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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 ibike@bikexchange.com,  subject "ask the mechanic," and tell us where you live. 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 (do not submit a question if you don't want your Q&A posted in a future column). Take a look at our back issues to find answers to all kinds of bike fix-it questions. 

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Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance OR  Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance
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Summer 2005 Q & A's (30 posted this season.)

Andy,

I love my older Yeti Ultimate. I have kept all of the parts on it from the 90ís. I have just found a Rock Shox Judy XC and would like to tear into them my self. Is there anywhere on the web where I can get a manual for these shox? I believe they are 1995-1996.

Thank you,
Dan Scott
Walnut Creek, California

Dan,

Parts, like bushings and seals may be tough to find.  Bicycling Technologies International has a good cross reference for using new parts in old forks.  I don't think that you'll find what you need at www.rockshox.com, but there's a couple of sources: Hippie-Tech Suspension, and I think you can find old manuals at www.totalbike.com.

Andy

Andy,

I have a BMX frame with a 3/8-inch rear wheel slot and I need to convert it to a 14mm slot.  What is the best way to do this and what is the cheapest way to do this?

Thanks,
Kenneth

Kenneth,

The only way to do this is to cut or file the slots.  Depending on the quality of the frame, thickness of the dropout, and orientation of the dropout, this could be risky business.  I like to use a Dremel mototool for this type of thing, but you could use a hacksaw for the rough cut.  Make sure that you take equal amounts off the top and bottom, so that the center of the axle is in the same place as before surgery.

Andy

Hi Andy,

I am gathering up the components for a late 80's/early 90's road bicycle.  I am using a Suntour Superbe Pro component group, including AccuShift shifters and derailleurs.  I am wondering if the Suntour derailleurs/shifters will index properly with a Sachs Aris freewheel.  I have measured the cog and spacer thickness of both a Sachs and a Suntour cogset, and although they are nominally the same, there are some differences.  I do not know how sensitive the derailleurs/shifters are to these variations.  I would appreciate your professional comments.

Thanks,
Richard Leininger
San Jose, California

Richard,

Presumably, the Sach ARIS 7-speed freewheels were Shimano compatible, and the rare 8-speed models were Campagnolo compatible.  Before I became rich and famous, I rode a Cannondale with the exact same setup you describe (I still do, on the trainer only).  I wanted to change the 12-23 to something lower, and found a Sach ARIS 12-24, and it worked satisfactorily, with a few glitches due to cog spacing--you could get perfect shifting up or down, but some between gear noise would occur as you progressed in the other direction.  I can put up with it; many cyclists can't.  It would shift, and the chain would stay on the cog, it just was not perfect.  Then again, I don't think that the sprint system was ever perfect.  It may be possible to change the spacers, or even grind cogs, but I would just live with it.

Andy

Andy,

As a New Martinsville, WV, transplant to Dallas, TX, I was pleased to see that the expert is in Wheeling!! 

My children bought me a bike from a garage sale many years ago. I took it in to have the tires replaced and the repairman offered me a lot of money for the bike. I couldn't sell my kids' Mothers' Day gift so I kept it. Well, it's in pretty bad shape and I took it in to a local repair shop for an estimate. It needs everything! New tires, new chain, new rubber, a tune-up, and much more. I was quoted between $125 and $150 to get it in shape. 

My question: This has a Shimano 600 gear identification (so I'm assuming it's a Shimano 600 bike). Should I get the bike refurbished and try to sell it or should I try to sell it in the poor shape that it's in? I will be happy to send you pictures if this will help you give me some advice.

Thanks,
Tina Pomposelli

Tina,

I wouldn't put much money into it--just to resell it. If the guy at the shop offered you very much for it, sell it.  I doubt that it has any collectible significance, but there are people paying top dollar for good old parts on eBay. To be practical, you can get a nice hybrid or comfort bike for not much more than your repair estimate. Why not trade it in there?

Andy

Hi,

Just wondering if you could offer some advice. I have Race Face Turbine LP crankset that is set up with (apparently) 9-speed chainrings. My current drivetrain is 8-speed (XT font and rear, and cassette). Is this going to be a problem? Should I avoid it all together, go to a 9-speed chain, or will I most likely be just fine with an 8-speed chain and my current set up?

Many thanks for any input you can offer,
Joel

Joel,

I have used 9-speed rings with 8-speed chains with absolutely no deleterious effects. It's also no problem to use a 9-speed chain with 8-speed stuff.

