Lennard Zinn – VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Tue, 28 Jun 2016 23:38:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://velonews.competitor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/cropped-Velonews_favicon-2-32x32.png Lennard Zinn – VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com 32 32 Technical FAQ: Nibali’s Giro seatpost, mixing parts, and more http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/06/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq-nibalis-giro-seatpost-mixing-parts_411441 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/06/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq-nibalis-giro-seatpost-mixing-parts_411441#respond Tue, 28 Jun 2016 12:57:46 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=411441 Lennard Zinn takes questions about an adjustable seatpost, mixing drivetrain components, and updates on previous columns.

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Nibali’s seatpost

Dear Lennard,
In all the hype surrounding Vincenzo Nibali’s glossy pink frame for Stage 21 of the Giro, a point of interest appeared in the photos that weren’t discussed in any of the captions.

What the heck seatpost is that? Scroll through these photos.

Seems like some sort of adjustable post. But that wouldn’t seem to make sense for obvious reasons. FSA’s website provides no help.
— Gordon

Dear Gordon,
You’re right; it is indeed an adjustable-height seatpost. See below.
― Lennard

From FSA:

FSA has been making this post for teams only now for many seasons. It allows the rider to adjust the position of the saddle in 1mm detented increments, in total 18mm (18 different positions).

Some riders favor it for particular stages because it allows them to change the position while riding.

The riders can change the height on the fly, and each click is 1mm, so they can count the clicks.
— Joel Richardson
Product Manager, Full Speed Ahead

Mixing components

Dear Lennard,
Will this setup work?

SRAM FORCE 22 Crankset
SRAM FORCE 22 YAW FD
AERO TT 500 Shifter
SRAM FORCE 10-speed RD

If it does, which chain should I use: PC-1170 (11-speed) or PC-1071 (10-speed)? All of my cassettes are 10-speed (PG-1070).
— Will

Dear Will,
Yes, that setup should work fine. The shifters are 10-speed, which matches your cogs. Which chain you prefer will be a matter of experimentation. The cogs and rear derailleur should be better tuned to the 10-speed chain, while the crankset and front derailleur should behave ideally with the 11-speed chain. I think either chain will work.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
Compatibility issues across different components were covered many times, but I am getting conflicting answers and would appreciate your expertise and advice.

I have a Cannondale SuperSix Evo with Ultegra 6700 components. I don’t like shifting on this bike, as it is not precise and certainly not smooth. I would like to upgrade but only some components, such as the FD, RD, 11-speed cassette, and chain. Can I use Dura-Ace 9000 or Ultegra 6800 components with my 6700 crank?
— George

Dear George,
Yes, Dura-Ace 9000 (11-speed) or Ultegra 6800 (also 11-speed) components will work fine with an Ultegra 6700 (10-speed) crankset.
― Lennard

More on rolling resistance of tubular glue vs. tape

Dear Lennard,
You mentioned that you have not seen any scientific data showing rolling resistance between tape and glue. I would like to point you to Al Morrison’s Roller Data, available here.

The results show that a Bontrager Race X Lite Tubular, properly glued (he defines “properly glued” in his results) vs. one that is taped using Tufo tape, has a lower Crr of approximately 8.8 percent (0.00239 vs 0.00260).

Of course, this data is 10 years old, and we have no clue about the newer types of tape!
— David

Dear David,
Thanks for that link. Too bad there is only one data point on the glue vs. tape; it would have been interesting to see if there is variation in this depending on tire used, width, pressure, and other variables. And yes, it would be great to compare to other tapes, too.
― Lennard

More on soda can seatpost shims

Dear Lennard,
In regards to the soda can shim, I’ve been using one for 2 years. I had a seat tube that would not stop slipping, and it made rides miserable. I tried carbon paste and that didn’t work. I ended up stripping the screws due to constant tightening. The soda can worked fantastically and still does after two years. It’s thin, malleable, and could be cut with scissors. I cut a piece to fit and actually folded in half with a little lip to catch the top of the frame, and the seat collar slides right on top to hide it all.

It’s a free fix.
— Matt

Dear Lennard,
What’s not to like about this solution. Simple and it works. Take a good look at these pictures (here and here) and you’ll see good old Coca-Cola red where the tri bars attach to the bull horns.

I remember reading somewhere that Greg LeMond’s tri bars slipped during the stage 5 time trial and that Otto Jacome used Coke cans for the final time trial.

I’m thinking that keeping his tri-bars in place saved him at least 8 seconds.
— John

More on Rotor Uno

Dear Lennard,
You wrote: “Rotor claims that Uno is the lightest disc-brake group on market, at 10 grams less than SRAM Red22 HRD and 417 grams less than Dura-Ace DI2 disc.”

Do you mean R785 brakes? And over a pound weight difference?
— Phil

Dear Phil,
Yes, I did mean the R785s. And there are 454 grams in a pound, so that’s less than a pound of weight difference. See below.
― Lennard

From Rotor:

I forwarded your email to David Martínez, who’s been with the UNO project since day 1, and he replied with the following:

“As there is no “proper” Dura Ace groupset for disc brakes (up to now, new DA for 2017 will have a disc brake option) we took a mix of all Dura Ace Di2 parts where they exit, and R785 for the shifters, calipers…”

There was one minor correction that I wanted to comment on. While it’s perfectly reasonable to execute a currency conversion when a price is listed just in €€ (or ££, or ¥¥ etc.), in the case of UNO the price from €€ to $$ is lateral so it’s the same in dollars as in euros ($2,499). I wouldn’t want to lead people to believe that UNO is priced way above and beyond one of the rival groupsets.
— Wendy Booher
Rotor Bike Communications Manager

Update on thumb pain while shifting

Dear Lennard,
I have mild arthritis in both thumbs. I find that shifting my regular bike with Campy Record 10-speed shifters (from 2009 or so) causes much less pain than shifting the bike I keep at my daughter’s place to ride when we visit the grandkids. The latter has Shimano shifters and the longer throws and the requirement to swing the fingers for both upshifts and downshifts while using the thumbs to counter the force puts more strain on my thumbs than the Campy setup. I haven’t ridden them, but I would imagine that the newer Campy thumb buttons that lay flatter to the brake hood would be even better — whether it’s mechanical or electronic shifting.
— Larry

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Technical FAQ: Seatpost slippage, crosswinds, and more http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/06/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq-seatpost-slippage-crosswinds_410782 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/06/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq-seatpost-slippage-crosswinds_410782#respond Tue, 21 Jun 2016 12:58:42 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=410782 Lennard Zinn addresses a variety of questions — including one regarding the use of a soda can to fix a slipping carbon seatpost.

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Using soda can shims on a seatpost

Dear Lennard,
I was driving a SAG vehicle when a retired pro rider was stranded with a slipping carbon seatpost on a Cervélo R3 (it wasn’t his bike). He was being helped by a moot-sag driver who asked me if I had a Coke. I thought using a piece of aluminum cut from a soft drink can should be not used on a carbon bike and seat post. I worried the seat post or seat tube could fail and injure the cyclist. I did have paper towels like one uses in a bathroom and a paper plate. Fine dust on the road side was also available. Would these have been a better choice? (The moto-sag was eventually able to improve the slipping seat post by adjusting the torque on the seat post fastener.)
— Scott

Dear Scott,
If the seatpost slips because it is undersized relative to the inside diameter of the seat tube, I doubt you would hurt anything by slipping an aluminum pop-can shim in there, as long as you don’t make it too big and force the seat tube slot open any wider. After all, early carbon bikes always had aluminum sleeves inside the seat tube, head tube, and bottom bracket shell. And the edge of the seat lug will always dig more deeply into a carbon post than will the very thin edge of a pop can.

Paper towels or paper plates would disintegrate too fast to offer a lasting solution. Fine dust probably would not be sufficient to stop the slippage if it had become chronic and the seat binder already had been fully torqued when it was slipping before. Putting sand on the post might work in preventing slippage, but if you’re concerned about damage to the carbon, I can’t imagine this solution would do less damage than a properly-sized and properly-placed pop-can shim, and it could do more.
― Lennard

Carbon frames and crosswinds

Dear Lennard,
Is it my imagination or are carbon fiber frames more sensitive to crosswinds than steel or aluminum frames? Or could it be the deeper dish of the wheels and bladed spokes?
— Bill

Dear Bill,
Sidewind performance is dependent on total side surface area and shape, not on the materials used to create that shape. And yes, if your carbon frame has tubes with taller sections, and its wheels have wider blades on the spokes and deeper sections on the rims than your other bike, then that will explain it.
― Lennard

Taped tubulars slower than glued?

Dear Lennard,
I am about to start using tubular tires for my time trial bike. I have read that tape installation is quite a bit easier than gluing, specifically in getting the tires true on the wheels. However, scuttlebutt says that tubular tires that are installed with tape are actually slower than glue installations. Do you know of any laboratory testing that verifies this?
— Will

Dear Will,
I have heard this for years, back when Tufo tape was the only gluing tape that anybody on this side of the pond was using for road tires. I have never seen any data to back this up.

With a skinny road tubular that fits into the rim bed tightly, it makes sense, since you can end up with a very thin layer of glue holding the tire on, and the tape will have a certain thickness that will almost certainly be greater. A thicker layer would seem likely to have higher hysteresis losses.

When it comes to cyclocross tubulars, however, I don’t think this argument holds much water. That’s because the poor fit of a 33mm tire to a rim intended for a 23mm tire means that the space in the center of the rim bed will end up being filled up with something, whether it’s just air (allowing the tire to move up and down), a super thick layer of rim mastic alone, mastic plus “Belgian tape,” a mastic-slathered layer of cotton tape, or straight tubular gluing tape with a thicker, conformable layer on the tire side like Effetto Mariposa Carogna. And in that case, it would require some real testing to be able to say which of those offers the lowest hysteresis loss.
― Lennard

Feedback from prior columns

Dear Lennard,
Your recent post on thumb injuries really hit home with me. I have a repetitive stress injury to my right thumb from stupidly continuing to use a bad keyboard (bad spacebar) many years ago. It got bad enough recently that I was going to look in to a brace, like the ones you showed. But quite by accident, I seem to have stumbled on the solution to my issue — electronic shifting. What seemed to exacerbate my injury most was the constant shifting on the rear cassette — having to grip with my right thumb while rotating the lever for downshifting. So it was a pleasant and unexpected surprise to find that in four rides I’ve done with my new electronic drivetrain, I haven’t noticed the pain in my thumb at all — not once. Score one for high tech. I also suspect I’m getting some benefit from the disc brakes, as they require significantly less effort than my old caliper brakes, which translates to a much lighter grip while braking. It’s a one-two punch I had not anticipated.
— Steve

Dear Steve,
Yes, that has been a great solution for many people with thumb issues. Andy Pruitt himself told me it fixed his thumb problem, and I have sold at least one Di2 group with one of our custom frames due to exactly this concern.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
You may have a physics error in your article about Rotor. For numerous shifts, like 100, something has to provide energy to move the derailleur, whether there is one spring or many. The rider is providing, one way or the other, that energy. Most likely, moving to a larger cog, the rider provides that energy with the large stroke, force X displacement, to provide the energy to move the derailleur and put energy in the standard derailleur spring.

To move down, the rider releases the indexing that let the spring(s) move the derailleur toward the small cogs.

The other possibility is one of the springs is a clock spring that needs to be rewound. It is most likely not the case, since you did not mention rewinding the spring.
— Pierre

Dear Pierre,
You are absolutely right. I guess I was too subtle in my comment, namely, “I did find that it takes a hard push for front upshifts, so either Rotor set the feel for sending this signal quite hard, or you are indeed helping the front derailleur’s downshift spring with your hand.”

Yes, it is impossible to have a perpetual-motion machine, which this would be if all of the energy really were to come only from a pair of springs, neither of which were getting rewound with each shift.
― Lennard

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Lennard’s deep dive: Rotor Uno hydraulic shifting http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/06/bikes-and-tech/lennards-deep-dive-rotor-uno-hydraulic-shifting_410124 Tue, 14 Jun 2016 20:34:41 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=410124 Lennard Zinn considers whether Rotor's revolutionary hydraulic shifting will have staying power.

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Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Has Rotor figured out technology that makes the servo motors and rechargeable batteries on electronic shifting systems obsolete? Rotor settled on hydraulic shifting for its Uno group because patents by the big component makers blocked it at every turn in developing either cable-actuated or electronic shifting. But has its ingenuity in circumventing patents led Rotor to a concept that could end up revolutionizing shifting and eliminating the need for so much battery power and wallet lightening?

The fluid pressure in Rotor’s tiny, 3mm-diameter hydraulic shift hose does not push the derailleur in one direction or another. Rather, the fluid only conducts an on/off signal; the force to do the actual shift comes from a pair of springs on each derailleur. Could the big spring that moves the rear derailleur inward to a larger cog or the front derailleur outward to the big chainring replace an electronic servo motor?

Rotor’s single shift lever works just like a SRAM DoubleTap lever: A long swing of the lever shifts up to a larger chainring or cog; a small click of lever drops down to the inner chainring or to a smaller cog; the brake lever is only a brake lever. However, unlike SRAM’s system, which takes force from the fingers to pull against the derailleur return spring and spool cable inside the lever, the only force required to move Rotor’s lever was apparently built into it to give the user a certain feel. Similar to what the big three component makers have done with electronic shifters, Rotor has moved most of the command system out of the shifters and into the derailleurs.

Rotor claims that all there is between the Uno lever and the derailleur is a signal carried by hydraulic fluid. If that’s so, the force for the shift is provided by the derailleur spring. The signal from the lever tells a pawl to move in or out of a toothed bar that indexes the derailleur’s position and allows the spring to unwind or not. Seems to me, anything could carry this signal. The genius lies in making a derailleur that has all of its shifting power housed inside it without requiring a push or pull from the user or from a servo motor.

Given how quickly and smoothly these derailleurs shift, particularly the front derailleur with Rotor’s oval Q-Rings, Rotor may have come up with something quite ingenious. I gave up on Q-Rings on one of my cyclocross bikes after being unable to get good shifting on them with either Campy EPS or Shimano Di2, and I was impressed at how well the Uno front derailleur shifted on them during a few hilly hours on a test bike.

Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com

Will you have to bleed the shifting?

While bleeding a shifter is probably not something many people are going to sign up for, bleeding may not be necessary over the long haul or even upon initial installation. Rotor makes its Uno components in Spain (in Madrid) and then ships them to Magura, since it is Magura’s MT8 disc brakes or RT8 rim brakes that complete the group. Magura assembles the hoses and bleeds the shift and brake systems. With the internal routing on today’s frames, the rear shift and brake hoses do have to be disconnected, if not also shortened. But anyone familiar with installing Magura brakes knows that if you are careful to not lose fluid when disconnecting, cutting, and reconnecting the hoses, bleeding can be avoided.

The 3mm-thin shift hose can be routed through the tiny frame holes designed for Di2 and EPS wires. Once it is connected and bled, it requires no maintenance, since, unlike a cable, it doesn’t develop more friction over time due to dirt contamination. It consistently delivers repeatable performance that shouldn’t degrade, at least now that Rotor has changed its shifter fluid to automotive anti-freeze.

The column of fluid within those thin hoses is super-thin, like a strand of thread. This makes it susceptible to fluid expansion and contraction with increases and decreases in temperature, and as it is a closed system, there is no reservoir to take up the slack. When riders had problems with Uno derailleurs ceasing to function if the temperature changed dramatically over the course of a ride, Rotor switched from using mineral oil to 30 percent Glycol antifreeze, which has minimal volume change with changes in temperature between 5F and 190F (-15C to +88C).

Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com

Drivetrain details

Indexing steps are pre-set in the Uno rear derailleur (11-speed only); the only adjustment after bolting it on is to set one limit screw. The rear derailleur will upshift only one cog at a time, but it can be set to downshift 1, 2, 3, or 4 cogs at a time. There is a screw with four scribed lines sticking out of the derailleur, and the more you back it out to reveal more lines, the more cogs it will move across in a single downshift sweep.

Rotor’s “return to origin” function is unique to the system and designed to speed wheel changes; you flip a lever on on the rear derailleur to disengage the indexing ratchet bar and drop the chain to the 11T cog. In addition to the large housing at the back holding the big coil spring that powers downshifts, there is a standard return spring between the parallelogram plates. The jockey wheel cage is carbon.

The front derailleur is optimized for oval chainrings, incorporating a tall inner cage plate to push the chain up onto Q-Rings. The flat cage plates look old-school compared to the sculpted cage plates we’re familiar to seeing on modern high-end front derailleurs. Nonetheless, I found it to work quite well on a nice, 70km hilly ride in the gorgeous red rocks country around Sedona, Arizona. I did find that it takes a hard push for front upshifts, so either Rotor set the feel for sending this signal quite hard, or you are indeed helping the front derailleur’s downshift spring with your hand.

It does, however, take two clicks to drop to the inner chainring, so there could be a learning curve. This is due to the trim adjustment that feathers the cage to avoid chain rub in small/small gear combinations. The Uno front derailleur has a trim adjustment over each chainring, for a total of four derailleur positions. To go through all of the gears without noise, you have to use all trim positions on both rings, but they do indeed completely avoid rub in cross gears.

If you are used to SRAM DoubleTap shifting, you will immediately shift Uno levers correctly.

I did not mind how fat the Uno lever body is, but people with small hands mentioned to me their preference for a smaller grip. Rotor plans to come out with a narrower lever body, but keep in mind that it does contain two hydraulic cylinders—one for braking and one for shifting. Furthermore, there is a difference in the lever body depending on if it is for a rim brake or a disc brake, as the rim brake requires a larger master cylinder (explained below).

