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Old 09.11.2008, 22:44
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All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

This was my first real season with biking and I really (mostly) enjoyed it. However as a novice who for the first time did multiple mountain passes, and 100+ kilometers rides on a day, i began to realise the importance of issues like proper fit and other practical issues concerning the bike set-up and maintenance etc.Lot of times I had many practical doubts like when to change the brake pads, exactly how high should be the saddle, how to measure stuff correctly etc. Most of the answers I found on the internet (with some contradictions!),nevertheless, I thought it would be cool to set up a thread where we can discuss the practicalities of biking and the bike itself. People can post questions and answers and hopefully others would get informed, so well here I go with three questions from the top of my head

1)I see most of the pros holding the top of the handle bar while climbing, does it imply that a higher handle bar will suit someone who primarily wants to climb using his road bike? ( maybe it also makes getting of the saddle easier?)
2)If one can with some adjustment fit a bike which is either one size more or one size less( i.e 56 or 58), which one should he pick?
3) If the stated tyre pressure range is between say 8-10 bars, so what is the most effective and common value one should inflate upto (8, 9 or 10 bar?) and how often should one inflate the tyres?



so looking forwards to ur answers and other questions.
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Old 10.11.2008, 09:18
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

I'm glad to hear that you've been enjoying the riding. As always, I'm happy to chat about the nuances of cycling and bikes.

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1)I see most of the pros holding the top of the handle bar while climbing, does it imply that a higher handle bar will suit someone who primarily wants to climb using his road bike? ( maybe it also makes getting of the saddle easier?)
Holding the top of the bars is beneficial because it allows your lungs to open up more, increasing oxygen uptake. When climbing, the decrements to aerodynamics of sitting up more are not as important as the increased power possible from getting more oxygen to the muscles. Therefore, if all you do is climbing on the bike (and you don't need to descend super-fast) then a higher handlebar position than normal could make sense for you.

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2)If one can with some adjustment fit a bike which is either one size more or one size less( i.e 56 or 58), which one should he pick?
The current trend is to choose a bike based on the length of the top tube (the tube which goes from the steering column to the seat post) and not on the length of the seat tube. However, bikes are still normally sold by listing the seat tube sizes. Go to the manufacturer's website and you should be able to find the full geometry listing, including the top tube length. If you are someone who has a higher torso:leg ratio then you will want the larger size to fit your upper body better. This is the reason for many of the major brands making "women's specific" frames - the main difference in these is shortening the top tube compared to the standard version because women tend to have a lower torso:leg ratio than men.

Having said that, another recent trend is to go for a bike that it is on the smaller size, then put a longer seat post and longer stem on it and make the bike fit that way. The smaller frame saves a few grams, but should still be plenty stiff enough to not need the extra size in the frame.

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3) If the stated tyre pressure range is between say 8-10 bars, so what is the most effective and common value one should inflate upto (8, 9 or 10 bar?) and how often should one inflate the tyres?
In general, the heavier you are the more pressure you should put in the tyres. Therefore, you could decide where your weight is compared to the average cyclist, and choose the upper or lower end of this range accordingly. However, there are a few other factors to consider because while running slightly lower pressure will make pedaling slightly less efficient, at the same time it will improve traction and make for a more comfortable ride. Also, the range you gave (8-10 bars) seems very high to me. I would expect most road tyres to be more in the range of 6-8 bars. I'm about 65kg, and run my tyres at about 6.5 - 7.0 bars (90-100 psi) - I could go higher but a minor increase in comfort and traction are more important to me than a minor increase in speed.

As for how often to inflate - my tyres seem to lose about 5 psi per week (about 0.3 bars; this is with clincher tyres & tubes, I have no experience with tubular tyres). I therefore normally inflate them every couple of weeks and before any big ride.
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Old 10.11.2008, 09:21
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

I had a problem over the weekend with my junkie MTB. The pedal cranks, seized up. Any easy fixes? Or does this mean I need a new bottom bracket - which changing seems very complicated?
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Old 10.11.2008, 09:36
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

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I had a problem over the weekend with my junkie MTB. The pedal cranks, seized up. Any easy fixes? Or does this mean I need a new bottom bracket - which changing seems very complicated?
Take off the cranks and clean and grease around the bottom bracket, you might get it to move again. If you need an old style crank extractor and bottom bracket tool I think I have them sitting around somewhere at home.
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Old 10.11.2008, 09:43
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

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3) If the stated tyre pressure range is between say 8-10 bars, so what is the most effective and common value one should inflate upto (8, 9 or 10 bar?) and how often should one inflate the tyres?
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In general, the heavier you are the more pressure you should put in the tyres. Therefore, you could decide where your weight is compared to the average cyclist, and choose the upper or lower end of this range accordingly. However, there are a few other factors to consider because while running slightly lower pressure will make pedaling slightly less efficient, at the same time it will improve traction and make for a more comfortable ride. Also, the range you gave (8-10 bars) seems very high to me. I would expect most road tyres to be more in the range of 6-8 bars. I'm about 65kg, and run my tyres at about 6.5 - 7.0 bars (90-100 psi) - I could go higher but a minor increase in comfort and traction are more important to me than a minor increase in speed.

