How to replace a swage nut on a road bike to fix a water bottle cage or other accessories.

To get it out of the way; PEM®nuts and RIVNuts® seem to be swage nut trademarks so here are links to both companies: Penn Engineering & Manufacturing Corp. http://www.pemnet.com/ and Bollhoff Inc. http://www.bollhoff-usa.com/

Better known as swage nuts or self-clinching nuts these are found in several places on the bike.  On my bike they are the nuts built into the frame for holding water bottle cages.

The thin aluminum frame around the swage nuts sometimes just can’t hold them in place and they get loose or corrode out.  Both happened on the bottom water bottle nuts on my frame.

Thankfully, smart people have solved the problem of replacing these on the bike and this method really works.  Here are the directions we followed:

Barn Door Cycling at https://barndoorcycling.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/installing-a-bottle-cage-bosses-using-riv-nuts/

VeloNews.com also has a great fix if you catch the swage nut before it totally destroys itself at http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/09/video/ask-a-mechanic-repairing-loose-rivnuts_302588

Unfortunately, I can’t take pictures and work at the same time but my friend, Andrew, and I used the Barn Door Cycling solution.  Here are the before and afters for my frame and another Cannondale that is getting ready to be painted.

Missing swage nut on Cannondale frame.
Missing swage nut on Cannondale frame.
Replacement swage nut in frame ready for painting.
Replacement swage nut in frame ready for painting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Critique: It’s hard to complain when a method works so this is more a note for version 2.0.  It’s really hard to hold onto the home made tool and it’s definitely a two-man job.  To improve the tool, it needs to be made smaller because you run out of room on the bottom water bottle holder.  We had to do a bit of a straightening bend when we were finished to get the swage nut square into the frame.  Easily done…  And, it would be really clever to figure out a way to match the curve of the frame instead of using the flat press of the tool.

But, the method works and credit must be given to Matt Gholson for making the solution available on the net.

I’ve ridden with several large groups and so far no one has noticed that under each of my water bottles there is a flat swage nut…

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