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Read the Ask the Mechanic Disclaimer.
Stuck in gear and need expert advice? Ask Andy the Mechanic (a.k.a. Andy Wallen), the proprietor of Wheelcraft Bicycles of Wheeling, WV. (Please, no old bike & antique questions.) E-mail to email@example.com, subject "ask the mechanic," or mail your question directly to Ask the Mechanic, c/o Wheelcraft Bicycles, 2185 National Road, Wheeling, WV, USA 26003. Andy will e-mail your advice and we may post it afterward. Take a look at our back issues to find answers to all kinds of bike fix-it questions.
Give These a
AirFree Bike Tires | Spokemon Bracelets: Cool Fashion for Cyclists, Made of Real Spokes
Bike Mechanics Should Always Have a Handy Copy of ...
Bicycling Magazine's Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair
by Jim Langley OR...
Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance OR Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance
both by Leonard Zinn
Urban Mechanics Who Like Their Repair Manuals With an Edge Will Love ...
How To Rock and Roll : A City Rider's Repair Manual
by Sam Tracy
Summer 2002 Q & A's (50 posted this season) ...
It's Pychlo To Ride On Road Wheel Forced Into Cyclo-Cross Fork (posted 9/14/02)
All Shimano Better Recipe Than Shimano-Suntour Mix (posted 9/14/02)
Old Steel Zunow Now Due For Drivetrain Upgrade (posted 9/14/02)
Quick Replacement of Cable Thanks to Quick Release (posted 9/14/02)
Worn Bearing Has Major Bearing On Noise In Hub (posted 9/14/02)
Freeing Dirt From That Dirty Freewheel (posted 9/14/02)
Chainline Easy To Measure, But Not Linked to Spindle Length (posted 9/14/02)
Adjusting Gears on a 3-Speed (posted 9/14/02)
I'm Pickin Up Bad Vibrations (posted 8/16/02)
The Key to Removing a Shimano Jockey Wheel (posted 8/16/02)
Old Bridgestone Mtn Bike's Steel Frame Could Be Steal For Budget (posted 8/16/02)
Long, Hard Search For Biocleats Comes Up Nill (posted 8/16/02)
Don't Even Re-Start To Refinish that Carbon Frame (posted 8/16/02)
Chainguard Removal a Snap With Pedro's New Tool (posted 8/16/02)
Handlebar Adjustment Steers Clear of Gyro and Brakes (posted 8/16/02)
Sun Race Chain Lags Behind SRAM and Shimano (posted 8/16/02)
Jettison Faulty Ballistic Shock and Replace With Repair-Friendly RST (posted 8/16/02)
The Spin On Diameter of Common Types of Tire (posted 8/16/02)
Tandem Trike Could Spike the Pocketbook (posted 7/20/02)
Hilltopper On Lookout for Computer Manual (posted 7/20/02)
3-Piece Crank Tough As Nails...But Even Nails Can Bend (posted 7/20/02)
The Trick To Using the Variable Click Shifter On Front Der (posted 7/20/02)
1-1/4" Stem a Rare Fruit These Days (posted 7/20/02)
High End 1" Shocks Also On Endangered Species List (posted 7/20/02)
Doc In Local Bike Shop Best Rx For Tricky Hydraulic Brake (posted 7/20/02)
Brand New Shifter Easier On the Mind And the Wallet (posted 7/20/02)
Searching Near And Far For Nervar Crank Part (posted 7/20/02)
Andy Moonlights As Appraiser (Of Bikes, Of Course) (posted 7/20/02)
There May Be More To Elusive Pedal Squeak Than Meets the Ear (posted 6/21/02)
Biker Stuck With Pyramid Lock (posted 6/21/02)
No Mirrors Or Smoke Behind Broken Mavic Spoke (posted 6/21/02)
No Fun To Fix Nexus, But It May Never Need Fix (posted 6/21/02)
All New Dura Ace Will Keep Older Bike On Pace (posted 6/21/02)
Only a Fool Would Buy Quickly-Outdated Rock Shox Bushing Tool (posted 6/21/02)
Standard SPD Shoes Just Fine on Shimano PDA550 Pedals (posted 6/21/02)
Hub Modification the Hard Way (or the Easy Way) (posted 6/21/02)
A Great, Giant City Calls for a Great, Moderately-Priced Giant Bike (posted 6/21/02)
More Than One Way to Skin a Cat and Modify a Hub (posted 6/21/02)
Clock Tick In Mavic Wheel Will Never Expire (posted 6/21/02)
Needs Perameter For Measuring Seatpost Diameter (posted 6/21/02)
Jett Does Lighter Duty (and price tag) Than Judy (posted 6/21/02)
Bigger Gal Would Appreciate Bigger Width Between Pedals (posted 6/21/02)
Andy Deflates Workability of Airless Tires (posted 6/21/02)
Giant and Gary Fisher Sugar 4 Pretty Sweet Full Sus in $1000 Range (posted 6/21/02)
I have a question for the mechanic:
I have a 'cross bike with 135 mm rear drop-out spacing (standard MTB hub width). I am currently using a pair of wheels with road rims and mountain bike hubs. I would like to try a set of road wheels on the bike.