One thing that we used to live with in decades past was slipping lever hoods. Shimano, Campy, and SRAM all have complicated hoods with myriad internal knobs to snap into holes in the lever body, keeping them in place. Rotor is not there yet, however; the Uno hoods slip around.

Rotor CNC machines its cassettes in three pieces that bolt together; the largest two cogs are a single aluminum piece, the next four smaller cogs are another piece, this time in steel, and the smallest five cogs are also a single steel piece. Only 11-28T is currently available (the whole group is supposed to begin shipping in July, but only for sale in Europe at first), but other sizes are promised. The chain is a KMC X11SL with a master link.

Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com

Oh, and the brakes are hydraulic too

To pull off this group, Rotor needed a strong hydraulic partner independent of brands offering complete groups, so it partnered with Magura to add critical parts to its system. The Uno disc brake is a standard Magura MT8 XC brake with Uno graphics; it is only available with 160mm rotors for now. The rim brake is a Magura RT8, an aero-shaped scissors brake that has been on some aero bikes for years.

Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com

Like any nice hydraulic disc, the MT8 is an open system that adjusts to heat buildup as well as brake-pad wear, moving the pistons further out in their cylinders. It’s a nice, stiff, lightweight brake with good heat-management properties. Rotor claims that Uno is the lightest disc-brake group on market, at 10 grams less than SRAM Red22 HRD and 417 grams less than Dura-Ace Di2 disc. Rotor further claims Uno to be among the lightest groups with rim brakes.

The Uno’s RT8 rim brake is a closed system. To compensate for heat, the lever cylinder diameter is bigger for the rim brake than for the disc brake, this why Rotor has two different lever bodies. A recent addition to the RT8 is a little reservoir in front of the brake to not only act as a quick release and to offer adjustment for brake-pad wear but also to allow the brake to accommodate the wide range of rim widths currently on the market. You turn a knob on top of it to add in or take up more Magura Royal Blood hydraulic oil.

I rode the RT8 brake in Sedona, on Lightweight carbon clinchers. It had SwissStop Black Prince pads on it, and I have to assume that they were a mismatch with the rims, because they had an alarming way of not slowing the wheel down on initial contact with the rim. After this initial feeling of careening along without brakes, they would eventually bite and slow the bike as I wished, but an adjustment to my riding style was required to begin braking sooner than I normally would. I also found the quick-release knob to be hard to get at and turn; it certainly does not have the ease of adjustment and quick release function of the SRAM HRR hydraulic rim brake, which features an elegant quick-release lever and barrel adjuster.

Facing long odds

Rotor is facing long odds for market acceptance for more reasons than just brand recognition. Although bleeding shifter hoses and brake hoses may be straightforward enough, it will scare off many a rider and many a mechanic. Just look at how hard it is for Shimano and SRAM to get Belgian cyclocross teams on hydraulic disc brakes. Even though the brakes are clearly better, albeit with a weight penalty, team mechanics are far more comfortable working on cantilever brakes and are reluctant to change. Also, hydraulic shifting has come and gone at least twice before, and I’ll bet you’ve never seen one out on the road or trail. Back in the early 1990s, I had an aftermarket hydraulic shifting system on my tandem. And five years ago, the Acros A-GE hydraulic shifting system for MTBs with elegant toggling levers made a splash but never gained a foothold. Perhaps it was before its time, as 1X systems could have highlighted its benefits. Since Acros used two hoses to move the derailleur one way or the other, you could have separated them on a one-by system, sending each one to a different shifter for two-hand rear shifting, like SRAM eTap. Furthermore, even though SRAM’s HRR hydraulic rim brakes are stellar (IMHO) and have now been out for three years, I challenge you to find a bike in your community with them. Some of this may have to do with SRAM’s recall, but I’ll bet more of it is due to the fact that it is different and requires hydraulic bleeding instead of cable cutting and tightening.

Rotor felt compelled to develop a group because, though its oval chainrings are popular with individual riders, keeping top pro teams riding on Rotor cranks and Q-Rings runs up against the three big component makers sponsoring those teams. Rotor does not yet have any teams on the Uno group, but it hopes that once it does, consumers will demand Uno just like they demanded Q-Rings after seeing famous riders using them.

Retail price of the entire Uno group, with either brake option, is set at 2,499 Euros, which right now converts to over $2,800. Availability and price for the U.S. market have yet to be announced. An impressive amount of ingenuity has gone into this group, and it offers easy, powerful shifting without cable maintenance or battery charging. For bikes with hydraulic disc brakes, the fact that Uno has hydraulic shifting should add no more assembly time or hassle and may in fact save time.

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Reviewed: Magura’s wireless Vyron dropper post http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/05/bikes-and-tech/reviewed-maguras-wireless-vyron-dropper-post_408032 Tue, 31 May 2016 13:42:00 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=408032 The post works well despite one major shortfall, although a simple tweak could make this a real game-changer.

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Magura’s Vyron dropper post can generate love at first sight in its owner. It is beautiful, it is fantastically easy to install, and it works so smoothly that it is a joy just to watch it move up and down. However, some design tweaks to get it to communicate better with its user would be necessary to make it a real game-changer.

Like other high-quality dropper posts, the Vyron sports a hydraulically controlled air spring. It goes down smoothly without a harsh bottom out, and it comes up gently. However, there is a small delay (perhaps one second) between pushing the button on the remote (or on the seatpost head) and the post moving up or down.

The thing that sets the Vyron apart from other dropper posts is that it is activated electronically, rather than by a cable or a hydraulic line. It responds to inputs from a remote button using the ANT+ wireless protocol. There are no wires or hydraulic hoses to route from the handlebar to the seatpost, and the remote does not need to be bolted on; it snaps on with just a rubber band. So installing a Vyron dropper post on a bike is just as quick as installing a standard rigid post like a Thomson Elite with a two-bolt head. Anyone who has installed a remote-activated dropper post knows what a breath of fresh air this is due to how much time and fiddling this can save, particularly relative to “stealth” dropper posts, which have the activating cable or hydraulic hose running up inside the seat tube.

The Vyron’s up and down function is as smooth as any dropper post I’ve used, even when the seat binder is tightened beyond spec. Some dropper posts bind completely with the seat binder clamp bolt tightened too tightly, and even bind a bit at very low bolt torques on the order of 4-5N-m. The Vyron post I’m riding would reduce this issue simply by virtue of its 31.6mm diameter. (Generally, the internals of any 31.6mm dropper post are the same as that of the same model in 30.9mm, but the outer sleeve of the 30.9mm post is 0.35mm thinner, which can flex enough to allow binding due to clamping, even when it is a non-issue with the 31.6mm model.)

The only issue I have with the seatpost is the delay in activation after pushing the remote button. To minimize the draw on the battery while opening and closing the oil valve that frees the seatpost to move and also locks in its height adjustment, Magura uses a very tiny piezoelectric motor. This allows the use of a small, lightweight battery while still offering over 40 hours of ride time between charges, but it comes at the cost of opening the valve more slowly.

When there is a significant delay between clicking on a window or an icon on your smartphone or computer and having an application or file open, you might question whether you had actually clicked on it and might click a second time. Similarly, this slow-opening valve has me constantly wondering whether I actually clicked the remote button.

There are three buttons on the remote so that you can wirelessly control up to three Magura eLECT items, such as a fork, rear shock, and dropper post, with the same remote. You initially pair each button with each eLECT component by holding the button on the remote and the one on the component down for eight seconds. The buttons are tiny, and neither makes an audible click or lights up when you push one. With a glove on and the bike bouncing around, it can be hard to tell if I hit the right button, or any button at all. If a dropoff is coming up fast and the seatpost hasn’t dropped yet, I often find myself repeatedly pushing the button just to make sure I won’t go off the drop with my seat all of way up.

Think of a parallel with your phone. Don’t you feel good when you send an email with an iPhone and hear Apple’s signature whooshing sound that lets you know your message is winging its way to your intended recipient? If it made no sound and gave no other visible or vibratory cue that it had gone, you would wonder if it had done so.

Especially when I was told by Magura staff that I would get used to the activation delay and lack of feedback within a couple of days, I thought about “user-centered design” (UCD). The principle of UCD is to build a product around how the user wants to use it, rather than requiring the user’s behavior to adapt to the product. Proper UCD tends to not only optimize the user’s use of the product, but also their enjoyment of it, often creating an affinity in the user that allows him or her to overlook glitches in the product.

Magura did many things right with this post but missed on critical communication between the product and the user. Indeed, the product’s superior design in terms of ease of installation and smooth operation, even in cases of overtightening the seat binder, did engender an affinity in me for it so that I am willing to overlook the delay and the lack of feedback from the remote button. I would have been unlikely to tolerate those things in a dropper post that was also time-intensive to install or that tended to bind up after height adjustments.

Other riders using the Vyron have made comments to me to the effect that German engineering works great but lacks emotional connection to the user. But that’s not always the case with German products. For instance, when I lock my Audi, it beeps and flashes some exterior lights before it gently folds in the side mirrors and gradually dims and extinguishes the interior lights. I get instant feedback that I pushed the correct button, and I feel good when I see what it does in response. The car has many other ways of responding to my inputs that give me a warm feeling inside and allow me to forgive how much it costs to maintain it.

When you try to open a door by pulling when you’re supposed to have pushed, or vice versa, it’s not you that did the dumb move — the door’s designer did. It is the job of the product to communicate to the user how to use it. Don Norman, a pioneer of user-centered design, says, “Emotion takes precedence over cognition most of the time.” That’s why telling me, “you’ll get used to it in a couple of days” doesn’t cut it for me. Emotion is instantaneous; the communication between the product and me has to happen immediately.

Fortunately, I think the fixes to the Vyron that would address my gripes would only need to happen to the remote switch; the seatpost itself is quite nice just the way it is. I think I’d be happy with bigger buttons that make an audible sound, have a nice feel to the click, and light up an indicator. If I knew for sure it was going to move soon enough, I would happily adapt my riding to anticipate the delay in activation.

With 150mm of travel, a weight of 575 grams (595 grams with remote), and a price of $499, the Vyron is in the ballpark with other high-quality dropper posts with stealth routing of the remote activation cable or hose. And the Vyron’s installation will save time (or money) over other dropper posts. Battery charging takes three hours. When the battery charge becomes too low to work with the remote switch, you can activate it an additional 40 times with the button under the saddle.

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Technical FAQ: Why are labeled tire sizes inconsistent? http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/05/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq-why-are-labeled-tire-sizes-inconsistent_406275 Tue, 17 May 2016 20:03:43 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=406275 Lennard Zinn talks to a host of industry experts about why labeled tire sizes can be so inconsistent.

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Dear Lennard,
I’d like to get your take (and hopefully that of an industry spokesman) on tire sizing. While it’s widely recognized that the relationship between labeled tire width and measured width has wide variation for a given wheel (much less over differing rim widths), I’ve not seen anything that discussed difference in tire height (rim edge to top of tire). With the trend in increased tire size coupled with frame constraints, identifying tires that will fit my frame is an increasing challenge. Case in point: I have been riding Continental Gatorskin 700×28’s on my Mavic 622x15c wheels, with adequate clearance at the chain stay and the seat stay cross brace. I recently upgraded to a Mavic 622x17c rim and moved to a 700×28 Conti Grand Prix 4000 S II. When mounting wheel on the frame, the chain stay clearance looked ok, but when I rolled the bike away from the stand, the rear wheel was locked-up. Lo and behold, the tire was hard up against the cross brace. Fortunately, I had a new pair of Gatorskins in 700×28, so I swapped tires. The Gatorskins cleared, with an estimated difference to be 4-5mm between the two “heights.”

Long story short, what is the best way to determine tire size suitability when evaluating tires given challenging clearance? I’ve looked at measuring the tire width when laid flat and found tires with smaller advertised widths having a larger overall bead-to bead width when compared to a larger diameter tire (from the same vendor).
— Robert

Dear Robert,
I passed your question on to a number of tire manufacturers, many of whom replied, and their answers are below. While outer diameter is never specified, even the tire width imprinted on the side of the tire is not required to be accurate, since there is little standardization of bicycle-tire dimensions. Specs are largely up to the tire manufacturer, and I know that when I started going to bicycle-tire factories over 20 years ago, I was shocked to learn that a spec of +/- 4mm from the imprinted width for the measured width was not out of the ordinary.
— Lennard

From Continental:
There are a number of variables, which affect not only height and width, but even shape: rim width, tire pressure, even the thickness of the rim tape can play a role. Although the ETRTO (European Tire Rim Technical Organization) endeavors to provide standards around tire and rim specifications, “height” is an element that is not specifically defined. The sizing printed on the tire refers to diameter and width expressed in millimeters i.e. 23-622 represents what we all commonly know as 700x23C. Continental does however call out circumference measurements on our packaging to make calibrating non-GPS enabled cyclometers easier, but does not make reference to actual height.

As to production width tolerance for road tires, we are generally -0/+2mm. This tolerance can vary slightly more when considering larger volume models such as MTB tires. Unbeknownst to most, tires do also ‘grow’ with inflation and use.

— Brett Hahn
North American brand manager, Continental Bicycle Tires

From Specialized:
This is an interesting question indeed and one that is discussed between frame designers and tire team at Specialized all the time. I guess at Specialized we have the advantage that we can have this discussion and design frames, wheels, and tires in conjunction. Cooperative design becomes increasingly important as tire and rim sizes scale much more than in the past. We go as far as designing frames around tires (Tarmac, Roubaix, all 6 Fattie MTN) or vice-versa (S-Works Turbo 22mm front for the Venge, Roubaix Pro 30/32 for the Diverge). Depending on what we want to achieve with the overall bike.

Design guidelines are fixed in the ETRTO and ISO standards. These standards still apply when designing tires. Actual use can vary from the standard — especially rims used. But for consistency reasons, we stick to the standard rim for each size when defining the tire square sections and outer diameter.

The figures that have to be controlled to fit tires are the outer diameter in service and the tire width.

For the given standard rim, the tire height from the bead seat is very close to the tire width. The height is measured from the center of the bead which would be 1.5-2mm below the top of the rim shoulder.

Apart from the mold layout, construction has an impact on tire size, too. Casing cord (60tpi stretches less than 110tpi), casing cut angle (shallow cut allows more stretch), and casing reinforcement layers (cross-woven is tighter and restricts growth under pressure more than unidirectional cord) all have an impact.

The standards are design recommendations. They are not mandatory. This may explain why some brands take liberties on tire sizing.

— Wolf Vorm Walde
Tire product manager, Specialized

From Vittoria:
ETRTO and ISO describe in detail the dimensions for bicycle rims, but neglect bicycle tires. In any case, the size of a race tire must be measured on a 15C rim, inflated at its max. air pressure.

For all reasons listed below and in order to avoid mentioned difficulties, Vittoria allows a tolerance of max. +/- 1.0mm tire width and +/- 5.0mm tire diameter.

The described case relates to clincher tires. Its size (width and diameter) is influenced by several parameters:
1. The distance (inside measurement) between the rim horns determines the effective tire size. There is a trend toward wider rims (and tires). This goes for road and MTB alike. The wider the rim, the wider the tire, but also tire diameter is affected. For more detail, please see the graphic above.
2. The rim diameter slightly influences the tire diameter. The larger the rim diameter, the larger the tire diameter.
3. Clincher tires casings are by design constructed slightly oval. But the relation of tire height to width is strongly related to the tire tread thickness and tire bead position (position in rim horn). The deeper the tire bead position, the smaller the tire diameter. The thicker the tread, the larger the tire diameter.
4. Full-carbon race rims usually have a stronger rim horn to withstand the high inflation pressures. This has a strong influence on the position of the tire bead. See above.
5. The clincher tire production itself has certain manufacturing tolerances of the section height and width.

In the case of tubular tires, the situation is slightly simpler:
1. The tire shape is almost round. Its diameter (tire height) is influenced by the rim diameter. The larger the rim diameter is, the larger the tire diameter. The tire width remains virtually unaffected.
2. Also, the tubular production itself has certain manufacturing tolerance.

— Rene Timmermans
CEO EMEA, Vittoria SpA

From Challenge:
ETRTO only gives rim specifications.

This is the opposite of for cars or motorcycles. When you mount a car tire with more air volume, you usually have to change the rim and decrease the size.

With bikes, it is the opposite. The rim is always the same, and the tire increases in diameter as you increase section.

This is one aspect. The second is how the tire is made. Nylon tires are vulcanized in a mold and usually pre-formed so there are different shapes from mold to mold and manufacturer to manufacturer.

Regarding external size there is a complete study in a book written by Michelin all about this; it says, for instance, that a 27 or a 30 should be mounted on a smaller rim to have the external size always the same. If I am not mistaken, a 650B rim with big fat tires like 47 ends up the same tire diameter as a 700C X 25 or so and explains a new trend coming out now.

Years ago, the spec on tire width relative to printed tire width was about +/- 5mm. The problem is that today we have changed the rim’s internal width; therefore, the indication of the section depends on which rim size the manufacturer used to determine tire width. Again, automotive standards will tell you, but on a bike, you can mount a 25 on from a 17mm rim width to a 25mm.

Lennard, it is a jungle out there!

I did this graphic quickly, so don’t take it as gospel, but it is quite easy to see how the external diameter changes according to section.

