Numpty IM Bike Thread



  • Jj, you got the wrong end of the stick as well cos you are the only one who knows my real name on this thread lol !!
  • [blush]

    [keeps hold of stick]

  • lol - just realised the benefits of knowing everyone's real name!

    #Rosey and Jim
    Rosey and Jim
    Chugging along on the old Ragdoll#

  • Hehehe, I read this page and thought 'eh? That's not Rosey's name?!' then read the last page. Was worried I'd been making a fool of myself by e-mail for months.
  • Before anyone gets too carried away, I've got to admit to being a total tri-newbie, so anything I say certainly isn't coming from experience of riding in tris! I'll probably be asking for advice from the older hands myself when it comes to tri-specific stuff. But I'm more than happy to share what little I do know - like I say, I've had plenty of help and motivation just by lurking on here.

    Oh yes, and definitely agree with Iron Rose about putting some lubricant on your pedals before fitting them - certainly does help!

    Plum, I check these forums more often than I check my email so best bet is just posting here, but I'll enable it anyway just in case.

    (the other) Nick
  • I like this thread. Not planning on doing an IM myself (yet!), but plain speaking about bikes is v. helpful. I would add the following advice: if you get clipless pedals (my only experience is SPD, so feel free to correct me if my advice is incorrect for other systems), read the instructions, and adjust them with an allen key so they are the loosest setting you can set them to. Practice with them at this setting, then tighten them if necessary. If you have the screw things too tight, you will (a) find it difficult to clip in, and (b) find it difficult to release your feet.

    After offering some advice, I'd like to ask a question. Pumps. What kind of pump would you advise carrying on your bike? I have a Blackburn mini-pump, which fastens to my bottle cage mount. But it sticks out a bit to the side, and I'm not happy with it. I also have a CO2 pump thing, but I don't want to rely on that for everyday, would rather have a proper pump. What I wanted was a frame-fitting pump, which goes on the down tube(? is that right, the one which goes vertically down under the saddle to the bottom bracket?) but the LBS didn't have one to fit my bike.

    Also, another numpty question. I have to take my front wheel off to fit the bike in the back of the car. When I open the quick release for the brakes, the tyre still won't fit between the brake blocks. I have to let the tyre down to get it out. Is this normal? I suspect not, but am nervous about messing with the brakes to rectify it!
  • The pump thing is a look and try thing to be honest quimby. You will also struggle to find a frame pump nowadays as most are either mini or track.

    I used to use a Specialised hand pump but now I use nothing but CO2, for the amount of times you are going to puncture it doesn't turn out to be expensive, especially when you can get 3 cartridges for a few quid.

    The only expense is the CO2 gun that you use instead of the pump. I use the Airchamp Pro. It can get your tyre pressures to over 100 pound per square inch (psi) where by you could only get about 80 psi with a hand pump.

    If you have a track pump (this is a pump you would use at home and not carry probably with a pressure guage on it) you can pump your tyres up before you leave home and just have CO2 for emergencies.

    Sorry for some of the blatent obvious explanations but this is for the bike numpties as requested.
  • As for the second question one of my bikes does this but I just yank it out which I don't recommend so am waiting for the answer too lol !!
  • Ta for the answer, Iron Rose. Back when I used to ride bikes (eek, about 20 years ago?) frame-fitting pumps were the norm. The expense of CO2 doesn't bother me, it's just that I tend to fear the worst when out on the bike, and even if I take a couple of CO2 cartridges, what if I had a *really* unlucky ride with more punctures than I had cartridges for? Although I haven't actually counted the number of patches in my puncture repair kit; that could be a fatal flaw in my argument ;-)

    I do have a track pump, and I would recommend anyone getting into biking getting one. You can pump your tyres up far easier with this than a pump which you carry on your bike. It's basically a pump which has a big upright cylinder, with foot rests either side, and a handle on top, which you pump up & down. Get one with a pressure gauge on it.

    The CO2 thingy I bought is a Microflate one, anyone have any opinion on whether it's OK or not? It's one of those things where you don't know how good it is until you use it...
  • I used mine as soon as I got it to test it out, waste of a canister but better than being caught short.

    One thing I did hear was CO2 breaks down over time, so if you ever have to pump up a tyre after a flat, when you get back home you need to let the air out and re pump it with a track pump or hand pump.
  • With shimano equipment, there's a little lever as haile says on the side of the brakes that you rotate to up (it's usually matt grey compared to the shiny metal of the rest of the brakes). Rotate it to open them, remove wheel, and when wheel is back in place you MUST put it back to its original position (you don't want to find out you haven't when you suddenly really need your brakes!)