Andy

Hello Andy,

Where can I purchase a Shimano 105 9-speed 25 to 16 tooth cassette? I need this for my son, as in South Africa under-16- year- old children have to ride restricted gears. I am happy to purchase the sprockets and spacers and make up my own cassette.

Regards,
Kevin

Kevin,

Shimano makes a 16-27, which is hard to find, but exists.  It may make more sense to change the front and use a standard cassette; the advantages being cassette availability and it eliminates the possibility of dq in the event
of a neutral wheel change. None of my distributors carry the cassette, and Shimano is currently out of stock.

Andy

Andy,

I have got a steel Raleigh frame. The bike was made in 1980. It is marked 030 tension. What can you tell me about the specifications of the material? Is this, in your opinion, a frame worth working on?

Dirk

Dirk,

I doubt that this is something you want to upgrade; buy tires, tubes, etc., but don't try to put a record 10 group on it. Old Raleighs could be made from Reynolds tubing in Nottingham (they were proud of this, so it should have a sticker indicating such) or they could be made of crap in Taiwan. So if it doesn't have a Reynolds sticker on it, skip the tyres and tubes.

Andy

Hi Andy,

I have a suspension seatpost which now squeaks like the bejasus as I bounce around on it, any ideas how I lube it? I'm slightly worried that if I undo the various bits there will be an enormous twang and I'll be sitting surrounded by schrapnel.

Nick Hayes

Nick,

There are infinite designs of suspension posts, some cost $25 and others cost $300.  Sounds like you have a budget priced model with a coil spring inside.  Without seeing your post, I'd try to oil it from the outside if possible.  You can probably safely remove the adjuster plug at the bottom and spray some Triflow in there.

Andy

Andy,

I am trying to install Dura Ace 7700 brakes on a 2002 Ouzo pro fork. It seems that the fork is too deep. I can't attach the brake because the bolt on the brake will not reach the deal that it screws into.

G

G,

You need a longer brake nut. Some forks come with one, as do many brake sets. Any bike shop should have these on hand.

Andy

Hi Andy,

I have an old 1990's Raleigh Heat and it is in good condition. Still have the original components (Shimano LX) and wheel sets. I would love to get a new wheel set but I currently have a Shimano LX 32-hole (FH-M550) hub with 7-speed cassette and am wondering if a new LX hub with 8/9 cassette would work with my derailleurs and frame.

Also my rims are Weinmann Bontrager BCR2 26" x 1.5", so what is a comparable Mavic?

Is this even possible to upgrade or is a new bike purchase in the near future?

Some side notes: I still have the original rigid fork but would love to upgrade to a Manitou shock as well. Plus, I still have original cantilever breaks.

Thanks for any advice,
Lee
Minnesota

Lee,

You can use the new wheels, but your rear der most likely won't shift more than 7 cogs.  I would not invest too much in this bike; the cheapest and most trouble free way is to use grip shift, avoiding indexed front der issues (unless you replace the front der, crank, bb, and shifter).  A shock shouldn't prove problematic, unless you have a 1" steerer. If so, you can only buy RST forks to fit.  You may find used forks in 1", but they would be old and iffy.

Andy

Hi Andy the Mechanic (a.k.a. Andy Wallen),

I am an aging weekend hack and have just cracked my Scott DH tri bars (circa 1990). What is the likely hood that I can get them fixed by welding? AUD$220 (US$165) seems and awful lot of money to spend on modern replacements and the Scott's are soooo comfortable.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

Regards,
Scott K.
Australia

Scott,

Most people who survive cracked handlebars have to wait several months for the coma to wear off before asking such questions.  The rest of them don't make it.  In this day and age, when I won't install a kickstand without a torque wrench, you're asking me how to repair a pair of bars whose life expectancy expired 10 years ago? Aren't these those things that looked like you poached them off the head of some endangered African antelope? The bars that Trifed banned in the late 80's?  You should be thanking your god that this didn't happen on a 60 mph descent, not looking for trouble by going out on the same bars again!  Thinwall aluminum tubing has a very finite life span. It's not something that you want to push until catastrophic failure happens, as you have just done. To avoid cracked bars, and a high potential for death or serious injury, replace them every five years, even if you love them. Don't even think about welding them. I'm sure someone would do it for you, but don't do it. $165 USD is a small price compared to long term comatose care or taking a year off work to wear a body cast.

