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Best Place to Position the Brake Pads on Aluminum Road Bike Rim...

Posted on Dec 30, 2014

 So where’s the best place to position your road bike’s brake pads? Last Saturday, while waiting for everyone to arrive at the group ride, the self-proclaimed bike repair guy, whose shop is in his basement, was helping a female cyclist who was fairly new to the sport. She told him that something was rubbing and shaking while she was riding, especially when braking. He took the bike for a quick up the block and back and told her it was her brake pads. She was running them dead center on the brake track and he said that he prefers to see them as high as possible. I sat there for a minute trying to understand his logic which still doesn’t make sense. The True Answer is that it’s better to run the pads lower than higher (lower as in closer to the spoke nipples than higher which is closer to the tire). In fact, its best to run them as low as possible just before they start hitting the side of the rim. There are two reasons for this. From a...

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STRAVA incorrectly calculating total elevation/altitude...

Posted on Dec 10, 2014

Recent issue with Strava. Meaning … DON’T BELIEVE THE ALTITUDE DATA IN STRAVA. I did a local course this morning. The Magellan Cyclo 505 stated 4,080.56 feet of climbing. When I uploaded this ride to Strava, Strava said 6,918 feet. How can these be so different? The Magellan Cyclo GPS creates a GPX file and every second builds on this file as you ride, updating each parameter including Lat, Lon, elev, hr, power, etc. After the ride, when you hit STOP, the cyclo ends the recording, calculates the totals and closes the file – that’s why it takes several seconds for the Cyclo 505 to respond after you hit STOP. At home, you can upload this file to your local Magellan account where a graphical representation of the ride is displayed. Regarding Altitude, the Magellan adds all of the waypoints up and, for this ride was calculated to be 4,080.56 feet. I then uploaded to Strava and now the total Ascent is 6,918 feet. So where is the discrepancy? I then took the GPX file and changed each <ele> to <xxx>...

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Should I Wear a Bicycle Helmet?

Posted on Oct 15, 2014

This article is from HELMETS.ORG, specifically, shouldi.htm. Reprinted here ensuring viewing by a greater audience. The topic came up the other day when someone posted a picture of a group ride saying how much fun it was. I replied with “all except the guy in the back without a helmet.” You wouldn’t have believed the backlash I took since this was one of their ‘world champ’ celebrities I made a comment about. There were over 100 replies with 95% against me for mentioning that this person should have been wearing a helmet. Of course, reading their comments, there was no merit or common sense behind any of their arguments. Responses such as “he’s a world champ, he’ll never crash”, “he knows how to handle a bike better than you so he’ll never crash”, etc. etc. The most idiotic response was “did you know that you are more likely to get a head injury while taking a shower than riding a bicycle” <- WRONG! I asked a friend of mine, a very bright individual who just got his PhD, what...

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Posted on Jun 22, 2014

THE LAST WORD ON CHAIN LUBRICATION I have been testing chains, lots of chains, lots of different companies chains to failure in real world conditions. Mostly, I have been testing how 11-speed chains work on 10-speed drive trains. Also, I started looking closely at lubes and the role they play in overall chain functionality. I have read numerous lubrication testing articles, what works, what doesn’t and why. This includes the infamous Velo News/Friction-Facts testing articles during 2013 where they concluded that a wax-based PTFE lube is best. Since PTFE will not stick to anything and nothing will stick to PTFE, Friction-Facts solves this by suspending the PTFE inside their wax (and Finish Line suspends PTFE inside their Dry Teflon® lube). In theory, Friction-Facts wax with PTFE makes for a great chain friction inhibitor … as long as the wax stays between the plates, pins and rollers. In real world conditions, this does not work as well as in the laboratory. In real world cycling, you are shifting the rear derailleur up and down the gears dozens and dozens of...

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Staying safe riding road tubeless wheels/tires

Posted on Mar 27, 2014

I was in the process of putting this exact article together, but my friend Jim Langley ( beat me to it. Jim published this to Road Bike Rider’s Current Newsletter Issue 616 ( Road Bike Rider is a great little newsletter that is free to subscribe to. This article describes current compatibility issues that might/will cause road tubeless tires to roll off the rims. Anyway, here’s the article by Jim Langley…   Staying safe riding road tubeless wheels/tires A couple of emails came in recently from roadies who were running road tubeless wheels and tires and had them come off the wheel in corners. One of them managed to stay upright and stop safely, but the other suffered road rash and a broken hand. I’m not going to name any names or point any fingers at companies or manufacturers. However, I would like to help you stay safe. And, unfortunately, right now it’s very easy to end up on an unsafe tubeless tire setup. Here’s some background and what I recommend. Road tubeless: tested, proven and safe First, in...

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Can You Compare Steel to Carbon?

Posted on Feb 27, 2014

Which is Better, Steel or Carbon Fiber? You hear it all of the time – One camp says ‘Steel Is Real’, the other camp ‘You wouldn’t say that if you have ever ridden a Carbon Frame’. I’ve been thinking about this question and there are too many variables to gain any useful conclusion. Steel bikes – In the ’80’s and ’90’s there used to be many different varieties of steel, each tuned for a particular type of riding. To name a few, Columbus, Tange, Reynolds had several models available – from very high performance and high performance to medium performance and general production. Couple this with the quality of the brazing, whether by the hand of a high quality craftsman or via assembly line – two frames could have a complete different feel. Other variables are the components – especially wheels, as well as the rider – a novice will report complete different results than a seasoned pro on the same frame. Another factor is miles. Steel fatigues and goes ‘dead’ after some length of time depending on how...

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Simple Solution for Tight Cable Housing Bends

Posted on Feb 10, 2014

My daughter has a 51cm R5 Cervelo. It has a 128mm tall head tube and she has it set up with a slammed -17° x 100mm stem. This doesn’t give a lot of room for the shift cables to bend when using a standard housing such as Shimano SP41, or SRAM. After building her bike, she complained that the steering was way too tight. I double-checked the headset and it was perfect. The problem was that due to a ‘too-tight’ bending of the housing, the shift cables pressed themselves very hard into the fork crown. In fact, they were so tight against the fork crown that each ended up putting a dent into the fork crown. Taking it back to the bike shop, they suggested making the cables a little shorter and rerouting. This didn’t work either since the right shift cable/housing now interfered with the front brake housing prevented the handlebars to be turned to the left. So, two solutions remained. First, a very expensive $200 solution (shift and brake) – replacing all of the housing with one...

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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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