Tech Talk

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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Shifting For Beginners

The idea to cover a few basic shifting tips came to me on last Saturday’s ride. We were climbing a steep hill and one of the riders dropped her chain. When I rode up alongside she was already off her bicycle trying to put the chain back on with a stick. I showed her the easy way to get a chain back on and thought beginner shifting tips would be a good subject to cover. (This article assumes you're still in the majority of roadies with mechanical derailleurs. For the most part, these tips don't apply to electronic shifting, which largely does away with these issues.)

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