Andy

PS: If the bars in question are attached to an old aluminum frame, well, I'd think about it.  Nothing lasts forever, especially aluminum.

Hi Andy,

I have read about Suntour and Power Flow, but I cannot seem to find any information that specifically talks about it, technologically, or what it's supposed to do. I see the naming convention still used in their current literature but they don't explain what they mean technologically.

Is it the same technology that I see mentioned for Suntour in the 90's before they went defunct or is it just a name they've slapped on their newer cranksets? If it is, then is it like biopace? Please help me out here!

Thanks,
Steve Addy
Iowa City, Iowa

Steve,

Suntour used to be a great Japanese manufacturer of high quality components, such as the excellent Supurbe Pro gruppo.  Many a 20-year-old Supurbe Pro hub is still running smoothly on its original bearing, and the cold forged crankset has only recently been surpassed in overall quality. However, like most Shimano competitors, Suntour had a tough time coming up with a way to compete with indexed shifting without patent infringement. Neither Campagnolo nor Suntour made workable systems, but people would pay twice as much for the Campy and put up with it, because it was, well, Campy.

Campy has since succeeded in copying Shimano innovations, such as indexing, STI, cassette hubs, flight deck, without innovating a damn thing since Tulio's quick release, but Suntour faltered. After struggling for/against this for 5 or 6 years, they finally bit the dust, some say as a result of some bogus coaster brake hubs that were recalled early in the '90s. Since that time, somebody bought the Suntour name, and it is slapped all over cheap cranks, cassettes, and suspension forks. It is no better/worse than anything else in it's price point (usually on a sub $300 mountain bike).

What's important about all this is that new Suntour cranks and cassettes (Powerflow) are Shimano compatible. You can use a Powerflow cassette with Shimano shifters and Derailleurs. The original Suntour indexed components--Sprint, Supurbe, XC pro, etc.--will not work very well with Shimano components. What's kind of deceptive is that old Suprube Pro was directly in competition with Dura Ace and Record; new SP is found on entry level road bikes. My advice? Avoid confusion, avoid Suntour. And no, it's nothing like Biopace (nothing is!).

Andy

Hi

I'm from Des Moines Iowa.

Question: 

I purchased an inexpensive 21-speed suspension mountain bike that has a Shimano Tourney TX70 rear derailleur. A few weeks ago someone "borrowed" it without asking and in their drunken stupor they fell on it, bending the rear derailleur and its mounting point.

I'd like to replace it with a better component but am having trouble finding comparative information on other Shimano derailleurs. I still want to keep it inexpensive but was considering the Deore M510 or Alivio units. Problem is that I can't tell if these units are Rapid Rise or not, or whether they are compatible or not. The shifters are SRAM grips.

Any suggestions or help you could provide would be great, I'm pretty much a newbie and know nothing about this stuff.

Steve Addy

Steve,

Rapid Rise or not, you can use any Shimano derailleur on the bike. The issue with some cheap bikes is that the derailleur must have a built in hanger--a piece that hooks around the axle and is bolted into the dropout. The better derailleurs, such as Deore or Alivio, bolt directly to the frame.

There are adapters available that allow you to bolt a good derailleur to a cheap frame, if needed.  If your bike came with Rapid Rise, it would be best to replace it with Rapid Rise, as the numbers on your shifter will not be correct otherwise.  It is not necessary to use Rapid Rise if numeric orientation is not a concern. Other than the real cheap stuff, you can only get Rapid Rise on XT and XTR.

Andy

Hiya, I am piecing together my bike and need some help.

With a STI type lever (Shimano 600, 8 speed), and a new rear derailleur (Shimano 105, 8 speed), how do I adjust the shift to ensure the derailleur lines up nicely with each of the gears? All I am actually doing is replacing the current RX100 rear derailleur which works okay but is a bit tired and sloppy.

I am assuming it is done by the cable tension--I have a new cable, new rear cluster, and new chain, so all should be relatively straightforward. There is a cable adjuster about two inches from the lever, along the cable and obviously one at the rear on the derailleur body.

Any advice would be appreciated. 

Thanks,
Tim Binns.