On my pickup, I changed tires and mounted a new 22-inch rim; previously I had a 16-inch rim. The sidewall of the tire is reduced by half and has much less volume, resulting in less comfort, more rigidity, and more control due to less bounce of the tire. I did this since I drive 90% of the time on paved road but my friend that likes off-road changed tires and rims and went to 14-inch wheels with four times the tire volume I have. The tire is more compliant to off road terrain. It distorts more and is more absorbent for his use, but both of our tires have exactly the same outer diameter. In both cases, our gear ratio did not change.

With road bicycles, the tire size used to be small, from a 23mm to a 27mm, and that range was taken into consideration by bike builders until aerodynamics came into play and frame and fork clearances became tighter. Still some teams today for Paris-Roubaix and other classics need special bikes. But in the old days, you would mount from 21mm to a 27mm for the classics all on the same bike.

Lots of evolution and new trends like cross, gravel, adventure, so there will be new things coming out. We can already see a big fat tire mounted on a 650B wheel allows you to still use your road bike. The outer diameter is the same as 700C; this technology of varying the rim diameter to keep the tire diameter constant is closer to the automotive system.

In our industry, tech “standards” are written and have to be changed again as soon as they are finished writing them.

— Alex Brauns
CEO, Challenge Tires

From Ritchey:
This issue is complicated, as I’m sure you know. We go back and forth on this internally quite a bit. While I can tell you there is no defined industry spec, I can tell you what our standards are, and how we measure everything.

All of our tires are currently developed based on a 17mm internal width. The +/- width on tires concerns the casing, not necessarily the tread. I would imagine, depending on tread size, this could vary even more. Take, for example, Vittoria’s 25c Randoneur vs Rubino. Similar casing, much different profile because of tread thickness.

— Fergus Liam
U.S. marketing manager, Ritchey

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Technical FAQ: Finding Campy-friendly chainrings http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/05/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq-finding-campy-friendly-chainrings_405206 Tue, 10 May 2016 16:56:41 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=405206 Lennard Zinn answers questions about off-brand Campagnolo-compatible chainrings, infrared motor checks, and nitrogen for tire inflation.

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Regarding Campagnolo compact chainrings

Dear Lennard,
TA makes rings for the goofy sorta-110 pattern, called “Nerius.” Peter White has them.

I don’t know how they compare to Campy rings in quality, cost, or availability, but they apparently exist. There is a nice explanation of Campy rings here.

Thanks for your very informative (as always) column. A couple of years ago, you had a letter from a fellow who had an allergic reaction to “hypoallergenic” (NOT!) baby wipes. I later saw the same thing in medical literature. I had the same problem, and I pulled up your article in my dermatologist’s office to show him. He didn’t know about it, either. That letter saved me a lot of trouble.
— Jon

Dear Jon,
Glad that came in handy. I’ve given up trying to predict what topics might end up being useful to include here. I’ve found that subjects that seem way out of the ordinary to me often can be just the information somebody needed and are grateful to have come across.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
There are two French makers of Campy compatible chainrings: Stronglight and Specialities TA. They’ve been around since the 1940s (maybe earlier). This link is to French web retailer Xxcycle. The link takes you to a page for an inside ring for Campy five-arm 110/112 mm ring — black — where you can select chainring teeth. Scroll down the page for all tech info, including Stronglight’s website. TA has a similar range of Campy rings to Stronglight. Over the years I’ve bought many chainrings from them, both Campy 110 and 135 as well as 110 and 130 non-Campy. They mail all around the world (I live in Ontario, Canada). I prefer the CT2 rings as they last longer. Prices are in Euros but payment is made in U.S. dollars. Currency is not an issue (I pay in Canadian dollars. Mailing is inexpensive for a flat package and delivery is quick.
— Cliff

Dear Lennard,
Miche makes 110mm chainrings with an oval hole to allow use on both regular 110mm bolt circle cranks and Campagnolo 110/112mm bolt circle cranks; see Compact and Super 11. I believe BBB has a similar solution.

Also, your statement that the clocking of shifts would be off with other 110mm chainrings because of the 36-degree offset does not make sense unless shift clocking is asymmetric with respect to the right and left legs. You really should be rotating the chainring by 180 degrees by putting the hole which would be opposite the crank arm on a traditional crankset behind the crank arm of a Campagnolo (or new SRAM) crankset. This looks like 36 because 180 = 72 + 72 + 36. There can still be the issue of the chain-drop pin being in the wrong position. Miche makes the pin removable by unscrewing and the pin can usually be knocked off other chainrings.
— Jay

Dear Jay,
Yes, you are correct. Since your point is functionally identical to this one regarding SRAM 22 rings, I’m including it, too.
— Lennard

Dear Lennard,
Regarding the tech question posed by Matt regarding 11-speed SRAM rings on his SRAM 10-speed crank, a couple notes. First, if the hidden-bolt rings were mounted 180 degrees from their intended position, the ramps would actually be where they are supposed to be. Secondly, their rings now come set up for both hidden-bolt cranks and non-hidden-bolt cranks. They have two catch pins, with the intent that you plier off the one not in use. They even supply a pointless rubber plug for the exposed hole.
— Gregory

Dear Gregory,
Flipping the SRAM 11-speed hidden-bolt road chainring so the pin is opposite the crankarm on a crank with a standard spider would indeed clock the chainring properly to shift as intended. Similarly, mounting a standard ring with the pin opposite the arm on a hidden-bolt crank would likewise ensure proper orientation of the shift ramps.

However, regarding the break-off pin, two weeks ago I bought a 50T SRAM Red 22 chainring from QBP, and it definitely has only one catch pin, no removable pins, no rubber plug, and no secondary pin hole. So after clocking the ring so the pin is opposite the crankarm, there is no pin to catch a dropped chain with this chainring.

I didn’t notice the product photo at the time I ordered that ring, but now the product photo on QBP of SRAM 22 outer chainrings, whether 53T or 50T, shows the two opposing pins, just as you describe. So I assume that in the future, they will be that way, and I must have gotten an earlier version with only a single chain-drop pin. Thanks for pointing that out.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
Regarding the compact Campy chainrings, I rode with compact Rotor rings on a Campy Chorus crank. I’m not much of a wrench, but the wizard that is didn’t seem to have much of an issue mounting them. Of course, that didn’t stop him from complaining about Campy … I think that’s part of the training to work on their stuff.

Trust me — I accidentally cut a derailleur wire (you get why I don’t wrench) to my new EPS setup, which caused quite a bit of “only Campy” type discussion.

— Robert

Dear Robert,
A Campagnolo mechanic once explained to me that Shimano patented wires that plug into the derailleur, and Campy thus couldn’t see a way around having wires coming off of EPS derailleurs. Yes, you don’t want to cut one.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I’ve used Campy 10- and 11-speed compact cranks for a long time. A few years ago, I acquired a used Ultra Torque Chorus crank with an aftermarket 46T chainring that had been drilled to work, although it didn’t look quite right. I was able to buy a Stonglight 48-tooth ring with Campagnolo pattern that worked well and is still on the bike.
— Jim

Feedback regarding infrared photos

Dear Lennard,
In hopes of providing a little clarity on Ben’s motorized doping question from last week. When I watched the full 20-minute video from the Italian and French journalists’ joint investigation, it is clear (even without speaking French) that the FLIR photo you referenced in your response to Ben was not from a race. Rather, it was an example of a known, commercially available motor in a test bike, which was used to illustrate the FLIR technology.

The use of that particular “smoking gun” image (as many outlets used at the top of their stories) does paint a terrible picture for cycling. The areas where the FLIR images from the actual racing showed heat (debatably) were inside the BB or in the rear hub area, which to your point I think, wouldn’t be explainable by electronic group sets, but also aren’t a slam dunk indictment of cycling (at least to my untrained eye). Take a look, I’m curious if you think friction could be responsible for the actual heat signatures shown in the investigative video.
— Brian

Dear Brian,
Awesome! Thanks for clarifying a misleading photo spread all over the Internet!
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
Or you could simply take some pictures (heat signature) of bikes that have been altered already.  Like the one that LeMond showed on YouTube?

Side-by-side comparisons with the shifting batteries and the tabloid article would be awesome!!!

I, for one, would love to see that from a technical level.
— Craig

Dear Lennard,
What amazed me with the pro race infrared camera footage is, why weren’t those riders stopped? Why didn’t the cameraman bike zoom up (or back) to a commissaire and say, “Hey, you need to pull over these riders RIGHT NOW and check their bikes!” Why didn’t that happen?

That doesn’t make sense to me at all.
— Jonathan

Dear Jonathan,
Well, as we saw above, that’s apparently because the particularly compelling photos weren’t from a race!
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
“There also appears to be a relatively warm area where the bottom of the seatpost is as well; that might well be the shifter battery. ― Lennard”

Now that you mention it, there should be heat from the motor’s battery right? Those motor kits are as big as the heat signature area, but there’s no battery heat.
— Randall

Dear Randall,
Yes.
― Lennard

Regarding putting water in tires

Dear Lennard,
My background is in motorcycle racing. Controlling tire pressure gain is one component that motorcycle racing and, it appears, bicycle racing, at least while descending, have in common. In this regard, less moisture, not more, is the answer. As you presumed, moisture inside a tire retains heat and heated water vapor greatly contributes to pressure gain. Inflating tires with a dry gas is something that many motorcycle racers do to help keep things under control. Bottled gas is the easiest way to get this done and it happens that nitrogen is cheap. That’s why you read about nitrogen use in racing, because it is dry, not because it has “larger molecules.” At least for motorcycle racing, using a dry gas to inflate tires results in predictable and controllable pressure gain.
— Mark

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Technical FAQ: Tons of Campagnolo questions http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/05/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq-tons-of-campagnolo-questions_404438 Tue, 03 May 2016 16:02:23 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=404438 Lennard Zinn answers questions about Campy EPS compatibility, whether you can save money on non-Campy parts, and more.

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Dear Lennard,
I have first-generation Campagnolo Record EPS on my bike. It has an external battery bolted under the water bottle on the down tube. Can I switch to the internal battery and still use my existing shifters and derailleurs?
— George

Dear George,
Yes, you can. You have Version 1, and Campagnolo has had the Version 2 (V2) internal-battery system out for a few years. I made this upgrade myself on my Campy EPS bike a couple of years ago, switching from the V1 external battery to the V2 internal battery. Now, however, V3 is available, or will be very soon, and you can upgrade to that one, which would be my recommendation.

To upgrade to V2, you have to drill a hole for the V2 charger port somewhere down near the bottom bracket. I drilled mine under the down tube (see photo). Drilling a hole in your frame will certainly void the warranty.

That’s not the only extra hassle, however, since, unlike a Shimano Di2 internal battery, the V2 battery does not fit in the seatpost. Rather, it mounts deep down in the seat tube (or, in some large-diameter monocoque carbon frames it can go inside the down tube) and affixes to the inside of the tube by means of double-threaded screws that hold the water bottle cage on. You need a special tool to reach the battery in there and hold it in place. It can be a bit of pain to get the charger port to make the bend from inside of the bottom bracket shell to pop out of the hole in the down tube.

If you upgrade to V3, however, you don’t need to drill a hole in the frame (because V3 charges at the EPS interface up at the stem, like Di2), and you can install the battery inside of a seatpost. This makes it much easier and won’t void any frame warranty. Full instructions for installing all EPS versions are in “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, 5th Edition.

Furthermore, you can do a lot more with V3. You can get the My Campy app on iTunes or on the Android Play Store, and it allows you to very simply and easily change the functionality of your EPS shifters. For instance, you can impart shifting logic like SRAM eTap to them, or you can make all shift commands come from only one lever (great for various disabilities). Additionally, you can sync your EPS with a Garmin to display a lot of the features the app does, like what gear you are in both numerically and graphically.

What’s nice is that all of these upgrades do not make your existing derailleurs obsolete; everything works fine together no matter what the generation of battery and interface you have.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I recently chose to replace the somewhat worn chainrings on my 2008 Chorus Carbon CT crank.

Wanting to see how they would perform, I chose a set of FSA rings in the same 34/50 gearing.

When the rings arrived I raced to install them and was very much surprised by what I found.

Not all five of the Campagnolo chainring bolts are on the 110mm circle. One of the bolts, the one hidden behind the crank, is on a roughly 112mm circle.

I verified this by rotating the OEM rings one hole position.

I cannot find any mention of this in any Campagnolo paperwork or for that matter any place selling Campagnolo ‘compatible’ chainrings.

Can you verify this or do I have an (unlikely) one-off crankset? Does anyone manufacturing Campagnolo 110mm bolt ‘sort-of’ circle compatible rings?
— Antonio

Dear Antonio,
Welcome to the world of Campagnolo. Campgnolo compact chainrings only fit on Campagnolo compact cranks, and vice versa. “Compact” means a chainring bolt circle diameter of 110mm (i.e., 110BCD), but Campagnolo only adheres to that with four of the five holes. As you discovered, the fifth (hidden) hole is drilled further out — at 112mm BCD.

In a way, Campagnolo is doing you a favor by making sure those FSA chainrings don’t fit on your crank, because your crank has a hidden spider arm, and hence a hidden bolt, behind the crank arm. A standard compact chainring designed for a standard 5-arm compact crank will have one spider arm opposite the crankarm. So a standard compact chainring will be “clocked” off by 36 degrees if it is bolted onto a crank with a hidden spider arm (and hence no spider arm opposite the crankarm). Read the question about SRAM 22 chainrings in last week’s column for more explanation on this issue.

Campagnolo has long been loath to make their chainrings compatible with anybody else’s. When I started racing, Campagnolo road cranks had a 144mm BCD, which was the same as track cranks. These long spider arms meant that 42T was the smallest chainring you could mount on a Campy double road crank. When Shimano introduced 130mm BCD cranks, riders flocked to them because they could mount a 39T inner chainring on them. Campagnolo eventually followed, but it didn’t go to 130BCD. Instead, Campagnolo road cranks became 135mm BCD. The spider arms were still short enough that a 39T chainring could be mounted, but, of course, it could only be a Campagnolo chainring, since essentially all available chainrings from other brands were 130BCD.

Campagnolo will tell you that its parts are designed to be used as a system, and it does not want mixing and matching of other components that could compromise its shifting performance, durability, or strength. Shimano and SRAM do similar things, just not with chainrings (except maybe now with SRAM 22 chainrings).

I’m afraid you’re going to have to bite the bullet and buy some Campagnolo replacement chainrings. They’re not cheap, I know, but no other manufacturer that I know of offers Campy-compatible compact road chainrings.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
My bike is a titanium, external-cable model that fits me perfectly, and I have no desire to change. My wheels are all Campagnolo and I’m running a Record 11-speed groupset. I’d like to go electronic, but Campy EPS requires internal cable runs, and I don’t want to get into drilling holes/etc.

Could I simply use SRAM eTAP shifters and front/rear derailleurs, keeping the wheels/crank/cassette? I’d put on a new chain, and I suspect I’d be best to stay with a Campy chain, but would a SRAM chain work better?
— Marc

Dear Marc,
Yes, you could do that. The cassette would shift fine, whether you use a SRAM or Campy 11-speed chain. I don’t know which one would work better on your system of Campy chainrings and cogs with SRAM derailleurs. Note that SRAM’s eTap rear derailleur isn’t intended for cassettes with cogs larger than 28T.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
A Ridley bike I’m considering buying (see photo) has Campy Record 11-speed EPS. The crankset is 50/34 compact. Am I correct that this short-cage rear derailleur will accommodate a 12-29 cassette? (I have been running Campy Record 10-speed, and with a 50/34 crankset I needed a mid-cage rear derailleur to use a 13-29 cassette.) I know from your columns that I can also interchange with Shimano cassettes — can I use an 11-28 Shimano cassette as well?
— Andy

Dear Andy,
Yes, the Campy short-cage 11-speed EPS rear derailleur will handle a 12-29 (or 11-29) cassette. I have that same derailleur and run an 11-29 with it.

And yes, you can use an 11-28 Shimano cassette with that drivetrain, but you can’t put it on that Campy Bullet wheel as-is; you need a Shimano-compatible freehub.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I have read all of the responses to the 11-speed compatibility report you compiled. Thanks for the great information.

My question is with regards to Campagnolo EPS. I built up my gravel grinder/road rig with Campagnolo EPS V2 and I have an Easton EC90 XC 29er wheel set, which can only accept a Shimano or SRAM 11-speed freehub.

I do not want to purchase another wheel, as I really like the Easton set up. Do you anticipate any issues with the SRAM Red 22 cassette with KMC 11-speed chain and a Campagnolo SR EPS gear set? Also I am running a Cannondale Hollowgram 50/34 crankset.
— Robert

Dear Robert,
No, I don’t anticipate any issues running Campy EPS with a SRAM 11-speed cassette and KMC 11-speed chain.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
It is becoming more difficult to find mid-priced wheels that are Campy compatible. How difficult or feasible is it to buy a Shimano or SRAM wheel set and replace the freehub with a Campy freehub?
— Dennis

Dear Dennis,
It’s not a big deal with a lot of brands. Mavic is certainly one example, but lots of manufacturers offer both Shimano-compatible and Campagnolo-compatible freehub bodies for their wheels, even at lower price points. The switch is quite simple and straightforward with many brands as well and often takes only a couple of hex keys or simply pulling the axle end cap.
― Lennard

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Tech FAQ: Road disc guards, frame design, more motors http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/04/bikes-and-tech/tech-faq-motors-slopes-chainrings-anti-seize-and-road-disc-brakes_403541 Tue, 26 Apr 2016 15:23:21 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=403541 Lennard Zinn answers questions about frame design, hidden motors, chainrings, anti-seize treatments, and the ongoing disc brake debate.

