Ineos Grenadiers and EF Education–EasyPost both got refreshed and optimized chains for cycling’s biggest race.
Chain friction in systems with oversized pulley wheels, and more solutions for mounting a rear rack on a carbon frame.
VeloNews' technical expert talks about drivetrain alignment and more about how to diminish wrist pain when riding.
Why to use a chain gauge to measure bicycle chain wear, when you can use a ruler instead.
More discussion about measuring chain wear, and the correct way to align chainrings.
Lennard Zinn conducted durability tests on the 13 most popular 11-speed chains. Zinn found the strongest (and the weakest) chains, and produced a cost-analysis chart for grading them.
Installing a new chain? Be sure to get the length right with these tips
This week, Lennard Zinn answers readers' questions about the size of cassettes and cranks, rubbing chains, and more
Lennard Zinn answers readers' questions about swapping out chainrings, dealing with chain rub, and more in this week's Technical FAQ
Nick Legan answers reader questions on replacing worn rims, a unique chain holder for bike washing and aero whiskers
Lennard answers some less frequently asked questions on fixie chain tension and spoke-thread myths
Lennard Zinn takes a new look at the old problem of brake chatter in cyclocross.
A reader makes a minor change to his drivetrain and experiences a whole new set of problems. Is there a simple solution? Lennard Zinn thinks so.
Lennard Zinn gets a heads up from a reader about some earlier advice.
A reader asks about possible fork damage after a close encounter of the low clearance kind.
Lennard Zinn's readers weigh in on ways to choose, fix and maintain tires and those super-narrow 11-speed chains.
With redesigned ErgoPower levers, a reader wonders about keeping the small brass cable stop in its place. LZ also touches on why Campagnolo isn't as big in cyclocross as you might expect.
Can I use Campy 10-speed shifters with 11-speed derailleurs?
Can I use a Campy 9-speed rear derailleur with a 10-speed drivetrain?
Can I use a Shimano 7900 chain with a 7800 rear derailleur?
Can I use a Dura-Ace 7900 crank with a 9-speed drivetrain?
Can I combine SRAM mountain and road components to produce hillclimb gearing?
Can I use a Campy 11-speed shifter with a 10-speed cassette?
Why do my vintage Campy shifters not shift well?
I’m in the Denver airport about to fly to Italy for the Giro d’Italia. I have enjoyed a lot of the feedback from a few recent columns, and I thought you might as well. Next time you hear from me will be from the Giro, so look for some cool bikes for the team time trial soon.
On fixing carbon frames:
In your Earth Day column there was a question about a cracked carbon frame. Since it is a save the earth day of posting I thought I would ask about the possibility of repairing a cracked carbon frame (small crack obviously). Since you can buy epoxy and carbon, would it be possible to repair a carbon frame? It would be ugly but would it be rideable?
Scott Dear Scott,
Torque wrenches and temperature ranges Dear Lennard, I own both deflecting beam and click-type (Giustaforza) torque wrenches. They are stored in my garage where the temperature can get below freezing in the winter and over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Do torque wrenches need to be stored and used within a certain temperature range to maintain accuracy? Gary Answer from Effetto Mariposa:
Polishing scratched aluminum cranks, tubeless road tires and Scotch-brite pads
Questions about inspecting carbon forks for safety, trying Wippermann chains with Campy 10-speed systems and using Shimano MTB derailleurs with 10-speed road systems. What to do? I'm low on funds and that's the main reason I haven't replaced them as yet. I will add there are no stress fractures or noticeable wear.
Questions about fork failure from squirrel collisions, talcum powder and rolling resistance and bottom bracket life spans.
Are ceramics that delicate?
In your article on ceramic bearings in the recent VeloNews Buyers Guide I got the impression that these things were not only smooth but durable as well. As a result, I ordered a ceramic SRAM bottom bracket with the Red crankset on my new bike. To say the least, I was surprised when I read the SRAM maintenance instructions that came with it and saw the recommendation that one should disassemble and lube the bearings after every 100 hours of use and immediately after riding in the rain or wet.
Dear Lennard, Question for you re: forks for long head tubes. I'm 6'4" and have a Seven Axiom with a roughly 30cm head tube and a Seven rebadged Reynolds carbon fork on it. It is a bit flexy when braking while cornering and I'd like to improve that. What options are out there and how do they rate vs. each other? I know Alpha Q makes one with a steerer long enough (as seen on your bike) as does Storck, but want to understand if they are better than the Reynolds vis a vis flex/rigidity. Ted Dear Ted,
A recurring pain
I'm writing because I just read the shoe review in the VeloNews Buyer's Guide, and you mention in there that you use a custom orthotic. I was happy to see that the Shimano SH R300's I just purchased got high marks, but I am still having issues with my right foot even with the new shoes. I got the new shoes because I was having the problem with my four-year-old Northwave Evolutions.
