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Contemplating Components (warning: contains retrogrouch talk)

This topic contains 44 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  JaySherman5000 5 hrs.

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JaySherman5000

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Jan 10 2014 at 10:55am #

Winter has set in, so that means more maintenance time, which in turn means I have been inspired to fix more of my first world bike problems. Awhile back, I noticed my newly installed 105 group was autoshifting (aka ghost-shifting) whenever I stood up on steep hills. I’ve done the requisite troubleshooting, and having replaced the slightly wobbly freehub body, trued the rear wheel, and meticulously aligned the drivetrain, I think I’ve narrowed it down to either too little friction at the shifter or a flexing frame.

The bike was made in the early 1990s (triple butted ChroMoly steel) and uses downtube shifters. The shifters I bought for it were whatever 7-speed Shimano braze-on type Mr. Kraynick was selling around March of last year. When I bought the shifters, I was using an 8-speed cassette, so I installed them and put the rear shifter in friction mode. I rode that way for a few months without issue.

Late last summer I installed a 105 rear derailer and crankset, along with a 9-speed cassette, assuming I could continue to run in friction mode without trouble. That’s when the bike became my personal sadist, forcing me into higher gears on steeper grades. Going forward, I don’t want to give up my downtube shifters for brifters, barcons, or some other fancy doo-dads. I just want a set of reliable shifters that won’t let me slip out of gear (assuming the frame isn’t flexing terribly).

So, does anyone out there have a recommendation? Thus far, I have found

Option 1: a set of index-only 9-spd shifters for ~$20

Option 2: a set of friction-only shifters for ~$50

Option 3: a set of Dura-Ace 9-spd shifters that can run in friction or index mode for ~$70

To me, the cheapest option makes sense because I’m still troubleshooting, but since these are components that are easily transferred to a new frame, the other two options have more appeal. Opinions and advice are well appreciated!


Marko82

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Jan 10 2014 at 12:10pm #

I have a similar age bike with down tube index/friction setup. I’m having a little bit of auto shifting at the moment myself and I think it’s because my jockey/idler pulleys are almost worn out. Not only are the teeth of the pulleys really worn, but the bearing is very sloppy so I think it’s letting everything move off center. I laid the bike down hard this spring and most likely bent the hanger a little thus contributing to all this. I need to get to Kraynick’s to get replacements and check the hanger, but the weather has been keeping me from putting in any more miles than I have to. Although today is very nice.


jonawebb

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Jan 10 2014 at 12:30pm #

You should be able to tell if your friction shifters are the problem, because the lever will be slipping out of position. If that’s not happening the problem is elsewhere and changing the shifters won’t have any effect. I would take a close look at the derailleur and see if there is any play at all between the guide pulley and the cassette. The frame seems unlikely to be the source of your problem; I’d guess the hanger or maybe the mounting bolt, or possibly your guide pulley is worn.


edmonds59

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Jan 10 2014 at 12:56pm #

I’m a little disappointed in terms of the retrogrouch talk. Your bikes are all so modern…


Benzo

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Jan 10 2014 at 1:11pm #

What have you tried to fix the slipping issues with your existing shifters? I would think that they can be serviced to correct whatever issues you are having.


JaySherman5000

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Jan 10 2014 at 1:15pm #

jonawebb wrote:You should be able to tell if your friction shifters are the problem, because the lever will be slipping out of position. If that’s not happening the problem is elsewhere and changing the shifters won’t have any effect. I would take a close look at the derailleur and see if there is any play at all between the guide pulley and the cassette. The frame seems unlikely to be the source of your problem; I’d guess the hanger or maybe the mounting bolt, or possibly your guide pulley is worn.