Tim,

Assuming everything else is okay, you simply need to make the cable tight enough to pull the derailleur from the smallest cog to the next one.  If the chain skips two cogs or rubs on the next cog, it's too tight.  If this simple adjustment doesn't rectify your problem (and I don't know specifically what that is), something else is wrong. For instance, if the only way to get the derailleur to move up causes sluggishness or immobility in the other direction, that's a good sign of cable friction, which is caused by, in order of occurrence, worn out cable housing and/or cable end caps (look for bent end caps), a bad cable (either frayed inside the housing or rusty), bent hanger, or malfunctioning shifter.  On some bikes, you can have problems related to cable routing as well.  I have an OCLV road bike with a steel bottom bracket cable guide, which can get rusty and cause the same symptoms as a bad cable.  I remedied this by running the cable through a lubricated plastic sleeve, and I'm considering trying cool new expensive non-ferrous cables, which I'm pretty excited about. 

Andy

Hi,

I just recently bought a new seat post and a new seat. Because I'm rebuilding my bike and such. I need to find out how to connect my laid back seat post to my seat. I can't seem to figure it out. On top of the seat post it's like this round circular part thing...and well, it's a little hard to describe but possibly you know what I'm talking about. If not, I'm sorry. But, Maybe you could help me out with it if you know anything. 

Thanks,
Sharye

Sharye,

Most seatpost of this type connect to the seat rails with a separate clamp, which usually stays connected to the seat.  If the seatpost has no built in clamp, you need to get a set post clamp.  You can take the old one off the old seat.  To install a new clamp, it's easiest to completely disassemble the clamp. You will have the following pieces: 2 nuts, 2 outer clamps (kind of "D" shaped, with channels for the seat rails), 2 inner clamps (have ridges on them), the part that attaches to the post (also has ridges) and the bolt.  Put one of the inner clamps onto the seat rail, and match the circular part of the post clamp to the circular part of the inner clamp (ridges together). Place the other inner clamp onto the seat rail, and pivot it away from the other one.  Move the post clamp, with the inner clamp attached, toward the second inner clamp.  As the post clamp contacts the opposite inner clamp, it will almost automatically line up. You should now have the post clamp held in place by spring tension created by the inner clamps.  Now, run the bolt through, attach outer clamps and nuts, loosely. Put the post clamp on the seatpost, align and tighten securely.

Andy

Hi Andy,

Recently purchased a 2003 Cervelo Prodgy steel road bike. Currently using Ultegra 9- speed shifters, 53/39 crank and 13-27 cassette. I find the gearing too high (body is not what it used to be...age does that to you).  50/34 compact cranks in Australia are expensive-- it costs AUD$700 for an FSA carbon compact crank. The suppliers do not bring in the lower end FSA Gossamer or Ritchey's compact crank. Anyway, the question is this: Can a mountain bike 9-speed rear derailleur be used with Ultegra 105 9-speed  STI shifers?

Thx,
Howe
Australia

Howe, 

You can use a 9-speed ATB derailleur and cassette without too much bother.  It won't be exactly racing gear, but it works okay. This allows for gearing as low as 34 teeth, with nominal fuss.  I would stay away from the 34, but it's there if you need it.  Also, most ATB cassettes use an 11T high, which most humans should never use on a road bike.  Stock cassettes are either 11-32 or 12-34.  I'd buy the 11-32, and if you're happy with it, fine, if not, replace the 11 ant 12 with a 12 and 13.

Andy

Hi Andy,

My bike gears (Shimano) have suddenly jammed on the second cog on the front derailleur. I shifted down from the third cog but the lever seems to be jammed and won't press back to shift the chain back up.  It seems to be an issue with the lever on the handlebars rather than anything with the chain/deraillers (I think).

Any help greatly appreciated.

Many thanks,
Anna
London, UK

Anna,

While there is a remote possibility that this is something simple and fixable, such as a cable head jammed inside the shifter, it is more likely that your shifter has died.  These things shift very well until they're used up, and then they fail.  If it is less than two years old (three for Dura Ace and XTR), it is covered under Shimano's warranty.  If not, individual left or right levers can be purchased.

Andy

Andy,

I have a Trek 1220 with Shimano gear system. The bike is having a very difficult job shifting both up and down the rear wheel gears.  How can I adjust these so that it works properly? I have tried adjusting the two screws at the rear of the back derailleur with some success, but I don't get the full range of movement that used to be there.

Thank you.

Scott Brown
Mathematics Teacher
Chardon High School

Scott,

If the shifters still work and the derailleurs are free of mud and rust, you should be looking at new cables and housing.  Get good cable housing and use a lube recommended for cables.  If you can get your first and last cog without the chain coming off, don't screw with the screws.  Smooth shifts in both directions can only be influenced by cable tension and friction in the system, not limit screws or the B tension screw on the rear of the derailleur.

