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Technical Q&A with Lennard Zinn – I shift, Ergo I am

Unwelcome floatDear Lennard,I have 1997 Campy chorus (9-speed) on my bike and other than the factthat I have to replace the right lever indexing spring every four years,I love it.My friend has '99 Chorus (also 9-speed) and is not as happy. It seemsthat sometime between those two years Campy changed the "balance" of thesprings in the right lever and the rear derailleur, so that instead ofclicking into one set position, the rear derailleur has about 1-2 millimetersof lateral "float" that allows you to center the chain on the selectedcog. Maybe they thought it was a good idea for folks who

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By Lennard Zinn

Unwelcome float
Dear Lennard,
I have 1997 Campy chorus (9-speed) on my bike and other than the factthat I have to replace the right lever indexing spring every four years,I love it.My friend has ’99 Chorus (also 9-speed) and is not as happy. It seemsthat sometime between those two years Campy changed the “balance” of thesprings in the right lever and the rear derailleur, so that instead ofclicking into one set position, the rear derailleur has about 1-2 millimetersof lateral “float” that allows you to center the chain on the selectedcog. Maybe they thought it was a good idea for folks who are bad at adjustingtheir shifting, but both my friend and I find it annoying, as you alwayshave to play with it after every shift to get it quiet. Is there a wayto make the ’99 shifting work like the ’97 by using a different springin either the lever or derailleur to get rid of this float feature? It’sokay to get technical, as I’ve rebuilt those levers a couple times, andam familiar with the mechanism.The G-springs are still the originals. This float was there when new,right out of the box. The only other consideration is that it’s not supposedto have float, and there is something wrong with my friend’s ’99 components.I don’t know anyone else who has that year Chorus, so haven’t been ableto compare.
RussDear Russ,
I have been using every generation of ErgoPower ever since it was firstintroduced, and as I have included instructions for overhauling these leversin “Zinnand the Art of Road Bike Maintenance” (I hope you appreciate theskill with which I slipped a shameless commercial plug right in there),I am of course very interested in their internal workings as well. I havenever noticed a difference in the internals between Record and Chorus,or in their shifting performance, for that matter. So, I asked Campy mechanicextraordinaire (and owner of Vecchio’s bike shop in Boulder) Peter Chisholmabout your question.Here is his answer. The “spring carrier” to which he refers is a ring-shapedpart which holds the two G-shaped indexing springs, and eight-speed levershave no vertical post extending from the spring carrier, while 9- and 10-speedlevers do. The vertical post secures the hooked end of a flat-coil “compensationspring” (which Chisholm refers to as “the big watch spring”).
LennardFrom Vecchio’s:

The innards of the ERGO, including the long slots in the ERGObody for the spring carrier in it, haven’t changed since1993. The shiftfor Campagnolo has always been an “overshift,” with the spring carriermoving in this slot, with the rear derailleur spring then centering thederailleur on the cog after the shift is made. If his friend has to “fiddle,”then I suspect that the inner wire isn’t moving freely, either throughthe housing or through the under-bottom-bracket guide. Or, the spring carrier(EC-RE-111) has a broken post (that started in the 1998 levers and continuesto be a problem). If it is the post on the spring carrier, it will notallow the spring carrier to move freely in these slots in the body, makingit necessary to manually center the rear derailleur.With any 1998 pr later ERGO, and good 5mm housing, a quality inner wire,and a clean BB guide and a non-broken EC-RE-111 (which is the mostcommon problem) it works as advertised. I should also mention that startingin 1998, Campagnolo was responding to the common “complaint” that shiftingto a bigger cog was “clunky” and required too much effort relative to Shimano(something I prefer, rather than the vagueness of Shimano).As a result, the rear derailleur return spring was designed to be weaker,and they added the big watch spring (EC-RE-055) to make the shift effortless. So any issues with the inner wire, housing, BB guide or post on theEC-RE-111, anything that prevents the rear derailleur from centering onthe cog, becomes really obvious. Again, a broken post on EC-RE-111 preventssmooth movement of the spring carrier in the slots, preventing the rearderailleur from centering.
Peter Chisholm
Vecchio’s Bicicletteria
1833 Pearl St.
Republic of Boulder
“Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene”

