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Technical FAQ with Lennard Zinn: Peeling AquaSeal and Campy goes electric

Lennard fields questions on pealing AquaSeal, Campy's electronic group and pricing, clicking Zipps, nitrogen-inflated tires and water-in-the-frame syndrome.

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dugastDear Lennard,

I had a shop AquaSeal my Dugasts this fall for cyclocross season.

The AquaSeal is peeling off in large chunks leaving the sidewalls quite exposed/unsealed. Should I just cut/peel off the peeling sections and re-seal the sidewalls?

Any suggestions or things to avoid?

Dear Ed,
Yes, peel off the peeling sections, trim the edges flush, and re-coat the bare spots. Keep the layer thin, and make sure the area is clean and dry before applying it. You can also try McNett Tent Sure, which spreads easily and should be easier to apply as a thin layer. A single bottle will do a lot of tires.
— Lennard

Dear Readers,
Many of you have been asking for a long time about Campagnolo electronic shifting and its current status, and that has accelerated now with the photos going around the Internet of Valentino Campagnolo and Fausto Pinarello at the Giro presentation with a black Dogma with 11-speed Campy electronic on it.

When I visited Campagnolo in the summer of 2009, I saw test machines running with electronic drivetrains. Campy had a 10-speed model that had been through a couple of years of testing on ProTour teams before the company shelved it while devoting all of its energy to coming out with 11-speed groups. Development on the electronic system is now back on track, only now as an 11-speed system with the new lever shape.

Because of all the speculation, the company recently sent out a press release:

As it is our usual strategy, we want our products to be “used and stressed” by pro riders before being marketed. We’ve experimented such procedure being the best to leave us and our customers confident about our re-known product’s quality.

Let us take this opportunity to inform you that the same Pinarello bike will be on display at the coming Cycle Mode Show in Tokyo while Campagnolo first official statement regarding the sport and sponsoring program of our electronic shifting device will be spread at the occasion of the official presentation of the Movistar Team.

Following the usual timing of any market introduction, in occasion of a future official presentation of the Campagnolo electronic shifting device, we will supply technical details, pictures and all relevant information about the final market product.”

Only tangentially related, Campagnolo just added a new Tech Lab series of videos.

— Lennard

Regarding my Tech Q&A in the December VeloNews print magazine:

Ciao Lennard,
I can empathize with Chris about chewing through expensive Campagnolo spares with his ’cross bike.

Our friends at Torelli offer inexpensive gear and brake inner wires specifically sized to use with Ergopower with no filing needed and no worries about ’em getting stuck in the cable receptacle.

Dealers can order Miche cassettes from QBP to fit on Campagnolo freehubs. In my experience they work pretty well, maybe 90 percent of the performance of the genuine Campagnolo cassette.

Finally, KMC’s DX10 chain is inexpensive and OEM on more than a few otherwise complete Campagnolo-equipped bicycles on the market, and based on my testing, they work just fine.

While I love the guys at Campagnolo and am grateful for their help as an official supplier to CycleItalia, when it comes to going through parts like they were tissues or bandages, these lower cost bits can save a lot of dough and deliver almost all of the performance of the real thing.

A Miche cassette for Campy

Campy HAS made some ’cross specific stuff available for 2011 with greater durability in mind, as you know.
— Larry Theobold

Another perspective on the same subject:


Another good one about Campagnolo and ’cross. From the trenches:

SRAM PG-1070 and Shimano 5700 cassettes are actually more expensive than a Veloce 10s cogset.

In addition, any bike shop worth its salt will have Jagwire’s cables for Campagnolo shifters. We actually use it for SRAM and Shimano shifters also.

I also sell the KMC DX-10 chain – $40 retail, works great on all 10-speed systems. Shimano 5700 chains have gotten to be about $42 retail, and I have seen SRAM Red chains as high as $90 retail.

There continues to be this perception that Campagnolo is “more expensive,” and on certain things it is. BUT Chorus 11s cogsets just came down in price by about 30 percent, making them less expensive than SRAM Red.

— Peter Chisholm
Vecchio’s Bike Shop
Boulder, Colo.

Regarding nitrogen inflation:

Dear Lennard,

Call me a nit-picker but you wrote: “And air is not an option, because, since the oxygen in air is flammable, air compressed over 1,000 psi cannot be stored.”