Andy

Andy,

I own a Raleigh SC Auto with the Shimano Auto D shifting mechanism. I replaced the battery a month ago and the shifter worked perfectly, last week the bike wouldn't shift automatically but will shift in manual mode. Is this a fixable problem? The convenience of auto-shift is why I bought the bike in the first place, plus it shows your miles per hour in the d mode but not in manual shift mode. Cannot find the manual for my bike and don't know if it addresses auto-shift issues and how to fix them. Can you direct me to help?

Thanks,
Sherry

Sherry,

Auto D is a little too high tech for WV, so I have no experience whatsoever with it.  I think it's great stuff--you should see the new Ecovision Digital integrated intelligence stuff--and it's where the bike business ought to be going, but that's really up to consumers to buy expensive, highly practical stuff instead of 30-speed, 15-pound racing bikes.  Check www.shimano.com, or call them at 949-951-5003. Meanwhile, I think I'll sell a few 30-speed, 15-pound racing bikes.

Andy

Andy,

I have been given a set of Campagnolo Shamal wheels of mid-90s vintage (16 bladed spokes front and rear, 8-speed Campy cassette on the rear). I'm told that the bearings are problematic and no longer serviceable. But these are still some of the most aerodynamic mid-v wheels ever made, so I'd like to take advantage of that.

I'd like to replace the original hubs with new (high quality) sealed cartridge bearing hubs, with the rear capable of accepting a Shimano 9-speed cassette. 

Can this be done, and if so, who makes the hubs? Also, can I use the same spokes?

Michael

Michael,

As far as I know, you'll need to order 16 spoke hubs from a manufacturer such as Chris King, in other words, you need custom made hubs, not something off the shelf.  I'm not sure of the OEM spokes--if they're too flat, you may need a lower profile spoke.  It's probably time to change them anyway.

Andy

Dear Andy,

I am a bicycle mechanic in the Santa Cruz, California area. I'm starting a bicycle repair business out of my garage to earn a little extra money. Do you think I should have liability insurance? If your answer is yes, can you recommend some not too expensive insurance companies who specialize in the the bike industry?

Ed Oberweiser

Ed,

Given the state of litigation in this country, I'd surely have some sort of liability insurance. I'm insured, but it's all part of a comprehensive business package. I can say that in all these years of wrenching in West Virginian, of all places, I've yet to be sued. I really expect to be, but so far, so good. I don't know if one can only purchase this type of insurance, or if it must be an add on rider to a bigger policy. I'd ask a lawyer, or whatever insurer you're familiar with. Ask Bob Mionske or somebody. 

Andy

Hi,

Iím looking for a pair of Suntour U-13 cogs for a couple of Winner Pro Ultra 7 freewheels. Do you have any old stock left or any leads?

Many thanks,
Paul C. Domingue
Headmaster
Verde Valley School
Sedona, AZ

Paul,

I'd hazard a guess that these are mostly gone, but could be found. Legend has it that www.thethirdhand.com has such things.

Andy

Hey Andy,

I have a Regina extra freewheel 7-speed it is a 12-23 and I want to go to a 28 or 30 cog on the top. Is there a Regina cog chart for freewheels that tells you the cog sizes and order so that you donít have too large of a step when shifting? I remembering seeing one in the early 80's but the Internet has turned up nothing yet. Can you help?

Matthew

Matthew,

Freewheels are a thing of the past. Any success in finding any freewheels on this planet other than cheap Shimano ATB junk is beyond belief, but to actually look for parts is just too much. It is beyond my scope. Hey, you
can find anything on the Internet, but I'm not sure about this stuff. Check e-Bay, possibly Rivendell, or that Thirdhand place.

Andy

Andy,

I repair bikes for a local non-profit. I frequently need to buy parts such as cables, brake pads, reflectors, tires, tubes, handle grips, chains, etc. Can you name three or four on-line places where I could shop for those types of bike parts? I do not need high-performance parts--just solid replacements.

Also, I want to try patching tube leaks instead of constantly replacing tubes. What type of "patch & cement" combination would you suggest I try, and where can I buy such?