I’m pretty sure I have seen the shifter moving, despite having adjusted it to provide maximum friction. As for the pulleys, the derailer and cassette are still new (installed early Autumn, ridden sparingly), but I’ll be sure to take a closer look.

edmonds59 wrote:I’m a little disappointed in terms of the retrogrouch talk. Your bikes are all so modern…

Sorry to disappoint, I should’ve included that none of my four bikes have brifters, nor will they ever as long as they’re in my possession. I see so many hot-shot, young, dumb riders click-clacking away with their brifters all in mindless lockstep, oblivious to the joy of taking a hand off the hood of their brake lever and reaching down towards the spinning cheese grater that is the front wheel spokes and executing a perfect one-handed double shift sending the chain to the small ring and onto a larger cog just in time to start ascending away from the pack. Nevermind that they should be in the drops to begin with; these kids with their ratchets on their bars make me wanna puke. Suffice it to say I won’t be giving up my friction levers anytime soon. That’s right, you can have my DT shifters when you pry them from my cold, dead hands!


Jacob McCrea

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Jan 10 2014 at 1:16pm #

You might consider putting a Park Tool derailleur alignment gauge on the bike, which can show a misalignment that the eye can’t see. I have one of those sitting around if you want to give it a shot. I don’t have the time to go out of my way to get it to you, but I’m pretty easy to find.


Benzo

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Jan 10 2014 at 1:16pm #

Sounds like a problem sheldon has had with autoshifting…

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/autoshift.html

Bicycles.StackExchange also had a question about this problem as well.

http://bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/3486/bike-is-shifting-on-its-own


jonawebb

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Jan 10 2014 at 1:31pm #

I had a problem like this with my friction shifters years ago, and it is difficult to solve. I think at one point I lost a washer or something and they were never the same. If the shift levers move I’d just replace them for $20 and be done with it.


JaySherman5000

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Jan 10 2014 at 2:30pm #

Benzo wrote:Sounds like a problem sheldon has had with autoshifting…

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/autoshift.html

Bicycles.StackExchange also had a question about this problem as well.

http://bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/3486/bike-is-shifting-on-its-own

I read that Sheldon article when the problem first appeared, but I think I overlooked the obvious cable tension check mentioned at StackExchange. I’ll definitely add that to the top of the list of things I check tonight.

To your earlier question, I already disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled the shifter just to make sure everything was right. I even used the exploded diagram that came with them in the box to make sure everything went back together correctly.

Well, at least now my weekend is planned out. Test rides, here I come!


Drewbacca

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Jan 10 2014 at 2:33pm #

option two is likely no better than option one… option three would at least have some resale value.

Anyways, I need to go play with my hood-ratchets now.


Mikhail

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Jan 10 2014 at 6:53pm #

Rear derailleur alignment and cable (outer layer should not allow compression)


JaySherman5000

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Feb 24 2014 at 10:53am #

I’m re-using this thread for a new question: where to find V-brakes that aren’t basically disposable.

I’m having a common problem: I ride my touring bike all winter and that leads to my V-brake arms seizing up. I realized all too late that the arms pivot not on the frame posts, but on the bushing that sits on the posts. After some investigation, it seems that the bushings on my brakes are not made to be serviced, i.e. there is no way to open them up, clean them, and apply fresh lube. So it seems the only solution is to spend money replacing my V-brakes every year. I am not okay with this.

I did some digging around on the internet this morning, and it seems that some linear-pull brakes are made with bearings that can be opened up and serviced. Where I’m having trouble now is knowing which brakes have serviceable bearings and which ones don’t, as I shop online. Can anyone offer some advice on this?


cburch

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Feb 24 2014 at 4:34pm #

http://www.paulcomp.com/motolite.html

reliable, rebuildable, spare parts readily available from the manufacturer and the design hasn’t changed since 1990.


cburch

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Feb 24 2014 at 4:35pm #

cburch wrote:
http://www.paulcomp.com/motolite.html

reliable, rebuildable, spare parts readily available from the manufacturer and the design hasn’t changed since 1990.

ps: questions like this are a great reason to have a relationship with an lbs.


Mick

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Feb 24 2014 at 4:46pm #

edmonds59 wrote:edmonds59
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Jan 10 2014 at 12:56pm # I’m a little disappointed in terms of the retrogrouch talk

They just don’t make retrogrouches like they used to.

SMDH.


