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Technical Q&A with Lennard Zinn – Magnets, brains, aches and pains

  • By Lennard Zinn
  • Published Jan. 18, 2005
  • Updated Aug. 29, 2010 at 10:39 PM EST

By Lennard Zinn

Dear Lennard,
I recently converted to wheels with bladed spokes, and now my speedometermagnet no longer fits onto the spoke (I have a Performance brand Axiom8.0C). Is there any solution where I don’t have to buy an entire new computer?If I do have to upgrade, can you recommend one that will mount to a bladedspoke?
AndrewDear Andrew,
You can buy separate magnets for this type of spoke. For example, lookingin the Quality Bicycle catalog, and estimating the retail price, it lookslike you could get a hand-tightening Campagnolo magnet for $27 that I ampretty sure I have used on bladed spokes, a clip-on Shimano specificallyfor 2.0mm bladed spokes for $12, or a Vetta screw-on type for up to 4mmwidth bladed spokes for $6.Some computers now come with a magnet that can attach onto a flat spoke(Shimano, Vetta, and many others). Of course, duct-taping a refrigeratormagnet on is always an option, too.
LennardBrain Cramp
Dear Lennard,
I bought a used bike equipped with full Campy record triple crank setup.My guess is it is around from the 2001 or 2002 model year. It came withthe ErgoBrain 10 computer with the chainring/cog indicators. I am tryingto set up the computer to display the 3×10 gear combinations. In the computer’ssetup routine, you program the number of chainrings, then specify the numberof cogs on the rear. Problem I find is that when I specify 3 chainrings,it skips the “number of cogs” option menu, and it defaults to 9 cogs insteadof 10. According to the Campy online manual, the rear cog option will onlyappear depending on number of chainrings selected.Consequently, I have 2 less-than-perfect choices… choose 3 chainrings,but only have 9 cogs, OR choose only 2 chainrings but then have all 10cogs. In other words: display 2×10, or 3×9. I currently have it setup todisplay 2×10, figuring it will be more useful to see all 10 cogs in thedisplay than all 3 chainrings.I suspect the problem is I have a very early version of the computer,at the time when Campy did not have the Record 3×10 drivetrain availableand they only had the 3×9 Racing T triple.
Irvin

Dear Irvin,
Yes, you have the original gray computer that only does a maximum of2X10 or 3X9, and you need the current black ErgoBrain to register 3X10.The only other way to do it with your existing unit is to have it go blankwhen you get to the largest cog, rather than as you have done with theletting one chainring go blank.
LennardAches and pains redux
Dear Readers,
My email was flooded with responses within minutes of posting lastweek regarding the guy who wanted to ease his body aches, possibly witha carbon bar or a Specialized Roubaix frame. Here is a small sampling only,since I could not possibly run them all.
LennardStart with the bars
Dear Lennard,
Regarding the query from Bill, who is hoping for more comfort witha Cannondale CAAD 5 frame, these are some subjective observations frommy experience as a rider north of both 50 years and 200 pounds, with asimilar CAAD 7 frame and fiber fork.Oversize fiber handlebar (Easton EC90): stiffer than alloy, seems smoother;double-wrapped tape helps ease some wrist problems and damp the sting.Specialized Pave seatpost: surprisingly noticeable improvement, reallytakes out some of the buzz.That noted, as said by some of the industry people quoted in your column,good wheels (Rolf Vigor RS) and tires (Conti GP3000) really make a substantialdifference. Tires do ride differently, and riders seem to develop definitefavoritisms among the top brands. Heck, I’m sure most of us would agreethat even new tires effect a noticeably smoother ride when you replacea set that has worn down to the casing.The result is very stiff (my first priority) and much more comfortablethan the off-the-shelf bike. This is all relative: it is not nearly assmooth as my buddy’s cool Roubaix, which is really a sweet ride but seemstoo flexible for me.
JeffTake a holistic approach
Dear Lennard,
For the man who rides a CAAD5 Cannondale and complains of pain fromrough ride, I might be able to help. I ride a CAAD4 and my bike has whatI feel to be a fairly compliant ride (for aluminum). I am 6 foot 2 and185-190 lbs. I have the following on my bike:Two layers of Cinelli cork handlebar tape (a must!) over aluminum bars

Vredestein Fortezza 700×23 tires (25s roll nicely as well)

Traditional spoke wheels (Mavic Cosmos)

Standard Cannondale Slice SI fork (alum steerer and crown, carbon blades)

Selle San Marco Era Pro Ti saddle (never go cheap on choice of saddle)