Thanks!
Jon

Jon,

Most online retailers are into the romantic, high zoot parts and don't address the needs of the average bike user. I can't think of anyone who sells Ashtabula cranks and stuff like that on line. If you can't obtain said stuff locally, I can take care of you. Just let me know what you need, and I'll get you prices and shipping arrangements. As for patches, it's hard to beat the original, Tip Top, and I think that they are one of the increasingly fewer bike related items that are not made in a communist country. We sell Innovations patch kits, which are good, but I like the Tip Top patches better.

Andy

Another question from Jon...

Andy,

Rather often while removing a bike tire tube because it leaks, I find that the tube has doubled back on itself to form a squashed "Z" shape. This is undesirable because the tube becomes weakened at the folds and can end up leaking. Yes, I've checked to be sure the tube size matches the tire size.

Any ideas about what might be causing this?

Thanks,
Jon

Jon,

The phenomenon you describe occurs when there is not enough air in the tube to hold it tight against the tyre. Repeated centrifugal force causes parts of the tube, say the part farthest from the valve, to move, usually in a forward direction, but the part nearest the valve can't go anywhere because the valve holds it in place.  To prevent this, obviously, one needs to keep one's tyres fully inflated at all times, which is not a bad idea for several reasons. A dusting of baby powder helps keep the tube from sticking to the tyre, which also helps prevent this condition.

Andy

Hi Mr. Wallen!

First of all, thanks for all the great advice that I've benefited from with regards to your website. I never thought I'd have a reason to write, but here goes...

I am currently using a Marzocchi MX Comp Air 2003 with a Shimano Deore hub. I also use Avid Mechanical Disc Ball Bearing 5s. I've been using the fork for about four months now, and I recently noticed something strange when reinstalling the front wheel (while the bike is upside down). I usually bottom the skewer on the dropouts, turn the non-skewer side, and then lock the Quick Release. However, this time, I noticed that the front tire was rubbing one side of the fork!

So I turn it over again, loosen the QR, and I notice that the skewer is indeed bottomed on the dropout and the tire is hitting the fork. When I move to center the tire, one side of the skewer is slightly higher than the other, but if I engage the quick release, it spins fine.

Now, to complicate it a little further: I left my bike in my friend's house before a night ride, with the wheels off. He put it back for me and I rode as usual later on that day. Once I took the bike apart and put it back together, I noticed the problem for the first time.

I asked if he had noticed the problem when he put the wheels on the bike the day before, and he said "that's something that I've noticed on most of my Marzocchis." What I find odd is that this kid has owned everything from MX comps to z1s to his current 888r. 

So, Mr. Wallen, what could the problem be? My skewer doesn't seem bent. Could it be a loose hub? I spin it between my hands while holding the skewer and don't notice any play. Would there be something up with the bushing that would cause the sliders to not be aligned? 

I'd appreciate any help or insight you could offer. If you've ever heard of this happening, or if this is a normal occurrence that has just never happened to me, I'd appreciate you sharing.

All the best to you and yours...

Sincerely,
Lars Sandejas

Lars,

It is likely that either the dropouts are less than perfectly matched (up to 2 mm of variation in dropout depth is not uncommon) or there is a buildup of paint in one of them. You can carefully file out one slot to match the other, but don't get carried away.

Andy

Andy,

Where can I find a manual or information on repair, maintenance and adjusting of Shimano Nexus Inter 8 hub?

Bill Cain

Bill,

I'm not sure where to send you other than the Shimano site. You may check out www.parktool.com and www.bikeschool.com.

Andy

Andy,

I have just put together a custom aluminum frame bike:

- 62cm top tube bike (so you know how big this frame is)
- Campy Veloce, triple, 10 speed
- Bontrauger blade spoke wheels
- Carbon FTS handlebar, stem, and seat post
- Terry Fly saddle
- Tires 700 X23

The fully assembled bike comes in at 20.1 pounds--I was hoping for 16-18 pounds. Can you offer any suggestion to lighten the components to hit the target weight?

Thanks for your information.