Eric

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Feb 24 2014 at 6:50pm #

+1 on Pauls stuff.

Of just buy a new set of Deore V-brakes every year.


Drewbacca

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Feb 24 2014 at 7:41pm #

cburch wrote:ps: questions like this are a great reason to have a relationship with an lbs.

questions like this are a great reason to have a relationship with *a good* lbs.

I’m willing to bet that 9/10 wouldn’t recommend Paul and would have no idea what to suggest unless they knew of a good example from personal experience. So, I politely disagree with you… crowd-sourcing via the net is the best approach to this sort of question.


ericf

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Feb 25 2014 at 6:45am #

Drewbacca wrote:

cburch wrote:ps: questions like this are a great reason to have a relationship with an lbs.

questions like this are a great reason to have a relationship with *a good* lbs.

I’m willing to bet that 9/10 wouldn’t recommend Paul and would have no idea what to suggest unless they knew of a good example from personal experience. So, I politely disagree with you… crowd-sourcing via the net is the best approach to this sort of question.

I find that a combination of both approaches works best. When it comes to real, on the streets, practical knowledge, the LBS can’t be beat. That said, like all experts, LBS’es tend to become focused on their particular niche of the cycling world. There are times when I know more about new product than the LBS, thanks to the internet.
You can research on the internet, but nothing beats actually touching / holding said component or bicycle. One thing to avoid is “show rooming” where you fit /try/research at the LBS, and then buy on the ‘net. I would say that 75% of my parts are from LBS, with the remaining 25% being parts that I order because LBS doesn’t have or can’t get.


Drewbacca

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Feb 25 2014 at 8:11am #

^ completely agree ^

I’m just jaded by a lot of bad bike shop experiences… a *good shop* and a good mechanic will be more than happy to say “I don’t know” when that is, in fact, the case. A bad shop/mechanic will just make some garbage up. A good shop/mechanic will suggest searching the internet when it would be helpful. The hard part is learning to tell a good shop from a bad one.

Just to clarify… It’s always best to trust an actual experienced mechanic over some random voice on the net. I didn’t mean to imply otherwise.

Personally, I try to only order online when I need a part that no one has in stock locally. I don’t like ordering through an LBS when I can just have something delivered at home. If I support the LBS, I’m recognizing that I’m paying a little more for their overhead and the benefit of something being stocked on the shelf. I’d add to that, I’m also paying for the local shop’s expertise (but, again, that’s assuming that I’m getting solid info which is sadly not always the case).

Thank goodness for shops like Thick and FreezeThaw (State College), two examples where I’ve always had good experiences.


JaySherman5000

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Feb 25 2014 at 8:42am #

cburch wrote:
http://www.paulcomp.com/motolite.html

reliable, rebuildable, spare parts readily available from the manufacturer and the design hasn’t changed since 1990.

Thanks! that’s exactly the product I’m looking for. Now I just need payday to get here already…


Benzo

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Feb 25 2014 at 10:16am #

I personally don’t like paul brakes due to the way you set the spring tension. You need a wrench and an allen key and I find fine tuning them can be a pain (at least my experience with my Paul’s Touring Canti’s). Had them on my space horse for a while, put my tektro canti brakes back on.

I really just like utilizing that little spring holder below my brake post and then using the adjustment screws on the side of my brakes to set the tension.

However, despite my complaints about how to adjust the spring tension, the stopping power of the paul brakes is great. Don’t let my complaining stop you from getting them. You’ll probably love them.


cburch

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Feb 25 2014 at 2:18pm #

they do require a bit more setup initially, but the long term results are worth it imo.

as to bike shops recommending stuff like paul comp. i guess i forget that I’m a bit spoiled by having a great relationship with exactly the kind of shop that would suggest that sort of thing.


JaySherman5000

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Feb 26 2014 at 7:46pm #

So, moving further down this rabbit hole, does anyone in the bikepgh crowd have a good source for a Shimano Nexus 8-speed laced into a 700c rim? I’ve heard enough testimonials about IGHs, weighed the pros and cons, and looked at everything the internet has to offer about them. Now I’m stuck debating whether or not I should by just the hub & spokes and lace it up myself using an existing rim in my collection, or if I should just buy a complete wheel.

