July 12, 2002
VeloNews technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder, a formerU.S. national team rider and author of several books on bikes and bikemaintenance. This is Zinn’s weekly VeloNews.com column devoted to addressingreaders’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and howwe as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Readerscan send brief technical questions directlyto Zinn. We’ll try to print a representative sample of questions ineach column.
Follow-up from previous discussions: There was plenty of input from readers on the subject of mixing components,particularly Campagnolo and Shimano. Here is a sampling:
1. During my college racing days I was a devout Campy disciple. However, this was right when the first set of Spinergy Spox were released,and I thought they were super-fast and had to have them. As you know,these wheels only came with a Shimano-compatible freehub, so I used anUltegra 9-speed cog. I was originally running a complete Mirage 3-ringdrive train, and it needed some caressing when setting it up to shift smoothly. Now I am running the Daytona racing triple system and it works GREAT.
I think the trick with the rear derailleur is I have run the Campytriple rear derailleur with a longer tension arm.
2. My three teammates and I all run Campy 9spd (Recordand Chorus). I have two sets of Campy wheels and one Shimano. My teammates all have Shimano cassettes. All total, it’s about 9different sets of wheels that end up at races, plus our other teammates’wheels (all Shimano). Brands range from Campy, Mavic and Spinergy. We swap wheels all the time with no troubles.If I go from Campy to Shimano, I have to back off on rear derailleurtension a little, but it works flawlessly. Shimano gruppos and chainswill run my Campy cassettes.I think part of it has to do with the cassettes not being worn too much.In addition, I’m finding that the older Campy 9 speed cassettes (no carriers)
work better than the new UD cassettes that have cogs on carriers. Can’t seem to quite get my shifting dialed with the new UD cassette. My Rev-X’s
with Dura-Ace cassette works better in that instance.
3. Alright, get this…I run a Mirage Ergo 8-speed shifter witha Veloce 9-speed rear derailleur with a Shimano HG 8-speed cassette (withspacer)!Compatibility, shamatability! (I have really had no problems withthis setup…I use this setup to race with [and am currently #1 in Tennesseein
35+], and use my old Mirage 8-speed cassette when training with noproblems switching between wheels). Go figure.
4. I was surprised at your response on the Campy/Shimano shiftingcompatibility question. I switched to Campy shifting on my bike (Veloce9) and tried Shimano 9 speed. cassettes as all my wheels were Shimano.I tried this because it is suggested in your road bike maintenance book.You felt that only the most fussy riders would notice the difference. Iconsider myself somewhat fussy and have found the shifting to be excellent.
By the way, I do my own maintenance and bike building and find yourbook very useful.
5. Regarding component mixtures, I have been using Campy Chorus9-speed Ergo levers and a Campy rear derailleur with Shimano 9-speed cassetteswithout any problems. The Campy Ergo levers also work well with myDura-Ace front derailleur. Before 9-speed, to use a Shimano 8-speedcassette with Campy 8-speed derailleur and shifter, I had to replace thespacers with those from a Shimano 7-speed cassette.It was not perfect but worked tolerably well, but now with 9 speed theredon’t seem to be any real compatibility issues. For this reason I don’thave much interest in going to 10 speed. I can’t comment on whetherCampy Ergo levers work with Shimano rear derailleurs–that might be anotherstory.
6. I have a lot of old race stuff, from the pre-Synchro days,incl. 4 sets of Shimano freehub wheels, all 7 speed. My bike has 1998 CampyChorus Synchro, and works well with 3 of the 4 sets. All 3 shift on the spot using “Wheels Manufacturing” adapter spacers. The lousy setshifts well except for 2 adjacent cogs- it appears to have some slightedge rounding wear on the “twist tooth” tooth edges- but it also has morethan 5000 miles on the cogs. In each case the cable adjustment mustbe “spot on”- but can be easily made on the ride (Campy barrel adjusterson the down tube).As an aside- the old wheels are all 32 spoke tubular, with rim weightsof 280 (Mavic GEL), 290 (Fiamme gold label), 330 (Mavic) or 390 grams (Mavic).Why are all the modern rims so heavy??? All but the 290s seem pretty bulletprooffor a 160 lb. rider.
7. Following up on Mike’s email, but yeah I’ve got two bikeswith Ergo 9-speed shifters and derailleurs and use Shimano cassettes exclusively.One is a 2000 Chorus and matching derailleur upgraded from a ‘97 combo– I guess that makes it three bikes – and the other is a Daytona combo.The reason I went that way was pure economy, since the Shimano rollingstock is generally cheaper to buy and replace, but I personally preferthe action of the Ergos.Needless (I guess) to say I swap wheels with abandon since one bikeis a trainer and the other the racer.BTW, pure accident but the front derailleurs on the two machines areDA and 105 respectively.
