A few weeks ago, I decided to build a new bike. There was an old 26″ MTB frame lying around, I had all the parts, so why not! For some stupid reason, I happen to only like blue bikes. That’s a bit crazy, given the fact that I am not a fan of blue: I don’t like blue clothes except jeans, I don’t like blue cars a bit, I don’t like blue motorbikes, maybe I like blue watch dials, to a degree. So I decided to challenge myself, and paint a bike that has no blue on it. I have a compressor, few spray guns, hardeners, reducers, and thinners, but not paint. Besides, I’m too lazy these days to mix and paint various colors. So I decided to go for spray paint, which I don’t like. I talked about this… Continue Reading A case against spray paint, again…Continue reading
Groupset of the month: Deore XT (MTB-Touring)
Deore XT is my favorite, and Shimano’s first attempt to make an MTB groupset. It was first released in 1983, and still going strong, and wildly popular. For me, Deore XT is the way to go, except for the brakes. I love their hubs, love their rear derailleurs, love front derailleurs than anything else XTR included, but must say XTR shifters still beats them by a fair margin. Chains? I never buy fancy chains, but yeah, they are good too, at least Ultegra was, which was the same thing. XT cranksets are awesome, at least until now: they are bombproof, light enough, and not super expensive. When I was building my XTR-equipped bike, I skip XTR in 2 parts: one is the crankset, the other was the front derailleur. Cassette? Well…I used to have XT before. I had very good… Continue Reading Groupset of the month: Deore XT (MTB-Touring)Continue reading
Avid (Sram) HSX Centerlock (that is, HSXCL) rotor, new addition to Merida
I’m no huge fan of disc brakes, and the front disc on Merida is annoying me. It’s a Deore series, SM-RT64, 180mm. Advertised as 164 grams, never bothered weighing it myself. There are lots of problems about this particular model, but even with my rear, XTR rotor, too. The obvious one is, its too flexy and bent very easily. I true it quite frequently, and it gets bent after applying brakes for the first name, no matter how soft and gentle I treat it. Problem looks to be the rotor material itself; which almost acts like a spring steel, but obviously not. Second problem, no proper aluminium spider: XT’ s and XTR’s does not bend. At least, that much: and yes, even my XTR rotor at back bends, albeit at a negligible amount. I was looking out for a proper… Continue Reading Avid (Sram) HSX Centerlock (that is, HSXCL) rotor, new addition to MeridaContinue reading
Training indoors with smart trainers, and lots of confusion
Buying a trainer for the first time was hard for me: I didn’t understand what features does each model have. I don’t like watching millions of YouTube videos to buy something, and at least 3-4 years ago, it was very hard to buy one without shelling out lots of dollars. Yet, I figure out one important thing, which was critical to me at the time… My original plan was to use Zwift. Whole thing evolved around Zwift for some time…until I used it twice. More on that later, too. I’m not a trainer expert by any means, and I don’t think I’ll be too interested in riding indoors in the future. My motive here is to explain what they are, and what they do, which took me a lot to understand. Nowadays, it looks much easier, because all models I… Continue Reading Training indoors with smart trainers, and lots of confusionContinue reading
What is Shimano’s Di2 in detail, first successful electronic shifting system
Electronic shifting is not a Shimano invention, but it’s Shimano who did it commercially viable. It all started with Shimano Dura Ace 7970 Di2 in 2009, for road bikes, then came the XTR version for MTB, GRX for gravel bikes, and Alfine Di2 for gear hubs. First Di2, Dura Ace 7970 Di2 and newer Di2 versions are totally incompatible: the 5 plug version is very simplistic: it’s just wires connected to switches and derailleurs across junction boxes. Newer Di2 versions though, use CAN bus for communication between components. CAN bus is known for its extensive use in all modern cars, and became the norm for even the cheapest ones in late 2000’s. But CAN bus, being a data communication protocol, can be used in anything, and it is, including machinery. Unlike Sram’s eTap, which is designed to be wireless… Continue Reading What is Shimano’s Di2 in detail, first successful electronic shifting systemContinue reading
Coil forks will rise again; coil vs air shock
I ride with rigid forks mostly, because I’m not a mountain biker -any discipline of it- by any means, but sometimes it becomes tempting. I have a junk coil fork, in a city 1000 km’s away, where our second (or third) house is. I didn’ t bother to take it with me, because it’s really junk. But at some point, I missed a suspension fork and look for second hand ones. Luckily, I found a RockShox SID, a quite old one, probably from 2005 or so. Price was so nice, 20$, which is way cheaper then >2.5kg coil forks with cracked legs. I knew what will happen next: a complete repair cost me over 60$, but still a fair deal, as almost destroyed coil forks are about 100$ second hand. But to be honest, a coil fork would fit me… Continue Reading Coil forks will rise again; coil vs air shockContinue reading
Do you need a torque wrench ? Why correct torque matters ?