Will putting road width hubs (130 mm) in the 135mm-spaced dropouts put any undo stress on the frame? I have a feeling it won't and that it shouldn't be a problem (it is a steel frame), but just wanted some sage advice.
You won't hurt your frame, but you shouldn't do it. Each bike part is designed to perform it's specific function, and any time we force a part to perform anything else, we are asking for trouble. You wouldn't want to use a crankset for a hammer (well, on second thought, maybe some of these BMX ones might work). In your case, you are demanding that a Quick Release skewer not only hold on your wheel, but squeeze your frame as well. While this may appear to work, and while nothing may ever come of it, don't come crying to me when your rear wheel comes flying off on a screaming descent.
My wife has a Trek 1100 with Suntour components:
7 speed freewheel (non-HyperGlide type) 13-28
32-42-52 triple crank
7-speed Accushift bar-end shifters
Suntour Edge rear derailleur
We want to convert this to a Hyperglide type system for cleaner shifting under power. Her current system seems to be working rather poorly as of late. But I cannot seem to find the old Suntour Power Flo freewheels--at least in gear ranges I seek. (These appear to be Suntour version of HG). I cannot convert to an 8-speed Shimano due to rear fork spacing limits and concerns about working with the Accushift shifters.
Can I use a Sachs 7-speed freewheel to achieve my aims?
Will the Sachs freewheel will work with Accushift?
Is the Sachs freewheel a Hyperglide-like configuration?
What is the Aris designation, a different model?
Any other concerns before I undertake this job?
I have mapped all gear ratios on a log chart and have found the following to be an optimal 3 x 7 combo--good range for touring, and non-duplicate interleaved-gear ratios...
SRAM (formerly Sachs/Aris) 7-speed freewheels are Shimano compatible. Your Suntour stuff may shift decently with this freewheel, but it is designed for Shimano components. If you replace all your parts with Shimano, it will work well. If you only replace the freewheel, it'll probably work as well as the Suntour one did.
I have a Zunow bike. Obviously it's several years old but it looks brand new. It has all Shimano 600 components, a 7-speed cassette and a double chain ring with shifters on the downtube. I would like to know if I can upgrade to an 8 or 9-speed cassette with a triple chain ring. I ideally would like Shimano Ultegra or Dura Ace components.
Since this bike is older I am not sure if a 8 or 9-sprocket cassette will fit. Also I can't seem to locate an 8-speed cassette.
Any suggestion on how I can upgrade my bike would be greatly appreciated.
If you have a steel frame, it can be spread to 130mm spacing for 8 or 9- speed. Good 8- speed drivetrains are a thing of the past. If you can spread the rear triangle, and you have a big pile of money, the new Dura Ace triple has just been released. For best results, you should replace all the parts. Ultegra and 105 triples work quite well, but the finish, weight, panache, and price of the Dura Ace are hard to pass up.
I have a Shimano STI shifter that needs a new shifter cable. The cable broke inside the shifter. After looking at it I determined I have no clue how to get inside to replace it. I have been told in the past that these are very complicated inside and I'm not sure if this is something I can do myself or if I should leave it to the professionals. I have done all of the other repairs on my bike myself but this looks difficult. Can you give me some guidance as to how this is done?
With the exception of 2001-2002 Dura Ace, the cable is very simple to replace. Hit the release lever until the cable is relaxed, undo the brake "quick release" (QR), and pull the brake lever as far as possible. You should then be able to see the cable fixing assembly, and thread the new cable in . Make sure that the lever is in the fully relaxed position, or the head of the cable could get jammed. The newer Dura Ace levers work the same way, but have a cover over the works, to add weight, I suppose. This cover is held in place with tiny Phillips head screws, which become visible if you proceed with the above.
I have a set of Mavic Crossride wheels. Whenever I'm not pedaling, I hear a noise in my rear hub. What is wrong with my hub and can I repair it? I need your suggestions.
You probably need new bearings. Most shops should either have these on hand or can get them for you. They are around $15-$20 per set, plus around $10 for installation.
I have a Free Agent Maverick and when I pedal my back sprocket it makes a clicking noise. I took it to my local bike shop and he said that there is gunk-like dirt inside. He said I should clean it out but I don't know how to get it off.
P.S. How much does an Oryg 1- 1/8" gyro cost?
You need a freewheel tool, such as a Park FR-6, to get this off. Sometimes, you can use an aerosol lube, like Tri-flow or Finish Line Cross Country, to flush out the freewheel without removal.
An Oryg is about $22.
I was wondering if you could explain how chainline is measured and how this comes into play when considering spindle length.
