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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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THE LAST WORD ON CHAIN LUBRICATION

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 (http://www.jimlangley.net) beat me to it. Jim published this to Road Bike Rider’s Current Newsletter Issue 616 (http://www.roadbikerider.com). 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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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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