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Dear Lennard,
Here is a question that I am having a hard time locating impartial information about: the pluses and minuses of sloping vs. traditional frame design. Do you have a preference both in terms of performance as well as comfort? I also assume that there is no difference in durability.
— Bill

Dear Bill,
For the same top tube length and frame size, a sloping top tube makes the seat tube, seat stays, and top tube shorter. That means that, with the same tubing utilized, the frame is lighter and torsionally stiffer.

This may not be as obvious with the top tube, but I think it is particularly important and illustrative. For the same horizontal effective top tube length, the more the top tube angles up until it becomes perpendicular to the seat tube and head tube, the shorter the actual length of the top tube becomes. This certainly gives it more torsional rigidity and also resistance to bowing. Or, a lighter (thinner wall, or smaller diameter) tube can be used and offer the same stiffness and strength as the original tube built horizontally into the frame with even lower weight yet.

Of course, a sloped frame depends more on the seatpost than does one with a horizontal top tube. The seatpost must be longer, stronger, and stiffer on a sloping frame.

Comfort, due to the flex of the long seatpost, may be higher on the sloping bike.
— Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I am a mechanical engineering student and collegiate racer. I couldn’t help but take action after reading the stories across the web about “motorized doping.”

Cycling has a hard enough time holding a clear image with the public and spreading speculation about cheating isn’t going to help. I could be completely wrong, but at least for now I ask VeloNews to stop feeding the rumor mill and display all sides of the argument.

Almost every rider is using an electronic groupset — there is the distinct possibility that the heat signature is merely the seatpost battery (Campy/Shimano) discharging from repeated shifts.
— Ben

Dear Ben,
In the few Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) photos I’ve seen, the eyebrow-raising heat signature is in the bottom of the seat tube. It is certainly possible to drop a Shimano Di2 or Campagnolo EPS battery all of the way down there, and it would indeed give off some heat during repeated shifting. Normally, however, the battery is much higher up in the seat tube: either stuffed inside the seatpost, or, in the case of Campy, it is bolted in place through the seat-tube water-bottle bosses.

It would be interesting to examine more of these FLIR photos to see what the heat signature of the battery in electronic-shift bikes generally looks like. In the photo labeled “02:06” with the hotspot at the bottom of the seat tube, there also appears to be a relatively warm area where the bottom of the seatpost is as well; that might well be the shifter battery.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I have a previous-generation 10-speed SRAM Force crankset and chainrings. In the near future, I’d like to move to SRAM 22 and put 11-speed chainrings on my Force crank. However, the bolt pattern has changed with the transition to 11-speed — one bolt is now hidden behind the crank arm. This would be a 36-degree shift in chainring mount orientation. Is it likely to cause shifting problems?
— Matt

Dear Matt,
The shift pins and ramps will not be ideally located, and the chain will not shift as well on that ring as on your old chainring.

Furthermore, your chain-drop pin will not be behind the crankarm and thus won’t be able to prevent the chain from jamming between the arm and the spider, should you throw your chain off to the outside.

When you need new chainrings, you’d be better off just replacing your rings with 10-speed rings. They will work better on your 10-speed crank with the 11-speed drivetrain than will SRAM 11-speed chainrings made for removable spiders or for the Red crank with one spider arm integrated with the crankarm.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I always apply lithium grease to bolts before torqueing unless the part comes with instructions to use Loctite, and I’ve always greased stem bolts. Recently a titanium stem bolt broke while torqueing and the replacement bolt from the manufacturer (Deda) came with a strip of dry blue Loctite. What gives? Should stem bolts be greased or ‘Loctite-ed’ before torqueing? Do you have any guiding principles on when to Loctite and when to grease bolts on high end bikes?
— David

Dear David,
Titanium bolts in particular need to be treated differently than steel bolts. Titanium has a tendency to gall, seize, and tear. The issue is worst when dry, and grease can also be insufficient to prevent this from happening.

What you need on a titanium bolt is anti-seize compound specifically designed for titanium threads. Finish Line Anti-Seize Assembly Lubricant is the ticket for this. This is grease with copper flakes in it to ensure that the threads continue to slide on each other as the tightening torque increases.

Deda could not have shipped the bolts with anti-seize grease on it, so it did the next best thing, providing dried threadlock compound on them. This will also be fairly effective at preventing galling and seizing. Furthermore, you can still put Finish Line Anti-Seize Assembly Lubricant on those bolts; there is no reason to remove the dry threadlocker.
― Lennard

Regarding road disc brakes last week:

Dear Lennard,
I’ve worked in and out of the industry for a number of years and still it seems odd to see discs on road bikes.

None the less, they are here, perfect or not. Yesterday I saw Chris D. from Specialized on what seemed to be a prototype disc cover. Please see the photo [above].
— Patrick

Dear Lennard,
The current hub-bub has reminded of this article.

Safety first!
— Joe

Dear Joe,
Yes! Thanks for reminding me of that article; I loved it back when it came out in 2014!
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
There is a third option no one mentions concerning disc brakes on road bikes. That option is a disc only on the front. Considering the large differential in the work a front brake does versus rear, putting a disc on the front would give a rider almost all of the stronger braking benefits of a pair of discs. But the risk of injury would be greatly reduced. One would assume that the risk would be cut in half, but I think that is not true. In crashes, the front wheel rarely is elevated and freely rotating. Whereas the rear wheel often is. The risk should be well less than half — something to consider. (Campy has long understood that the front brake needs more power than the rear with its “differential” brakeset.)

BTW, and regarding MTB, I sure wish I had the option to save some weight and run a front disc paired with a rim brake.
— Will

Regarding thumb pain from two weeks ago:

Dear Lennard,
You posted a thread discussing thumb pain. One man sent you a picture of his custom-fabricated thumb splint. The splint was well made and the man was pleased with the result achieved. However, had his therapist known the man was going to use the splint primarily for cycling, he/she would have likely fabricated a dorsal version of the splint for him. His picture shows a palm-based splint, which uses the palm as a foundation for thumb immobilization. One can get the same result with the foundation provided over the back (dorsum) of the hand. I believe a dorsal version would be more comfortable while weight bearing through the arms on handlebars. In addition, a palmar based splint might cause a small arm length discrepancy, which may lead to postural problems, neck pain, etc. Another option, his therapist could fit him with a neoprene or elastic splint with a rigid aluminum insert to support the thumb. If the soft splint works as well as the hard one, it would be much more comfortable than the rigid version.
— Tom

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Technical FAQ: Can we make disc brakes safer? http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/04/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq-road-disc-brakes_402923 Tue, 19 Apr 2016 16:19:43 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=402923 After the Paris-Roubaix disc brake injury, Lennard Zinn answers a litany of questions about whether discs are safer or better than rim

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Dear Lennard,
With all the controversy about Fran Ventoso’s injury at Paris-Roubaix supposedly caused by a brake disc, I’m wondering if rim brakes are any different in terms of injury potential. Specifically, if I remember correctly, Joseba Beloki’s crash in the 2003 Tour de France was or might have been caused by a tire rolling off the rim, possibly because of high temperatures on the road, or possibly from overheated rims caused by heavy braking on the descent. I have had the experience on Mount Ascutney in Vermont of tubulars rotating on the rim because of the braking necessary — luckily never to the point of ripping the valve stem off, but making it necessary to stop and swap the rotation direction of the front wheel a few times on the way down. What do you think of this? Do the pros have that problem in races on hot days with long, steep descents?
— Bob

Dear Bob,
Yours was one of umpteen letters I got this week regarding Fran Ventoso’s Paris-Roubaix injury and road disc brakes.

You have a valid point; under some conditions, rim brakes have also been the cause of injuries. Yes, Joseba Beloki’s crash on that Tour de France stage into Gap was a function of his rim brakes. Locking the wheel up was the big problem; I don’t think he could have avoided the crash even if his tire had stayed on the rim. The rolled tire was a result of the combination of locking up his brakes, the wheel jumping up and landing hard at an angle, and the carbon rims being very hot, making the tubular rim cement more liquid.

I do think the brake locking up was a complete surprise to Beloki; he had not expected his brake to behave that way. The road surface had a lower coefficient of friction than he expected due to the high temperatures softening the asphalt, and when he touched the brake, the wheel started sliding. It was not entirely due to a grabby brake; we all know how easily this will happen on ice, even with the perfect brake. The road surface was not as slick as ice, nor was it as grippy as asphalt at lower temperatures. The brake pads were most certainly grabbier than normal, as the rim was so hot. The carbon brake pads of 13 years ago tended to not be as good at managing heat as they are now; 2003 was early on in the development of carbon rims and brake pads for them.

My guess is that, indeed, a disc brake of today would have greatly reduced the likelihood of this happening to Beloki. While the road would have been just as slick, his rim would not have been as hot due to braking. Consequently, his tire would not have been as hot and hence would not have been at such a high pressure, which would have given him marginally more grip. And with the disc brake, the cooler rim would have greatly reduced the likelihood of rolling the tire. However, had he locked up the wheel like that with a disc brake, I think he still would have fallen; once you stop a wheel and cross it up relative to the direction of travel at high speed like that, it is very hard to ride it out unscathed.

Carrying your argument further, the tires blowing in the heat on the stage 5 neutralized descent in the 2015 Tour of Oman were obviously a function of rim brakes. I went into great detail on that at the time.

As for the tire sliding around the rim from rim braking, I suspect that most riders with a lot of mountain miles on tubulars will have had this experience. I have had a valve stem tear on a tubular due to this, and the tire deflates very fast. I have also torn off valve stems on a number of occasions on clincher tires from the tire sliding around the rim on super-steep dirt while riding rim brakes, both on road bikes and on mountain bikes. I’m certain that none of these occurrences would have happened at all, had I had disc brakes. I remember descending the steep Silver Canyon Road from Mt. Whitney down to Bishop, California on mountain bikes on a hot summer day long ago. I was an early adopter with disc brakes and had no problems, and the guy I was with had rim brakes. He tore the valve stem out of every tube we had by the bottom, even though by the end we were stopping every few minutes to turn his front wheel around and slide his rear tire forward on the rim again to straighten out the valve stem.

These are cases where rim brakes certainly made the bike ride more dangerous than a disc brake would have. That is not to say a disc brake is immune to heat problems, but a hot disc does not also heat the tire.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I don’t understand way disc brakes have to be sharp and resemble a table saw blade. The working part is the flat surface, not the edge. The edge could be rubber or some other material. I am just puzzled by designers that ignore safety considerations.
— Bob

Dear Lennard,
Regarding the riders’ safety concerns with disc brakes in the peloton, I have always wondered why manufacturers don’t machine a full radius edge on discs after they are laser cut. It’s one extra machining operation, so it’ll add a little cost, but in an insanely litigious world I’m shocked the manufacturers haven’t been doing it since day one for the consumer market. I also believe it would’ve prevented or greatly reduced the injury suffered by Fran Ventoso in Paris Roubaix.
— Ante

Dear Ante, Bob, and all of the rest of you who asked me this same question,
Here are a few responses from disc brake makers. This is a question that clearly comes to mind immediately for many cyclists worrying about discs in road crashes, judging by the flood of mail I got asking about this.
― Lennard

From TRP:
For obvious reasons, I’ve been having this conversation today with TRP engineers.

With a rotor thickness of only 1.8mm, the radius on the edge would have to be so tight that it wouldn’t really help; in fact, it could make it worse. Currently in the manufacturing process, rotor edges are smoothed and polished and aren’t really “razor sharp,” so we don’t think there is much room for improvement in the shape of the edge.

If what we’ve seen online today is true, with a crash in a crowded peloton, rotors can cause real damage and this needs to be addressed. I think everyone is surprised that we haven’t seen this before in MTB or CX, but obviously WorldTour racing, and specifically Paris-Roubaix with a 198-rider peloton, is the ultimate test of this technology.

We’re looking into possible safety improvements, motocross-style covers, etc., but so far haven’t hit on a good solution that addresses this issue and is still acceptable in terms of weight, complexity, and aerodynamics.
— Lance Larrabee
Managing director at TRP/Tektro USA

From FSA:
I was actually expecting an email from you based on the news regarding the UCI in regards to road disc brakes.

It is unfortunate that a rider was hurt due to the rotor. That said, I am confident that we (disc brake manufactures) have solutions to protect the rider from injury due to the rotor edge and arms. Given the rotor width (1.8mm for most brands) and mount standards are somewhat fixed, we can look at rotor edge profiles for sure. Additional protection in the form of guards may also be investigated. This solution may seem simple on the surface, but it will increase the weight and aerodynamic challenges that disc brakes are already facing.

The real question is, should professional road races be using disc brakes? Disc brakes certainly add value to the rider’s experience on endurance, CX and gravel/adventure road bikes, but the optimized race bike may not ultimately benefit from the increased braking performance. Until they are proven to offer better aerodynamics, I do not see the racers embracing the product.
— Joel Richardson
FSA disc brake product manager

From SRAM:
There may be some merit to it even though the rotor is only 1.8mm thick. We are always looking at ways to improve.
— Paul Kantor
SRAM brake product manager

Dear Lennard,
A couple of years ago I bought a set of carbon clinchers from a very well-known and reputable brand. One of my first rides was a 100 miler involving some very long and steep descents and while I’m not a novice by any means, I am also not the world’s greatest descender, and in the course of the event, my rear tire blew out when the tube overheated due to sustained braking. Luckily I managed to come to a stop with no further drama. In hindsight I sort of wish I’d gone with aluminum clinchers but the carbons do ride nice, so …

Anyhow, besides realizing that I needed to learn how to descend more like the pros, I also took the step of running thicker and larger Continental Cross 28 tubes in my tires. I’ve not had any further mishaps to-date but admittedly I am anxious about jumping out on another road where I might be putting my descending skills to an extreme test. It occurred to me that perhaps adding a couple of ounces of water to the inside of the tubes might also help to keep things cooler within the carbon rims but I’m not sure whether that would actually provide any benefit or perhaps make things worse.

Do you have any view on this?
 — Bill

Dear Bill,
I tossed your question into this column due to its similarity with the first question. I doubt you’d get the result you’re hoping for by putting water in the tires.

First off, if you put enough in to absorb a significant amount of heat, you’ll be adding enough weight to make the purchase of lightweight carbon rims in the first case relatively superfluous.

Secondly, while it would slow how rapidly the tire pressure went up with braking, once the water got hot, it would tend to retain the heat more than air alone. And steam can also create a lot of pressure on the vessel containing it. If it couldn’t, the Industrial Revolution would have been a lot longer in the making.
― Lennard

Feedback on last week’s column:

Dear Lennard,
Regarding spacers in some cartridge bearings. To get the balls between the races, all the balls are placed adjacent to each other in the outer race filling less than half the circumference of the bearing. This allows the inner race to be slipped in. Once the balls are spaced circumferentially, the races cannot come apart.

In an assembled bearing, you can pop out the spacer, move all the ball to one side, then slip out the inner race.
— Lou

Dear Lou,
Good point. I did know this, but it did not occur to me when I made the comment about the costs of making a cartridge bearing. You are absolutely right that you could not produce a cartridge bearing if you had the balls touching all of the way around. And with fewer balls, to avoid them moving around and throwing the inner race off center, the spacers are a must.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
In addition to telling Paul that Shimano levers will not work with his existing Campy setup, it would have been helpful to tell him that SRAM levers will work, as the cable pull is the same as Campy (a trick I learned from your previous columns). SRAM levers should also be equally effective as Shimano in avoiding arthritic thumb pain.

I was surprised to learn just how many riders share the problems of arthritic thumbs, which caused me to switch away from Campy several years ago.
— Doug

Dear Doug,
Good idea. The cable pull is slightly different between SRAM and Campy, but it is close enough to often work quite well with a drivetrain mixed between those brands.
― Lennard

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Technical FAQ: Freehubs, loose ball bearings, and more http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/04/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq-freehubs-loose-ball-bearings-and-more_402270 Tue, 12 Apr 2016 13:12:47 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=402270 This week, Lennard Zinn tackles reader questions dealing with compatibility between component brands, the use of bike tools, and much more.

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Freehub compatibility

Dear Lennard,
I have a set of generic Taiwanese carbon wheels with 11-speed Shimano/SRAM-compatible Novatec hubs on my wife’s bike. They work great, but the freehub is very noisy when coasting due to the pawl setup. Could I buy a Shimano 11-speed Ultegra freehub and install it so it’s not as noisy? Are most 11-speed freehubs compatible and mounted with a 10mm Allen wrench?
— Doug

Dear Doug,
I have no idea in this particular case, but in general, freehub bodies are not interchangeable across brands. While some of them do indeed mount with a 10mm hex key, lots of them do not.

DT Swiss and Campagnolo/Fulcrum hubs are notable exceptions to the 10mm hex key installation method; both of these types (and note that there are lots of freehubs using the Campy pawl style) simply pull off the hub by hand. Mavic hubs require a 10mm hex key on the opposite end to remove the axle, but the freehub also pulls off by hand.
― Lennard

Replacing freehub bearings

Dear Lennard,
I recently had my Campy hub apart for a lube and I wondered if there might be anything to be gained by replacing the bearings with loose balls. I figure I would be able to add one or two per side.
— Ted

Dear Ted,
Probably not.

