Tech Talk

Getting a Broken Shift Cable Out of the Lever

Brake levers that double as shift levers were a huge advance in shifting when they first appeared. Finally, we didn’t have to move our hands down to shift from levers located on the ends of the handlebars, or off the bars to shift levers mounted on the frame. This made it much easier to always be in the right gear, which saves energy. And it also allowed racers to shift more quickly. Unfortunately, as wonderful to use as they are, some of these shifters do have an Achilles heel. Enter RoadBikeRider reader Dennis, who explains and asks for help.

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The Dish on Discs

One of my goals at Interbike was looking at the current state of disc brakes because, as we’ve reported, they’re showing up far and wide on road bikes -- even now being allowed in the pro peloton should a team choose to spec them. Here’s a little news about discs, some related products and a few thoughts on the current pros and cons. And recently Shimano announced a new Flat Mount disc caliper standard last year, but it took a while for it to be rolled out. It was on lots of 2016 bikes in Las Vegas and has now even been adopted by SRAM.

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A Few Bicycle Storage & Display Solutions

While looking for interesting new products to seek out and see in person at the Interbike bicycle show next week in Las Vegas, I stumbled upon a new (to me) bicycle storage device that’s also one of the nicest display stands I’ve seen (keep reading). That got me thinking about ways to store and keep your bike safe indoors. It’s important not to store or keep your road rocket parked outside because the weather will attack it and eventually damage every part in some way.

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Your Great Comments On Rim Wear

tech talk bThis week, I’m sharing a couple of great reader comments about last week’s topic, avoiding and dealing with rim wear. There was so much buzz about the Why Not Lights? article that you might have missed these thoughtful tips that relate to more than just rims. On the subject of rim wear, “Karlobozic” wrote, “I pump my tires up about 30-50% more than I normally ride when putting a new one on. If the rim doesn't fail at that pressure it is unlikely to fail at the riding pressure. That way you see if the tire will bubble too, which most often happens while the tire is still new.”

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Evaluating And Avoiding Rim Wear

We change course this week to an issue that almost any roadie can run into if they log enough miles: rim wear. There’s an “almost” in that sentence because disc-brake equipped roadsters have hit the shops in force, and you might already be enjoying their advantages. One of the best being zero rim wear from braking. If you’ve switched to a machine with disc brakes, you’re dismissed and can hit the road -- or gravel!

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Simple Carbon Care Tips

After I shared seven horror stories about carbon bicycles and components failing in last week’s Tech Talk, fellow Bicycling Magazine alumnus and longtime Adventure Cyclist technical editor John Schubert wrote on Facebook (tagging me, so that I would see it), “My friend Jim Langley loves his carbon fiber bikes, but he manages to convince me that I don't want one,” citing my tale of the carbon-piercing telephone-pole splinter. Here, I was trying to warn roadies away from things that might wreck their carbon, and I apparently gave John another reason not to want to try a carbon bike!

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Tales of Carbon Calamities

In last week's Tech Talk I answered a question about whether you need to routinely replace carbon frames, forks and components. I said that worn and, especially, damaged carbon should be replaced. Otherwise, I said you could keep riding yours – unless you were worried about it, in which case I recommended getting new carbon for your own peace of mind. After writing that, some funny examples of broken carbon on my bikes and that I’ve seen on other riders’ machines came to mind – though they weren’t so funny when they happened.

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Should You Be Concerned About Your Carbon?

This topic comes from reader Michael Leven, who wrote, “Since most people who read the Newsletter probably ride carbon frames, forks, seatposts and/or wheels, I’m wondering how often they replace these carbon components? “For example, how often do you replace your carbon fork, your carbon handlebars, your carbon seatpost? And should you be concerned about failures on your carbon frame? “I’m asking because over the years I got the idea carbon frames and components needed replacement through word of mouth and reading maintenance books.”

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Tubeless Confusion and Clarification

We’ve been extensively discussing road tubeless tire technology these past few weeks. And, just when we thought we’d covered the issue pretty well, reader Greg Meyer wrote: “I read Mike Tierney’s article Tubeless Revisited in RBR Newsletter Issue No. 676. I also read what John Marsh and you wrote regarding tubeless tires in the same issue, and I am confused. I think I understand what the terms “tubeless” and “tubeless compatible” mean, but I also see the term "tubeless ready." Can you explain the difference between the terms “tubeless compatible” and “tubeless ready?”

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Fixing Clincher Flats the Fast Way

Here are four reasons why it’s good to be able to fix flat tires fast on your road bike: 1) so you don’t cool off too much and have to warm up again; 2) so your riding buddies don’t have to wait too long for you; 3) so you don’t freeze or overheat in extreme weather; and 4) so that you have a chance to chase back onto that fast group ride or event where they don’t wait when you flat.

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Clipless Pedal Triage

In a couple of days it’ll be July 4th, Independence Day for us Americans, and past the halfway point of this year’s road riding for everyone else. That means that you’ve probably pedaled mega miles by now and are looking forward to some big summer rides coming up. This is a great time to check your clipless pedals system, one of the essential connection points between body and bike. And also among the most overused and under-maintained components by many roadies.

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Rain Ride Recovery

I just got off the phone with my co-worker at SmartEtailing, Will Calkins. I called to apologize. Will works at our main office in Boulder. I work in my home office here in Santa Cruz. When I visited the Boulder office last week, I didn’t bring a bike, so Will let me borrow his Blue. The apology was because I got caught in a downpour the last day there and didn’t have time to give Will’s bike the TLC it needed after the deluge hit. I was late and had to rush to meet the shuttle to the airport on time. Sorry, Will!

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  1. Shifting For Beginners

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