The last time I asked about dynohubs I was given the golden bit of advice that buying a complete wheel is usually cheaper than buying all the components separately. I’m wondering if that’s still true for this case. Advice?

pic unrelated.


Drewbacca

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Feb 26 2014 at 7:59pm #

JaySherman5000 wrote:The last time I asked about dynohubs I was given the golden bit of advice that buying a complete wheel is usually cheaper than buying all the components separately. I’m wondering if that’s still true for this case. Advice?

It’s generally true… the cheapest option (online) is probably the Handspun offerings. If you order through a local shop, it would probably run you the same as having a wheel built up would cost. It depends on if you are happy with what is out there, or want something more custom.

I did learn a lesson recently while rebuilding a used dynohub, which is, buy an extra set of cones when you purchase the hub (they may not be available a decade later when you search high and low). After going as far as talking to a few shimano reps on the phone, via the LBS, I ended up just sanding the cones down as best I could to remove pits. I still might try a set that Shimano says won’t work but I think they may with a little modification. Then again, the axle may be slightly bent and it’s all for naught. But, I digress…


JaySherman5000

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Aug 13 2014 at 7:55am #

Well, the time has come: I need a new front wheel for a touring bike. The braking surface on my current wheel has worn so unevenly that there is about a dime-width ledge of metal at the outer edge of the rim. Before I reach the point of catastrophic failure, I think it’s best to replace it.

My current rim is a Mavic A319 that’s about 2 years old. I put a lot of miles on last year via randonneuring, put about 50 miles per week on it this year, and I rode it through two Pittsburgh winters. My first question: does this sound like a normal rate of wear?

My next question: where is the best place to get a replacement wheel that balances minimum cost with maximum durability? Handpsun was apparently bought by QBP, so where should I go next?

Also, I’m open to upgrading to drum brakes and/or dynamo hubs, but I don’t think disc brakes are in the cards unless someone wants to give me a compatible fork.

Finally, since my hub seems to be in good shape, what’s the cost/benefit of having a local shop replace only the rim instead of the entire wheel?


jonawebb

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Aug 13 2014 at 8:20am #

You can just replace the rim yourself. I’ve done it, and it’s not that hard. You need a setup for truing, which can just be an old fork or even your current fork if you can prop it up somehow. You basically get the exact same replacement rim, lay it down on top of the old wheel, lining up the valve hole, and then transfer the spokes one by one. There are instructions on the web.


JaySherman5000

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Aug 13 2014 at 8:44am #

@jonawebb: I’ve built a few wheels already, so I guess that is probably the cheapest option. I was a little worried about reusing the spokes, mainly because I thought it would present a greater potential for failure later on.


jonawebb

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Aug 13 2014 at 9:03am #

It’s a lot easier to replace a rim than to rebuild a wheel. Just look at the spokes first and replace any that look damaged.


Drewbacca

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Aug 13 2014 at 10:19am #

Handspun has always been QBP… they just changed the name this year and made it harder to look at what’s available.
Here’s an archive http://web.archive.org/web/20131225122320/http://handspunwheels.com/products/

Lacing a new rim is the cheapest option. I wouldn’t hesitate to reuse the spokes if they haven’t given you any problems (and they are the correct size for whatever replacement rim you buy). Is the hub worth rebuilding just to save a few bucks? If you are just building up another A319 rim and not upgrading, I definitely wouldn’t splurge on new spokes.


Pierce

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Aug 13 2014 at 12:20pm #

How many miles have you done touring?


JaySherman5000

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Aug 13 2014 at 12:21pm #

Thanks for the advice! So far, a quick survey of bike shops has yielded a $70 price tag for the Mavic A319, 36H rim. Amazon has it cheaper (including shipping) but I do feel a slight tinge of capitalist’s remorse going that route.

That said, can anyone recommend an alternative 36H rim with a 308 ERD?