In order to clarify to other readers, current Campy hubs have loose ball bearings constrained in plastic retainers. So the overhaul is the same as with a loose-ball hub, but the bearings are not free to roll away individually on your workbench.

The arguments that I imagine you might be making for adding a ball or two per side would be: perhaps rolling friction would be reduced by eliminating the retainer, and perhaps distributing pressure over more balls would lead to longer life of the bearings and races.

Regarding the first point, while you would be eliminating the sliding friction of the balls on the molded surfaces of the plastic bearing retainer, you would be substituting this with drag on adjacent balls. Since the meeting points on the two adjacent balls would be moving in opposite directions, the friction between them is of concern — it is not as if they are just rolling over each other, as they roll along the bearing race. My understanding from bearing experts over the years is that this friction between balls exceeds that between balls and their retainers. After all, the bearings inside cartridge bearings are held in retainers that keep them separate from each other. If friction were lower without the retainers, you’d think that high-end cartridge bearings would be made this way; it seems to me that it would be cheaper to make them that way as well.

As for sharing the pressure distribution over more balls, I doubt that would make a significant effect on wear on the bearing races (or on rolling friction). The load is still carried on the bottom couple of balls at any given time, after all. Bearing races can also be replaced in Campy hubs with the proper puller tool.
― Lennard

Installing Campy EPS

Dear Lennard,
I have Campy Chorus EPS installed in one bike and wish now to move it to another bike. At the time of installation, I purchased the appropriate Campy tool for disconnecting the cables (UT-CG120ATEPS), but did not have to use it. Now I suppose I will, but I cannot find any information or instructions about how this particular tool should be used. Based on its shape, I cannot fathom how it will help me disconnect those cables or whether it is even necessary. Any advice or instructions that you can provide would be much appreciated.
— David

Dear David,
You don’t need to use that tool. Fingernails work fine unless you’re doing a lot more bikes in a day than just this one.
― Lennard

Feedback on thumb pain and long-reach brakes

Dear Lennard,
Louis is the physician from the UK with thumb pain after riding for just 20 minutes. I had the same thing (I am also an MD, maybe something there) right over the M-P joint. It was cured by cutting a window in my glove right over the spot that hurts. I think the compression of the glove was forcing a pisaform bone to grate against the joint line. Try that before you go to injections.
— Curtis

Dear Lennard,
I am surprised that neither you nor Andrew Pruitt mentioned using a brace or splint to help with thumb pain. I have arthritis at the base of my left thumb, and I have been using a splint for years to mitigate the problem, along with occasional use of over-the-counter NSAIDS. The first splint I got was reasonably effective, but not very comfortable for cycling. I found a hand therapist who is also a bicyclist, and he designed a more sophisticated one that does what I need and fits under my cycling glove. It immobilizes the painful joint as well as spreading the pressure from the thumb across the base of my palm without interfering with my ability to shift or brake. It is comfortable enough to wear for hours on end, and it has been invaluable to me as a result. See the photos.
— Richard

Dear Lennard,
With my back, I’ve had great success with faithful, prescribed, at-home physical therapy, heat and a continuing regimen of Aleve. A good physical therapist can do amazing things. It doesn’t cure it but eases it immensely. What about thick, cushioning handlebar tape or double cycling gloves, and/or heat balm while riding?
— Tom

Dear Lennard,
To follow up on your most recent column, here’s some real-world feedback that Shimano BR600 long-reach brake calipers do indeed have the right pull ratio for Campy and SRAM brake levers. My commuter with fenders has BR600 calipers paired with Centaur 10-speed levers; my best friend has the same setup with SRAM Force levers. Together, the two of us have logged thousands of miles of positive experiences with this setup.
— Dan

Shimano/Campy compatibility

Dear Lennard,
I can’t seem to find the definitive answer looking back on all the articles and can use your help.
I have developed some arthritis in my thumbs and after long hauls, the Campy shifters make my thumbs sore.

While I can look at a whole new group, would I just be able to purchase some Shimano Ultegra/Dura-Ace shifters and use those with my Campy derailleurs?
— Paul

Dear Paul,
No, that won’t work.
― Lennard

Feedback on Marinoni

Dear Lennard,
Thank you for the piece on the Marinoni movie.

In 1996 after my Cannondale race bike was stolen, I was looking around for a replacement. I decided to go steel, and a local shop helped me get a Marinoni frame. It got ridden many times in all kinds of weather, got jammed into vans with other bikes, and took other forms of abuse.

Two years ago I decided to restore the bike and contacted Marinoni about getting the frame painted. We live in Vermont within an easy drive to Montreal. It turned out the easiest way to transport the bike back and forth was to drive right there.

While working with Giovanni, the best English speaker working there, my wife had been looking over a track bike hanging on the wall and reading the plague underneath telling the Marinoni history. She asked if Giuseppe was still alive. Giovanni replied, “Why, yes he is. He is working in the back. Would you like to meet him?” How could we refuse?

Giuseppe was gracious enough to stop working and talk with us, Giovanni acting as our interpreter.

See the finished product in the photo above. It rides like a dream. Please excuse some of the non-period-correct parts.
— John

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Movie review: ‘Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame’ http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/04/news/road/movie-review-marinoni-the-fire-in-the-frame_401693 Wed, 06 Apr 2016 22:10:40 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=401693 This film is far more than one about a great craftsman pursuing his craft. It is also about two great men healing and coming out of their

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As a framebuilder who started in the early 1980s, the old-school way with lugs and steel tubing, I was fascinated to see a movie about Giuseppe Marinoni, the reclusive Italian who has built his namesake steel bikes in Montreal for over 40 years. I had expected to see great scenes of him in his shop, attacking his work with passion in “Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame,” and I was not disappointed. What I hadn’t expected was to also be on the edge of my seat watching his pursuit of a remarkable athletic feat, as well as witnessing the touching reunion of two of Canada’s cycling greats, delicately filmed by documentarian Tony Girardin.

You had to be a lot older than me to remember Marinoni’s racing career on this side of the pond; after coming from Italy for a single race, he met the love of his life and stayed, dominated Canadian cycling in the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, I and others who were racing and/or reading VeloNews in the late 1970s and early 1980s certainly remember the beautiful bikes he built. Lots of North American champions rode them, often in disguise, such as the one painted like a Raleigh (see also) on which Connie Carpenter, Taylor Phinney’s mom, won the 1984 Olympic road race in Los Angeles.

We of that generation also remember the golden boy of Canadian cycling, Jocelyn Lovell. Marinoni built the beautiful white track bike beloved by Lovell, on which he won five gold medals and a team pursuit bronze at the 1978 Commonwealth games and then went on to win a silver medal at the world championships that same year. Lovell describes on screen how fast he felt on that bike, winning his first race with it, less than an hour after receiving it.

Lovell was paralyzed after being run over by a truck while out training in 1983, and Marinoni hadn’t seen him since. Meanwhile, decades of constant work building 30,000 frames while breathing fumes and dust from painting, welding, brazing, and sanding, combined with a lack of exercise, had taken a toll on Marinoni’s body. Trying to regain his health with activity, Marinoni’s sweat was coming out red from the toxins for the first two years back on the bike. As his body started feeling better, he focused on attempting the 75+ world hour record on that same track bike he had built for Lovell 40 years ago.

He attempted the hour near his hometown on a track in Brescia, Italy, and Girardin followed him in his training in Canada and also back to Italy for the ride. While in Italy, Marinoni does a gran fondo with Francesco Moser, and former Giro d’Italia champion Paolo Savoldelli joins him at the track for the record attempt. Ernesto Colnago discusses the art of building bikes, and Marinoni’s framebuilding mentor, Mario Rossin, is also on camera extensively, describes the passion with which the Canadian expatriate created bicycles.

The documentary builds toward the poignant reunion of Marinoni and Lovell. This is a scene not to be missed, and it is hard to watch with a dry eye. This film is far more than one about a great craftsman pursuing his craft. It is also about two great men healing and coming out of their shells late in life. I highly recommend it.

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Technical FAQ: Thumb pain, toe clearance, derailleur springs http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/04/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq-thumb-pain-toe-clearance-derailleur-springs_401352 Tue, 05 Apr 2016 18:47:48 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=401352 Lennard Zinn answers questions about coping with arthritic pain, fixing toe overlap, and making a rear derailleur spring back to life.

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Dear Lennard,
I’m a 46-year-old anesthesiologist from the UK and keen rider of bicycles. I have developed osteoarthritis in the MCP joint of my left thumb which causes pain in rides lasting more than about 20 minutes, which is rather pitiful.

I have taken NSAID anti-inflammatories and had my bike fit optimized but to no avail. It is seriously curtailing the sport and hobby that I love.

Do you (or any of your readers) have any suggestions to help ameliorate these symptoms before I turn to intra-articular steroid injections or a recumbent?
— Louis

Dear Louis,
Here’s what my good friend and world-renowned bike fit guru Andy Pruitt has to say about your issue.

“Hand, thumb, and wrist arthritis can be debilitating for cyclists! I was a long time Campy user but had to give it up because of the thumb shifting. Lever or electronic shifting has helped. The mountain bike remains a bit of a problem; however, the 1X systems save my left thumb. If terrain and/or road surface vibration is the issue, you might try a suspension stem. Some find a larger bar circumference helpful, accomplished with double wrap tape. On the medical side, the occasional intra-articular steroid injection (pre-season) can be helpful!

From one sufferer to another, good luck!

Andrew Pruitt, EdD
Sports Medicine Consultant
CUSM&PC”

Good luck!
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
Very interested in SRAM eTap for my primary road bike. However, it sports mid/long reach brakes which SRAM does not make. The BR650s on presently have the updated pull ratios for new Shimano. I still have the original 600s in a box which should be traditional pull. Can they be pressed back into service?
— Ryan

Dear Ryan,
Yes, the BR600 long-reach Shimano dual-pivot road brake was designed for older Shimano levers, which have “standard” cable pull (as opposed to the low-leverage/high-cable-pull design of current Shimano road levers), so they should work fine with SRAM (and Campagnolo) road levers.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I have a Felt Breed that I raced a couple years ago and loved it. Last season I made the jump to a Cannondale Super X that I also loved, but for different reasons. Now when I hop back on the Breed (with its more classic geometry), I find my foot hitting the front wheel in sharp turns (toe overlap) on corners where on the Cannondale, I wouldn’t have any issues. My first thought was to get shorter cranks, but that coupled with singlespeed might not be the best idea.

My question is this: If I were to get a different fork with a bit more rake, would that help solve this issue? Or would I be opening a Pandora’s box, messing up the geometry and therefore the handling of the bike? I’m thinking this might be a worthwhile upgrade, as I could get a disc brake compatible fork and as an added bonus, create a proverbial ‘mullet’ of a bike (business/disc in the front, party/canti in the back).
— Jesse

Dear Jesse,
I get the impression from your question that you didn’t notice toe overlap on the Breed before, and now you do. Are you sure that you don’t have toe overlap on the Breed due to a crash in which you flipped over the bar? I am further inclined to think this has happened, since you indicate you have lots of toe clearance on the Cannondale SuperX and none on the Felt, but the head angle, seat angle and top-tube length (and fork rake) on almost every size of these two bikes is the same or nearly so.

Feel under the down tube and under the top tube of the Felt just behind the weld at the head tube. If there is a bulge or kink there (and corresponding stretched area on the top of the tube just behind the head tube weld), you have a steeper head angle now due to front-end impact. The bulge or kink indicating that the tube has been bent would tend to be most noticeable under the down tube. If that is the case, the bike’s handling has already become twitchier due to the steeper head angle and corresponding decrease in fork trail, so don’t worry about making it worse with a change to a fork with more rake. That said, your frame will eventually crack at that bulge under the down tube, so I don’t see the point in investing any more money in the bike.

Regarding the fork change idea, a standard rake (offset) for carbon cyclocross forks is 47mm, which is only 2mm more than the 45mm rake you have on both your Cannondale and your Felt. If 2mm is a sufficient change to eliminate the problem, it’s worth pursuing, and it’s not enough to throw off the handling of your bike significantly. If you need more than 2mm additional clearance, good luck finding a fork like that …

Furthermore, almost all carbon disc ’cross forks have a tapered steerer that accepts a 1.5-inch lower bearing, and I’m not sure if your Breed has that. If your Breed’s fork has a straight 1.125-inch steerer or a tapered 1.125/1.25-inch steerer, the WoundUp Team X Disc fork may be your only choice; it, too, has 47mm of rake.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
Is there a way to increase the parallelogram spring tension on a rear derailleur? That is often the point of failure for me that leads to the derailleur’s replacement, namely its inability to pull all the way back down to the 11T cog. (My current issue is with a SRAM Rival component.)
— David

Dear David,
Not that I know of, but you can sometimes get the same effect by putting a washer between the derailleur hanger and the derailleur and then readjusting the limit screws and cable tension.
― Lennard

Feedback on last week’s column:

Dear Lennard,
Re: dropped chains and worn SRAM chainrings, it’s not just CX-1, as described in the article. I needed to replace a SRAM 34-tooth inner ring (compact) well before it did any skipping, because the teeth were worn enough to cause self-activated unshipping and other shifting problems. And that was on a road bike with no winter environmental exposure. The tooth profiles were worn down to points and this seemed to adversely affect smooth operation.
— Larry

Dear Lennard,
I have been using a single-ring setup on the cross bike now for a few years, and I have never dropped a chain. I first used 2 BBG bash guards to wedge the chain on the chainring before narrow-wides. But now with narrow-wide chainrings, I have one BBG guard on the on the outside and a K-Edge single ring chain catcher on the inside. This doesn’t require a clutch derailleur, but I do wrap the chain stay in some old bar tape to stop chain slap, mind you I would wrap the chain stay and use this setup if I had a clutch derailleur, too.
— Erik

Dear Erik,
Sounds good, and that should eliminate almost any instance of chain drop, especially from chain bouncing. However, in the case of ice in the chain from riding through puddles repeatedly at temperatures in the 20s F or below, I doubt this would be sufficient, since the chain can still lift.
— Lennard

The post Technical FAQ: Thumb pain, toe clearance, derailleur springs appeared first on VeloNews.com.

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Technical FAQ: Dropped ‘cross chains, discs vs. cantis http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/03/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq-dropped-sram-chains-in-cross_400216 Tue, 29 Mar 2016 16:11:09 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=400216 This week, Lennard Zinn addresses some issues readers are having with SRAM 1X drivetrains in cold, muddy conditions.

The post Technical FAQ: Dropped ‘cross chains, discs vs. cantis appeared first on VeloNews.com.

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Dear Lennard,
Why does Wout Van Aert always race now with a SRAM double-chainring setup and cantilever brakes? He used to race on CX1 with disc brakes and switched back to old school. When he was the U23 world champion, SRAM said he won the 2014 Superprestige Gavere on disc CX1.
— Frank

Dear Frank,
Like all SRAM ’cross pros, Van Aert has the option of Red 22 or Force 1, and SRAM generally won’t try to convince a pro one way or the other (witness Zdenek Stybar winning CX world’s in 2014 on SRAM 10-speed when the company would have loved to instead have him on 11-speed so it could have advertised that he was on the latest SRAM 22 equipment). I don’t know why Van Aert switched, and given that it would require him to compare different products of his component sponsor, we might get an overly bland answer if we were to ask him. However, I’m willing to conjecture. I also did a conference call with a few product managers at SRAM about this question, as well as the two letters that follow this one.

Regarding Van Aert eschewing the Force 1 (same as CX1) X-Sync chainring and X-Horizon clutch rear derailleur setup in favor of a Red 22 ensemble for the entire 2015-2016 season, I wouldn’t be too surprised if his dropped chain at the 2015 world championships with SRAM CX1 factored into his decision. That said, he insists it was not the dropped chain that cost him that race but rather a crash and other bobbles. And SRAM product managers, whose collective cringe when he dropped his chain could be felt worldwide, checked his bike and found that the chainring was very worn. When worn, X-Sync chainrings are more prone to chain drops, as the teeth don’t fit the chain as tightly and thus can’t control its movement as well. Pros tend to go through a few sets of chainrings every year on each bike, and single rings get more wear than each ring on a double and thus have to be replaced at least as often.

SRAM road product manager Daniel Lee also explained that Van Aert likes the big 10-tooth jump on the front derailleur, from 36 to 46 teeth. At some points on some courses, he wants to rapidly change gearing.

Lee went on to explain that when it comes to equipping CX athletes with 1X systems, “the only difficult group to deal with are the pros.” This is because they demand a 46×11 top gear, which they use on the start of many European courses and never use later in the race. No other category demands such a high gear. The biggest available SRAM Force 1 cassette is 11-36, and on some courses, a 46 X 32 gear is not low enough. Perhaps eventually SRAM will resolve this issue by offering XD 10-32 cassettes compatible with both disc-brake and rim-brake wheels.

On the disc brake vs. cantilever brake issue, weight is certainly involved. So is the fact that Van Aert is Belgian; Belgian pros overwhelmingly prefer cantilevers.

There is no question that the SRAM hydraulic disc brakes offer better braking than any rim brake across all CX conditions, even the sweet Avid Shorty Ultimate cantilevers that Van Aert uses, so sheer performance can’t be the issue. (Although some actually seek reduced performance; at Cross Vegas in 2011 when he was the under-23 world champion, I overheard Lars Van der Haar — who now uses discs in every race — insist that disc brakes are a bad idea in ‘cross because they work too well! His contention was that, to avoid over-braking, it was critical to have a brake that doesn’t stop very well.)

