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SAFETY – Check Your Rims for Wear

Posted on Jan 13, 2014

ALUMINUM RIMS Several times during the year, its a great idea to check your rims for wear. Each time the brake pads come into contact with the rim’s braking surface, a little rim material is abraded away. After a while, the rim will have a concave channel cut into it from the brake pads. The picture to the right shows this result when holding a flat edge to the side of a worn out rim. The real issue here is SAFETY. When rims get this worn, i.e., this far past their intended life, there is very little structural material remaining to hold the rim together. Not only is there 100psi or so pushing out from the inside, the rim takes a lot of abuse and shock from running over bumps in the road as well as flexing under load. This can easily cause a catastrophic failure of a worn out rim causing the rider to be launched hard into the ground. Most wheel manufacturers drill a small wear indicator hole into the rim (see photo to the right) so...

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Braking Constraints – Aluminum vs Carbon

Posted on Jan 12, 2014

Aluminum vs Carbon Fiber Wheels In choosing a wheel technology (aluminum, scandium, carbon fiber, ‘carbon wrapped aluminum’), several important aspects need to be considered. The following information was obtained from Mavic and describes the advantages/disadvantages and issues well. But first, it is my opinion that Full-Carbon Fiber wheels should be used in racing ONLY, configured as a tubular wheel. For training, use a high quality clincher wheel. A Carbon wrapped aluminum wheel is OK for training but the cost is usually more than a high quality clincher. Braking Constraints: Heat Dissipation: Brake heat is the first barrier to overcome when designing a reliable carbon clincher rim. It has to be treated first in priority. Heat dissipation & related issues: During sustained and hard braking both the rim brake track surface and the pad surfaces can reach +200°C (+392°F).  If the rim brake track is not 100% flat and smooth, wide spots in the brake track can concentrate heat up to 250°C (+482°F) in the area between the rim hooks, which also heats the inner tube which is getting into...

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Quick Tip for Grinding Brakes

Posted on Jan 9, 2014

Quick Tip- After early seasons rains, I hear a lot of metal-on-metal grinding sounds when cyclists come to a stop. This is because as you brake, small shavings come off the rim and embed themselves in the soft rubber brake shoes. This (a) decreases brake efficiency, and (b) wears the rims out quicker due to the metal in the brake pads grinding on the metal rim. Solution: Every month, take a small tool with a sharp edge on it (I use an old small screwdriver that I have reprofiled to a sharp edge on each side of the spade, but you can use anything else such as a small knife blade, the point of a small pick, etc) to dig the metal shavings out of the shoes. This will result in more efficient and noiseless braking, and extended rim life. A good set of Dura Ace wheels will set you back close to $1,000 so all the better reason to make them last as long as possible. Remove the wheels from the bicycle and carefully dig out the shavings....

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Cervelo R5ca – 2 years later

Posted on Dec 9, 2013

12/1/2013, I ticked over 22,000 miles (35,406 km) on my Cervelo R5ca. The frame is as solid today as it was on day #1. This bike has helped me become a much better climber and it is also FAST on the flats. I have opted for Dura-Ace C-24 wheels helping to make this bike stiff as well as comfortable. With the BBRight Bottom Bracket, no wasted power going to the rear wheels. I have ridden a lot of different bikes and there are a lot of good bikes out there, but very few great ones. This, my friends, I can honestly say is one of the great...

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Mechanical vs Electric Shifting vs Aero

Posted on Oct 15, 2013

  The group of cyclists that can take the biggest advantages of this new technology are the triathletes. But, unless its a hilly course, how many times do you actually shift? For the road group, Shimano has added sprinters switches as well as climbers switches and, the way they are designed, you can add an almost unlimited number of switches. Let’s say for example you have a Cervelo S5. Getting the bike ready for an upcoming triathlon, you add aero bars to your S5. Running Di2, you can now add shift points to the end of the aero bars as well as shift from the road levers. You can even add a sprinters switch as well as a climbers switch to the bars. A truly versatile system. BUT, lets talk honestly about TT. Aero trumps everything else and to be honest, MOST time-trialers and triathletes would benefit far more from a bike fit AND using the correct sized components, than gain any advantage of using electric shifting. Most triathletes are so ill-fitted that their position in their aero bars...

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SBG-32 Bike Grease

Posted on Apr 29, 2013

For the past several years, I have been researching and testing greases for use in re-building/re-lubing bike bearings, lubricating cables, nuts & bolts. Below is a recent write up that I completed for an on-line bicycle testing/product evaluation newsletter that discusses this grease as well its testing. To summarize, this specially formulated grease performs so well that I recently received a reply from Wayne Stetina (Shimano) as to how this grease performs. Even though he cannot officially endorse this product without Shimano Japan certifying and authorizing this grease, he does mention that he prefers it in his own wheels. This seems to be the thinnest grease you can get before it turns to oil.  But that doesn’t seem to negatively impact durability.  I have personally inspected Rick’s wheels & can confirm what he tells you about his mileage & wear test results.  I can’t personally or officially endorse it before I get approval from Shimano Japan, however I do prefer riding it in my own DA wheels, & have not experienced any wear related failures with this grease or...

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Points to consider before tire selection on frame with narrow stays....

Posted on Apr 26, 2013

First off, I am on my second set of tubeless tires. First set was the latest IRC Roadlite Tubeless. Will be doing a review writeup soon. Great tires, now am on Hutchinsons. Once you go tubeless, you dont want to go back. Tubeless ride softer and track better. Going back to a Clincher/tube combination, I found the ride harsh, jolty, bumpy, like riding on a rock. Tubeless are well worth the extra $$. If you don’t have a tubeless wheelset, don’t worry, Stan’s NoTubes has a Tubeless kit and others will be joining soon. Now, back to the issue at hand. Here’s something to think about when guessing if a tire will fit a frame with narrow stays. There is the initial measurement, as well as a ‘900’ mile measurement. Let me tell you what happened. R5ca with Dura Ace 9000 wheels – I have Hutchinson 700×23 Fusion 3 tubeless on the front. Hutchinson 700×25 tubeless Intense on the rear. Long story, but I am testing some tire combinations for a client. After 900 miles, here is what they...

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A Low Cost Laundry Detergent Mixture that Really Gets the Smell Out of Athletic Clothes!!...

Posted on Apr 10, 2013

WHATS IN THE PACKAGE(S): I have been looking for a cost effective solution that will actually work to clean our families bicycle clothes. While in high school, my daughter was in cross country and came home with some foul smelling clothes. Using a powder instead of a liquid is what her coach recommended, but, the clothes were still not 100% fresh. One day, just for the heck of it,  I added some baking soda (equal amount) and this seemed to be the boost that the detergent needed. I have been using this formula for over a year now and this mixture has not had any adverse reaction with the cycling clothes. Clothes now come out of the washer smelling fresh and clean.         +     COST: Energy efficient washing machines recommend using the lower line of the scoop. By doing this, I am getting 80 washes from the Laundry Detergent. The 13.5 pounds of baking soda is good for 200 loads. Combining these, I can do a full load of sports clothes for less than 10...

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