microshift SWORD brifter 2x10

Microshift Sword: GRX competitor at a fair price?

Microshift is not so well known to most, though is a sweetheart for Decathlon, time to time. My first Microshift groupset was a 8×3 with brifters that originally came with a Decathlon road bike. Am I impressed? Somewhat: at the time, you couldn’t get a road bike with brifters, at that price point. Basically, Microshift was the original challenger to big boys, Shimano and SRam, before, say, LTwoo even existed. So, Microshift Sword is actually big news, because it could help enable production of legit gravel and cyclocross bikes at a fair price. Microshift, along with other Taiwanese / Chinese groupset makers, trying to establish themselves, in this duopoly. Though we see promising moves from Ltwoo, like itselectronic eRX groupset, Microshift is here for quite some time, and more established brand. They started polishing up and adding new products to… Continue Reading Microshift Sword: GRX competitor at a fair price?

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ltwoo erx electronic groupset

L-Twoo eRX electronic groupset – 105 Di2 obsolete now?

I wrote about L-Twoo a year ago, noting that this is a great Chinese company to watch. They released their first electronic groupset a while ago, which is not a great surprise. It may be weird to hear that for some people, but making an electronic groupset these days is probably cheaper, and easier. Reason is obvious: mechanical things, which includes bike parts, has a “feel factor”. A groupset may perform fine, but may not “feel right”. Mechanical parts clunk, sound, sends feedback. Some people get used to this feel for years, and feel awkward when they change the brand, or even the move to a different part from the same manufacturer. Mechanical parts are prone to wear, failure, cracks and lots of problems due to design, materials or production factors. Brifters are the real interface of a road groupset,… Continue Reading L-Twoo eRX electronic groupset – 105 Di2 obsolete now?

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servicing plastic pedals vp 536 clones 15

How to service & maintain cheap plastic pedals

Not all cheap, plastic bike parts are junk: at lots of bike forums, people automatically think plastic pedals are non-serviceable and junk. Funny thing is, there seems to be a general consensus on this, and nobody cared to take apart such a pedal! Most plastic pedals I know of is quite serviceable, and long lived. I bought VP Components VP-536 clone for $12 or less about 2 years ago, and they performed admirably. After 2000 kilometers of heavy use and abuse, I have zero complaints about them. They are not the smoothest running pedals I know, probably due to tiny ball bearings, but they are my go to pedals. Ok, now lets take them apart, clean, relube and inspect! We don’t need too much tools: a 12mm socket, a 14 one, 17 spanner, few qtips, and of course, a trusty… Continue Reading How to service & maintain cheap plastic pedals

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FSA SL Alloy ACB Bearing Headsets

What causes fork shake and how to fix it ?

A bicycle fork is an often overlooked item, but it really makes up a bike. Believe it or not, even a rigid fork makes a bike softer, “compliant”, or has a significant effect on how it steers. It changes your bike’s overall character more than the frame itself. I’m surprised to see most people talking a lot about frames, which generally doesn’t matter, but either get the cheapest fork they can get, or don’t think about it much. Why forks matter – know your fork Forks also can be dangerous. I’d worry less about my chipped carbon frame then the carbon fork. If the fork cracks, game over. With a cracked frame, you still have a small chance. And unlike forks, frames do not crack (generally at least) without prior signals. It’s harder to figure out fork problems because it’s… Continue Reading What causes fork shake and how to fix it ?

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shimano deore lx rd m570 rear derailleur

What happened to Deore LX, and how good was that?

Bike tourers may be the most “nostalgic” group amongst other bikers. They usually stick to their Brooks saddles, Ortlieb Classics, Ryde (formerly Rigida) rims, and of course, Schwalbe Marathon’s. And one other mysterious thing: Deore LX groupset. Yes. This groupset may not be that prominent as other items in the list, but amongst bike tourers, Deore LX is very highly regarded. There is a cloud of mystery around Deore LX. Most people love their hubs, and swore they are better than enything else. Some people say the rear derailleurs are unmatched. And most people love their cranksets, including me. Was Deore LX is really that legendary? Are Deore LX parts manufactured with better materials, or workmanship? Why Shimano stopped making a legendary groupset? I’ll try to answer all those questions. After reading, I know many people will hate me, too… Continue Reading What happened to Deore LX, and how good was that?

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shimano xtr 951 rapid rise rear derailleur

What is rapid rise rear derailleur ?

When you bolt a rear derailleur to your bike, generally, the derailleur cage will be outside of the cassette, the smallest cog, or high-gear. If you have a rapid rise rear derailleur, you may see that the derailleur cage is closer to spokes, or low gear (biggest cog), if cable is not attached. If you have a derailleur that is produced in 2005 or later, and not Shimano, it’s next to impossible that it’s a rapid rise derailleur. These derailleurs are not “invented” by Shimano, but they made them in late 90’s to early 2000’s. Somehow they embraced the idea, and their XT and XTR derailleurs were rapid rise at the time. However, they disappeared, because nobody liked them. I may be exaggerating, yes, but at least there is quite a lot of hate against them. Why rapid rise derailleurs… Continue Reading What is rapid rise rear derailleur ?