One more gear?
We have a 27-mile climb just outside of town that I ride up occasionally. My problem is that I tend to spin out on my way back down and find it difficult to keep up with some of my riding partners. A friend of mine told me that I could swap my 10-speed Shimano cassette (12-25) for a SRAM (11-26), which would give me both a better climbing and descending gear. Although I understand 45MPH is plenty fast, is the swap compatible?
Brian Dear Brian,
Side steppin'Dear Lennard,Regarding your April 10, 2007 article "Whatis it?", I was wondering if you had any thoughts or opinions on modern-daypedal systems which are attempting to bring the ball of the foot directlyto where the pedal spindle typically is. The two that cometo mind are SideMount pedal (SMP) of Pasadena, CA and VistaMagic X of France.DavidDear David,I have not used the Vista Magic X, but I’ve used Steve Lubanski’s SideMount Pedal and Tom Slocum’s HighSierra dropped pedal built into a Speedplay. Both of them feel absolutelyfantastic to pedal with; most riders would be amazed
Making the transitionDear Lennard,I have spent a couple of years "tinkering" with my position on thebike. I feel like my position is now as close to perfect as possible.I am now worried that if I change shoes or damage my bike, etc. that Iam going to lose my "perfect position". What measurements shouldI record in order to duplicate my current setup on a new bike in the future?Also, I currently wear Sidi cycling shoes. How difficult is it toduplicate my cleat placement on a different manufacturer's shoes if I chooseto switch brands in the future?RyanDear Ryan,This is a perfect question for
Old-school rims at Paris-RoubaixDear Lennard,I noticed that all the teams for Paris-Roubaix used old-school tubular rims for the race. How come they don't use the fancy composite tall rims as they do during the rest of the season? Did it have to do with their stopping power in the dry, dusty conditions or the punishment of the cobbles?Peter Dear Peter,Both. Carbon rims, especially deep-section ones, are so much stiffer that they are likely to crack rather than flex and bend like an aluminum rim would. In a crash, jagged carbon edges are worse than bent aluminum. And of course,
The sourceDear readers,I received a boatload of great responses on creaking noises from the March7 column, and it is something so commonly plaguing all of us as cyclists that I’m running a whole list of the fixes for them that I did not mention.LennardIt's the headsetI also have a Basso Diamante that I occasionally have creaking issueswith. Like many creaking issues, it's hard to track down where the noiseis coming from. I suggest it isn't coming from the seat area with the riderwho sent you the question. I would check the front of the bike. First,make sure the quick release
Questions about cutting carbon, shifting problems, chain length and more
Questions on mix-and-match components, fraying cables, carbon comfort, compact cranks and more.
Can a smaller Q-factor help knee pain?
Screeeeeetch!Dear Lennard,I have a brand new Santa Cruz Blur equipped with Avid Juicy 7 discs. After a few rides in dry weather where the brakes performed flawlessly and silently, I rode the bike in the rain. I almost had to abandon braking altogether and just drag my feet to stop as the squealing sound was so loud it was shaking out my fillings. Since then, even in dry weather, the brakes continue to squeal on and off, and frankly I am afraid to use them in the wet again. The brakes are properly installed and bled. Did I not break them in long enough (three rides of easy road riding with
Dear readers,I am always amazed how a single reader letter can sometimes generate a flood of follow-up mail. Over the last couple of weeks I have received a good deal of e-mail about the potential problems people encounter when they soak chains in Simple Green for an extended period. Many of those notes focused on SRAM chains, and some writers suggested that it was the steel used in those chains that was the root of the problem.Now that I have learned a lot more about it, I doubt it. I believe that SRAM chains were mentioned most often simply because people who soak their chains for long
Do cranks flex, or is it the bottom bracket and frame?
What about that tape?Dear Lennard,I think I do a pretty good job of gluing my tires securely, and I re-glueevery year. However, on some of my tires the actual tape is separatingin some places from the tire (the layer between tire and rim). Isthere any way to fix this, or is the tire done for?RyanDear Ryan,I have had good luck in the past using Bargecement. This is a contact cement I have been using since childhoodto patch rafts and I first got some from a shoemaker who used it to gluesoles on. I would guess that it’s widely available at hardware stores or whitewater equipment stores.