Torque wrenches are rare and expensive, and most mechanics don’t know how to use them. Worse, they need to be calibrated, again, never seen anyone calibrating their torque wrench. So why it should be used anyway? There are two reasons to use a torque wrench, but with carbon bikes or carbon fiber bike parts, it is actually 3! Metals are elastic, though it may seem absurd. Yes. That’s why some people CAN complain about rigidity (otherwise it would be totally absurd, like aquaplaning resistance in road bike tires!). When you tighten a bolt too much, it elongates. This can cause two things, provided that screw holes are made from Adamantium, an imaginary metal that has infinite strongness, hardness, durability, you name it. Or Valyrian steel. Same. When elongated (or stretched) beyond certain limit, a bolt will snap, causing you too… Continue Reading Do you need a torque wrench ? Why correct torque matters ?Continue reading
Are Men’s vs. Women’s Bikes different ? A binary discussion.
We are at the same height as my wife. When I stand next to her bike, her bike’s saddle height is longer than my hips. That bike has also weird handlebars like a Dutch city bicycle. I have relatively long legs compared to men, yet my legs are noticeably shorter compared to hers. I also have relatively shorter arms, but I can reach my handlebars comfortably, yet her riding position on my hardtail is like a road bike stance. That tells a story. Until recently, biking was considered a men’s sport, and women should pose half-naked on bikes that are meant to be built for men – “bike chicks” was a cultural phenomenon. I’m not racist or sexist by any means, and I’d still happily admit if I were – not because I adore myself as most people do, or… Continue Reading Are Men’s vs. Women’s Bikes different ? A binary discussion.Continue reading
All about bike chains
Everything that transmits your pedal force to your rear wheel is made of metal. Chain takes the beating most: over 200 rollers in your chain fight against elongation, friction, crossing between cogs and chainrings, and worse of all, dust and sand. Of course, nut just that: Cross chaining. Hits. Water. In the past, when we were happily riding our 3×6 groupsets, things were simpler. Cross chaining was taboo, chains were big and bulky, there was no internet to make comparisons or baseless assumptions, and everything was slow. Unless you ride a high-end road bike, you didn’t pedal fast. In fact, you couldn’t; bikes were heavy, tires were not good enough to stick anything other than tarmac. Now we have up to 11 cogs at the rear, with the same thickness as 6-speed freehubs. (Well; standard 7-speed freehubs are just half… Continue Reading All about bike chainsContinue reading
Biggest debate: Schrader valves or Presta valves ?
Schrader and Presta valves are maybe the most controversial topic in biking history(!). Something so trivial attracts so much attention that there are some bikers who swear by Schrader or Presta. Few years ago, I was shopping for a rim in a busy, well-known and quite old store. A man in his late 30s raised his voice gradually, at some point, I understood its about Presta – we was accusing the shop of being negligient and ignorant. Rather than calling them “Schrader” or “Presta”, we use the “thin valve” – “thick valve” here. Guy was insisting it is an abomination to sell “thick valve” inner tubes (which is obviously, Schrader) as they are for cars. I believe there is some truth in it. According to Wikipedia, Schrader valve was invented by August Schrader in 1891, the man who founded Schrader… Continue Reading Biggest debate: Schrader valves or Presta valves ?Continue reading
Folding bikes – advantages and disadvantages
My first 2-wheel bike was a folding bike, because it was immensely popular when I was a child, and there was no proper child bikes in my country. I can now understand why they were so popular: it’s hugely adjustable to any size, and very easy to manufacture unless it’s Brompton, the gold standard of folding bikes. I have a thing for folding bikes as it was my first proper bike, but in reality, folding bikes are not proper bikes. They seemingly have lots of advantages, but that’s not right. It’s like running a bike repair business with a multitool: a multitool seemingly solves all problems no more than a pocket knife, it’s cheap and you don’t need to switch tools. Well, try fixing your bike with one, then we can talk about it! They can serve well as a… Continue Reading Folding bikes – advantages and disadvantagesContinue reading
Why I’m going back to mechanical disc brakes
If I could, I’d completely ditch any disc brakes for rim brakes; but it’s getting harder to find decent rims, hubs, and frames compatible with rim brakes. Such a shame. I wrote a lengthy post why I detest them, but disc brakes are unavoidable FOR NOW. Hydraulic disc brakes seeems far superior to mechanical disc brakes: they -obviously- provide more braking force, cable maintenance and replacement almost unnecessary, and they are lighter. There are some “boutique” brands, such as TRP, makes decent mechanical brakes, but they’re not anywhere in cheap territory. There are millions of things wrong about disc brakes, so why move to a already inferior technology, when there seems to be an inferior technology that sucks less on paper? Well, I have my reasons: Hydraulic disc brake pistons is a joke My wife has an old Bianchi with… Continue Reading Why I’m going back to mechanical disc brakesContinue reading
How to wash a bicycle, which soap is best for bicycles ?