As for how often to inflate - my tyres seem to lose about 5 psi per week (about 0.3 bars; this is with clincher tyres & tubes, I have no experience with tubular tyres). I therefore normally inflate them every couple of weeks and before any big ride.
I think there is a distinct difference here between road and mountain. On my road bike efficiency is everything. The only time traction comes into it is in the wet. The tyre profiles are different and for a narrow tyre there is quite a lot of it on contact with the road all the time. Therefore I run my road tyres as high as they go all the time. 120PSI (about 8bar). The roads here are in general smooth and I notice more drag at 100PSI then 120PSI even though I only weigh about 70kg.

On a mountain bike traction is much more important. If I am doing a days trail riding where control is everything I run just enough pressure to avoid pinch flats 25-30PSI depending on what tyres I have on at the time. If I am doing a long tour or XC type ride I run up to 40PSI (but not more) on the MTB.
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Old 10.11.2008, 11:41
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

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On my road bike efficiency is everything. The only time traction comes into it is in the wet.
... or when cornering at high speeds in any conditions (although especially when cornering at high speeds in the wet). A friend of mine got a good dose of road rash when his front wheel slipped out from under him on a dry switchback this summer. Although that may have been largely due to his over-aggressiveness and having a pretty worn front tyre (I convinced him to get a new one before his next ride), the possibility of it happening could have also been lessened by having less pressure in the tyre resulting in more contact with the pavement.

Following Frank Schleck's nasty fall on a descent in Ticino in the Tour de Suisse this year, apparently at the start of the Tour de France a legendary ex-pro (I don't remember which one) came up to Schleck and suggested that his mechanics were inflating his tyres too much given his weight, and that he should ask them to lower it a bit. Apparently, he was happy to receive this advice and did exactly that and was subsequently happy with the change. I'm not sure where I heard this - probably from one of the TdF commentators, but I found it to be useful knowledge.
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Old 25.11.2008, 15:00
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

since I read the discussion on tyres for wet conditions on a different thread, I brought my question on this thread of bicycle practicalities.

Its about stability on wet roads?

I have felt that I am much stable with my road bike slicks on a wet road than my knobbly mountain bike tyres. Is it really so?.... that slicker, flatter tyres are better than the knobbly ones on allmost all paved road conditions.

The Knobbly tryes however definetly handle better when I am off road in gravel etc. However then you have wet and icy offroads, should i still stick to the normal knobbly tyres there or what are the other options available available?

thanks for your comments
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Old 25.11.2008, 15:04
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

Even on a wet road a road tyre will be better then a mountain tyre. But the road tyre should not be totally slick.

On the road its all about contact area. so the area between the knobbles on a MTB tyre is not providing you with any grip, however a slick road tyre has no ability to clear water from under the tyre as there is no thread pattern. Therefore on a road bike on the road you want a road tyre with a bit of a thread pattern to clear water and maintain contact area.
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Old 25.11.2008, 15:10
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

I get the point of the surface area...its like having flat shoes for indoor football and studs for grass..

However I don't see how a pattern would remove water from the surface of the tyres.. I need to think and maybe imagine more..

just read this, http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html , he argues against the need of any patterns.

Last edited by Rahul; 25.11.2008 at 15:18. Reason: added the hyperlink
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Old 25.11.2008, 15:24
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

Think about how a car tyre works.

Motor bike tyres use a thread for the same reason. I don't think I'd like the feeling of aquaplaning on my road bike.
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Old 25.11.2008, 15:31
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

did you read that link, he talks about the reasons why aqua or hydroplaning should not be an issue with bikes..

well the take home message for me is that I should stop using knobblies now on wet winter roads.
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Old 25.11.2008, 16:04
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

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did you read that link, he talks about the reasons why aqua or hydroplaning should not be an issue with bikes..

well the take home message for me is that I should stop using knobblies now on wet winter roads.
Horses for courses!

