Category Archives: Maintenance

Bike maintenance is key activity in your love life with your trusty machine.

New Shoes, New Cleats….what could go wrong???

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Godamnit……rookie error.

Last Wednesday, I managed to score the cycling equivalent of a home goal. Recently I’ve purchased a snazzy pair of Giro Rumbles, a light-weight lace up casual MTB shoe. Much to my surprise they didn’t come with cleats, rather fake bits of aluminium that were cleat shaped but were actually junk. I purchased new SPD cleats the other day and fitted them to the shoes on the weekend. So last Wednesday, I finally got around to trying them out on my morning commute to work.

As I cycled to work, I couldn’t remember whether I had closed the garage door. I looped around to check. Being back from holidays and a bit sleep derived, I thought a policy of ‘better safe than sorry’ was wise. So I pull up to a roundabout, give way to traffic, go to click out, when I discover I can’t. I think my exact word was “shiiittttttt!!!!” as I fell over in slow motion. I hate it when that happens. I feel so stupid for what was an easily preventable accident. This is where I committed my rookie error by not testing the click-in and more importantly click out.

To make matters worse, whilst the right foot cleat has released, I couldn’t get the left foot cleat to clear. So I’m stuck to the bike and sprawled out on the road. A 30-something female power walker comes over and asks me if I’m ok. Apart from losing some skin on and jarring my right knee nothing seems too badly damaged. I thank her for her consideration and assure her that I’m ok. Finally the left cleat releases and I’m able to stand up. My ego on the other hand has taken a crushing blow.

So what happened?
In short form, the cleats bolts loosened and this enabled the cleat plate to pivot round to an angle that was greater than amount of ‘twist’ I can manage on the ball of my foot. The cleats were able to move because I hadn’t done the screws up tight enough. Looking at the photos below you can see how much the cleat has pivoted around, out of position.

 20151111-VR70  20151111-Rumble
 My usual Shimano SPD shoes with cleat in correct position  My new GIRO Rumbles with cleat out of position

A simple click in and out test would have detected this problem. Like I said rookie error. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Oh BTW the Herald Sun reckons Chris Froome is coming to Victoria to compete in the Herald Sun Jayco Tour this year.

Until next time

Marv

Product Review: Campagnolo Zonda Clincher Wheelset

 

Dear Rouleurs,

I’ve almost recovered from the dizzy flu and the national disgrace of our male cricket team. This meant, I’ve finally spent some quality time on my bike and the new Campagnolo Zonda clincher wheels, I purchased in mid-July. As my readership would know, I’ve been suffering from severe upgraditis triggered by SBS cycling coverage. I’ve previously swapped out my pedals and shoes.

Marv's Wilier with Zondas fitted.

Marv’s Wilier with Zondas fitted.

After much ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ I decided that I really needed new wheels. As an aside much of what is written about wheel weight borders on twaddle. However, Leonard Zinn at Velonews seems to have a good grasp of the physics. For the record, lighter means faster…period and in wheels, heavier rims means they are harder to accelerate. So I swapped out the Fulcrum 7s for Campy Zondas. In theory, I should have reduced the overall weight of the bike by 300g.

I bought the wheels last month from Cecil Walker’s Elizabeth St for $750. As, the wag in the bike shop said, ‘Mate, you’re swapping fake Campy’s for real ones’. I didn’t have the courage to attempt the fitting of a new cassette and the bike needed a service. So I forked out the $250 difference on Wiggle price. Unfortunately, the maintenance order I put at the front desk must have been communicated via ‘chinese whispers’ and the mechanic didn’t fit the Gatorskin tyres that I wanted. I changed over the tyres later.

After 4 weeks of riding, I can say they were a good purchase. Initially, I had the tyres over inflated, so the combination of the new rigid rims and new tyres, gave a very harsh ride. The handling experience felt very jitterly. I was feeling amplified road conditions transmitted up the seat post, out of the rear frame geometry. It was only when the bike was travelling over smooth bitumen did the ride improve. Initially, I was thinking that I had wasted my money and was a bit grumpy.

