first get on it and when you finish a steer.
Jeff revamped the suspension and tightened it up. Not rock tight, but tighter.
The steels did end up getting changed too. My new steels are “flatter” than my old ones. All steels have a bow in them. If you look at the profile from the side you will see a slight bend in the steels along the bottom. The bow dictates how much steel is in contact with the ice and where that contact point is. Flatter promotes stability, rounder reduces friction. My old steers were old school. Lots of bow to reduce friction. That was thought to be fast back in the day. Since then driveability and stability seem to have come into favor. Seems you are faster when you are in control of the sled. Huh, go figure. (Author’s note: I also knew my steels were old school with a lot of bow in them. As a rookie you just don’t really understand the consequences of what they are telling you.)
Jeff asked if I wanted to do all of the changes at once, or if I wanted to do them in pieces.
This week has been arctic cold around here. Yesterday and today the HIGH temps have been below zero (F). I am sure the track is rock hard right now. Rock hard ice equates to challenging ice. You get very little bite from the steels in the ice. If you ever skated on a pond in very cold weather you know what I mean.
Let’s recap. New suspension and new steels (basically a new sled) on super hard ice. It’s going to be an interesting weekend.
Helmet strap tight. Lets do this! (At least Jeff put a good “sharp” edge on the steels for me.)
Picture of the Day