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Technical Q&A with Lennard Zinn – Chains and cogs, triples and doubles, mixing wheel components and hotfoot feedback

By Lennard Zinn

Dear Lennard,
I just installed a new Wippermann 10-spd chain on an otherwise Campy Record group. All the components are one year old. I’m trying to eliminate an annoying “tinging” that I’m getting when climbing hard out of the saddle or sprinting. No success with the “tinging” but I introduced a new problem … the new chain jumps and skips and won’t stay engaged in the larger cogs. Have I worn out the rear cogs? I’m now thinking that the “tinging” noise may be coming from the engagement of the chain with the chainrings (30-42-52 ); the old Campy chain engages the rear cogset okay, but perhaps the chain is too stretched out to engage the chainrings properly (same noise regardless of which chainring it’s on), hence the noise. The cogset is a Ti-Steel 13-26 with about 2000 fairly hard miles (lots of climbing!). If you can offer any assistance it would be greatly appreciated.Bob

Dear Bob,
The tinging probably is due to running a new chain on worn cogs and chainrings. See if you can lift the chain away from the front of the large chainring or the back of the largest cog. If it comes away a lot (compare it to the chain lift on a new bike), the difference in wear is an issue. There is a Rohloff HG-Check tool with which you can check cog wear. You can also see the hook shape to the teeth and the squished out area on the flank of each tooth.

If it only skips on the smallest cog or two, check that you have not installed the ConneX link upside down. The Wippermann link works much the same way as the SRAM Power Link, but unlike other master links, the edges of the link plates are not symmetrical. This means that there is a definite orientation for the link, and you want to make sure you don’t install it upside down. You must orient the master link so that the convex edge is away from the chainring or cog. The link plate is bowl-shaped, and if you have the convex bottom of the bowl toward the center of the cog or chainring, then when it is on an 11- or 12-, maybe even a 13-tooth cog, the convex edge will ride up on the spacer between cogs, lifting the rollers out of the tooth valleys and causing the chain to skip under load. We had a discussion about this earlier in which it turned out I had the link upside down.

Here at Zinn Cycles, we often equip our mountain bikes with Wippermann chains due to the convenience of having a master link if disaster strikes when out on the trail. But we have had a number of complaints about skipping on the small cog, and it always turned out to be that the ConneX link was inverted.

Converting Dura-Ace triple to compact double
Dear Lennard,
How much do I have to replace to convert a Dura-Ace triple to a compact double? Can I get away with only changing the crankset?

Dear JB,
Just changing the crankset will work, but the shifting will not be as crisp as with derailleurs for a double, due to the long derailleur cages and extra chain not meant for those size cogs and chainrings.

Campy wheels and Shimano drive trains
Dear Lennard,
I have heard of people trying to get Shimano wheels to work with Campy drive trains, but what about the opposite? I’m getting a new Dura-Ace-equipped bike for next season, but all my race wheels are Campy 10. Has anyone tried this combination?

Answer from Wheels Manufacturing:

I do make a spacer kit for this. As you are going from a narrower cassette to a wider cassette, you don’t need to do much modification, just put in my spacers and add my lockring and away you go. The first two position cogs and carrier are fine with the Shimano 10-speed spacing. I am putting the finishing touches on everything and doing final testing but I should have these available in another month or so.
Dave Batka

Ten-speed chain won’t ease 9-speed shifting
Dear Lennard,
Can you use a Shimano 10-speed chain on a 9-speed drivetrain? Would it shift any better and not rub the front derailleur because it is narrower?

Dear Frank,
I have not tried it, but I am sure it would not improve shifting, being narrower and thus requiring more derailleur movement to initiate a shift, rather than less. It should reduce cross-chain rubbing, though.

Feedback on last week’s Q&A
On sore feet:
Dear Lennard,
Regarding Ray’s question in dealing with ball-of-foot pain, I have tried several products and have found that PediFix Ball-Of-Foot Cushions work quite well. The difference being that these cushions are liquid gel (not solid). I take two cushions and glue them together and then glue to the insole in my cycling shoe. I can ride all day with no pain. And before discovering them, I was in such pain that I thought I would have to quit cycling. They are hard to find, but you can order them online at CVS.com.

Dear Lennard,
As far as the hotfoot issue goes, I have had that problem for as long as I can remember. I have recently been running Specialized Body Geometry insoles in my shoes with very good success so far. These insoles are much cheaper than custom, and also feature a little bump that helps to spread the metatarsals out. I’d recommend them as a first try over custom.

Dear Lennard,
I read your response to Ray about metatarsal pads. I have the same problem as both you and he and have had success with non-custom orthotics made by Lynco. If it is any help, they offer off-the-shelf full foot pads made with or without a metatarsal pad and with or without a posted (canted) heel. I use the thinner dress version with both the met pad and the posted heel in my cycling shoes and my dress shoes. They are made out of durable materials and seem to last a long time. Compared to custom orthotics, they are cheap and might be worth a try.

On triple chainrings:
Dear Lennard,
In your answer to “Dropping to a lower gear,” you mentioned to swap the 52-42 chainrings to 53-39 (triple), and cautioned that it may not shift as well. A few months ago, I swapped my Ultegra triple 52-42-30 crank to an FSA 53-39-30, and indeed front shifting wasn’t as smooth, especially going back and forth from/to the 53. However, by swapping the front derailleur from the Ultegra (triple) to the D/A (triple), shifting became impeccable. The Shimano specs are also very clear on that: the Ultegra triple front derailleur accommodates up to 52T, whereas the D/A accommodates up to 53T.

Dear Lennard,
I put up with the 42T middle ring on an Ultegra triple for just three months before changing to a 39T ring. I can’t understand the thinking behind a 42T; it’s simply too high a ratio for normal riding. 39T is much nearer the mid-point between 52T and 30T and I find I can hang on in the middle range much longer. Seems Shimano may have got the message for the new Ultegra 10 speed.

At first I used a 39T Ultegra chainring from a double chainset; it works but shifting up from bottom is poor. Then I discovered that Specialities TA do a 39T middle ring under the Alize label (in fact they do a range of sizes). It has the shifting ramps and pips and, in combination with a Dura-Ace triple front derailleur, my bike now shifts at least as well as the original Shimano setup.

Dear Lennard,
I liked your bit about tempo today and thought I would chime in. Another way to consider tempo is by the expected physiological adaptations one can force by training in what many call Zone 3. A table is posted here.

By the numbers, zone 3 and tempo falls within 76 and 90 percent of an athlete’s maximal steady state (MSS) power, also known as functional threshold, and within 84-94 percent of an athlete’s MSS heart rates.

Where the rider is at physiologically is independent of the speed on the front of the peloton, as illustrated by U.S. Postal in this year’s TdF as they rode “tempo” up many of the climbs. While this pace may have been tempo for Beltran, Landis, and Armstrong, it sure wasn’t for most! For each rider, tempo is relative to his/her power at threshold and whether they are riding above or below that.

Personally, I have experienced Saturn’s “tempo” during Redlands 2003, and let me tell ya, I was not in my zone 3. Ouch! But I agree with Neal that in most cases cited by Phil and Paul, tempo is a general description of what is going on in the race.

Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (www.zinncycles.com), a former U.S. national team rider and author of several books on bikes and bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides “ Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” and “Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance.”Zinn’s regular column is devoted to addressing readers’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and how we as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn. Zinn’s column appears here each Tuesday.

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