JaySherman5000

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Aug 13 2014 at 12:34pm #

@Pierce: I did about 600 mi last year doing short brevets and such. From about March until November I was logging around 100 miles per week from commuting and general around-town stuff. This year, I’ve been riding a bit less, but still keeping about a 50-60 miles per week average.


Drewbacca

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Aug 13 2014 at 1:33pm #

Unless an LBS is cutting you some slack on assembly charges, there’s no way I’d pay $70 for a 319. No guilt, order from Amazon. I’m not sympathetic to local shops… it’s a balance between protecting their existence and my own pocket-book.

308 ERD? Is this a children’s bike?


JaySherman5000

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Aug 13 2014 at 1:39pm #

Sorry, that was a typo. It’s a 603 ERD.


Drewbacca

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Aug 13 2014 at 3:40pm #

Velocity Synergy is the only other one I know of that is advertised as 603. The Bontrager Fairlane that came on my Trek 520 is a 603 as well, but those are no longer made. A319 is probably the best of the three.


JaySherman5000

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Aug 14 2014 at 9:37am #

Thanks for all of the advice. I ordered a new A319 last night. I’ll let you know how the rebuild goes next week.

Now that I think about it, I probably should have ordered two rims since I’m sure the rear wheel will go next. Oh well, maybe this will give me an excuse to start shopping for a rear wheel with an IGH…


jonawebb

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Aug 14 2014 at 9:44am #

I always feel bad about not getting stuff from bike shops. But when I go in there and they don’t have it in stock, they go on the exact same web sites I go on. And I’m competent, more or less, to install it myself. So what’s the point? It’s like making a contribution to a charity to buy it from them instead of ordering it myself and having it delivered to my house.
I don’t mind buying stuff from the LBS when they have it, even though I could get it cheaper online. I get it right away and they’ve spent money by having it in stock. I appreciate that and don’t mind paying for it.


Drewbacca

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Aug 14 2014 at 11:28am #

To echo what Jon said, the higher price at a LBS is somewhat justified by the fact that they are paying for their overhead… it’s a moot point when they have to order something that they don’t keep in stock. I try to support the local shops as much as possible, but I don’t feel guilty when I don’t make what is essentially a charitable donation to them by purchasing every time. From that logic, I’m a real jerk-off for working on my own bikes. LOL

There’s actually an ever growing list of parts that I can’t seem to find locally… KMC chains, for one; everyone stocks SRAM and Shimano but KMC (which are better for the price, imho) are difficult to find. Never mind other companies like Wipperman. Another item that is become more difficult to find locally is a tube with a 36mm max valve size. All the LBS are switching to 48mm tubes to reduce their inventory in the age of deep rims. Sorry, but I don’t need a valve the size of my finger sticking out from my rim. Then there are specific tire preferences, saddle preferences, etc. Things that just don’t tend to be carried.

I suppose another justification for buying a rim from the local shop is that they can inspect it pre-build for trueness and clean machining and what not and send it back if it’s sub-par for a replacement… only, my experience is that they don’t do any of that. They generally just act as the middle-man, marking up the price, without any value added. Sadly, that’s often even the case with a new bike. How many shops will take a bike out of the box, true/tension the wheels, adjust the bearing cones, etc. before making a sale? A: not many. Hell, you’re lucky if a shop even makes any adjustments to the cables before the bike goes out the door. I know this isn’t true with all shops, but I think it’s the majority. So again, middle man without any value added to the purchase… no wonder local shops (generally and nationally speaking) lose money to online retailers.


JaySherman5000

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Aug 14 2014 at 1:22pm #

I suppose I don’t really feel any shame ordering the rim online. After all, I do still buy some small parts, tools, and other junk from the LBS from time to time, and it doesn’t actually make any sense to pay nearly 40% more for a $50 part if they aren’t adding value.

@DB: It’s been a while since I worked the register at Free Ride, but I’m pretty sure they had some KMC chains. I think they also had the tubes with the valve size you mentioned. Some of the volunteers that do the ordering for the shop are pretty good about making sure the limited selection of wearables offered are good quality for the price.

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