The chainline is measured by taking 1/2 of the seat tube diameter, and adding the distance between the seat tube and the middle of the middle (or small for doubles) chainring. We usually shoot for upper 40's or low 50's. This number is just about meaningless, as Shimano cranks have specific bottom bracket (bb) spindle lengths, so you have to use a certain crank with a certain spindle if you want your Shimano front shifter to work right. The only variation is to accommodate fat seat tubes, or strange frame geometry, and these variations still must jive with Shimano spec. For example, an XT crank is supposed to have either a 113 or a 118 spindle. Use the long one if you have an oversized seat tube or down tube. If you use something shorter or longer, your Shimano stuff won't work together. If you use non-Shimano, then it's not such a big deal. The nice thing about measuring the chain line is that you can't do it until the bb and right crank arm are installed, tightly.
My Sears Huffy 3-speed is almost new, with no oil the hub. How do I adjust the speeds? I have just two speeds working now.
Most 3- speeds are adjusted by cable tension. Shimano 3- speeds have a mark that lines up when the lever is in second gear. I don't recall how the Sturmey- Archers adjust, but I think it has something to do with trial and error.
I have a question about 3-speed rear hubs. I have had several bikes in the past with Sturmey Archer AW 3-speed hubs. I know the Sturmey Archer also made a variation of that hub called the AWC, which was a 3-speed hub with a coaster brake. I have never seen one of these in person, but I am interested in tracking one down for a custom bicycle I am building.
So, I guess I have a few questions:
How many companies have manufactured internal 3-speed hubs (I know Shimano made some)? Are any companies Surrently producing 3-speed hubs? Is Sturmey the only company that produced the 3-speed- with- coaster- brake variation? Where could I obtain a 3-speed with a coaster brake hub in the United States? Are there any common bicycles that have ever been distributed in the U.S. with the 3-speed/coaster hub?
Basically, I need to know if the Sturmey Archer hub is my only option and where I might find one. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
There are a few options in multi-geared coaster brake hubs. We've used SRAM hubs for 3, 5, and 7- speed coaster bikes. I like the SRAM better than the Shimano, and I like both of them better than the Sturmey. Shimano makes a Nexus inter 3, 4 and 7- speed hub. There are a few bikes made with the Nexus 3- speed. We stock the Fuji Shangra-lai, which is a rather odd shaped comfort cruiser, at under $300. This bike has aluminum rims, Quick Release front wheel and seatpost, and is unusually light (34 pounds) for this type of machine. Expect to pay at least $100 for a 3- speed coaster hub alone, with no rim or spokes, and up to about $200 for the SRAM 7- speed. For roughly $300, you can get the new Shimano Auto D with coaster brake. This is an electronic- computer- controlled- shift 4-speed that can be manually shifted. These things really work, unlike all the failed attempts at auto shift systems. It's shift points are determined by speed sensors, and you can push a button if you don't like the gear it selected.
I have a Biomega Copenhagen with an aluminum frame. I'd like to add some suspension parts, such as a U.S.E. seat post, but I'm not sure what I can do about softening the front end. The look of Cannondale HeadShoks are clean but won't fit. Does anyone make a HeadShok-like fork for 1-1/8" head tubes?
Any suggestions? Thanks.
Given the disadvantages (service/installation headaches, lack of aftermarket support, etc. ), I'm surprised that companies other than Cannondale actually pay to use this piece of crap (Rhygin, or something like that and--gasp-- Merlin). If you could buy one, don't, but since you can't, then that's settled. If you don't have a carbon fork, that's your best bet. I'm assuming that Biomega Copenhagen is a road bike, and not a can of snuff. Even budget carbon forks work pretty well, such as those made by Kinesis. If you can spring for a spring, there is a highly rated Japanese thing called a SUS 21, I think. This has an actual short travel suspension mechanism, located between the dropouts and fork blades. Expect to pay at least $400 for this fork. Otherwise, you could get tubulars--a non-aero tubular wheelset does wonders for a harsh riding bike, and usually improves handling, acceleration, and climbing (depending upon the type of tyre used). Tubulars may be your most cost effective upgrade, as they will transform the entire character of the bike. If you can budget for tubulars and a carbon fork, you'll be amazed. You may be able to use a RockShox Metro or similar suspension fork.
I just got a new Eddy Merckx with Chorus. I have only put about 60 miles on the bike so far. I am getting a fairly deep vibration from the crank during the power portion of the pedal stroke (around 1:00-5:00 position) when pedaling kind of hard (notice it mostly on hills, but some on flat road also). The vibration is enough to hear and slightly rattle the waterbottle in the cage. It occurs primarily when I am on the small ring and it is worse when on smaller cogs but does occur some even when the chain is straight. When I take the chain off the chainring, I can't feel any movement
(lateral, in-out, etc.) in the bottom bracket. The crank appears to spin perfectly with no load. I swapped pedals with my old and it made no difference. Is this just chain noise (vibration) from a new chain/chainring which may go away? Could it be a problem with the bottom bracket or rear derailleur? Should I take the bike to a local shop or send it back to where I ordered it?