Happily as the Gatorskin tyre pressure decreased, the ride quality improved. I’m inclined now to inflate the tyre to 5-7 kPA lower than suggested by the manufacturer. In the last week, I’ve felt that bike is much quicker. The times on my Garmin seem to evidence this.

 

Here’s the tech specs:

 20150814-Zondas-BR Front wheel weight: 670g
Rear wheel weight: 880g Campagnolo hub
Rim height: 26mm (front), 30mm (rear)
Rim width: 20.5mm
Spoke count: 16 (front), 21 (rear)
Compatibility: 9/10/11 speed.

Here’s what I think the pros and cons of the wheelset are:

Pros:

  • Quite light 1550g or there abouts.
  • Very robust, the moulded rim looks and has so far been indestructible.
  • The sealed rim doesn’t require a rim strip.
  • There was visible build quality difference between the Fulcrum 7s and Zondas.
  • They seem to accelerate well and thanks to the hubs spin very smoothly.
  • The front rim is slightly shallower than the rear, this seems to provide more responsive, windproof steering.
  • The G3 spoke pattern on the rear wheel is IMHO aesthetically pleasing and seems to keep the rear wheel very stiff.
  • The paint scheme also matched the silver, black and red scheme of my Wilier’s frame.

Cons:

  • Harsh ride if your tyres are over-inflated.
  • If you break a spoke, you’ll need to have it fixed by your bike shop mechanic. The sealed rim means the use of magnet to re-thread a spoke.
  • The spokes are proprietary, can only be sourced from Campy re-sellers.
  • Being Campy, replacement parts are pricey, particularly compared to the Shimano.

And for what its worth, if you need further proof, via wisdom of online reviews

Wiggle buyers rate them – 4.8 / 5
BikeRadar gave them – 4/5
Chain Reaction buyers them – 4.8 / 5

I’m giving them 4 Marvs.

Until next time,

Marv

Marv’s Law of Bicycle Punctures….Revisited

20150602-RearTyrePuncture-banner

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Dear Roulers,

I had intended to write a wrap up of the Giro 2015 and list of where all the surviving Australians placed.  I will digress briefly to contgratulate Luke Durbridge for his second place in Stage 21.  However, this blog is about the new clause I’m adding to my eponymous law of bicycle punctures.  For the record this is second one in 3 weeks.  Its winter, its wet and there is all sorts of crap on the roads at the moment, so therefore its not unexpected.

So this morning I’m keen to do a medium paced, for me at least, 30km. The conditions are cold, wet and windless, in other words perfect for an early morning ride. I set off slowly, I’m still getting used to the SPD-SL clip in-action.  They are super-slippery in wet conditions.  I arrive at the second most irritating traffic lights in Port Melbourne, on the corner of Beaconsfield Parade and Pickles St, when I notice that horrible ride feeling of quickly deflated rear tyre…..sigh.

I’m still a bit sleepy and still warming up.  Consequently I’m mildly annoyed, however as I said before, its not unexpected. After a fit of the fumbles I managed to swap the inner tube over.  I start pumping air into the tyre when I realise …horror… nothing is happening.  I recheck the pump and its seal on the valve.  Then I realise that my new replacement tube has a faulty valve and that I do not have another spare or a repair kit.  Now I’m cold and really irritated.  I trudge back 1.5km back to my house, no doubt mangling the SPD-SL cleats.  I have no choice.  Its this or bare foot which on a wet, cold morning was unthinkable.

So lets go back to the law:

Clause (i) If you are going to get a puncture, it will be at most inconvenient time – Tick -> early morning was very irritating.

Clause (ii) It is inevitable that you will have more punctures on your back wheel – Tick -> back wheel it was.

Clause (iii) It more likely that you will have rear puncture when you haven’t cleaned your rear running gear and/or are wearing new clothing – Cross -> I had just cleaned by gears and I didn’t have new clothing on.

Clause (iv) It is more likely that you will get a puncture when it rains – Tick -> Yep it had rained heavily overnight.