Chain letter
Dear Lennard,
Maybe this topic has been discussed, but I cannot seem to find it.I recently replaced my Campagnolo 10-speed chain on my Chorus 10-speedwith a Dura-Ace chain at the advice of some local shop mechanics. I nowseem to be having a bit of trouble shifting between the large and smallchainring. Sometimes the chain seems to get somewhat stuck between thelarge and small chainring. I did remove my chainrings and reinstall themto clean them when I changed the chain, but all the marks are lined upas they should be, and the chainring bolts are tight. Have you heard anyreports of using the Dura-Ace 10 chain on Campy 10 and these types of issues?I have a race this weekend and would like to replace the chain again ifthis is a known issue.
JasonDear Jason,
It sounds like, although you did not specifically say so, that youreplaced the Campy 10-speed chain with a Dura-Ace 10-speed chain (as opposedto a Dura-Ace 9-speed chain). If that is indeed what you did, I definitelyrecommend against it for exactly the reasons you cite. The Shimano 10-speedchain is considerably narrower than the Campy 10-speed chain, while theShimano 9-speed chain is close to the same width as the Campy 10-speedchain. I have successfully used a Dura-Ace 9-speed chain on a Campy 10-speedsystem with no problems, and I know lots of other people who have as well.Of course, Campagnolo recommends against using any chain other than itsown 10-speed chain with its drivetrain.
LennardHey Ralphie!
Dear Lennard,
I have a Trek 110 frame with fork drop out “stops” on the fork dropouts.They are little carbon “nubs” on the drop out that keep the front wheelfrom falling out if you don’t know how to use quick release skewers. Iam tempted to file these off as I they make removing and installing thewheel more cumbersome. I saw that Michael Barry’s bike has them filed offand I assume the team did that for wheel changes.Will it weaken the integrity of the quick-releaseskewer holding on tocarbon? Over time? Does Trek put these on because they don’t want to besued by people who don’t know how to use QR skewers or because a carbonfiber dropout does not hold as well or wears out over time. I imagine thereis a recommended pounds of pressure they should be closed at as to notdisintegrate the dropout over time?
MichaelDear Michael,
Yes, Trek puts those on to avoid lawsuits from people whose wheelsfall out due to improper tightening of the quick-release skewer. However,these nubs are by no means limited to forks with carbon dropouts. Almostany bicycle fork these days has these nubs (often dubbed “lawyertabs” or “Nader hooks”), whether the fork tips are carbon, aluminum, magnesiumor steel.The nubs do nothing to strengthen the integrity of the connection betweenthe axle and dropout. They only keep a loose wheel from falling out bycatching the ends of the skewer. So if you tighten your skewer improperly,you can damage your dropout whether you have the nubs or not. If the skeweris loose enough to move up and down on the face of the dropout, the nubwill still allow it to do this, it just will stop it before it moves downtoo far.Obviously, lawyer tabs can easily be removed with a file on most roadforks, but they are almost impossible to remove on suspension forks, sincethe tab actually surrounds the entire dropout face. For the same reasonsthat manufacturers put them there in the first place, I certainly wouldnever recommend removing them.
LennardFollow up from last week
Dear Lennard,
In regards to Mavic freehub being too tight, it has a relatively easyfix. Remove the freehub body and lightly apply a silicone based lube (Ilike Giants Liquid Silk) to the o-ring that contacts the hub and freehub.This should stop the sticking feeling for at least a couple of hundredmiles.
I know the spoke protectors are a pain, but I doubt that is the problemfor most of these hubs.
BenDear Lennard,
After reading your recenton-line column, I have two questions:I have found luck using a steel wool Brillo pad on my Ti frame. Is thisharmful if it is used lightly and infrequently?A few weeks ago, you implied that the higher the thread count (TPI), the faster the tire. Did I interpret this correctly?MattDear Matt,No, it is not.Yes, you did.LennardI also received lots of responses about Simichrome polish still being available. Either Simichromeor Solvol Autosol work extremely well for polishing aluminum parts. Getthese polishes from the local Harley Davidson dealer. Motorcycles havea lot of polished aluminum.Note: never polish out aluminum that must be clamped like seatposts etc. because then they will slip big time!


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.