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shimano deore m5100 2x11 crankset

Deore M4100, M5100 and M6100 groupsets

Almost everybody getting serious about MTB’s probably started with a Shimano Deore equipped bike. When I was looking for an MTB decades ago, almost every bike shop adviced me a bike with a Deore groupset, because I’m heavy, and least, strong at the time. There seems to be a concensus about Deore is that, it’s the cheapest, proper groupset for “all-terrain” bikes. I did not share this view. At the time, I bought a cheap bike with a Tourney, then directly jumped off the Deore XT. Frankly, I only owned a Deore bottom bracket and a set of V-brakes and disc brakes, which I still keep. Am I impressed ? Absolutely not. V-brakes were good, I loved them, until one of the pads just fell off and lost. Hydraulic disc brakes? I know people loves them, but was the worst… Continue Reading Deore M4100, M5100 and M6100 groupsets

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token Internal Cable Routing headset

Internal Cable Routing Headsets, what to know?

Internal cable routing is the new industry trend, and both bike manufacturers and part makers seem to be experimenting about it. Nowadays, (I mean, at least 15 years) every new “technology” or “standard” seems to be aimed to replace any standards prior, making our bikes complete junk, because nothing will work together. Planned obsolesence, again. What are the problems of internal cable routing, now, or a year ago ? Internal cable routing really makes bikes look simpler, streamlined, and more aero, as the man in spandex says. They look indeed simpler, but it’s not. I love the look of a streamlined bike, no strings attached – who doesn’t? But it’s also like having a Bugatti at your disposal, with limited funds. It would probably become a liability than a fun machine, as fast as it can reach 0 to 100.… Continue Reading Internal Cable Routing Headsets, what to know?

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crankbrothers candy 1 pedals black black 1

4 reasons why I don’t ride clipless pedals

Clipless pedals, – which is actually clipped pedals!- is not a very new idea. Almost a century ago, road bikers saw the benefit of locking their feet to the pedal. Obviously, they are not like clipless pedals but did what clipless pedals are meant to do. The idea with clipless pedals is to make the bike an extension of you – they attach your feet firmly to the pedals, so you pedal more efficiently. I tried using clipless pedals, got used to them, but then left using these. Why? I think they’re only good for road bikes, or trainers. If you don’t ride a road bike, I don’t see any point in using one. I won’t go into road / MTB-type pedals or tech details… I’m not a roadie, at least not my primary discipline/bike. So, here are my reasons… Continue Reading 4 reasons why I don’t ride clipless pedals

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tubo inner tube latex

Latex inner tubes: don’t use them unless you are racing

Latex inner tubes are getting immensely popular – they’ re not very new. But people seem to be buying them like crazy these days, especially here in my country. It’s like a new fashion item plague some part of the population, and you don’t know where it stemmed from. Latex tubes are lighter than tried and true butyl inner tubes. They are also more elastic; that’s why they make gloves from them. If you have a compliant tire, and a latex tube, you’ll feel a bit more comfortable, because the tire fills holes over the road surface more efficiently, instead of bumping over them. The real advantage of latex is not its weight but its compliance. In most cases, I see similar latex inner tubes that are like %20 lighter. Some say %50, some say even more, but you can… Continue Reading Latex inner tubes: don’t use them unless you are racing

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ltwoo road r9 2x11 1

Ltwoo – Chinese groupset maker to watch

With the component / bike / parts shortage Covid-19 created, people turned their heads to somewhere else, the Chinese manufacturers. Unfortunately for both sides, the Chinese manufacturers did not use the opportunity, and we faced high prices, low volumes and long delivery dates. The main problem with Chinese manufacturers is, creating a brand identity, and also sales channels issues. I even can’t find their websites, if any at all, and they seem to run their business entirely on AliExpress. I don’t trust AliExpress for buying anything more than 100$ – there are lots of sellers, and even the most highest rated ones disappear time to time. Parcel prices rose to incredible amounts for my country, so that sometimes buying a SRAM component directly from USA seems to be cheaper than 3x cheaper Chinese part. I quit buying any bike related… Continue Reading Ltwoo – Chinese groupset maker to watch

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shimano hollowtech ii bottom bracket cup

Bottom bracket creaking: reasons, fixes, don’ts

Creaks are super annoying, and I saw a lot of people complaining about bottom bracket creaking. However, bottom bracket creaks are rarely related with bottom brackets. There are lots of areas on a bike that can create those annoying creaks. Spotting the exact problem can be easy, or almost impossible, depending on the problem. To cure a problem, we have to ask the right questions first: why people automatically think it is the bottom bracket that creaks? Bacause people tend to think cranksets are not good enough for them. I’ ve seen a lot of people, who cannot sustain 100 watts for a few minutes, complaining about flexy frames or cranksets. Well, I don’t meant to harm your feelings, but you’ re not that strong to flex a frame or bend a fine crankset. That’s where pros or avid riders… Continue Reading Bottom bracket creaking: reasons, fixes, don’ts