Clause (v) It is more likely that you will get a puncture and then have the weather turn bad with heavy showers making your machine’s parts that much harder to handle. Tick -> It was wet and cold.

Clause (vi) It is more likely that you will get a puncture when you are riding alone when there is no one to help you. Tick -> Yep, I was alone.

Clause (vii) It is more likely that you will get a puncture, if you are stupid enough to boast about never getting one.  Cross -> Nope, I never thought this or said it out loud.

Not bad validation so far, now for another clause,

Clause (viii) It is more likely that you will get a puncture when you have a dud spare, for example one with a faulty valve and no other way of fixing the puncture. Tick -> Yep, this was very F%&#king irritating.

Until next time,

Marv

Richie Porte, Wheelgate and Emergency Repairs

 

Dear Roulers,

Not much seems to be going right for Team Sky’s Richie Porte at the Giro.  He has been docked two minutes by the race jury after he received an illegal wheel change from Orica-GreenEdge‘s Simon Clarke following his puncture in the closing kilometres of stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia.  Porte punctured with seven kilometres remaining and lost 47 seconds to the main peloton, despite the wheel offered by Clarke and the assistance later provided by GreenEdge’s Michael Matthews during the chase effort.  Man doesn’t that suck.    I wonder would that have happened between Aru and some other Italian rider?

20150521-RichiePorte-Wheelgate

Also is it my imagination or is Orica-GreenEdge giving him more help than his own team?….AND WHAT EXACTLY IS THE SKY RIDER IN THE FRONT OF THE PHOTO DOING?? Given that he’s out of contract at the end of this year, are GreenEdge sending not so subtle messages about which team he should ride for next year.  Time will tell.

Given Richie’s faux pas, it triggered some thinking on my part about what else he could have done to effect an emergency repair and then in general about emergency repairs.

Here’s my bumper list of emergency repairs you could do by the side of the road:

Split Tyre No tyre patches…no problem.  Wrap strong paper, plastic sheeting around the tube inside the tyre.  Wrapping tape around the tyre with tape or part of an old inner tube may help.  Remember to disable the brakes or remove the brake blocks, otherwise the tyre won’t spin freely.
No Spare Tubes You’ll love this.  Tie a knot in the tyre on the hole.  You may be able to inflate the tyre hard enough to be able to ride.  Plan B is stuff the tyre with lots of grass and spare filling such as paper.  This is hard to do and it may be more time effective to walk to help.
Broken Gears I wish has known this a few months ago….if you break the rear derailleur, shorten the chain and remove or bypass the gears.  This will result in a single speed bike. Riding will always be quicker than walking.
Snapped Gear Cable Thank God I’ve never had this happen…screw down the ‘high adjuster’ screw on the gear mechanism, so that the chain is one of the middle sprockets.  You should be able to keep going , especially if the front derailleur is still working.  If the front cable breaks, repeat the fix and put the chain on to the smaller chain ring.
Freewheel Failure I didn’t even know that this could happen…however, use zip-tie to secure the sprockets to the spokes of the back wheel.  Be really careful as you are now riding a fixed wheel track bike.  Be very careful applying the brakes.  Provided you are careful, there’s a really good chance you’ll make to assistance.
Cracked frames or forks Again if they are carbon or aluminium forget it…if its steel or titanium based you’ve got half a chance of bending it back into shape. If you cracks in your frame, again gaffer tape and strong pieces of wood may be enough to hold the frame together long enough to reach assistance.
Bent Rims Hopefully it goes without saying this won’t work with carbon wheels.   Emergency straightening can be carried out by standing on them or leaning on them against a gutter or manhole.  You’ll have to disable the brakes.  Toss the rim when you get home.
Broken Seat Post 2 fixes that you might be able to try, depending on where the break is on the post.  The most obvious action…drop the seat post until decent portion is in the seat tube, uncomfortable but doable.  Second, find a piece of wood or tree branch that can be jammed into the two halves.  Brace the saddle to the top tube or seat stays by using gaffer tape  or straps.

Hopefully you’ll never have to use any of these.

Until next time

Marv