Tech Talk

Paceline-Safety Responsibility Follow-Up

It was great receiving so much feedback to our paceline safety (and whose responsibility is it, anyway?) story last week. Thanks! You raised some interesting points and even made us laugh, with a hilarious Seinfeld snippet on YouTube titled "George and the Pigeons." Worth watching if you missed it. High five to David Pybus for posting that! I’ll respond with a few more thoughts on your comments today. Then, next week, I’ll reply with tips for those who brought up additional chain drop and front derailleur issues, since that’s a hot topic, too.

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More on Chain Drop, Chainline; Paceline-Safety Responsibility

Before we get into this week’s main subject – paceline safety responsibility – I want to share a couple of helpful comments that came in about last week’s column on diagnosing chains that fall of the chainrings. Readers Chuck and Frank added that front derailleur adjustment issues can cause chains to fall off, including a bent derailleur cage and improper limit screw adjustment that lets the derailleur throw the chain one way or the other. Let’s look at these issues: 

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Diagnosing a Chain That Falls Off the Chainring

We’re always on the lookout for interesting problems to share with you in the hopes we can head off trouble before it happens – and/or provide tips for diagnosing and dealing with glitches. The issue for you this week is a drivetrain miscue that came up on my club’s last Saturday ride. We had returned to town and stopped to say our goodbyes, and while still standing over his Trek, one of the guys backpedaled and his chain promptly came off the chainring and jammed in the front derailleur. He said something like, “that always happens and it drives me nuts.”

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Be a Vampire Killer

With all due respect to Roman Polanski’s classic 1967 spoof "The Fearless Vampire Killers," I want you to get in the habit of hunting for, finding and terminating your bicycle vampires. These two-wheel ghouls constantly suck your energy by making your bicycle harder to pedal. And, like the fanged variety, they’re apt to appear at any time and can be hard to find. In fact, it’s rare that you’d ever notice a vampire while riding or even rolling your bike.

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Interbike-Eve Musings, 2016

Interbike is one of the two most important international trade bicycle shows every year. The two-wheel extravaganza returns to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas September 21-23. As we do every fall before the show, John Marsh and I have been discussing and predicting what we might see, and a funny thing happened. We both expressed concern that it might be an uninspiring show, like the last couple we’ve attended.

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Nice White Lightning and Finish Line Bike Care Products

A couple of weeks back, we provided carbon bicycle-care tips, and the issue of cleaning and polishing matte/satin carbon finishes came up. We received a helping hand on the subject from Daniel Rowe at Finish Line USA, which also owns White Lightning bicycle care products. Dan said that they recently introduced a White Lightning product called Matte Finisher that’s uniquely designed for that application. He said he’d send some for us to try. But he went one better and included a few other handy White Lightning and Finish Line bike care goodies. I thought I’d provide some quick reviews.

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Is a Custom or “Brand” Wheelset Right for You?

When wheel shopping, a question that often comes up is whether to get a brand or a custom wheelset? By "brand" I mean a wheelset designed and built by a bicycle company. By custom, I mean hoops built by an experienced professional wheel builder at a bicycle shop or an independent builder. Since this is often one of the most difficult decisions when buying a new wheelset, I’d like to help by looking at some of the key pros and cons of both approaches.

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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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