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sram xo gxp carbon fiber crank

Carbon fiber bikes and components + Amplitex

The prime material for making bikes changed two times in my era, first steel to aluminium, then aluminium to carbon fiber. Aluminium is still the most common frame material today, but that can and will change, depending on energy prices, mostly: making carbon fiber is a very energy intensive process, even more than aluminium, which is also a big sucker. Common means not necessarily the best. I worked with steel and aluminium a lot, I’m always inclined to use steel whenever I build something, because I know the material better, and few more advantages, like easy weldability. I also love carbon fiber, because it’s a material that has so much good characteristics to dismiss. What I like about composites like carbon fiber, or fiberglass is that you can use the same tools, same know-how and same aptitude amongst them. Interestingly,… Continue Reading Carbon fiber bikes and components + Amplitex

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105 di2 RD R7100 full groupset

Shimano 105 Di2 groupset price and specs: R7100 Di2, revolution or coup?

The road cycling world was expecting a revolution when Shimano announced their mid-level but highly acclaimed 105 groupset will go electronic, with the new 105 Di2 groupset. 105 have been the groupset that defined price and functionality level, and feared the competition, being the best bang for the buck. Logically, the R7100 series could be the milestone that will democratize the electronic groupset for the masses. Why not? Shimano could destroy the competition, as they have advantage of mass producing fast and cheaper then others, especially Campagnolo. Even the FSA would not be relevant anymore – I doubt it is, now. Unfortunately, 105 Di2 groupset, at least the first iteration of it, R7100 series, have been a major miss for most. Shimano 105 Di2 groupset price: it is not cheap. The main selling point of mechanical 105 groupset is, it… Continue Reading Shimano 105 Di2 groupset price and specs: R7100 Di2, revolution or coup?

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gazelle tour populair

What is a Dutch bike ?

When you talk comfort and bike, people automatically think about a Dutch bike. What is a Dutch bike? There are some certain design elements, some accesories associated with them. Obviously, “Dutch bikes” are made in almost every countries. The design itself is very polarising: some find it silly, some call it dad bike, some say they’re extremely comfortable and versatile. The Netherlands is known as a bikers’ paradise, everybody rides bikes, all the time (which is wrong!). Netherlands is a small and relatively flat company with high GDP: that means, traffic congestion is no surprise. And also, bikes are worthwhile: in a very flat land with relatively short distances, why not?   Dutch bikes, a specific bike for a specific need So, what’s distinctive about Dutch bikes? Weird frames Almost all Dutch bikes have thick, steel frames, and majority of… Continue Reading What is a Dutch bike ?

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classified powershift system

Classified Powershift, front derailleur killer ?

Everyone seems to have a problem with front derailleurs – SRAM swore to kill them with limited success. Now, Classified, a Belgian company tries something that is actually tried before. I’ve never seen any product they made before, and I highly doubt it’ s a bike component company. Rather, they seem like many companies come up with a good product and attract some funding. It’ s also a small company that looks to be growing. Frankly, I’m not interested in company stories, as they’ re stories after all, and I’ ve never been a fanboy of any company or any product.   Basically, Classified Powershift is a wireless -Bluetooth- operated, 2 speed gearhub without a freehub, instead, a proprietary cassette. Dubbed as “revolutionary” by bike media, it’s nowhere nearrevolutionary, as this was tried before, by a bigger and older company… Continue Reading Classified Powershift, front derailleur killer ?

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shimano deore xt 781 high clamp front derailleur

All about front derailleurs

Front derailleurs were announced dead a few years ago by so-called bike media, but people still use 2x, even 3x cranksets. I won’t go into detail, but I already wrote what I think about 1x drivetrains. Most riders have or had problems with front derailleurs, mostly due to problems like chain suck, chain drop, etc. Yes; front derailleurs are tricky, and cause problems when they are not setup correctly. I will go full blast with the front derailleurs in this post, describing types, some compatibility tips, capacity, cable pull types, etc – expect a lot of detail. It’s much more important than a rear derailleur for me, because having a nicely spread, broad range of gearing is only possible with a good balance of cassette and chainring combination. If you know how to match front derailleurs with existing groupsets, you’ll… Continue Reading All about front derailleurs

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trek madone price

Why bikes are getting more expensive?

Bike and component prices are getting more expensive than ever. Prices have lowered a bit recently, but the trend is up. In an age where manufacturing getting easier than ever, how has this happened? It’s not just priced: the bike was a utilitarian thing in the past, produced to be used forever, but now, they are becoming irrelevant in a decade, or less. Fiat Panda UK price, including all taxes. Sometimes less is more. I like bike computers, to some degree. About 10 years ago, I decided to get into photography hobby and collected the best equipment my budget permits. Yes; big DSLR’s. I was walking with a huge backpack with at least 15+ kg of equipment stuffed in it. One day, I bought a second-hand Sony NEX, the first generation, because it was very cheap. Later on, it became… Continue Reading Why bikes are getting more expensive?

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