But if performance doesn’t play a role in Van Aert’s brake decision, weight probably does. I recall from measurements I did two years ago on otherwise identical bikes that the weight penalty of hydraulic discs vs. cantilevers was about a kilogram, when you take into account the additional frame and fork weight, hub weight, weight of more numerous and longer spokes, as well as the weight of the levers, calipers, rotors, and mounting hardware. I know the numbers usually quoted are not that big — you often hear half a kilo bandied about. However, other than flat-mount disc calipers, and the possibility of slightly lighter rims lacking braking surfaces, I don’t think much has changed this equation other than the increasing difficulty of comparing apples to apples. Many bike manufacturers don’t make elite-level frames and forks in both disc and cantilever variations, or they focus more on the disc model (since that’s what now sells) and take weight out of them that could have also been eliminated from the rim-brake version but was not. So on an apples-to-apples comparison, I still believe it’s about a kilo (2.2-pound) weight penalty for disc brakes vs. cantilevers.

This weight issue can be exacerbated or reduced depending on the frame involved, and in Van Aert’s case, it is exacerbated. While disc frames do require some added weight for the brake mount area, the Colnago disc frame available to him was considerably heavier than the cantilever model; SRAM’s Lee believes it is on the order of 1.5 pounds more for just the frame.

Even Sven Nys, after racing almost all of this past season on hydraulic discs (Shimano), reverted to cantilevers near the end of the season — and that was when the races were at their muddiest and when disc performance would have far surpassed cantilever performance. I’m sure the discs would have stayed cleaner and braked better, but he already had 15 years on a lot of the guys he was racing against, and I’m guessing he didn’t want to also be at a weight disadvantage to the cantilever guys in the world championships and other final important races of his career. And perhaps the fact that he is about to embark on a new career as manager of Telenet – Fidea, a big club with lots of mechanics and riders exclusively on cantilevers, played into his decision.

That Belgian pros overwhelmingly tend to ride cantilevers actually goes much deeper than simply tradition and resistance to change; there is a whole mechanics issue. On a big club like Van Aert’s, with lots of riders in lots of categories, it is very challenging for a manufacturer to keep all of the team mechanics up to speed on new parts. Cantilevers are a no-brainer for any Belgian cyclocross mechanic, but that is not the case with disc brakes.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
At my last cyclocross race of the season, in mid-December in Colorado, I had big problems with dropped chains on my SRAM 1×11 system. It was below freezing, the course was entirely mud, snow and ice, and there were some deep, muddy puddles. I had left my 2×11 bike in the pit, because I figured I was less likely to have drivetrain problems in those conditions with my 1×11 bike. But after five dropped chains, I switched to my front-derailleur bike. Even though that bike was all muddy from the pre-race course inspection, I had no problems with it. One bike has Force 1 with an X-Sync chainring and a Rival 1 clutch rear derailleur. The other bike is all Force 22 with a Rival 22 rear derailleur.

Having dropped a chain once before on the 1×11 bike, I realized the alternating tooth shape and no chain guards made it impossible to pedal the chain back on. In this case, pulling over and manually placing the chain back on wasn’t enough, though. I knew to take the time to make sure I was putting the chain on so that the wider spaces in the chain were going onto the fatter teeth on the chainring. But I noticed the fat teeth didn’t want to go in because of the icy mud in the chain. The third time it dropped I had to realign it probably half a dozen times, because after setting it on the chainring, it would drop again with a quarter pedal stroke forward. It seemed clear to me that because the ice had built up in the chain, it would ride up above the long, fat teeth. It occurred to me that the long teeth were actually causing the dropped chain when paired with buildup, rather than preventing dropping as claimed.

Afterward, when washing the bike with the race’s power washer, the exact same thing was happening — the ice was preventing the fat teeth from going into the chain, and the chain was derailing while I was simply turning the crank. And it was pedaling off when I was pedaling forward by hand to try to set the chain, not by turning the crank backwards or something.

Have you heard of this before?
— Em

Dear Em,
I have SRAM Force 1 with hydraulic discs on my own cyclocross bike, and I have dropped my chain in muddy and snowy conditions, but I never figured out why it was happening and thought it was a fluke. I do know that pairing the X-Sync chainring with the clutch rear derailleur is critical to chain retention without chain guards or guides, as the chain can bounce wildly on bumpy trails without it. After seeing Jeremy Powers and Steven Hyde be so dominant stateside and seemingly problem-free mechanically on SRAM Force 1, I second-guessed myself when I dropped my chain. Was I hitting bumps too hard? Was the chain too worn?

But I have seen others with SRAM 1X11 drop chains at our Wednesday morning group CX training rides. I thought at the time that if I were still racing I would put on an inner chain stop and an outer chainring guard like I used to use with a single Rotor chainring. But after what you described, that likely would not cut it in freezing-mud conditions, and it also wouldn’t solve the problem mentioned in the following letter, either. What is required is a chain guide with not just walls but also a roof.

Indeed, the SRAM product managers I spoke with conceded to me that freezing mud is the most challenging condition for the system and can cause the chain to ride up and derail. In conditions like that, they recommend chain guides.

It’s the lift of the chain that has to be stopped to keep the chain on in those conditions, and even though its product description only mentions controlling lateral movement of the chain, K-Edge’s CX Single Ring Chain Guide keeps the chain down on the teeth if it’s set low enough on the seat tube. Another K-Edge chain catcher, the Cross Single XL Braze-on shown on Ben Berden’s bike in this article on the subject might also do the trick, but it lacks an outer stop that might sometimes come in handy. MRP makes one that should work well; scroll down to “CX Seat Tube 34.9” to find it. For bikes with 28.6mm or 31.8mm seat tubes, the Problem Solvers Chain Spy or Chain Spy 2 for 34.9mm seat tubes might do a similar trick.

I should note that, while you have a round chainring, there are a number of non-round 1X chainrings on the market with long, fat/thin/fat teeth. One of these chain guides will only hold the chain down to its proper height in two places on each revolution of an oval chainring. That might be enough to still retain the chain in conditions like you describe; I don’t know. I recently got a Wolf Tooth oval single ring but have not ridden it much, and I know riders who have dropped chains with Rotor QX1 chainrings.

A Rotor representative told me that with early versions of the QX1 cyclocross rings “some — but not all — chains had trouble landing perfectly on the chainring teeth and the error would start small within a pedal rotation and increase until the chain was out of line and would consequently drop. This error would increase even more when contaminants like mud and snow entered the drivetrain.”

Rotor has since revised the design so this issue won’t occur with any 11-speed chain on the market.

It’s one thing if you’re getting a new bike every lap. But for riders who don’t have pit crews and multiple bikes who race ’cross in freezing mud, the investment in the correct chain guide is a must to be able to successfully use a 1X system with fat/thin/fat chainring teeth.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard, 
I managed to drop the chain on a CX-1 drivetrain a few times and I know others who have too. In my case, the bottom valley between teeth on the chainrings packed up with mud and lifted the chain until it fell off. It seemed that there was no way for mud to evacuate from between the teeth, and it kept compacting and building up.

The other cases I have heard of were more conventional situations of the chain bouncing off, even though a clutch derailleur was in use.

What to do?
— Michael

Dear Michael,
Using a chain guide with a roof as I described above should alleviate this problem. Additionally, too long of a chain creates more opportunity for dropped chains. So while measuring the chain length is always critical, the issue easily arises in cyclocross with 1X riders who have multiple chainrings of different sizes. Switching chainring sizes affects chain length (the chain’s the same length, but you know what I mean — the derailleur jockey cage rotation changes). Since nobody is likely to switch to a different chain with each chainring size change, a chain guide becomes even more important.

This particular issue of mud buildup in the tooth valleys seems to me one that could also be exacerbated with an overly worn (elongated) chain and/or a worn chainring.

As the chain gets longer due to wear, the tooth at the bottom of the chainring (the one at 6-o’clock — the last tooth the chain engages before heading for the bottom jockey wheel of the rear derailleur) is carrying an ever-higher percentage of the load. The longer space between chain rollers means that each subsequent roller trailing the one contacting the bottom chainring tooth is riding up progressively higher on the tooth behind that roller and less in the bottom of the valley between teeth. This would allow mud to build up in those valleys and give it a chance to harden in there a bit before it passes the six-o’clock position. And using a worn chain on the chainring also pushes out the aluminum on the leading flanks of each chainring tooth, making the teeth hook-shaped and providing a wider platform for mud to collect on. This could still give it more chance to collect mud even after replacing the worn chain with a new one.
― Lennard

Feedback regarding SRAM 10- and 11-speed compatibility

Dear Lennard,
Your recommendation to try Jtek Shiftmate is a good one. I’ve been using the adapters for years to flawlessly shift Shimano derailleurs with Campy shifters. It takes a little longer to install a new cable with them, but that goes with the territory. I highly recommend them.
— Thomas

Dear Lennard,
I read your article about using 11-speed SRAM shifters with a 10-speed cassette, and I must be a minority because I’ve done it twice now without any adapters. The first time was with SRAM Red hydro disc shifters on my ’cross bike. I was waiting for an 11-speed freehub body on my DT Swiss 350 hubs and set it up with 11-speed Red hydros, no FD, narrow-wide front chain ring, and an 11-32 rear cassette with a XO 10-speed clutch derailleur. It worked perfectly. It later was changed to a double for winter training on the road. I have the parts for 11-speed but just haven’t gotten around to it, and it shifts perfectly.

The other setup is for my CycleOps Silencer trainer for my road bike. It came with a 10-speed cassette and my bike is 11-speed. I just mount it up; add six clicks of tension to the rear derailleur to align the shifting and off I go. It shifts every gear perfectly.

I’ve also seen it done on at least two other bikes.

Even by your measurements, we are still just 1.8mm out of spec for nine shifts. Use fifth as the place to adjust and it’s 0.9mm out at the top and bottom. And I think Shiftmate Y isn’t made. I think it is to say what works without an adapter, like Shiftmate X are examples of what can’t be made.
— David

Dear David,
Well, knock me over with a feather. If it works for you, more power to you! And I clearly did not read the Jtek page very carefully!
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
Responding to your VeloNews Technical FAQ response to Hans, SRAM does offer 10-speed hydro road shifters, called S-700 DoubleTap Shifters, available with either hydraulic disc brakes or hydraulic rim brakes. See here and here.

I upgraded my 10-speed gravel bike in early 2015 to the S-700 Hydro shifters as I too wanted to remain 10-speed compatible with numerous wheels. Sticking with 10-speed at the time also allowed for a wider choice of ultra low gear cassettes and long-cage derailleurs that could be mixed/matched from the MTN product lines.
— Bryce

Dear Bryce,
Good catch; I ought to have mentioned that!
― Lennard

The post Technical FAQ: Dropped ‘cross chains, discs vs. cantis appeared first on VeloNews.com.

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Technical FAQ: Make 11-speed shifters work with 10-speed http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/03/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq/technical-faq-make-11-speed-shifters-work-with-10-speed_398683 Tue, 15 Mar 2016 18:33:28 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=398683 Lennard Zinn considers one product that may solve drivetrain compatibility puzzles and revisits flat bar shifters for road bikes.

The post Technical FAQ: Make 11-speed shifters work with 10-speed appeared first on VeloNews.com.

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Dear Lennard,
I think I have read all (or most) of the Tech FAQs related to SRAM 11s/10s compatibility, but wanted to confirm an assumption since my goals are different from most.

Can I change my SRAM front shifters (currently Force 10s) to Rival/Force 22 hydro (disc) and leave my rear cassette and derailleur (and chain) as 10s? Presumably, tightening down the lower limit screw to keep the shifter from seeking out an extra (low-end?) cog. I assume this will hold, since I understand the cable pull remained the same in going from 10s to 11s shifters.

My motivation in keeping the back end the same is that I have multiple wheelsets that have no easy upgrade path to 11s, but I’d like very much to switch over to hydro disc (and there is no 10s SRAM hydro option) — and then slowly start rebuilding my rear wheels.
— Hans

Dear Hans,
No, that will not work. The shifts will not line up across the entire range, because an 11-speed cassette is not just a 10-speed cassette with an extra cog stuck on at the same spacing. Rather, the spacing between 11-speed cogs is narrower than between 10-speed ones, and since you’d be using the same derailleur with either setup, the shifter determines what cassette it will be compatible with.

The shift activation ratio is the same on 11-speed and 10-speed SRAM road derailleurs: approximately 1.3, so you’re fine there. However, and contrary to your contention, the cable pull is most definitely different on 11-speed and 10-speed SRAM road shifters. If it were not, then the cog pitch (the distance between the central planes of adjacent cogs) would have to be the same on 11-speed and 10-speed cassettes, and it is not. Cog pitch can easily be measured; it is the the thickness of one cog and its adjacent spacer.

The shift activation ratio multiplied by the cable pull is equal to the cog pitch.

The cog pitch of SRAM (and Shimano) 10-speed cassettes is about 4mm, and the cog pitches of SRAM, Shimano, and Campagnolo 11-speed cassettes are all about 3.8mm. Solving the above equation with these cog pitch numbers and the 1.3 shift activation ratio, you can see that the cable pull of SRAM Exact Actuation 10-speed road and mountain shifters is approximately 3.1mm, while it is around 2.9mm for SRAM Exact Actuation 11-speed road shifters.

You can measure the cable pull — how much cable your shifter pulls with a number of clicks, and divide by the number of clicks. I just checked on my SRAM 11 hydro disc bike and got 20mm of cable movement for seven clicks of the shifter, which is 2.9mm of cable pull per shift. I also tried it on a SRAM 10-speed road bike and got 28mm of cable movement with nine shifts, or 3.1mm/shift.

In short, if you switch to SRAM 11-speed hydraulic levers, you can keep your derailleurs, but you would need to upgrade your chain, wheels, and cassettes to 11-speed.

But you didn’t write me to hear that you have to buy a bunch of expensive cassettes and freehub bodies and re-dish your wheels or get new ones. So here’s another solution that should work, but I haven’t tried it. The Jtek Shiftmate alters the cable pull of a shifter, and Jtek makes a number of different models to adapt various shifters to a variety of derailleurs and cassettes. The Shiftmate Y should do what you want, according to the Shiftmate Compatibility Chart; scroll down to the last model at the bottom. It’s certainly worth trying; it’s a modest investment and could do exactly what you want right away and would still allow you to do your planned upgrade to 11 speeds over time.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I bought a cross bike with SRAM CX1 to use more for dirt roads and rail trail during the summer and cross racing in the fall. I had a ‘cross bike before and hated the gearing on it while riding roads and rail trail. I figured that a 50t ring with an 11-36t cassette would give me all the flexibility I would need in terms of gearing. I cannot, however, find any literature to tell me if that combination is compatible. The bike has a SRAM CX 1 medium-cage derailleur, and I also have a new chain to throw on with the new setup. Apart from big jumps between gear ratios, do you foresee any problems with the setup?
— Stu

Dear Stu,
If you are asking if you can get more range by using a double in front with a front derailleur and 34x50t chainrings, that will not work. The CX1 X-Horizon rear derailleur does not have enough capacity to deal with front shifting.

If you are asking if you can use a single 50t chainring, the answer is yes, you certainly can. SRAM says that the medium-cage rear derailleur will handle an 11-36. Here are the X-Sync chainring options.
― Lennard

I got a lot of feedback about flat-bar shifters for 11-speed, and in addition to the correction from Andrew that I put in last week, here are some other options:

Dear Lennard,
In addition to the Shimano SL-RS700 Rapidfire shifters for flat bars running 11 speed derailleurs, MicroShift makes the “Centos” flat bar shifters that apparently run 11-speed Shimano (I know they work fine, ’cause that’s what my wife’s new Specialized Sirrus came spec’d with Centos shifters with 105 11-speed).
— Rick

Dear Lennard,
I have found that road shifters work nicely on bull horns, sort of upside down — but very well-positioned. This provides some of the benefits of flat bars (upright). Braking can be enhanced by a set of those little inline brakes put near the stem.
— Jeff

Dear Lennard,
As well as your suggestion of using an MTB rear derailleur and shifter, another option is the [Jtek; see above] Shiftmate model 8, which allows use of either an 11-speed Shimano road shifter with Shimano 11-speed MTB derailleur or an 11-speed MTB shifter with 11-speed road derailleur.
— Nick

Dear Lennard,
Eric wrote to you looking for a shifting solution for his wife’s bike, and I wonder if the new Lindarets Tanpan shift adapter could work. It’s designed to run road shifters with mountain derailleurs, but I think if you turned it around, it’d do the opposite. Thoughts?
– Tim

Dear Tim,
I checked with Marc Lindarets, and this is what he said regarding your question:

“I wish that I could help, but we go the other direction. I was thinking that he might be able to mount the pulley backward or, but the cable alignment would be off, and mounting the Tanpan backward in a cable stop would be awkward if it worked at all.
— Marc Lindarets
Lindarets LLC”

Interesting idea, Tim, but no go.
― Lennard

Regarding the motor found in a pit bike at cyclocross worlds:

Dear Lennard,
I was reading your response to a question regarding the Vivax Assist system. The motor and battery weigh only 1.8kg. The weight you were mentioning was for the entire carbon frame with motor. We’ve looked extensively at this system and other similar ones. It is by far the most robust and reliable at this stage. I rode it for the first time in 2012 on an Alpe d’Huez-like climb outside the leading reseller of it in their frames. They have two bikes weighing 8.9kg. and 9.9kg. I rode the Kitzhorn, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had on a road bike on such a climb. Made me feel like Marco Pantani all juiced up without the side-effects. Steinbach has been selling its e-assist line with the Vivax-Assist for nearly five years.
— Patrick

Dear Patrick,
Ah, that makes sense; I was looking at this, and I suppose in retrospect that it’s clear that the weight is for the entire system including the frame, fork, and headset, and perhaps seatpost, even though it’s not pictured.

