Road Gear

Technical FAQ: Flying with discs; more gearing queries

Lennard Zinn answers a question about flying with a disc-brake bike. Plus, more follow-up questions on wide-range road bike gearing.

Dear Lennard,
I just got a great new bike with hydro brakes and a nice clean routing of the hydro hose through the fork. Now I’m itching to travel with it. My current bike bag requires that I remove the fork for travel. Problem is, the hydro line to the front brake is internally routed through the fork, so I can’t simply unbolt the caliper from the mount and then remove the fork from the frame. Seems like I have two options: (1) unwrap the bar tape and take the lever off the handlebars to keep it with the fork; or (2) unhook the hydro line from the caliper, slide it out from inside the fork, unbolt the caliper, re-attach the hydro line to the caliper, and then remove the fork. I’d prefer not to go through the hassle of removing and re-wrapping bar tape, but option (2) has me scared that I’ll get dot fluid everywhere and air in my lines, requiring me to do a hotel-room bleed when I reassemble. Yikes! Maybe I’m missing the easy solution here. What’s your best suggestion for us desperate hydro brake travelers?
— Brad

Dear Brad,
I don’t see any easy solution for you.

The most obvious one is to get a different bike bag or bike case that allows you to leave the fork installed. Unless yours in an enormous bike, there are lots of options here.

If you can’t or don’t want to do that, I’d recommend traveling with a different bike or set it up with an external front brake hose before you travel.

In any case (pun intended), I recommend that you remove the rotors from the wheels for travel. That makes the obvious case (pun intended again) for CenterLock rotors and hubs, rather than 6-bolt ones, so you are spending more time riding and less time screwing around with a dozen rotor bolts.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I’m just wondering if I can run a new DA 9100 11-30 cassette on my 9000 Dura-Ace drivetrain. I am currently running an 11-28; will I need a new chain or any other adjustment to move up only two teeth?
— Frank

Dear Frank,
As I have said before, this depends on the geometry of the derailleur hanger on your bike, but I am willing to bet that this combination will work on most bikes that have Dura-Ace 9000 on them. Yes, you will need another chain link and will probably need to tighten the b-screw to keep the derailleur quiet on the biggest cog.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I came across this piece you wrote.

I am building up a new bike right now, and I am everything but an expert, so I was hoping for your input.

I am planning to buy this 3T Orbis C35 wheelset, which is Shimano/SRAM compatible.

However, I would like to match it with a Campagnolo Potenza groupset.

Does that work?
— Alex

Dear Alex,
Yes it does. Of course, you have to use a Shimano/SRAM-compatible 11-speed cassette on the wheel; the Campy cassette will not fit. The drivetrain will shift fine on that cassette.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
For my many 10-speed Shimano wheels I’m told I can convert the freehub to Campagnolo, buy a Campagnolo cassette, and I’m good to go with any Shimano 11-speed.

What about the wheel dish difference? Any problems there?
— Greg

Dear Greg,
Not on a Shimano brand wheel you can’t! That said, the people who told you are right for most brands; most wheel makers offer freehub bodies for either Shimano/SRAM cassettes or for Campagnolo cassettes. Generally, re-dishing is not necessary. The Campy 11-speed cassette is wider than a Shimano 10-speed one, but it generally sits closer to the spokes and to the dropout on each end.
― Lennard

Regarding cleaning disc-brake pads

[related title=”More Technical FAQ” align=”right” tag=”Technical-FAQ”]

Dear Lennard,
In the August 1 edition of your Technical FAQ, you suggested sanding down pads as the best method of cleaning. I used a tip I found on YouTube from “High Carb Rider” quite some time back and it works remarkably well, much better for me than the sanding method. Here are the steps:

1. Remove pads
2. Use dishwashing liquid (I have Dawn to far and away be the best) and put a couple of drops on each pad on the brake surface
3. Rub the pads braking surfaces against each other for a bit. it’s not so much about the time as it is the feeling of the gritty surfaces become smoother as they rub against each other
4. Rinse pads until all traces of dirt and soap are gone
5. If the pads still look dirty, you may have to do steps 3-4 again
6. Dry them off and reinstall them
7. Take a short ride that allows you to get going fast enough (15+ mph or faster), and do a few hard stops to help get the pads bedded back to the rotors
8. You should be good to go!
The only time this didn’t work for me is when I got brake fluid on the pads.

Here is the video. I trimmed off a few minutes at the beginning to get to the point.
— Scott

Regarding budget rear-derailleur-hanger alignment strategies

Dear Lennard,
The thread pitch on a CO2 cartridge is the same as the thread pitch on hangers. In a pinch, you could thread a CO2 cartridge in there and tug a bent hanger back into place, if there’s no other options.
— Joseph

Dear Lennard,
I take Steve’s tip one step further. I remove my rear derailleur and then screw an old wheel into the derailleur hanger. I use a tape measure to measure the distance between the two rims and make sure it’s the same all the way around. No eye-balling required!
— Anthony

More strategies for increasing gear range

You had a reader who wanted to increase his gearing range to 42 teeth with Shimano Di2.

It is possible to drill a hole, which will allow a 40-tooth cassette. This video is for Ultegra mechanical, but it may work with a Di2 system. That would get him a bit closer. We had a few riders using this derailleur and a 40-tooth cassette on a trip to the Dolomites, and it worked great!

Another idea is to use a SRAM Force long cage derailleur, I have that on my CX1 with a 11-42 cassette.
— Marc

Dear Marc,
Thanks for that. I believe you are talking about this derailleur in your second option, not this one. Note that a SRAM Force1 rear derailleur can handle large cogs with a single chainring, but it does not have the capacity to also take up the chain slack required to handle multiple chainrings.
― Lennard