As all high school chemistry students know, oxygen is not flammable. Oxygen, of course, supports combustion.

There may be lots of good reasons not to store high pressure compressed air. I’m no expert on that. I have seen proposals to power a car based on compressed air at 4,500 psi, which was claimed to be safe.

— Marc

Dear Marc,

Thanks for pointing that out.

We corrected it within a day after posting, as explained by Prestacycle’s David Finlayson’s clarification in the comments section below the article .
— Lennard

Regarding draining water out of frames to prevent rust damage to the frame or the bottom bracket:

Dear Lennard,

You might want to add to your bits about water collecting in frames a reminder to steel frame owners about treating the inside of their frame with some rust-preventive along with making sure there’s a drain hole in the bottom bracket shell.

I’d also suggest they make darn sure things are DRY inside a frame (no matter what the material) BEFORE they close up any drain holes. Folks that live in humid places can have problems with internal condensation build-up despite never riding in the rain.

I’ve personally seen destroyed Campagnolo BB’s on bikes the owners swore were never washed with water or ridden in the rain or on wet roads!

I’ve had clients worried about drilling a hole in their BB shell, thinking it’ll void a warranty in the event of frame failure (same as filing off the “lawyer lips” with a fork, even though it would have zero to do with most failures) so I’ve done this instead.

Hollow out the screw used to hold the plastic cable guide under the BB with a tiny drill bit. Make sure the length of the screw is just enough to engage the BB shell but does not protrude up like a snorkel, keeping the water from draining out. I remind the client that he/she needs to make sure this hole doesn’t get clogged up since it’s so tiny. I suggest they stick a toothpick or something similar up there when cleaning the bike.

Condensation or water entering the frame will slowly drip out if the bike’s kept horizontal, though as you say, yanking the seatpost out and turning the bike upside down is more effective … but many folks don’t want to mess with that, thinking their bike’s made from non-ferrous material anyway so rust is not a problem. When their BB starts making crunchy noises and the rusty scraps are removed, they understand water damage is a real issue.
— Larry

Dear Larry,
Thanks, and I do recommend periodically spraying Frame Saver inside of the frame tubes.
— Lennard

Regarding combining Campagnolo cogsets and clicking wheels :

Dear Lennard,
I just read your answer to the question about mixing two Campy cassettes.

I just did it (on my 10-speed Chorus bike), made an 11-26 cassette based on a Centaur 11-23 and a Chorus 13-26 cassette.

Shifts just as perfect as the original cassettes.
— Alfred

Dear Lennard,

In response to the clicking noise a reader was experiencing with his Zipp wheels: I had a new set of 808s start popping more than once with every revolution and it just turned out that the hub needed to be adjusted. They sounded terrible before I fixed them, almost like they were about to fall apart. That could be another possibility for the loud noises that Greg heard coming from his wheels (These were new models with the updated hub, 2009 year models I believe).
— Jared

Dear Lennard,
I read your column dated September 29 regarding the Zipp 404 wheels making a clicking sound. I had a similar problem this summer and asked Zipp for help. Please see their response below.

In my case, it was the drive-side front bearing unit that was moving back and forth in the hub.

I removed the bearings with my finger (in another email, Zipp said no special tools are required) and applied Finish Line Ceramic Grease to the outer casings. The fix worked and the clicking stopped. Also in a later email Zipp said that the early builds of the current 404 model did not use any grease.

From the Zipp email:

Here are some things to check:
1) Remove the bearings and coat the outer casings with RSP Ultra grease
2) Check spoke tensions and inspect for cracked nipples
3) Apply a drop of thin oil (Tri flow) the nipple carbon interface
The first one is by far the most likely fix.”

— Michael

Dear Lennard,
I had a tick with a tubular Zipp 303, and the valve stem was indeed the culprit. I strongly dislike electrical tape, so fixed it by stuffing a small splinter of wood between the valve stem and the hole in the rim.
— Tyler

Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn.

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Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (, a former U.S. national team rider and author of numerous books on bikes and bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides “Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” – now available also on DVD, and “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance,” as well as “Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes” and “Zinn’s Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists.”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. Zinn’s column appears here each Tuesday.