Tech Talk

Follow-up on Carbon Care; Interesting New Product

Almost as soon as last week’s Tech Talk on Basic Carbon Bicycle Care Tips went live, I received a related question from a New Hampshire roadie named David. It made me realize there was one more important aspect to cover for many of today’s carbon wonders. I’m providing that Q & A first. And then I’ll tell you about an interesting new product. The Shoka Bell is so interesting to me, and possibly game-changing, that I wanted to share this noisemaker-and-more.

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More on Matte Carbon Care and Avoiding the No. 1 Bike Touring Mistake

In last week’s column about cleaning and polishing carbon bicycles with matte finishes, we asked you  for bicycle-specific products (since the only ones I provided came from the automobile industry). Kudos to Michael Metzger from Burke, Virginia, who was the first to tell me about White Lightning’s Matte Finisher (photo). Mike’s comment was followed by an email from Daniel Rowe from Finish Line USA, which also owns White Lightning bicycle care products. 

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Basic Carbon Bicycle Care Tips

The idea to provide tips for keeping your carbon bicycle safe and looking good came from a question my new Spokesman Bicycles teammate, Chris, asked on our Wednesday torture session. To help Chris and you keep your carbon bicycles and components safe and beautiful over the years, I’ve put together a few tips below that fall under 9 main categories. I’ll start by explaining how Chris made his chip disappear, because he did a swell job.

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Upgrading Components Series: Part 9 - Fine-Tune & Hit The Road!

This is the final installment of our upgrading components series. If you’ve successfully completed the previous 8 steps, your upgraded 11-speed thoroughbred is almost ready to rule the road. All that’s left is fine-tuning the brakes and derailleurs, checking your work, a test ride to ensure your adjustments are spot-on and any final tweaks. Let’s get started. 

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Upgrading Components Series: Part 8 - Fitting the Cables

Recapping how far we’ve come in the previous 7 installments of this series: all the new 11-speed parts are on your road rocket. All that’s left is hooking the levers to the brakes and derailleurs by sizing, routing, connecting, stretching, tightening and capping the cable and housings. Next week will be the final check and tune-up, and you’ll be riding in style! My first rule of cables and housings is to stick with the ones provided by the manufacturer of your components, i.e. Shimano, Campagnolo or SRAM.

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Upgrading Components Series: Part 6 - Installing Brakes

At this point in an upgrade, when you have the wheels, bottom bracket, crankset, pedals, handlebars and levers installed, you get to choose whether to install the brakes or derailleurs next. I’m going to cover the brakes first because there are fewer steps so it’s faster and ticks one more big thing off your build punchlist. Note: for this series we’re assuming you are building a road bike with rim brakes, not disc brakes.

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Upgrading Components Series: Part 5 - Installing Levers

So far, in this on-going series with tips for upgrading a road bicycle with new components, we’ve covered basic workshop setup and we’ve installed the bottom bracket and crankset. The pedals should be back on the bike, too. From this point, assembling the bicycle is about getting the braking and shifting components installed and adjusted. This starts with installing your levers in order to optimize their fit and performance. So that’s what we’re tackling this week.

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Upgrading Components Series: Part 4 - Bottom Bracket and Crankset

In this installment of our ongoing series on upgrading components, I provide tips and trips related to the job of installing a new bottom bracket and crankset. I started this 2-part BB and Crank piece last week. I like to think of the crankset and the bottom bracket, as the heart of the bicycle. Your frame and wheels are important, but without a crankset and bottom bracket you wouldn’t be able to pedal your bicycle down the road. And, there’s a connection with how fast and hard your heart is working to power and turn the crankset.

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Upgrading Components Series: Part 3 - Bottom Bracket and Crankset

In this installment of our ongoing series on upgrading components, I provide tips, tricks and even one big consideration related to the job of installing a new bottom bracket and crankset. I like to think of the crankset and the bottom bracket, as the heart of the bicycle. Your frame and wheels are important, but without a crankset and bottom bracket you wouldn’t be able to pedal your bicycle down the road. And, there’s a connection with how fast and hard your heart is working to power and turn the crankset.

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Upgrading Components Series: Part 2 – Gearing Up to do the Upgrade

Backpedaling to last week's TT for a moment, Upgrading from a 10- to 11-Speed Cassette, you’ll remember that I went over how I helped a couple of friends figure out how to change their rear wheels from 10- to 11-speed cassettes. Both were eager to upgrade their road bikes with complete new Shimano 11-speed component groups they had purchased, but were stuck because their wheels didn’t accept the new 11-speed cassettes.

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Upgrading from a 10- to 11-Speed Cassette

Two teammates asked me to help them upgrade their bikes from 10- to 11-speed recently. They knew how to do most of the mechanical work but they were concerned that their rear wheel wouldn’t handle the 11-speed cassette, in effect making it impossible to upgrade. They’re not the only ones who’ve asked about this, which makes it a trending topic, to use social media speak. I thought I’d share how I helped them with this key part of the upgrade in case new 11-speed components are on your wish list. And, because it’s usually something you can handle yourself.

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