Noises are probably the most difficult thing to deal with in bicycle mechanics. My guess, which would only be a guess even if I had the bike here to listen to, is that either a hub, free hub, or bottom bracket bearing is not quite happy. This may not be apparent without isolating the bearing in question. It could be some other wheel-related sound, especially if it occurs consistently at higher speeds. I'd have a good mechanic look it over, rather than deal with the company who sold you the bike. If it turns out to be a defective bearing or bearing surface on a new bike, then you should check with your mail order folks as to how to proceed with a warranty issue.
Is it possible to remove the jockey wheels on the Shimano deore xt rear mechanical, as the cage around the bottom wheel is bent preventing the wheel to turn?
Thanks in advance for any input.
The jockey wheel is easily removed by unscrewing the wheel axle with a 3mm allen key. The cage may straighten, or it may be near impossible to achieve perfect alignment.
Anything you can tell me about Tunturi Road Bikes--are they any good, etc? Please help!
Tunturi used to be the premier manufacturer of exercise equipment, and they still may be in Canada. However, several years ago, places like Sears started to sell a Tunturi stickered bike, to capitalize on the fame of the exercise stuff. These bikes were basically Murrays, or something equally gruesome, with pretty white-with-green Tunturi stickers. So, a Tunturi road bike is most likely junk.
This might be an "old bike" question, but I don't know where else to turn. I have a Bridgestone 400 mountain bike from the 80's in great shape and it rides real comfortably. I would like to upgrade the derailleurs, shift mechanisms and gears to something more modern, say a middle of the road Shimano set up. I know I would have to change practically everything, so is it worth the cost? Is it feasible? And about how much would it run? I can't afford a new bike right now.
It would not be practical to upgrade most bikes from the 80's. I'm not totally familiar with the bike in question, but you'd probably need a minimum of $400, when you figure on a new rear wheel (may not be needed) and V brakes. You could do it for less if you only want 8 or 9-speed shifting, but I'd have to think about putting more than $200 in this bike. However, if it is a quality all-cromo frame, and that's what you like, do it. No major player makes a steel bike (except entry level boat anchors), favoring the $7 Chinese aluminum (or some sort of non-ferrous material) frame. If you like steel mountain bikes, your only choice is to go to a guy like Ted Wojick or DeKerf and have it built, for a small fortune.
Yours is the only site that comes up when Google is searched for Biocleats. Do you still have some? Please send price. Thanks.
I last saw Biocleats for sale in 1997. We sold our last pair last summer to a guy at DT/Swiss, who was going to try and produce them. So far, I don't know. I may have a slightly used pair without all the hardware, but I'm not positive.
How do you refinish carbon fiber (as in "fork")? Is it safe to sand the old finish? Must I be wary of the fibers, etc.? And what kind of primer and paint must be used? I want to change the color of a replacement fork to match my bike. Thanks.
I would be careful about refinishing carbon; in fact, I would contact a finisher of such materials rather than risk screwing something up. Some paints have solvents that may react to bonded carbon areas, and you could scratch it up by paint removal.
I own a 1999 Schwinn Moab 3. I want to install a "bash guard," but I'm at a lost as to how to even remove the original, plastic one. Any help?
I'm not sure what is meant by "bash guard". You may have a chain guard on the crank, which should come off by removing 4 or 5 screws. If you are referring to the useless piece of plastic between the spokes and cassette, you'll need a cassette lockring tool and a chainwhip. I understand that Pedro's now makes some sort of tool which combines the lockring tool and the chain whip. Once the cassette is off, you simply snap off the old chainguard and snap on the new one.
I have a gyro on my bike, but the handlebars are to low. How do I adjust them without tightening my brakes at the same time?
The gyro and the handlebar height are not related. If you have an Aheadset, or threadless, stem, you cannot raise or lower your handlebars. If you have an old fashioned quill stem, with one bolt through the middle, you can raise the stem to the min insert mark, and this won't have anything to do with the brakes.
I just tried my first brand new in-the-box-without-directions Sun Race chain which fits 21 and 24-speed systems. How does the "master link" work? I finally gave up and installed it the old-fashioned way. It's a shame they obviously spent a lot of time and money for a convenience item without instructions. I've been a do-it-yourselfer for 30 years and this is the first time I've been stymied by something so simple.
I'm not familiar with the Sun Race chain. This would certainly not be my first choice in replacement equipment. Bless them for trying, but Sun Race just can't compete with SRAM and Shimano. Their stuff just does not work as well. Most of these master links involve two pieces. You connect the chain with the two halves of the link, and usually apply tension by positioning the master link on top, and pedaling forward whilst engaging the brakes.
I've got a bike, which I bought a year ago. It's a Boomerang, with an aluminum frame, disc brake and front suspension. The front suspension, which is a Ballistic (I don't know the model), is somehow broken. When you push down, it works, but when you stop pushing, it doesn't reach the top, and when you lift the front wheel, the suspension falls, stopping with a metallic noise. It doesn't split away, but it doesn't work okay, either. I tried to open it, by putting the clip out, but I couldn't reach the damaged part. This has happened twice already. The first time, I took the bike to a store and they repaired it, but I'd like to save my money and do it myself this time. They could do it again, but I bet they won't explain how they did it unless I pay them. So, I'm asking you.