Regards,
Drew Bratton
Pittsboro, North Carolina

Drew,

First of all, it is physically impossible to have a 16-pound bike unless you start with less than four pounds of frame and fork. My estimation is that you must have well over six, as you probably have around 6700g of parts, give or take. Out of that 6700g, most component upgrades are only going to yield savings of less than 100g, at great expense. For example, you could get a record carbon triple rear derailleur and save about 60g, but it costs over $200 more than Veloce. You could buy a bunch of ti fasteners, but again, very few grams for quite a few bucks. Your best bet is to look at meaningful weight savings, which is generally rotational rather than static weight. Wheels, for example. You could knock a whole pound off your bike, but more importantly, significantly reduce rotational weight, with a high zoot pair of wheels. True, the record der is a lot cheaper than sub 1500g wheels, but wheels make you go faster and climb better. You can save over 200g if you buy an FSA carbon crank, and it will vastly outperform even the record carbon crank. Also, I don't know what kind of fork or tyres you have. Tyre weight can vary by nearly 100g per, which is rotational weight at it's most critical point, and light tyres are cheap, at least when compared to Zipp wheels. Part carbon forks can weigh as much as 500g, while all carbon forks can be as light as 295g. So, 18lb is within reach, but give up on 16 for this frame.

Andy

Andy,

I have just bought a new mountain bike. My problem: I have disk brakes but the front ones aren't powerful enough. I pull them as far as possible and its not as powerful as it should be. The manual that came with the bike only covers Caliper Brakes and Cantilever Brakes. How do I adjust the brakes so I can stop efficiently?

Hughie 

Hughie,

We don't have enough information to give a good answer, but I won't let that stop me. I guess you have a mass market bike, and it probably has some really cheap cable actuated disc brakes. Most cable brakes can be adjusted, but many of them do not work as well as cheap V brakes. On cable brakes, you have a fixed pad, which can be moved closer to the disc for better stopping. This can be adjusted by turning a hand adjustable knob, such that the fixed pad is as close to the rotor as possible without dragging. Then, you want to pull the cable to get the other pad close enough. The moveable pad can be fine tuned with the brake lever adjusting barrel. No matter how good your brakes are or how well they are adjusted, cleanliness is of the utmost importance. The rotor must be very clean and burnished (burnishing happens after so much heating of the rotor--about 20 hard stops), and mineral based pads can absorb lubricants, which cannot be cleaned off. If your pads have been contaminated with any sort of oil, get new ones. Finally, keep in mind that high performance disc brake systems cost more per wheel than an entire Wal-Mart bicycle, so adjust your expectations accordingly. 

Andy

PS: Most hydraulic systems can't be mechanically adjusted; you simply bleed out air if they get mushy. Teflon brake cables with compression resistant cable housing helps a lot with cable discs.

Andy,

I bought a giant Yukon about eight months ago. A friend took it for a short ride and broke the chain. I bought a chain and installed it but when the chain was on the lower two chainrings (front), it would skip links like crazy.

I took it to the shop to see if I put it on right or if my friend damaged it. They told me I needed a new ring or rings and offered a $100 upgrade. They said I had been riding that ring too often and it wore with the old chain. The new chain was installed right but that middle ring was bad. I asked then why is the small ring skipping too? They looked puzzled and went back to ďthey wear over time.Ē I asked for warranty replacement they said most likely not.

Is this a sham or a fact of life? They still have the bike, I asked them to look further into it. I donít want to buy a different crank set that will be work 25% of the total value of my bike.

Thanks,
Tom

Tom,

Drivetrain wear is a difficult issue in terms of warranty. All your components have at least a 1-year warranty, but normal wear and tear are not covered. This means that if a brand X chain breaks after eight months, the brand X company will replace the chain. The problem is, a new chain will not likely work on old cogs, and the brand X company is not responsible for the rest of the drivetrain. If the new chain doesn't work because of "normal wear and tear", that's not a concern of brand X. The chain clearly broke, and they replaced it. The new chain doesn't fit the old cogs because of "normal wear and tear", which is not covered by any warranty. I can sometimes come to an agreement by replacing the chain and the smallest cog. Even though the smallest cog will not be covered by mfg warranty, it's cheaper than a complete cassette, and can solve the problem. 

Drivetrain wear happens very quickly; Shimano recommends chain replacement every 500 mountain bike miles, or 1000 road miles. Under certain conditions, enough wear to cause chain mismatches happens inside of a week. Your solution? Find the old chain and take out the broken link. If you can't find it, You will need either new chainrings or a new crank. Your estimate of $100 is a bit much. Looks like you have an Alivio/Acera mix of parts, so a new and
better crank can be had for less than $75. Or if you have replaceable rings, about $20-25 each. So, it is a sad fact of life, but the alternative is to go back to 5-speed, non-indexed shifting, and you really don't want to do that.

Andy

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