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By Lennard Zinn
Just wondering about a brief explanation on the “dos and don’ts” associatedwith bike cleaning and pressure washers. There seems to me to be two schoolsof thoughts around this and that pressure washers are a “no-no” that canruin components -specifically bearings, yet we see a lot of pro teams mechanicscleaning their teams bikes using stands and pressure washers? What areyour recommendations using pressure washers and some simple rules?
Canada (land of road salt and sand!)Dear Dave,
My recommendation, in general, is to stay away from power washers.Of course, there are many people who are going to use them anyway, andit sounds like you may have such a rapid buildup of road deposits on yourbike that the time savings of cleaning with one of them is too significantto ignore.Except with a suspension fork (at which you spray from the side to avoidblowing past the seals), point the sprayer straight down on the bike fromthe top. You can spray straight up from the bottom, too, but avoid theheadset area and the rear shock.Pro team mechanics blast the bikes from the side, as well as from thetop and bottom, and I think they do a disservice to their riders and equipment(and consequently to their equipment sponsors) by doing so. The pressurizedwater going at the bearing seals on the hubs, freehub bodies, bottom brackets,and pedals of pro team bikes on a daily basis is a big reason that we nowcan only purchase such stiff, slowly rotating bearing seals on so manyparts now. For instance, the original Dura-Ace Octalink (and original XTROctalink) loose-bearing bottom bracket wore relatively rapidly due to thevery small bearing size, but it did spin quite well. A rider needed tomaintain the thing fairly frequently, but it was doable. However, its sealswere grossly insufficient to prevent the incursion of water from a pressuresprayer, and the rate at which pro teams went through these bottom bracketswas so high that Shimano stopped making them almost immediately, replacingthe loose bearings with much stiffer-turning bearings with heavy sealsinside a sealed cartridge.Similarly, the DT Swiss-made hubs on Bontrager wheels used by Team U.S.Postal/Discovery were not sealed well enough to deal with power washersoriginally, so these now have much stiffer seals that can handle this kindof service, but freedom of spinning is compromised. These are just twoexamples of which there are many others. Obviously, for some riders, thebetter seals are a big advantage, due to the harsh conditions they ridein. So you could argue that pro teams using power washers benefit all ofus by forcing improvement of the bearing seals by their equipment suppliers.On the other hand, you could also argue that, for other riders, the sealsto protect against blasting by high-pressure water are overkill and resultin more friction and less speed.
LennardA threadless solution
I saw the VeloNews TechnicalQ&A about the Look frame with the stripped threads. YST makes aBB (BB993) that requires no threads (providing you use a square-taper crank).The shell for the cartridge is threaded, and the cups screw on to it. Thereis a taper on the flange ends of each cup to aid in aligning the BB. Ifound one from BikeToolsEtc.com.I ordered one this week for an old French bike I’m repairing. The bottom bracket also comes in a wide range of spindle lengths–up to 127.5mm.
MikeI received a lot of mail about the Achilles problem from the January24 column. Here are a couple of those, including one from Brent Emery,silver medalist in the 4000-meter Team Pursuit at the 1984 Olympics.
In reply to Andy’s proper suggestion that Jason move his feet forwardas far as possible and lower his seat (VN online 1-24-2006), I offer thesesmall additions to that advice.
It sounds like a sudden long ride is this rider’s most aggravatingfactor. Jason describes himself as “an intermediate cyclist”. He soundslike he has been riding at least occasionally year in and year out forthe last 10 years. Since Jason has been trouble free since that long rideof 10 years ago, I recommend a more careful build up in his training mileageand intensity so long rides don’t cause this overuse injury.
If he continues to ride before this problem clears up, he should limitthe intensity of rides and keep his feet and heel area warmer than usualwhile riding. A set of ankle warmers can be made by using old thicker socksand cutting the lower foot off of them. His tights and booties will keepthem in place.Until it clears up he should also avoid squats, stairs, running andother activities that put stress on that area. A proper “work hardening”physical therapy approach should be undertaken.
Once it clears up, a professional fit is necessary for him. Havingyour foot all the way forward may take the stress away from the back ofthe foot for rehabilitation, but limits smoothness at high leg speeds.If he rides primarily in mountains at lower leg speeds, having the footforward won’t be bad long-term.As for the seat height, a properly low seat height would yield a 35degree bend in the leg at the bottom of the stroke. Having the seat toolow could cause knee problems and a loss of power.
Emerys Bicycle and Super Fitness Stores
Milwaukee, WisconsinHello Lennard,
I just read your response to the person experiencing Achilles tendonpain while riding.I too experienced Achilles and plantar fasciaitis problems this yearafter taking running in addition to biking. I went to see Dr. Perry Julienwho is a sports podiatrist who works with competitive athletes. His advicehelped me tremendously. He has a short book addressing the issues facingactive people. I recommend taking a look at SureFooting, A Sports Podiatrists Perspective on Running and Exercise-RelatedInjuries.
ScottRegarding using a Campy compact front derailleur with FSA compactchainrings, clearly I need to try it again. I used it on one bike and foundit to work poorly, but I received a number of responses like this one below:
I saw your admonition about Campy’s compact front derailleur and FSAcompact cranks. I have a Giant ONCE Team Bike and switched to FSA compactcranks to keep a relatively small rear cogset. I then switched from CampyRecord standard front derailleur to the Campy compact front derailleur after getting frustrated with the double-throw necessary to get the chain from the small to large chain ring. That was over 3000 miles ago and I’m very happy with the improved shifting. Early on I threw the chain to the inside on downshifts, but methodical adjustment fixed that. My only issue now is the odd chain clink, due more I think to the master link than anything else.
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.