I doubt that the store actually repaired your fork, as they are not serviceable. They may have replaced it, but beyond very minor service, the Ballistic fork can't be worked on. If it could be worked on, we'd charge you as much to fix it as you would spend on a new RST fork, which can be taken apart and serviced--from $89.
Could you tell me the standard diameter (27" or 28") of road bicycle tire? Is it the same as a normal mountain bike or a little bigger?
The bead seat diameters, which must be standard so that all tyres of a given size fit the respective rims, are as follows:
The outside diameter can vary depending on the width and tread design of a given tyre. Most 26" moderately aggressive tyres actually measure pretty darn close to 26"; 700C averages about 26.5"; and 27" hovers around 27". 28" is an old English size which was found on rod- actuated brake rims on Raleigh 3-speeds. 29" is what Gary Fisher got when he put mountain bike treads on a 700C rim.
This is more of a fix-my-situation than fix-my-bike question...
Do you know if there is a manufacturer who makes a tandem trike? Any Info would be appreciated.
ps: nice web site, cool pictures, thanks again
There are a few recumbent manufacturers who make 3-wheel tandems. I don't know much about them, but they are likely top quality (read, high dollar) pieces. Contact www.greenspeedusa.com, or 1-866-478-2329, or www.hase-spezialtraeder.de.
(Editor note: You can also check out a wonderful custom-made tandem trike and read about how it was found, rebuilt and re-created in an article that ran in our Spring/Summer 2001 Features.)
What a surprise to go online for a Trek manual and find somebody from the town I was born and raised in. I now live in Toms River, New Jersey, but get back to the Wheeling area a couple of times a year. I left Wheeling for a job over here after graduating from West Liberty State College some time ago. Anyhow, can you tell me where I can get a manual for a Trek Sensor Cycling computer, model #54064, circa 1995? I would be grateful for any info.
Toms River, NJ
Good to hear from a fellow Hilltopper! I may have an old Gary Fisher Axiom manual, which is the same computer with Fisher packaging. If I can dig it up, I can send you a copy.
Hey Bike Mechanic,
Can a 3-piece crank ever bend? I heard that you can never bend one.
It's possible to bend, break, or otherwise destroy anything. A 3-piece crank is a lot less likely to bend than a 1-piece, but it costs a lot more.
Checked out your website. Found it very informative, although have to admit most info beyond me.
I've gone from riding motorcycles back to riding bicycles. It's been years and "man" have bikes changed. After checkin' out a lot of bikes at different bike shops and pickin' their brains I finally decided to get a Gary Fisher Hybrid, all aluminum frame, 2002 model. I really like it but it's got more gears than I'm used to.
I've only been ridin' about a month and have discovered that I most like the front ring in 2 with the rear between 4 and 7. I've noticed though when I downshift or upshift (don't know if that's proper terminology), sometimes the chain--gears or something making a lot of noise--sounds like something's loose. I have Shimano gears and brakes. What am I doing wrong? I can't seem to find a website on specifics about shifting.
Help please! And, thank you. I hope to enjoy many years of biking!
It sounds as if you have a variable click front shifter, which will move the front derailleur in or out a few clicks in between gears. When shifting to extreme gears in the rear (the two lowest or the two highest), you need to trim the front der. Click the left shifter in the same direction as the rear shift was made, until the chain no longer rubs the front derailleur.
I purchased a new stem for my wife's 19 98 Gary Fisher, which has an Indy shock. The problem is that the 1-1/8 inch stem won't fit on the steerer tube which appears to measure 1-1/4 inches. Have you ever heard of something like this and is there a remedy?
Fisher bicycles up to about 1995 had 1-1/4" steerer tubes. Any bike made since 1996 would have 1-1/8". If you have a 1-1/4" steerer tube, then you'll need to find a 1-1/4" stem, which won't be easy, but they still exist.
I have an older Cannondale M400 that has a 1" headset. I have a very old pitted Rock Shox shock that needs to go away. I would like to put a performance shock on the front. I like my bike... Who makes a good 1" shock? Or where can I get a refurbished one? I would like something with adjustable travel and adjustable dampening.
To my knowledge, 1" high end shocks are extinct. Almost all forks now have a pressed on crown and steerer tube, and they are only made in 1- 1/8" and almost exclusively threadless. We sell decent RST forks with interchangeable steerers, but I wouldn't call them high end. Reliable, low maintenance, and heavy, but not a performer.
My personal belief is that if you've used your bike for it's intended purpose, and it has a 1" steerer, you may live longer if you replace the frame. I don't usually side with the bike industry, but I truly doubt the integrity of any aluminum part after so many cycles. They say five years, and I agree that five years of real off- roading is at the margin of safety. Two years for bars. Ever had a handlebar snap off in your hand?
PS: Cdale has some sort of crash replacement or trade in, or in some cases, they put their frames on sale for about $300, $600 with a Headshock.
I just got a new pair of Grimeca, System 8 hydraulic disc brakes. When I got them they were pre-assembled with fluid. When I put them on my bike two problems arose:
1) A very harsh rubbing noise from the pads on the rotors. So much that the wheels don't spin freely.