Carbon seat post (a must)BarrieIt’s all about the bike (frame)…
Dear Lennard,
“Bill” says his Cannondale CAAD 5 leaves his 59-year old bonesin agony. He inquires about carbon bars and the ride quality of the SpecializedRoubaix. As for the ‘dale, there is no fix. It’s a stiff bike, and a barswap will not change that. In fact, he could change out everything butthe frame and still find the ride too brutal.As for the Roubaix, my brief test rides showed me that the damping insertsare a great concept but offer no discernible increase in comfort. On thatsame series of test rides I fell in love with a LeMond Victoire. Surelyone of the sweetest riding bikes I’ve ever been on, but not sweet enoughto get me to abandon my even sweeter Fuji Team.
Rich…and the inserts
Dear Lennard,
I read your “Can I soften that ride?” opinion of the Specialized Roubaixand thought you could use a little information from an actual owner.I was very skeptical of the Specialized claims regarding the Roubaix’selastomer Zertz on the fork and stays but can assure you they do indeedwork! I use aluminum Roubaix as a commuter/slop training bike and am alwaysamazed by its comfort without compromising performance. My race bike isa custom Seven Axiom with 3 1-3/8” main tubes (no noodle) and it (the Roubaix)is much more compliant than the expensive Ti rig. Although it is not quitea full on race bike it climbs very well and with over 2500 miles of ridinghas never displayed any shimmy or head shake. This 58cm (largest) bikehas been over 50 mph dozens of times.I have also ridden the all carbon Tarmac with mini Zertz at Interbikeand found this bike to be stiffer than many all carbon rigs. The Zertzin this frame are much smaller and therefore less functional as a
result. This aluminum Roubaix rides with as much or more comfort thanan SL/SLX class lugged steel bike without the 2+ pound weight penalty.I also love the Zertz seat post and use one on my hard tail single speedto smooth the ride a bit.
KeithTires, tires, tires
Dear Lennard,
I have an old stiff Cannondale as well. I suggest using wider tiresand not inflating them to the maximum.
DavidThe Tires. It’s the tires!
Dear Lennard,
If he hasn’t done so already, Bill would be better served by puttingwider tires on this bike and running slightly lower tire pressure thanswitching bars. It’s an age-old method to change the ride of a bike thatworks.
JTThe wheels, the wheels!
Dear Lennard,
One of the most significant enhancements to ride comfort I have everexperienced came last year when I replaced my Kysirium SL’s with Topolinowheels on a new Cannondale Six13. What had been a light, responsive, jarringlystiff bike became a light, responsive, comfortable bike. As a user of carbonbars (slight improvement in hand fatigue from some of them), and a loverof carbon fiber frames, I think Bill would do best to stick with the bikehe loves but swap wheels for greater comfort.
JohnTry the really big piece of carbon
Dear Lennard,
I just read your letter from Bill who is having back pain. I am notsure what bars would have to do with back pain. I have ridden a Softridefor the past ten or twelve years and have not back problems whatsoever.I have a Bontrager aluminum stem and Cinelli aluminum bars and I ride almostevery weekday and most Saturdays year round. That is whenever I am noton my mountain bike.
I originally had a Softride Solo and now ride a Powerwing. I wouldrecommend the Solo because you can mount two waterbottle cages to it asopposed to one on the Powerwing or Classic models. When I moved to theSoftride from a standard frame, I did not notice any appreciable bobbingas do some people.I have ridden standard frames temporarily over that time and I don’thave any problems, but I would be very hesitant to move back.
MichaelNow there’s an idea…
Dear Readers,
Finally, I thought I was going to be able to put cog cleaning to bed,until I saw this! It’s just a guess, but this one would probably work bestfor those unmarried cyclists out there.
LennardDear Lennard,
I just want to mention that the way to get metal components lookingalmost new again after cleaning them up with degreaser is to put them inthe dishwasher. Use liquid dishwasher detergent that makes your
glasses sparkle, and it will do the same for your crankset. I takeeverything apart before running in the dishwasher.Obviously one should remove brake pads and rubber parts that may bedamaged by the hot water, and probably putting a hub in there is not sucha great idea. But anodized aluminum parts come out looking
really good.
Mark


Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (www.zinncycles.com), a former U.S. national team rider and author of several books on bikes and bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides “ Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” and “Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance.”Zinn’s regular column is devoted to addressing readers’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and how we as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn. Zinn’s column appears here each Tuesday.

FILED UNDER: Bikes and Tech / Technical FAQ TAGS: / / /

Lennard Zinn

Lennard Zinn

Our longtime technical writer joined VeloNews in 1987. He is also a framebuilder, a former U.S. National Team rider, and author of many bicycle books, including Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance and Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, as well as Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes and Zinn's Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Colorado College. Readers can send brief technical questions to Ask LZ.

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