You have to wash your bicycle time to time, question is how frequently: there are more tips and tricks to make your life easier. Your bike will look shinier, operates as it should, and obviously, will last longer. Some chemicals like wax, soap or degreasing agents can be very helpful on your task, or be very harmful. As always, I’ll try to cover all details regardng bike wash. I’m not too keen to wash my bike(s), for 2 reasons: one, I’m lazy, and I’d better devote the time and effort to ride it, rather than to wash it. Second, we live in a world where water is scarce, and with such levels of breeding, consumption and waste, we won’t survive long. Damned with both being lazy and freaky with attention to detail, there may be some perks in learning some… Continue Reading How to wash a bicycle, which soap is best for bicycles ?Continue reading
Groupset of the month: Shimano 105 History (road)
Shimano 105 is the upper-middle groupset for road bikes, released back in 1982. Also, Shimano 105 Di2 is the cheapest and most recent electronic groupset of the company. Mechanical version sits between lower end Tiagra and higher end Ultegra. In MTB-line, it sits between Deore and SLX. It came to life “105 Golden Arrow” in 1980, then renamed to 105. There are various claims why it was called 105, most interesting one is its “501” in reverse, the most-loved and well regarded Levi’s jeans in Japan at the time. It was below Dura Ace and 600 (later Ultegra) when released, for price-concious competitive riders. It’s considered as the entry-level racing-ready groupset, even today. It’s not clear when 105 got indexed shifting, AKA STI shifters, AKA brifters. I know for sure that Dura-Ace 7400 has 8 speed STI shifters, in 1990.… Continue Reading Groupset of the month: Shimano 105 History (road)Continue reading
How to store bike outside ?
Storing your bike outside can ruin your bike, but there are proper ways to do it. Sun, rain, cold, and even wind is not our bike’s friend. There are lots of things that can go wrong about bikes staying outside. Before throwing out ideas how to store it outside properly, lets have a look what can ruin your bike, what parts are in jeopardy, and how to deal with them. Paint Be it a car or a bike, there are two enemies of paint: sun (UV rays) and rain, especially in big cities. Even in the remotest places to human life, we have acid rains. In the past, this was a problem with big cities, but not anymore. Acid rain eats your paint. You cannot totally stop it, but you can slow it down. UV does the same. I have… Continue Reading How to store bike outside ?Continue reading
What bicycles brands are the best?
Do you want to know which bike brand is the best? I’ll tell you, but please bear with me. The term “best” does not exist. There are various types of bikes, made of various materials, for a wide range of people. What is the best automobile brand? To me, it’s Koenigsegg, which I can’t afford and would never buy, despite my admiration for the car and the company. Never put your trust in or be overly loyal to any brand. Profit drives the creation and demise of businesses. I have no sympathy for bike manufacturers because I learn from my mistakes. Do not buy a bike based solely on customer reviews. Almost every review on the internet or in the media is either “sponsored” or based on unscientific data. This is the “quality” side of the equation. Making the best… Continue Reading What bicycles brands are the best?Continue reading
2 must-have chemicals for any mechanic: thread lock and copper grease
Copper grease and thread lock compound. Now, you can dismiss 🙂 Or, if you want to know why you need them, stick with me a little longer. If you have a look at the image, you’ll see an ordinary socket hexagon bolt. If you look closely, you’ll notice a tiny hole in it, indicating that it’s not a standard item. When I received my first disc brake set with mounting hardware, I was surprised to discover a very fine wire in the box and wondered what it was. Strangely, even on brand-new bikes, I never saw that wire. It’s a preventative measure against bolts slackening and falling off and causing catastrophic damage to your bike and you: that wire is threaded through two bolt holes and tied together: if they slacken a bit, the wire will not let any further… Continue Reading 2 must-have chemicals for any mechanic: thread lock and copper greaseContinue reading
Mysterious disappearance of Chinese electronic rear derailleur, WheelTop EDS OX
I’m annoyed by electronic drivetrains, because of their vendor lock nature: you cannot use shifters from any other manufacturer, though it is perfectly OK to implement. But the most annoying part is, they are designed to make you spend more. There is no reason for an 11s electronic rear derailleur to mismatch with a 10s cassette. Anyone who knows a few about electronics already knows it’s very easy to make it work with ANY cassette. Jockey cogs will need replacement, but that’s a very easy obstacle to handle properly. WheelTop is the first manufacturer that came out with a decent design, that is advertised to work with 7 to 12-speed cassettes. Now, the product disappeared, even from the company website. I won’t be surprised to know they had troubles with Sram, maybe Shimano. Thing is, I’m sick of patent trolling.… Continue Reading Mysterious disappearance of Chinese electronic rear derailleur, WheelTop EDS OXContinue reading