2) There is too much lever travel; it takes well beyond my middle finger knuckle to engage them.
I'm thinking I need to bleed them to fix the lever problem, but I'm not sure about the pads rubbing on the rotors. This being my first pair of hydraulics I need directions to bleed them.
Thanks a bunch,
I do not have experience with Grimeca brakes. There are similarities among all hydraulic systems, but you must know exactly what type of fluid to use, and you must buy a Grimeca bleed kit. Bleeding the brakes won't solve the rubbing. This is either due to a warped rotor or misaligned caliper. The excessive lever travel indicated air in the system, which must be bled out. If you don't know what you are doing here, find a good shop who does. You can destroy your brakes by using the wrong fluid, so make sure that whoever works on this knows what Grimeca uses.
My Schwinn with a 6-speed twist shift has suddenly locked up on me. It will not click either upshift or down. What caused that and how could I fix it? It was a 50th anniversary gift from our children three years ago. Would appreciate a little help in diagnosing and how to repair. Thank You.
You could have a broken spring, or any number of internal problems. I'd charge you about $12 to fix the shifter, but you can buy a new one for less than $15.
I have an Austro Daimler ten speed. I love the bike. It has a Nervar crank. I need a metric ring nut. Do you know who would have the hardware for Nervar?
I'm sure these parts are out there some where, but it's going to be real tough to find them. I'd check old-bike-related web sites, or E-Bay.
(Editor Note: One particular website is excellent in this category. It is the Classic and Antique Bicycle Exchange.)
I have read your column and find it very helpful and honest. I currently ride a Cannondale CAAD3 mountain bike--equipped with a Headshock and an XT front and XTR rear-- mainly for fun with friends. I am interested in purchasing a road bike because I live in an urban area and it is easier to access roads rather than trails. A friend of mine has a 1995 or 1996 Trek 1200 and is interested in selling it to me. We are trying to agree upon a price and neither one of us know the value of the bike. It appears to be in excellent shape as I have tested it several times. It looks like the component group is all original with no upgrades. Do you know what the approximate value is of the bike so I can offer him a decent price (and if the Trek 1200 is an appropriate road bike for my skill--or lack of skill--level)?
Thanks for answering my question!
Mike in Connecticut
I'd probably sell a bike like this for $300, $375 tops. It could be worth more or less, but that should be about average.
I have a very pesky squeak in my pedals. The bike is a '93 Cannondale road w/ Ultegra. The pedals are Look (3 months old) and the cleats are about the same (red cleats). I have been through everything else: bottom bracket w/ grease & plumbers tape, grease on all bolts (chainring & pedal), etc. Even the rear derailleur hanger was replaced (that cured one of the clicking noises).
I have tightened all the screws holding the cleat on. I have sprayed silicone lube on the pedals before a ride but no help. When riding in the rain (ugh!) the noise disappears.
Maybe you should look for another possibility, such as seat/seatpost bolts, stem/pinch bolts, or wheel skewers. It can be real hard to localize sounds, and many of these possibilities can act like pedal or bottom bracket noises.
I have a bicycle lock with the name "Pyramid" written on it. I need a key for it. Local locksmiths don't have a blank for it to duplicate a key. Where is, what is Pyramid?
I think "Pyramid" is the house branded line of stuff from J and B Importers. Most shops deal with J and B, so I'd call a local shop and see if they can get something from them. Don't get your hopes up. If they don't have a key or lock number, and even if they do, your chances of success are slim to none. You may have to have a locksmith cut it off.
My question is about wheels. I have Mavic Open Pro wheels and I keep on breaking rear driveside spokes. I weigh 210 pounds. I try to spin up hills. I've broken five spokes in about four months; one spoke even broke with the bike sitting in the living room! Please give some idea what could be wrong.
Your spokes are either old, cheap, or improperly tensioned.
I was thinking of purchasing a Peugeot Riviera bike with the 7-speed Nexus hub. Have you had any good or bad experiences with this wheel and how is the durability? I would be doing mostly city cruising and am not sure about the Peugeot brand anymore. The bike sells for around $295. Thanks for any info.
The Nexus stuff is real simple and durable. I think that it would be an enormous pain to work on, but the wheels seem to hold up with minimal maintenance.
Came across your web page...
It would help if I knew if hubs were specific to the number of cogs they were designed for but since I don't, I'm wondering how interchangeable within the Shimano line are the cassettes/hubs?
Can an 8-speed DuraAce cassette be used on an 8-speed RX100 hub? Can a Shimano 9-speed cassette be used on a hub that originally came with a Shimano 8-speed cassette?
I understand that changing from 8 to 9 cogs would require a new derailleur but a new hub also?
I would imagine that an 8-speed Dura Ace cassette would fit this hub, unless the RSX hub is of the older compact (11-24) type. I believe that Dura Ace stuff of this vintage is only compatible with other Dura Ace stuff. 9-speed cassettes fit onto 8 speed bodies. To work well, your 9-speed conversion requires a new crank, ft der, shift levers, bb, rr der, cassette, and chain.
