Picking up Nickels

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Update: Take advice from Consumer Reports with a grain of salt

Time for an update on my 2007 rant about my broken NordicTrack SL 728 exercise bike: Take advice from Consumer Reports with a grain of salt.

While my stance on Consumer Reports hasn't really changed much, I am happy to report that the freewheel clutch repair detailed by an anonymous commenter in my original post does indeed work! The funny thing is that I've had the parts to fix this thing on hand since early March, but I haven't bothered doing the work since I've been riding my mountain bike outside for exercise since then.

As for the details, other than common screw drivers and some combination wrenches, here's what I used:

Once I removed the right crank arm (using the Park crank puller) and front side shield (using Phillips head screwdriver), I could see the broken freewheel clutch identified below with the yellow arrow:

To get at the broken freewheel clutch on my bike, I loosened the nuts on the idler (belt tensioner) with a combination wrench to remove the drive belt. Then I was able to remove the flywheel clutch by removing the snap ring holding it in place with a slotted screwdriver.

Next, I pushed the old Torrington roller clutch (part# RCB-081214 was stamped on the side) out of the black cast metal pulley and used a file to roughen the inside surface of the black pulley to prepare it for the J-B Weld. Similarly, I used the file to roughen the outside surface of the new roller clutch. Almost done, I applied J-B Weld to the outside surface of the roller clutch, inserted it into the black pulley, and allowed it to cure for 24 hours. At that point, I reassembled everything and once again had a working NordicTrack exercise bike!

I've used it a few times and the bike has been working well so far. I've been keeping the intensity of my workouts down a bit, so hopefully this repair will hang in there for a while. :)


  • Frugal, I just ordered my $25+$10 shipping bearing, but did not want to wait to thank you. My Nordictrack is an R400 recumbent, but it has the same bearing as yours. It came off the pulley easily, and has worked for years with just an interference fit. I wonder how many folks bought $160 axle assemblies, or $800-950 "Eddy assemblies, because NT would not sell this part. Life fitness sells it, with pulley for $45-50. 5 years later, thanks.

    By Blogger Bob Davis, at 11/26/13, 4:22 PM  

  • fyi - the Torrington bearing (RCB081214) sells on Amazon for $15 including shipping. Also, if you remove the pedals from the crank arms, you do not need to remove the crank arms in getting the plastic side covers off.
    All in all, a simple repair that returns the machine to exactly as it came from the factory. I'm gonna keep a lookout for people selling broken ones!! ;)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/1/14, 12:31 PM  

  • Interesting timing since I just got rid of my NordicTrack on Saturday. Good riddance!

    By Blogger Frugal Frugalson, at 7/1/14, 12:53 PM  

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