Monday, May 7, 2007

Mechanical Issue Solved!!!!

Okay..so this is a tad embarassing...after switching out the following:

1. Large Chainring
2. Chain (from slightly used SRAM to brand new Shimano
3. Cables (pretty worn)
4. Little twisty thing (sometimes known as a 'barrel adjuster')

My bike finally works again! I'm quite certain now, that it was just the little barrel adjuster that was broken! I noticed it being a little 'loose' during the sea otter road race (when I was dropped and had nothing better to think about except why my bike wouldn't shift properly), and I just suggested that it be changed out after numerous other things had not worked. What was happening is the following: The bike would perform perfectly in the stand, and the cable could be adjusted correctly and all shifting would work fine. Then, a few shifts into the race it would stop shifting (i.e. the barrel adjuster was not holding the cable tension and it would slowly change (i.e. shorten) throughout the race), causing immense frustration from me. And then to compensate I would slam the shifter and because I was worried about it not shifting and I had the stop set too far out, the chain would throw right over the top (I have a compact, and a standard derailleur, so there is a gap between the chain ring and the derailleur--a gap that a perfectly tweaked chain can sneak through)! It all makes so much sense now. I have a brand new barrel adjuster (free from LBS-thanks Dave) and all is well!

So now my bike works perfectly...and I am trying not to think about what those races would have been like if I had had such nice crisp shifting then! I do think the Shimano chain ring and shimano chain did improve the shifting as well (although my bike does look silly with shimanos titanium-y looking chain ring, vs. the black carbony FSA crank...).

I will chalk this up to in-experience...and hope that everything I have learned about bike drivetrains will help me or someone else some day! And I'm sure that my trusty bike appreciates all the TLC it has been getting--it has been spotless and sparkling for weeks now!

Ranting about it made me feel better :-)
Ciao!

12 comments:

CyclistRick said...

I hope that fixes it. I have felt your pain as I read about your travails with the shifting, esp. at Sea Otter. Any plans to go with a compact friendly front derailleur? I am planning on changing the standard double on my Colnago to a compact and trying to decide what parts get changed out.

Auffderbach said...

Friends don't let friends ride
Shimano

Auffderbach said...

Just kidding

Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

well, you can bet my next gruppo will be something else!

Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

cyclistrick-on changing to a compact...I have heard that people have issues with the compact derailleurs as well, because of the wider throw. Being a geeky engineer type I can see the merits of both. What I'd really like to do is just mount my standard derailleur a little bit lower than it will currently go with my mount. I half toyed with getting a part machined to allow me to mount it a few mm's lower...which would keep the chain from throwing over the outside...although now I seem to have it tuned pretty good so that hasn't happened. The silly barrel adjuster seemed to be the trick!

dr-nitro said...

As an engineer, shouldn't ya have figured out your problem sooner? Wait, let me guess, it is not your field of engineering;)

I just switched to compact, and am digging it. Although I did have two inopportune chain drops going to the little ring. That I'll chalk up to poor adjustment on my part.

Suggestion, though. Campy. Bling bling.

CyclistRick said...

drkim - well, since the Colnago came to me all Eye-talian with Campy stuff, the compact will be Campy, though I am miffed that I did not get it last year while cranks to fit standard BB's were still in production. Anyway, lots of folks say the Campy compacts are rather finicky and insist on a compact front der. Do I risk it with the standard, or just go for broke and replace it upfront? That is what I keep asking myself.

dr-nitro said...

Cyclistrick, take the dive and get the new campy cranks. They rock. Uber light. Uber stiff. Uber sexy. Unfortunately, uber expensive. But, you got the Colnago, so you gotta dress it up nice. The new bb system and cranks are a breeze to work with and spin without any effort. And, I can't speak to how it would work with a normal f derailleur, but I'm happy with my compact f derailler.

Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

ill upgrade to campy when I upgrade myself...good motivation! maybe I'll even upgrade the whole bike...! I do think the campy compact would be the way to go for a compact.

CyclistRick said...

drkim - if you like bling on the bike, the alloy Campy cranks and rings cannot be beat ... anymore. The old all-silver alloy TA Zephyr had more bling factor, IMO, but TA discontinued that crankset :-( So I will have to live with just one Zephyr and one Campy for now. Love the bling!

dr-nitro said...

I'd agree that the old alloy campy cranks were sexy and sleeker looking. However, there is no comparison in performance (having just swapped out the old for the new). The new ones are stiffer, much stiffer, lighter by nearly a half pound, and spin smooth as silk. It's the performance that makes the bling.

Chris said...

Dr. Kim - it is hard to believe that such a little part can cause such big problems, but they definitely can. The new chainring probably helps a bit with shifting if your old one was worn badly. The difference in shifting between a SRAM and Shimano chain assuming both are reasonably new is probably zero. I like SRAM chains because of the Power Link which just saves a bit of time on the installation.