I've owned various Rock Shox forks over the years, and my experience has been that even if you keep them clean and lubed, with fresh dust seals, the bushings still wear out within a year. Rock Shox tells me that among my limited options is buying a bushing removal/installation tool (available only from them) for $200, plus paying $24 for a set of bushings, if I want
to do the work myself. Do you know of any (cheaper) sources for tools and parts besides directly from RockShox?
The RockShox tools are expensive and of limited use; I would not buy them, because they may change dimensions next year and your tool would be useless. Nothing else is going to work, and installing bushings is tricky even with the proper $200 tools. Find a shop that has experience with this kind of work, and I'm sure you'll pay far less than the price of the tools.
Was wondering if there was any way to upgrade a 6-speed Cannondale to 8. People say that Cannondales are too stiff to accept the extra width across the hub but I was wondering if you had any tricks in you bag.
It's not a good idea to spread an aluminum frame, especially an old one. In fact, it is not a very good idea to ride an old aluminum frame, but that's another story. You could build a severely dished (not real strong) 8/9-speed wheel with 126mm spacing, or go ahead and try to spread it. People have done stupider things and lived. It is hard to spread aluminum, and you have to be careful if you use standard frame spreading tools, as they may dent the stays. It would require the strength of Eddy Mercx, Gino Bartolli, and Lance Armstrong combined to spread it the requisite 4mm, but it could be done. Don't use heat, just brute strength.
I've bought a pair of Shimano PDA550 pedals. I can't seem to find a pair of shoes (or shoe system) that go with the pedals. Can you help?
I think that any standard SPD compatible shoe will work. This would be most road shoes and all mountain shoes. We sell casual SPD shoes for $40 and up, with more technical shoes from $100-$250. Diadora, Sidi, Nike, and Shimano are all of good quality. If you can't locate them anywhere locally, you could order from us.
I can't work out how to pull the crank from my 2000 Cannondale XS800. This setup has a CODA EX2 crank attached to a Shimano 105 BB with 8mm hex bolts. When I remove the bolt, the crank does not self-extract as I had hoped. Behind the bolt head, the crank arm has a threaded section exactly the diameter and pitch of a crank puller (there is no ring on this to cause self-extraction.)
Behind this threaded section, there is a narrower diameter splined section. Behind that is another threaded section, narrower yet, flush with the hollow BB spindle. The crank arm bolts thread into this narrower section.
After puzzling for a while, I did try the crank puller - a stupid move, as I damaged some threads without moving the crank arm. By the way, I am trying to debug "crank squeak." I have already tried tightening pedals, chainring nuts and crank bolts. I thought I would try lube on the BB next. Looking at archived columns, I see that your usual diagnosis is get a new crank. Well OK--but first I have to get the old one off!
Sounds like a 105 crank, which can only be removed with a Shimano crank puller with the 105 adapter. A better solution is to buy some self-extracting crank bolts and install them, then it'll work like the Ultegra and Durace cranks.
I commute in New York city daily, and I'm looking for the best moderately priced hybrid. My route does have some potholes occasionally, so I'm wondering about your opinion on seat stem shocks and front fork shocks.
I've looked at Giant Innova (has both kinds of suspension), Specialized Crossroads sport (seat post only), and Trek 7300 and 7500. Ideally I'd like an aluminum frame, for a lighter bike. It's difficult to find out the respective weights of these bikes also--any thoughts/ideas? Are there other brands/models I should be also considering?
Thanks for your advice,
The bikes you are looking at are all fine. I'd favor the Giant, because you usually get a lot for your money with Giant. Companies only tout the weights of bikes that they are proud of; aluminum or no, these bikes are heavy.
I am building a new wheelset for my cyclocross bike and would like to use an XTR hub set. The bike is set up for road wheels with 130mm spacing. What is the correct way to modify the hubs?
I don't have exact figures in front of me now, but the deal is, you can only take space off the left (non-drive side). You'll need an assortment of axle spacers to get it right, and you'll have to either lop off about 5mm of axle, or buy a shorter axle. If money is no object (we're only talking about $35 or so), you can replace the XTR axle set--all the cones, spacers, etc.--with Ultegra, or other 130mm spaced Shimano axle set. I once put a tandem axle in an XTR hub to build a fast, reasonably priced wheelset. The wheel went on to win the USCF masters time trial championship in 1997.
I was wondering if you might tell me what a ticking noise coming from my rear wheel might be? It happens in the same place, every RPM. The wheel is true, the tires are new. My wheelset is Mavic Open Pro with 105 hub, 14-guage spokes. When I go fast, it does it; when I go slow it does it. It does it whether I'm pedaling or not. Please help!
Mavic rims have a tendency to make noise when a piece of swaging material breaks loose and rattles around between the walls of the rim. An aluminum or plastic swage is jammed between the ends of the rim to hold it together before welding. It is impossible to get it out. Turn up the radio.