Dear Lennard,I recently converted to wheels with bladed spokes, and now my speedometermagnet no longer fits onto the spoke (I have a Performance brand Axiom8.0C). Is there any solution where I don't have to buy an entire new computer?If I do have to upgrade, can you recommend one that will mount to a bladedspoke?AndrewDear Andrew,You can buy separate magnets for this type of spoke. For example, lookingin the Quality Bicycle catalog, and estimating the retail price, it lookslike you could get a hand-tightening Campagnolo magnet for $27 that I ampretty sure I have used on bladed spokes, a
Oh my achin' backDear Lennard,My bones are getting stiff and achy, and I am looking for a way tosoften my every day/training bike, a Cannondale CAAD 5 with the stock all-carbonfork. The bike fits me like a glove and is very responsive.Would a carbon bar and stem combination damp the ride and add comfort,or are carbon bars just as stiff and noncompliant as alloy bars?Are any carbon bars "softer" than others? Have you ridden Specialized'sRoubaix? Is there a significant improvement in the ride? Isthere a real tradeoff in performance? My 59-year-old neck, arms andback thank you!Bill Dear Bill,I
Where is that table?Dear Lennard,Where can I find the torque charts that the latest issue of VeloNewssaid were on the Web site?CharlesDear Charles,Hereyou go!LennardAsking SantaDear Lennard,I'm suggesting an inch pounds torque wrench from Santa for Christmasand I'm a little confused on which to put on my list. The one I want isa 1/4" twist knob type US, but they have a few options on the increments.Should I go with a 40-200 or 10-50? I'm most doing all the stuff onmy road and mountain bike, stems, cranks bolts etc.PaulDear Paul,Sorry if my answer is too late for Santa, but click on the torque
Rake, trail and the difference between the twoDear Lennard,In your November9 Technical Q&A you said that a 44/45mm rake would steer less quicklyand be more stable than a 47mm rake. Is that a typo? I thought shorterrake would tighten up the wheelbase and make the head tube angle feel steeper--yieldingquicker handling and a more "twitchy" feeling bicycle.Jeremiah Dear Jeremiah,Sorry, but the statement is correct and your interpretation about forkrake’s effect is wrong. Indeed, a steeper head angle does make the bikehandle more quickly (reduces fork trail), yes. However, a reduced forkrake
Dear Lennard;I have used your book "Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance"quite a bit and love it. I just bought a road frame and am building a bikefrom scratch. Your book has lots of useful information, but I probablyneed more instruction on building up a bike (what order to do things in,etc.). Is there anything you can recommend?--JohnDear John;I can certainly recommend my "Mountain Bike Performance Handbook" ifyou are starting out with tapping and facing the bottom bracket and reamingand facing the head tube. You can buy that book from me directly, sinceVeloPress/VeloGear does not stock
PreservationistDear Lennard;I have several repair books including your “Art of Road Bike Maintenance,”and I can’t find the answer to this question. I have a nice late '80s Stronglightcrank that has the threads stripped on the drive side where you put thetool in to extract the crank. Is there anything I can do to get the crankoff and save the BB and crank?--Drew Dear Drew;Were you ever a trumpeter or other brass instrument player? I was,and I frequently managed to get my mouthpiece stuck in my trumpet. To removeit, you had to slip two notched steel plates around the tube of the mouthpiece,one
Dear readers;I am writing this from Italy, a few days after I had the chance to visit Milan for what has to be one of the world’s best bike shows. So if you don’t mind, I would like to start my weekly column with a look at fewof the treasures I spotted at Milan’s EICMA show. Conducted under gorgeous warm, sunny weather, the 61st EICMA bicycleand motorcycle show marks the official launch of a new road season. Italy is a great place for a show, and Milan in particular, because of the heritage of great design. As always, gorgeous Italian bicycles are in abundance, and the theme of ever more
Dear Lennard;I remember a while back you mentioned some auto part glue that worked well for glueing on sew-ups. What is it and any tricks to using it? --Ignacio Dear Ignacio;The glue is 3M Fast Tack.Except on Continentals (which have no coating over the base tape), scrape the base tape (instructions in “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance”). Layer the glue on the rim and tire, letting dry between coats. After the final coat on the rim, stick the tire on. Fast Tack can be problematic with Continentals, as it has a solvent in it that can soak through the base tape and loosen the glue
Dear Lennard Zinn;I am looking for a recommendation for a good chain to use with a '95 Campy Chorus 8-speed EXA-Drive system. The cassette and chainrings are previously unridden, but a new SRAM PC-58, which I believe is intended to be an 8-speed chain, runs a little rough. Any better suggestion? --Bill Veihmeyer Dear Bill;I have found that 8-speed Shimano chains always worked great on that system. --Lennard A mystery skipDear Lennard;I have Campy record 10-speed on two of my bikes, the chain started skipping on one of them, so I figured it was the cog set, I put that same wheel on the