Even a high pressure road tyre flattens at the point of contact to the road, so if you hit a lot of water you will still loose control. In a car aqua planing happens a lot more often then Sheldon led us to believe. I have seen quite a few accidents due to it and have had the bad experience of the car taking on a life of its own on a wet road too.

It all comes down to the speed you are going and the amount of water on the road.

As for getting rid of the knobblies for winter. Snow and some types of Ice are a different ball game to a wet road. On snow you want the knobbles to dig though the snow and provide some grip.
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Old 02.04.2009, 15:01
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

again a query about practicalities of the bike, at the end of the last year I switched to a road style pedal and realised the out-protruding cleat raised my height by around an inch and so had to raise the saddle accordingly.

now the top tube of the bike is a bit long for me and had me overstretched till I switched to the shortest stem ( 6 cm) I could get my hands on. But with this higher sitting position the reach again is more than what i will like.

So I was thinking to change the pedal back to my old spds or a to a new system like the the speedplays ( never used them), but I think/guess the cleats their might not be so protruded and I might also get extra float ( which I very much like)..Is that a good idea, any comments will be useful so I make the changes before I go for the longer rides...
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Old 02.04.2009, 16:31
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

It sound strange to me that you had to raise your saddle because of the pedals, I see the road pedals flatter and lower than the SPD ones.

But you could be right though, it could be due to the shoe thickness. Anyhow the road shoes seem to have thinner soles than the SPD ones.

Anyhow an inch seems very high.

I guess if you switch from SPD to road pedals you could have the "impression", of that, But not be like that in the fact.

SPD shoes have a thicker gummy "crampons" in the soles, that would make you taller by 1 inch, but the pedals go inside the gummy and touch the sole.

Road soles have thin and flat soles but the cleat protudes for ~ 1 cm, but at the end the cleat goes inside the pedal and you end touching the pedal with the sole anyway.

I have experienced to feel the saddle higher or lower and had to adjust it, even if before it felt just right. Could be you had this same experience and attribute it to the shoes/pedals ?

Anyway IMHO your frame is too big for you if you need a 6cm stem.

A normally good fitted bike would have an stem ~ 10-12 cm long.

please correct me if I am wrong Ô you bike gurus


for example, here is the profile view of a road pedal compared to an SPD pedal





here i found a better comparison






You see clearly that the road pedal is flatter and lower.

Last edited by Salsa_Lover; 02.04.2009 at 16:57.
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Old 03.04.2009, 00:01
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

salsa i never said the pedal is not narrow (it probably is), but I was talking about the cleats.the Road cleats come majorly out of the shoe while the spd metallic cleats are pretty much flat on the bottom of the show..

anyways what I have felt may have been wrong..
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Old 03.04.2009, 00:13
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

Yes, but notice that the road cleat goes inside the pedal and the sole ends touching the pedal platform, just in a similar way as the spd cleat is inside the "crampons" but the pedal goes inside and also ends touching the sole.

In any case the road pedals are thiner and lower. IMHO
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Old 03.04.2009, 18:19
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

I deflate my tyres after every ride, except when I know I am going to ride the following day. And I inflate to 8 bars, weighing 80 kg or so, the "rule" being to inflate to (your weight/10) bars.
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Old 03.04.2009, 21:22
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

SO eventually after having visited 5 shops, I got me a bike. It is a Raleigh Oakland hybrid inbetween street bike and off road.


I tried today various types including a full suspension mountain bikes and racing bikes. Major factor has been comfort of riding and speed on the road and I found those 19" mountain bikes somehow tricky to ride on the street. The narrow tires and large diameter wheel is something that I am really kin on in such conditions. I added a speed/distance meter device and the sales man threw in a chain lock and vinnete in the price. The bike is also equipped with front and tail lights. The owner of this small bike shop checked it properly if all the nuts and bolts were tight and I collected it two ours later.

I took it for a spin to warm up today and have done 25km on the roads and tried to keep the speed within 25kmh (max was 40kmh), hilly terrain and on gravel road in nearby forest. Absolutely great performance and I hardly feel that I rode much today.

BTW: Searching thru the shops and speaking to many salesmen I learnt quite a lot about different bikes and what one should look for and be aware of when buying. Great education indeed supported with lots of catalogs and fun during testing! Thanks EFêrs for inspiring people with cycling.
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Old 03.04.2009, 22:01
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

Looks like a good touring/commuting bike, congratulations

How much it was at the end ?
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Old 03.04.2009, 22:14
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Re: All about Bikes, practical questions and answers

altogether 1000 chuffs, two years guarantee and after two or three months of riding I will show up in the shop for free inspection...
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