I friend of mine gave me his old Mongoose cross frame. He broke the seatpost bolt that holds on the seat and tossed the post. Well, now he doesn't remember the seatpost diameter anymore. It's not 27.2, it is something smaller. The tubeset is made by Tange. I'm wondering where I can find out what the seatpost diameter has to be so I can build up the frame and use it.
Any help appreciated,
Bike shops have things called seatpost sizers, which accurately measure the diameter of your seat tube. You could probably use a micrometer. My guess is your Goose uses a 26.6, but it could be a 26.8.
My 2000 Specialized M4 S-works road bike came with Mavic CXP33 rims and Specialized (I heard they are actually Hugi) hubs. The rear wheel creaks sometimes once and sometimes twice thru one crank rotation (under light and/or heavy load). It will not creak while on a repair stand. I swapped out a Mavic Open Pro rim with Ultegra hubbed wheel (same cassette) and the creaking went away. I think the sound is coming from the hub (because it has an aluminum freehub body) but I'm not positive. Any suggestions or guidance would be appreciated.
It may be your skewer. Try a basic steel skewer. I don't think that the hub or the aluminum freehub would creak, but I suppose that it's possible.
What is the difference between Rock Shox Jett XC and Rock Shox Judy XC. I am looking at buying the Jett XC for less than $65. Is this a good deal? It only has a few road miles on it (less than 50).
The Jett is an undamped coil/elastomer fork, with very limited tuning capacity, and rather "noodley" legs. The Judith, I believe, has hydracoil or some such thing, which uses an adjustable oil damper with coil springs, with larger stanchions, more manly appearance, and much better (more solid) steering precision. There is a big price difference. The price for a new Jett (there are jetts, jett sl, etc.) starts at $99, so if your fork is in very good shape, I guess that's not too bad.
I hope you have a suggestion for me. Being a larger woman, the distance between pedals (side to side) of the average bike is inadequate for comfort. Have you a suggestion on perhaps something to extend the length of the pedals?
I don't know of anything produced to widen the pedal spacing. You might look at a few different brands or styles of bikes. The prevailing design is to reduce the "Q" factor, which puts the pedals closer together, so you may not find a production bike that meets your requirements.
I'm wondering if you know where (if anywhere) I could get a bike seat that was more like a tractor seat and training wheels that were bigger than normal. I have an eight year old daughter with Down syndrome and I'm working on riding a bike with her. She's now moved to where she would need a 20" bike and I've not seen any with big training wheels nor have I seen aftermarket big seats.
Thanks for the help,
You can buy very large seats at most bike shops. It is possible to put an exercise saddle on a bike, and they are huge. The best training wheels are now back on the market after a 5 or 6-year hiatus. I believe that they are distributed by the company formerly known as BCA in Pennsylvania. These wheels use 16" bike wheels with air in the tyres, and will solidly support a lot of weight, without the size and awkwardness of an adult trike. I last sold a pair in 1997, and they were around $160 then, so they're at least that much now.
A company that makes "airless tires" advertises on this website. I don't see why such an idea couldn't work - having the pressure of the tire come from pressurized bubbles in foam seems reasonable - but I'm as conservative as most riders and am reluctant to spend fifty bucks to try out the idea. Do you know anything about these? Have any experience with them? (Conflict of interest?) Thanks.
I have never personally tried these or any other airless tyre, but I can tell you, as the manufacturer should, that they could never begin to compare to anything even obliquely referred to as "high performance." I'd love to be proven wrong, but I believe that it is physically impossible for any airless tyre to roll out or corner as well as even a cheap road tire. I would venture to say that it would be dangerously squirrely to use airless tyres off road. These things are designed only to be flat proof, and would only be appreciated by the most casual of casual cyclists. Maybe they'll send me a trial set to try out, and write a more enlightened review.
My bike is 3-1/2 months old. I honestly do not know when this started or if it was since I bought it, but my front brakes surge when applied. I found some metal particles (I think aluminum) in the blocks, dug them out, the brakes got better but still not smooth (compared to the rear and my other bike, a '92 Bridgestone, but it has cantilevers). What should I do? Bought it from Sears, a Pacific brand, contacted Pacific via e-mail and never got any kind of support other than I should maintain my bike better.
It is normal to get pieces of rim embedded into your brake shoes. This is just a consequence of friction, and will always happen to some extent. The best way to combat this is to keep your rims and the brake pads very clean. Use sand paper on the brake shoes. You may try a better brand of brake shoe, such as Kool Stop or Aztec.
I've been riding bikes for about 10 years, so I'm no beginner, nor am I a gonzo racer. I currently ride a Trek 6000 with several upgrades including front suspension. Last summer I had the chance to ride a full suspension bike over the same trails that I had been riding and the difference was remarkable. I would like to buy a full suspension bike for around $1000. What are the good ones?
I would appreciate any information you can give me.
I like the Gary Fisher Sugar 4 in that price range. I'd also look at Giant. Don't buy a Schwinn/GT bike right now, as Pacific is inept at handling any warranty situation. I don't like Cannondale headshock equipped bikes.
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