Still, my contention remains that a bike that weighs 1.8kg (4 pounds) more than Van den Driessche’s motorless bikes would be a dead giveaway to a mechanic. The thought that a mechanic could unknowingly prepare a bike for the world championships that didn’t belong to Van den Driessche is far-fetched enough, but if it also weighed an extra four pounds — well, that’s just about impossible for me to believe. And she has given up trying to convince us of that.
― Lennard

The post Technical FAQ: Make 11-speed shifters work with 10-speed appeared first on VeloNews.com.

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Technical FAQ: Tubulars with sealant; 10-, 11-speed compatibility http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/03/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq/tubulars-with-sealant-10-11-speed-compatibility_397881 Tue, 08 Mar 2016 21:03:30 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=397881 Lennard Zinn answers questions about tubulars, how to mix and match 10- and 11-speed parts, plus more thoughts on kit tailoring.

The post Technical FAQ: Tubulars with sealant; 10-, 11-speed compatibility appeared first on VeloNews.com.

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Dear Lennard,
I’m entered in the 85-mile version of L’Eroica California and will be on sew-ups. I started using these tires in 1972 and am quite familiar with their use, with one exception. I know nothing about the stop-leak products such as Stan’s. I’ll be riding 28c Schwalbe Ones. Should I “load” them with sealant? Will this chemical damage the tire over time? Is this ride particularly prone to punctures such as the California lionhead thorns?
— John

Dear John,
I can speak from a lot of experience about sealant in sew-ups (i.e., tubular tires), but I have no idea about the prevalence of thorns along that particular route. If you find out that there are a lot of thorns there, then, yes, I’d recommend sealant, but not Stan’s, or some others, for your latex tubes, as I described here.

In that post, I quote Richard Nieuwhuis, the owner and director of Dugast, attributing “cooked” inner tubes to the use of “natural latex-based sealants.” He recommended Effetto Mariposa CaffeLatex sealant, which, despite looking a lot like latex-based sealants and having latex in the name, actually has no latex (or ammonia) in it.

I have used CaffeLatex in lots of cyclocross tubulars, and I never got a flat with one, despite riding through numerous areas rife with goathead thorns. One particularly memorable experience was at a cyclocross race at the Boulder Reservoir where the course not only had lots of goatheads on it, but the weedy field set aside for parking was absolutely covered with them. People were getting flats right and left around me, and I pulled dozens of thorns out of my tires on the starting line, but I didn’t lose noticeable air pressure during the race or after (beyond the usual bleed-down that always happens with latex inner tubes). I used those same tires for the rest of the season.

I will say that, having tried this many times and ruined many good, latex-tubed tubulars in the process, you cannot remove the sealant from your tubulars’ latex inner tubes (with a shop vacuum and water rinsing, you can get it out of tubulars without tubes, like Tufo and Clement. The concern, of course, is the sealant hardening up inside, where it has pooled up during storage, thus unbalancing the tire. I suggest never opening your valve other than during inflating and adjusting pressure. Leave it closed during storage to prevent air circulation inside. And rotate the wheels periodically while not in use.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I built a bike up for my wife with 11-speed 105 (5800). She does not like road bars and I want to convert it to flat bars with trigger or twist-grip shifters. Are there shifters, other than STI, that will work with my existing 11-speed 105 derailleurs? Thanks.
— Eric

Dear Eric,
No, I don’t think so. Shimano makes road flat-bar levers for 8-speed, but not for 11-speed. When Shimano went to 10 speeds on mountain bikes, it made the cable-pull ratios different on road and mountain shifters and derailleurs, so 11-speed MTB shifters will not work with that road rear derailleur. You could get an 11-speed MTB rear derailleur and shifters and sell the 11-speed road rear derailleur. Then you could use her existing cogs (and maybe the chain, if you get an MTB rear derailleur with a similar cage length to the road rear derailleur).
― Lennard

CORRECTION REGARDING FLAT-BAR LEVERS:

Dear Lennard,
You received a question from a reader about flat bar shifters for 11 speed Shimano. I have done projects like this in the past and Shimano does make such levers but does not really advertise them well. Shimano maintains a compatibility chart and there are 8-, 9-, 10-, and 11-speed shift levers that are compatible with road derailleurs. The downside is they are not integrated and require separate brake levers (which can be found just above the drivetrain chart).

Eric can buy either SL-RS700 or SL-U5000 shifters and choose from a large number of brake levers (BL-4700, BL-R3000, BL-3500, BL-R780, and BL-2400) to work with his wife’s otherwise 5800-equipped bike.
— Andrew

Dear Lennard,
The other day I was converting my bike to SRAM Red 22 from a SRAM Red 10-speed set up. Unfortunately, the right shifter was broken in shipping and had to be sent back for a replacement. I ended up reinstalling the old, right 10-speed shifter and 10-speed cassette, but left the 11-speed chain on. I noticed that it actually seems to shift better than the 10-speed chain (it was a fairly new chain, so wear is not the issue). First, is this a problem to use an 11-speed chain with 10-speed components, and if not, is this something other people might want to consider doing on purpose?
— Geoff

Dear Geoff,
It’s fine to use an 11-speed chain with a 10-speed drivetrain. If it works better for you, then that answers your second question.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I’m in the need for a new pair of SRAM shifters, but don’t want to invest in upgrading my entire drivetrain to 11-speed. With 10-speed parts becoming more difficult to find (and sometimes more expensive than 11-speed), I’m wondering if SRAM 11-speed shifters work with a SRAM 10-speed rear derailleur? I believe in previous column you stated SRAM didn’t change the pull in the move from 10- to 11-speed, so will adjusting the derailleur limit screw just take up the extra “click”?

Also, I’ve read your column about 10-speed Campagnolo shifters working with SRAM 10-speed rear derailleurs. Is there any difference between the performance of Rival vs. Force vs. Red? More specifically, I’m wondering if there’s a difference is spring strength that could affect performance?
— Curt

Dear Curt,
Yes, SRAM 11-speed shifters work with SRAM 10-speed rear derailleurs. You don’t need to worry about the “extra click” in the lever. As long as you correctly set the cable tension and the low-gear limit screw, everything will work fine.

And that will work far better than a Campy lever with a SRAM rear derailleur, which works in a class-B way. Performance is the same, when new, between Rival, Force, and Red rear derailleurs.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
This seems like it wouldn’t be a big deal, but I haven’t found anything stating much about the crankset aspect and was wondering if I could go with an 11-speed crankset with the rest of the groupset staying 10-speed? Should I use 11-speed or 10-speed chain in this instance? My Rival 22 crankset says to use with the Yaw front derailleur only; is this a ploy to make sure you purchase the same groupset throughout or is there something to that?
— Alex

Dear Alex,
Yes, you can use an 11-speed crankset with the rest of the groupset remaining 10-speed. You can use a 10-speed or 11-speed chain.

Any decent road front derailleur will shift your Rival 22 crankset. That said, the Yaw front derailleur is very nice and is a big improvement over SRAM’s previous road front derailleurs.
― Lennard

Regarding alteration of shorts length

Dear Lennard,
Like Bill I’m long torso, short legs. I’m also 5-foot-7 (actually 5-foot-6-1/2) with about a 28.5″ inseam. As a custom frame builder you’ll appreciate this — I ride a 40cm c-c (modeled after a size S TCR aluminum; I’d normally ride a 50 cm), 75.5 STA, 56.5cm top tube. On the 9.5cm head tube I run a -32-degree, 14.5cm-long stem (to get the compact bar drops to the same place as my old bars with a 12cm, -17 stem). I’m definitely short-legged, long-torsoed.

There are some custom kit companies that do small runs and will, if asked, make alterations at no charge. I can’t remember who offered what, but I’m pretty sure Verge, VOMax, and Hincapie offered something like this to our club. Verge for sure — we asked for, and received, jersey-type backs on their otherwise stock wind vests. Hincapie (not sure of their minimums) basically asked how long we wanted the leg length/inseam on our shorts. They run particularly large on shorts (even the size S is huge on me).

If Bill is happy with a particular short from one of those companies he can order a small batch for himself. I did that with Verge, buying a six-unit batch of thermal bib knickers for just myself, and I also got a similar batch of normal size M bib shorts.
— Aki

Dear Lennard,
I’ve had cycling gear altered in the past. If you’re worried about finding someone that can handle some of the exotic fabrics, here is my recommendation:

Locate your nearest dance studio; they can connect you with a tailor who can work on Lycra. Some of those dance recital outfits make Assos look cheap.
— John

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Checklist: Get your bike ready for spring http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/03/bikes-and-tech/checklist-get-your-bike-ready-for-spring_397811 Tue, 08 Mar 2016 15:36:01 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=397811 Thinking ahead to spring riding? Lennard Zinn has a simple checklist to make sure your bike is ready to ride.

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Get your bike ready for smooth riding this spring with this helpful bike maintenance checklist from Lennard Zinn, author of “Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance:”

– Wash off winter salt, sand, and grime with low-pressure water from a hose. (High-pressure sprayers can force water where it shouldn’t go.)
– Check your chain for wear with a chain-elongation gauge and replace it if indicated.
– Check your brake and shift cables for nicks and proper tension. If you find nicks or fraying, replace the cable. If they’re stretched out, tighten ‘em up or replace them. If all is well, consider lubing your shift cables with a few drops of chain lube to keep them sliding smoothly through autumn.
– Overhaul your jockey wheels for improved shifting. This should take about 10 minutes.
– Check your wheels for true and tighten any loose spokes.
– Check brake pads for wear and replace them if they’re getting thin.
– Replace that nasty handlebar tape!
– Lubricate your bottom bracket bearings.

And don’t forget your higher-mileage maintenance! If you neglected these tasks during the fall, make them a priority now.

Every 1,000 miles:

– Check that frame pump or CO2 inflator/cartridges are in working order.
– Check saddle bag for tools. Check the condition of spare tube.
– Drip chain lube on front and rear derailleur pivots.
– Overhaul derailleur jockey wheel bushings and seals. If using cartridge-bearing jockey wheels, check for smooth action and regrease after removing the bearing covers.
– Check wheels for true and spokes for correct tension.
– Check rim brake-track wear; replace rim if wear indicator dictates it.
– Check rim for cracks, particularly at the spoke holes, and replace rim if cracks are present.
– Check shoe cleats for wear and replace if needed.
– Lubricate shift and brake cables.

Adapted with permission of VeloPress from “Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance.” Find easy, step-by-step instructions on hundreds of bike maintenance tasks (including all those above) in “Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance.” From basic repairs like how to fix a flat tire to advanced overhauls of drivetrains and brakes, Lennard Zinn’s clearly illustrated guide makes every bicycle repair and maintenance job easy for everyone.

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Technical FAQ: Aging expensive tires (and more on motors) http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/02/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq/aging-expensive-tires-and-more-on-motors_396310 Tue, 23 Feb 2016 18:41:08 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=396310 Lennard Zinn answers questions about aging modern tires, hidden motors, and how to custom tailor your kit.

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Caring for tubulars

Dear Lennard,
In the 80s when I raced, it was fairly common knowledge that proper care of a tubular tire consisted of stretching it onto a tubular rim without glue and leaving it to age (providing it was a latex-tubed, cold-vulcanized tire). The practice supposedly toughened the tire tread, making it more resistant to punctures. At the time, I couldn’t test the practice because I couldn’t afford it! Eddy Merckx could afford to do this, and did so with good results.

Now, with the release of Specialized’s Turbo Cotton clincher tires (also cold-vulcanized, with a layer of latex rubber painted on the inside of the tire), it has occurred to me that these tires may also benefit from an aging process. If so, what would be the best way to store them? They come packaged like other folding clinchers, but I’m thinking that folded up could not be the best way to store them if one were to want to take advantage of any age-hardening process. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.
— Bill

From Specialized:
Our tubulars should be allowed to age for at least two months after production for the glue to bond. Ideally, the tires are not folded to not stress the bond. (That is why we don’t box them up, but deliver pure and loose with a mere hangtag on it.)

There are glued interfaces between base tape and casing and between casing and tread.

After this curing or aging period, the tire is fit for use. And we recommend it for use right away, because the compounds won’t have dried out and give their best performance. [That’s] unlike a rather old-school [approach] to age tubulars for at least a year. This advice aims at drying the tread compound. The compound hardens over time and this increases puncture protection. A dried-out tire does not collect debris as much and is a harder barrier to penetrate. There is truth to this. At the same time, anti-puncture materials got much better than they were in the heyday of [tubulars] in the 70s/80s. These fabric layers are built in under the tread and prevent most debris [from] punching through. Thus, we would never sacrifice grip and speed of the modern materials for that little extra protection a dried tire might offer.

Drying the glue does apply to the Turbo Cotton clincher. Same materials. The cotton clincher is flat though — the casing is not forced into a tubular shape and the tread is not forced to bend into the sidewall. So it can be rolled up and stored in a box no problem.

Mounting on a rim stretches and spreads the casing. It doesn’t do much for a clincher, but it helps when mounting the tubular again. Makes it easier, and easy is good when dealing with rim cement too.
— Wolf Vorm Walde, tire research and development director at Specialized

More on hidden motors in race bikes

The detector that the UCI is using is most likely a magnetometer. This would work on any frame material. It detects the magnetic field of the motor, so the motor does not have to be turned on or “hot.”

This is an easy, free app you can download on the iPhone.  I have one downloaded called “Magnitude.” There are many others.

You can use it like a metal detector, and run your phone along the bike to detect batteries or motors. Try it out, it’s pretty neat!
— James

Dear Lennard,
I’m not sure if you’ve seen this clip of Ryder Hesjedal, but it pretty convincingly looks like he was using a motor. It looks a lot like what happens in motorcycle racing when you crash and the throttle sticks wide open. I’ve certainly never seen a bicycle do this.

— Rob

Dear Rob,
Yes, I’ve seen that and had a similar impression. Interesting though that the following reader saw it completely differently. Just goes to show that we can’t necessarily believe what we see.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
Regarding your recent article about motorized cheating. You mention Ryder Hesjedal’s bike and that the cranks kept spinning when he crashed. This is incorrect. When his bike hit the ground, the wheel kept spinning but the cranks stayed stationary. Just an FYI.
— John

Dear Lennard,
“It sure seems like all of that mechanism inside the seattube would offer some resistance…”

It is likely they run a sprag clutch, which grabs when the shaft is rotated one way but freewheels the other. A bit like a freehub but
without the (noisy) ratchets and pawls. Sprag clutches are often found in starter motors on (real) motorbikes.

Here’s an explanatory diagram someone has been kind enough to put up.
— Stan

Dear Stan,
Thanks for that. Having used classic-technique roller skis a lot, I’m familiar with the concept and that they can run smoothly with minimal backlash.

However, there is resistance of the teeth in the spiral bevel gear, which would still be engaged. I would be surprised if a rider in this day and age who thinks they have to have ceramic bearings in their bottom bracket might also consider the resistance of the sprag clutch (that would disengage the armature) and the spiral bevel gear arrangement of this motor system as an acceptable amount of drag when the motor is turned off.

I’m convinced that nobody is sensitive enough to actually feel the difference between a good steel-bearing bottom bracket and a ceramic-bearing one while pedaling down the road. But if someone actually can, then their resistance alarms would be blaring with this system.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
It seems like the easy part is purchasing the equipment. I found hundreds of links to purchase the motors or pre-built bikes. If I wanted to install a motor on an existing bike, that’s when my questions start.

What do the frame and component manufactures have say? I’m assuming that all warranties are out the window. Like drilling holes for your GoPro mount.

The video of the installation makes it look easy. I would imagine it’s really not and also beyond an LBS.
— John

Dear John,
I haven’t asked, but I can’t imagine that your frame would still be under warranty if you shove a motor into it. At least you no longer have to drill holes in your seat tube down near the bottom bracket like the original Gruber Assist motor required!
― Lennard

Hemming cycling gear

Dear Lennard,
I am an on the short side of the average guy (5-foot-7) with a long torso and short legs — I ride a 50cm frame.

My problem is every pair of bibs or shorts is too long in the inseam. The gripper ends of the shorts always wind up right in my “knee pit” where the hamstring tendons stretch across, and it’s annoying.

I’d like to get my shorts hemmed. I tried a few local tailors, but while the shorts come out great initially, they must not sew the right kind of seam and the seams always fail. My guess is that to sew Lycra and other elastic material, you either need a special machine or a special kind of stitch that the average dry cleaner and tailor can’t do.

Can you recommend anyone that does alterations to cycling clothing that can do a high-quality job that lasts?
— Bill

Dear Bill,
Bouré Bicycle Clothing in Durango, Colorado charges a mere $20 for the work of shortening the inseam and return shipping. I have had Bouré lengthen the inseam on some shorts of mine (I have the opposite problem you do, and I hate it when my shorts hike up as I ride), as well as lengthen the torso and change the arm length on some skinsuits for cross-country ski racing. The quality of workmanship is outstanding; I still have and use most of these items years down the road. Additionally, Bouré offers custom-fit service on any item they make in-house (shorts, tights and knickers) for a 25 percent surcharge over the regular price.
― Lennard

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Technical FAQ: Motorized cheating, roller tires http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/02/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq/tech-faq-motorized-cheating_395533 Tue, 16 Feb 2016 18:23:17 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=395533 Lennard Zinn answers questions about motorized cheating and follows up on his advice for indoor roller-specific tires.