8. To confirm the compatibility of Shimano & Campy drivetrains,I have used Campy 9-speed ergo levers & Campy derailleurs with Shimanocassettes and chains. But the key is using the same rear derailleurbrand as the shifters and the Shimano chain. Works flawlessly.
Regarding the numb hand question asked a couple of weeks ago: I’d recommend having his MD send him to a physical therapist. Numb hands (part or all) can come from various locations in the upper quarter. Typically what I’m seeing is that because of the position on the bike,the Thoracic spine tends to jam up in flexion. Then the Cervicalspine has to perform more movement in order to “look up.” At thispoint, muscular lengths change, joints and soft tissue can start to compromisenerve tissue and, thus numbness in varying degrees. Can come fromthe neck, the shoulder, the elbow, the wrist, etc.
Question: Your recent article “Champions Footsteps” about Russel Bollig and his custom orthotics has given me new hope in finding a fixfor my 12-year battle against cycling-induced problems with my left knee. I have tried everything (except orthotics) and have not been able to solvemy problems. I have been scoped and MRIed and there is nothing structurallywrong with my knee but I have moderate to severe knee pain and discomfortin my left knee starting hours after a ride and lasting for several days.
I am not asking you for your diagnosis but I am hoping that you might be able to give me a few ideas on how to find a competent specialist in my neck of the woods (Baltimore). I have been to several orthopedic specialists here but none seem to understand the mechanics of cycling and I get the same response, stretch, Motrin, stop cycling, etc. I have tried several clubs here but none seem to have any recommendations. I would love to fly out to Boulder to see some of the “wizards” that are packed in that area but it just is not practical. I don’t want to give you an easy way out but at least an e-mail address for Mr. Bollig would be a good start. I was a Cat 3 rider before knee problems put an end to competitive cycling, and I am dying to get back out there and “mix it up” again. Any ideas?
Answer: All I could suggest is to try calling the guys I kno where. BCSM (Boulder Center for Sports Medicine) is at 303-544-5700, ortry: www.bch.org/sportsmedicine Russel Bollig at Podium is at 303-554-0505and does not answer e-mail.
Regarding front-end shimmy:
1. Thanks for all the tech advice, both in the magazine and online. This note regards your advice to John, who is suffering from shimmy on his 853 Lemond. My bike used to shimmy at disconcerting speeds, mostly42mph-plus, usually on straight descents or wide, swoopy hills.A professional frame alignment helped some, and so did switching toa matched set of tires (I was using two different brands). I was finallyable to overcome it with a change in technique: gripping the top tube betweenmy knees while descending. This shortens the lever, as you call it, andit worked wonders!!
2. My favorite bike of all time was a 20-pound 60cm steel NishikiProfessional circa 1980. It was really flimsy but I loved it. It had a wicked shimmy around 35 mph but it went away at any other speeds. Relaxing your arms through it helps to dampen it and pinch the top tubewith your knees if it gets out of control, this stopped the shimmy completelyin my case.I could make this bike shimmy by just shaking the bars for a second at any speed. This made a controllable shimmy that wouldn’t accelerate. It was probably still dangerous but I was young and stupid and would do it for fun on occasion. The shimmying never caused a crash or was a problem in races and that bike cornered like a dream, it also lasted through six years of racing.
P.S. My 60cm Moser Leader AX will shimmy when I start it too, but it dampens itself quickly. Regarding Dirk’s French-threaded bike with an Italian stem in it and a creaking noise. I recommended not riding it anymore and getting immediately checked out, since if an Italian quill stem (O.D. of 22.2mm) is fitted into a French-threaded steering tube (I.D. of 22.0mm), it must have been reamed out. Since the wall thickness is already 0.2mm thinner on a French steering tube (since the O.D. is 25.0mm and the I.D. is 22.0mm, vs. 25.4mm O.D. and 22.2mm I.D. for an English-threaded one-inch steerer), this makes the reaming even more dangerous.
I brought my 1978 Motobecane Team Champion (French threaded) into my bike shop after you told me of the boring that may have been done in the fork steerer. Turns out the creaking I had been hearing was not the stem and bar, but cracks in the steerer tube! To preserve the integrity of the ride…and my wallet…Mark Nobilette is brazing a new steerer on the fork and we are topping the headset with an English threaded Campy top cap. Thanks for the heads up on it. I’m just dumb enough to have ridden it until it broke. I thought to email you after reading your tech column onthe VN site. I’m probably the only person in the free world who rides this stuff anymore, but the IMBA-heads thought it was a cool problem.
VeloNews technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder, a formerU.S. national team rider and author of several books including the pairof successful maintenance guides “Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance”and “Zinn & theArt of Road Bike Maintenance.“