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Dear Lennard,
With the first confirmed electric cheating case, I was wondering what you could tell us about these systems? I would have thought the noise alone would give them away, and what about the drag from the gears when it’s not in use? And I wonder just how much battery one can reasonably hide.

When it comes to catching cheaters, I wonder if the bike manufactures will end up putting little portals on the downtube, for easy inspection. This came to mind after seeing the little portal Trek puts on its new Madone (pic #12). With carbon frames, it seems like an easy thing to do. Any thoughts on where this is all heading?
— Steve

Dear Steve,
Good question. I watched this entire race closely to look for any evidence that Femke van den Driessche was using a motor. It didn’t seem like it to me.

Given that the Vivax Assist looks like a direct worm-gear connection to the crank spindle, I don’t know what happens when freewheeling, but it seems that if you don’t switch it off, you might have to resist its forward motion. That said, I’ve ridden a lot of e-bikes, and they generally only assist in the pedaling; when you stop pedaling, they stop driving, too.

Greg LeMond has one of these systems, and his motor is probably quiet enough not to be heard in ‘cross. It does clearly have the capability to run without the rider pedaling, though I don’t know if it still would strictly be a pedal-assist, once there is resistance against it. LeMond has a huge water-bottle battery, but in ‘cross, you could probably get away with a much smaller one hidden somewhere in the frame, since I would think that the maximum time the rider could have it turned on in a 40-minute race would be under 20 minutes. LeMond says his puts out 200 watts for half an hour. This test uses a battery in a saddle bag and says it puts out 200W for 70 minutes.

It sure seems like all of that mechanism inside the seat tube would offer some resistance when you’re pedaling with the motor off. Most e-bikes I’ve pedaled certainly are hard to move along when the motor is off, and not just because they are so heavy.

I have picked up carbon racing bikes with Vivax motors in them at European bike shows. While they’re certainly lighter than any other e-bike, the weight is quite noticeable. To refute van den Driessche’s alibi, there is no way a mechanic could unknowingly prepare that bike and not wonder why it was so heavy. This says the system weighs 3.2kg (7 pounds).

With a carbon bike (and probably with non-ferrous bikes, like aluminum and titanium), the sensor in the UCI tablet can detect a motor. I doubt it could sense it inside a steel bike.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I recently received the March issue and have a question about the Bianchi bike ad that immediately greets the reader. The ad shows a rider with white bar tape that also shows a black button on the inside of the handlebar just down from the left hood. Is this a button for a motor? I can not find this image on Bianchi’s web page.
— Gary

Dear Gary,
That is clearly the button for a Shimano Di2 sprint shifter.
― Lennard

More on tires for riding rollers:
I forgot to mention the high rate of tire wear when riding on rollers; thankfully, a couple of you pointed that out.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
Since the resistance from rollers comes from the tire flexing around the drum diameter, tires play a role in resistance levels/performance of riding rollers.

What we recommend:

1.) Tire type: It generally does not matter, but a couple of things to keep in mind, which may impact the tire choice you make:
– Rollers wear a tire faster than normal road riding (generally less than a trainer but more than normal riding). A softer tire will wear faster and will generally increase the level of resistance slightly. A firmer tire will last longer and reduce the resistance slightly.
– Due to the wear, we recommend a lower-end (lower TPI) tire for roller riding. If you are switching tires between riding on the road and the rollers.
– Honestly, tire pressure probably has more impact on how the tire performs on rollers than the type of tire.

2.) I have not seen bumpiness, generally caused by the conditions of the tire, although I am sure it is possible. In most cases, it is tied to the trueness of the wheels or the rollers. The user can swap out tires, and it may be the issue, but that would not be the first item I would look at if a customer were having this issue.

We see most of our customers go back and forth between riding on the road and the rollers. So they use the same tires. But if they ask for a tire recommendation, we steer them toward a lower-end/stiffer-wall tire, due to wear and cost.
– Tim Fry
President/CEO MRP, Kreitler

Dear Lennard,
I think there is a simpler answer to Adam’s questions about which tires to ride on rollers: A few manufacturers (including Vittoria) make roller/turbo trainer specific tires. They actually have lower TPI, a rubber compound made to resist heat buildup, are thicker, and some have specific grooves intended to keep the noise down. I know besides Vittoria, Elite and Conti are also making these in various sizes.

From personal experience on rollers, I don’t recommend at all using new ‘regular’ tires because of the high wear. Besides the inconvenience of the ‘black dust’ from the tire going everywhere, it is not as safe as a roller-specific tire – I have seen a friend fall off rollers as the tube exploded after poking through the thin casing of his regular road tire. I have had Vittoria Zaffiro Home Trainer tires for well over eight years (long before I started working in the bike industry), and they are still nowhere near being worn. It is definitely also cheaper than getting regular tires.

Final comment: Most of these home trainer/roller specific tires require at least 100 PSI minimum for 700×23/25. I have experimented a bit with pressures and lower pressures (80-90) have given me flats, probably due to the bouncing. Very high pressures (120-130) have not given me enough resistance on my simple CycleOps rollers, but have given relatively smooth rides. Now I tend to stick to 100 PSI with the Vittoria Zaffiro Home Trainer 700×23.
— Cassio

Dear Lennard,
I’m expecting the arrival of my first set of rollers in a few days. I just read your response to a reader question about what tires to use on rollers. My question is similar. I have a set of used Conti Grand Prix tires. However, one has a pretty decent cut in it and the other was pierced by a thorn. I no longer use them on the road, and would have simply recycled them, but your article got me wondering if it would be safe to use them on rollers, where I don’t need to worry about additional punctures or road damage/debris. As long as I used a boot, could these tires safely be used on the rollers?
— Kevin

Dear Kevin,
I guess the question of “safe” is an individual one. Once one gets used to riding them, when you come off of the rollers (which can certainly happen if you blow a tire), you can usually put a foot down and not end up sprawled across the floor. Also, you can put the rollers between, say, a wall and the back of a couch to prevent tipping over. It is certainly safer to ride a booted tire indoors on rollers than out on the road!
― Lennard

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Technical FAQ: Tires for riding rollers http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/02/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq/technical-faq-tires-for-riding-rollers_394989 Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:36:04 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394989 Lennard Zinn explains how to choose the right tires for riding rollers this winter.

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Dear Lennard,
I have a question that I cannot find the answer to anywhere. I have been following you for years, have two of your books, and I just read your VeloNews article, “Where the rubber meets the road.” So you are eminently qualified to answer this question. I hope you can.

I just purchased a set of Elite Arion Mag Rollers, and I love them. They are the best rollers I’ve ever used, by far. One problem I am having, though, is that I’m getting some bumpiness. I’m fairly certain it’s due to my tires, and possibly the tubes. The tires, for sure, are fairly old and have imperfections in them. I’d like to correct this problem and make my roller experience as smooth as possible, but I just don’t know the best way to go about it.

PLEASE NOTE: The tires and tubes will be used on the rollers ONLY; no road or turbo trainer usage.

What characteristics do I need to look for in a tire? Weight, puncture resistance, and handling are obviously not a concern, so what does matter? TPI? Suppleness? Outer materials? Casing materials? Does tire width matter? (Ex 700×23 or 700×25?) Will using a latex tube make a difference? What about tire pressure?

There has been so much written about these issues in regard to turbo trainers, but I can’t find a single word on the subject for rollers. I just want to get the best experience out of them as I can, but also without spending hundreds of extra dollars.
— Adam

Dear Adam,
In the late 1970s, before turbo trainers, any indoor training I did was on rollers. The drums on my Cinelli rollers were not machined; they were made out of large-diameter, thin-wall steel tubing, and they had open cup-and-cone bearings, rather than cartridge bearings. Consequently, I had few expectations for smoothness (or quietness). My roommate, however, had some early Kreitler rollers with machined drums, and his were nice and smooth (so I tended to use his!). There were no decent clincher rims or tires at the time, so we rode tubulars for training as well as for racing. A good racing tubular glued on straight onto a true (especially a radially-true) wheel made for a smooth ride on the Kreitlers, but if the valve stem were cocked or if there was a bulge in the tire, it made for rough roller riding.

In the rolling-resistance article you cite, I did not publish the test results performed on the (very large-diameter) smooth roller surface at Wheel Energy Oy because it was unrealistically smooth, making the rolling resistance numbers unrealistically low and showing only that rolling resistance continues to go down as tire pressure goes up. (In the real world, even small imperfections in the road surface will cause rolling resistance to increase after a certain tire pressure with a given tire has been exceeded, so I instead only published the results of the diamond-tread surface on the roller, which revealed this effect.) Even with smooth rollers, however, as the roller diameter decreases, the tire’s rolling resistance will increase, due to the deeper deflection of the tread and casing. And while the drums on your Elite Arion Mag rollers are smooth, they are also relatively small in diameter, so they will push more deeply into the the tires than bigger drums. This will tend to compound any rolling issues due to inconsistencies in the tires.

Kreitler service manager Billie Uriguen says, “Any tire can be used on the rollers. However, the smoother the tire, the quieter the ride. The knobbier the tire, the louder the ride. We recommend a set of used tires, as they seem to have less rubber buildup than brand new tires.”

So, you will be looking for a used tire with a very smooth tread, and my contention is that you should also seek one with a consistent, supple casing. This generally means a higher-quality tire, as the construction will not only tend to be more consistent, but the thread diameter in the casing will also be smaller, allowing the casing to deflect more easily as the roller pushes deeply into it. To answer one of your questions, yes, this means higher TPI (threads per inch). And yes, better-quality inner tubes, especially latex ones, enhance the suppleness of the tire and hence, the smoothness of the ride.

To answer another of your questions, a larger tire size will also result in a smoother ride, as it will distribute the load over a wider area. So go for that 700x25c, rather than the 700x23c tire.

As for tire pressure, you obviously want it high enough that you won’t feel the valve area as it rolls over the roller. That said, lower pressures will provide smoother riding, and, as I discussed above, the rolling resistance will increase with decreased inflation pressure. If the tire were completely smooth, you could run super-high pressures, and your rolling resistance would be at or near its lowest. But no tire and wheel will be completely smooth and round. Furthermore, nobody pedals completely smoothly, and less rider-induced bouncing will be absorbed in a harder tire, so the amount of bouncing on the rollers will increase with higher tire pressure. And you don’t want the tire to be so hard that you could risk explosion with the added heat of friction on the rollers.

The tire pressure will also need to be lower with larger tires. As pressure is force per unit area; the force on the sides of the tire (and, in the case of a clincher, on the rims and beads holding tire onto the rim) at a given pressure go up as the square of the tire’s cross-sectional diameter. That’s why even high-quality mountain bike tires have a much lower maximum pressure written on the side than small road tires of similar-quality construction. It’s not that the listed number is for the smoothness of your ride, but that the bigger tire cannot contain as much pressure before exploding. So bigger tires will ride more smoothly on the rollers also because the pressure will be lower, thus increasing the size of the contact patch on the roller.

Of course, you also want to have as perfectly true and round wheels as possible. No combination of tire and inflation pressure can make up for a wheel that is bouncing up and down.
― Lennard

Feedback on last week’s column:

Dear Lennard,
Just wanted to report that IRD’s 11-speed (with 32t as the biggest cog) seems to shift as well as the OEM cassette on the wife’s Athena 11 triple setup.
— Larry

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Technical FAQ: Shimano brakes with Sram eTap http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/02/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq/394512_394512 Tue, 02 Feb 2016 21:12:24 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=394512 Dear Lennard, I run a Specialized S-Works Tarmac with a mix between Ultegra and Dura-Ace components. I’m thinking of a switch to an

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Dear Lennard,
I run a Specialized S-Works Tarmac with a mix between Ultegra and Dura-Ace components. I’m thinking of a switch to an electronic system with Di2 the obviously choice because I can keep my calipers and chainset. However, the SRAM eTap looks like a good option but I don’t want to spring for the whole groupset.

Can I mix the eTap and Shimano groupsets to keep the costs as low as possible? Ideally, I’d like to keep the calipers (I assume the pull will be sufficient?) and the chainset; I’m running a Stages power meter and don’t really want to change.

So I’ll look to change the levers, front and rear mech, cassette and chain.
— Ryan

Dear Ryan,
You can basically do that, with one caveat: The Shimano brakes will not work ideally with the SRAM levers.

Current Shimano calipers are built with higher leverage (longer lever arms) and are paired with a low-leverage lever that pulls more cable. So the SRAM lever, which has higher leverage and less cable pull than the Shimano lever, will not get the pads to the rim as quickly; they will need to be set up with the pads closer to the rim to get the same range of lever movement, and they will make the brake system more powerful than it was designed to be. That said, I used to have a bike set up with Dura-Ace ST7900 (10s) levers and SRAM Force calipers, and, once I got used to it, I had no problems whatsoever with it.

If the bike is currently 11-speed, there will be no reason to change the chain and cassette, if they’re not overly worn. The Stages crankset will work fine.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I turn 68 this summer and live in the peak district in Derbyshire England. I have always had bikes, currently three road and three mountain.

I do a lot of my own work on bikes, (physics degree like yourself).
I am riding a 1963 steel 531 frame which I have modified with compact chainset, long-reach dual pivot brakes and cold-set rear fork stays put in a longer QR axle in rear wheel and changed from 5 speed to 14 speed. I have 34/34 as my bottom gear.

I have a very nice Ribble bike with 53/39 Campag Chorus groups set 10 speed cassette 11-26t. It gives me 39/26 bottom gear, but it’s not low enough. I have tried to find a way to alter it.

Could I replace back wheel with Shimano hub and freewheel and somehow change rear derailleur and cassette to give me lower gears. It just seems rather expensive to do anything and impossible with Campagnolo kit.

Is my only option a whole groupset change??
Think I might just sell it and put money to another bike!
— Mike

Dear Mike,
Well, you could certainly increase the capacity of that rear derailleur to 29T merely by getting a long-cage Campy derailleur. And you could probably get away with a 30T and perhaps more than that by messing with the Campy equivalent of a b-screw, which is a screw at the lower knuckle that winds its return spring tighter. Of course, you then have the issue that Campy makes no 10s cogs larger than 29T, so if you want to push beyond that, then you have to do some mixing and matching.

Without going to a non-Campagnolo derailleur and shifter, if you want a larger cog than 29T, then you will need to get an aftermarket one that is spaced for Campy and fits on a Campy freehub body. Otherwise, you’re looking at a new drivetrain, or a new bike.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I have recently found some NOS Stronglight 49D crankarms in 175mm length! They would be for my vintage Peugeot Competition PKN 10E 1980 Reynolds 531 road machine. I will have to pay close to $250 to acquire them, but since they match the vintage and look of my French bicycle I am really tempted. My question then is; should I expect a long life out of these or have they ‘aged’ as to limit their serviceable lifespan? From all appearances they have never even been mounted before.

— Dziwei

Dear Dziwei,
As long as they aren’t corroded from being in a caustic environment or something or heated to high temperatures, their lifespan will not have been reduced by sitting in a box.
― Lennard

Follow-up on freezing cables on disc brakes and rolling resistance of tubulars:

Dear Lennard,
Regarding Dave in Cincinnati and his problem with sticky brakes on his Trek Domane, the cause is the position of the rear brake on the chainstay. The cable housing is effectively facing skyward where it enters the rear caliper, which allows moisture easy entrance. Once in there, it’s not coming out without assistance, and it will freeze when the temperature drops. This isn’t a problem on the front brake because moisture is unlikely to get into the housing where it enters the front brake, as that hole faces downwards.

There is a relatively simple solution to this problem, though. Placing a V-brake bellows on the exposed brake wire between the caliper and actuating arm almost completely prevents dirt and moisture from getting into the housing. I have used this setup on Hy/Rd brakes during a couple of New England winters and have had no freezing problems.
— John

Dear Lennard,
I had similar problem for the first time ever on a road bike with disc brakes a year ago. I was riding in Dublin Ireland every day and majority of those were wet but rarely freezing. However, on one freezing morning my brakes froze in place and would not release. At first I thought it was the mechanical disc caliper but roadside defrost didn’t work… It happened again a few days later and I decided it was the cable and when defrosting the part under the BB it work. Once home that evening I took it apart, greased it, and CHANGED THE CABLE Routing.

The thing is, with disc brakes, cable routing runs low on the bike, frequently under the BB and chainstay in a housing (unlike derailleur cable). My assumption was, because of the low routing, moisture was entering the cable at the caliper stop and unable to drain out as it would with a normal rim brake (cable runs down from top tube so water doesn’t settle. Prior applications the cable exit was always the lowest point in the cable system. In many new disc brakes, cable routing the exit is actually higher than a good section of cable.

Front brakes, rim brakes and disc brakes with seat stay routing wouldn’t be a problem as cable exits at the low point and moisture can’t settle into a low point and freeze.

I greased the cable liberally, rerouted the cable over the top of the BB and zip tied to top of chain stay and didn’t have any future problems.
— Dan

Dear Lennard,
Just read a question from one of your readers looking into Crr of tubulars.
You might already know of it, but Tom Anhalt has a blog which he has independently roller tested a lot of tires (clincher/tubular) out in the market.

He is one of the few independent sources that released data on this topic. His willingness to go deep into this has been a good reference for myself when I am looking into data on maximizing potential tire-wheel combos.
— Ron

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