    On campag equipment, there's no lever on the brakes, but instead there's a small metal cylinder up near the top of the brake levers - you pull on the brake then pop this from one side to the other.

    Then releasing the brake it'll go back further than normal - loosening up the brake blocks. Again, remember to pop this back when you're done, but you can still get the brakes on if you haven't.

    Hope that waswn't too long winded or poncey.

    p.s. the road version of time pedals is the impact. The mountain bike version is the atac.
  • And as rosey said -it's difficult to get frame pumps, but you still can get them - just check around. CO2 is nice and small though, and at a couple of quid for refills it's well worth the speed and high pressure they can deliver. Worth testing out at home to check you understand how to work them (I didn't and mine didn't when I was stuck in the pissing rain beside the road - a bit of the gun had snapped off)
  • just read the thread from the start. I can tell I'm going to keep coming back here as I have no end of stupid bike related questions.....but at least Nick has cleared up the gearing thing for me..
  • Well I'm glad its not just me and someone else is finding this useful.........
  • Hmm, I am releasing the lever thing on the brake before I try & get the wheel out, but it's still too tight unless I deflate the tyre a bit.

    I will have a practice with the CO2 before I take it out with me, good idea.
  • grizzly, you are definately not alone
  • OK, numpty question of the day from me...

    When I had my bike fitted, the brakes on my drops were at an angle something like / , with the hoods halfway down the front of the drops (see I can talk technical too!!)

    Now I would get terrible pain in my thumb and palm, because too much weight was going onto the hoods and I would also get pins and needles.

    Watching the Tour De France, most of the riders had their brakes more at a vertical angle, something like ¦ (without the gap!)

    Is there any guidance on what angle the bars / drops / hoods etc should be at, or do you just need to experiment until you find something comfortable?

    Is the numb hands something that you need to get used to with gel gloves, or do I still need to play with the fitting of my bike?

    Thanks in advance
  • I'd loosen the screws on the stem round the bars and tilt the bars back a bit. It's personal preference really.

    If you can find a pic of Sean Yates' race bike he had his brakes really low and wonky.

    You shouldn't really be getting numb hands - try that and see what happens.
  • the numb hands are pointing towards your body position being too far over the front wheel and the weight distribution could be leading to both numb hands and very unnerving bike control.

    If I look at my bike from behind I can see about an inch of my brake hoods over the top of the handlebars. Hoods being the uppermost part of the brake housing.

    Its a personal thing as Cougs says as its about comfort for an IM. I have had a look around on the internet and one of the sites that explains each in small chunks about a bike fit is this one.

    Bike fitting
  • popsiderpopsider ✭✭✭
    Grizz, Shimano hoods make it look like the brakes are higher up on the bars than Campag hoods do - it may be that you've been looking at Shimano equipped bikes in the TdF and yours is campag? Like the others say though it's personal preference - you should be able to brake and change gear from the hoods and the drops and be comfy on both.

    They are dead easy to adjust - but you need to remove the tape - you'll find it's just an allen key clamp and you can slide them up or down the bars to suit.
  • popsiderpopsider ✭✭✭
    Pumps - I would advise against mini-pumps - I've been let down by them, I know others that have been let down, and any discussion on pumps on any cycling forum will have loads of people saying they've also been let down. I'm sure they do work for some people but you don't want to be 50 miles from home or in the middle of your bike leg in an ironman and find you can't fix a puncture because your pump doesn't work. Even when they do work they work less well than a frame fit pump - they inflate more slowly, can't reach the same pressures and take more effort.

    CO2 inflation is fine for racing because it'll inflate faster than a standard frame fit pump but it'll only save you a minute.

    I would recommend anyone get a frame fit pump - zefal HPX or Blackburn - Zefal are probably slightly more robust but Blackburn have rubber ends on them so are kinder to your bike's paintwork.

    Fit your pump under the top tube (long horizontal part of the frame between saddle and bars) if you can - some bikes have a little bump (pump peg) on the frame to help you do this - if you don't have one you may struggle to keep your pump in place without something else to secure it - tape, strap etc.

    Second option is seat tube - the long vertical tube on the frame underneath the saddle. Problem with this is you may already have a bottle cage here and this will mean you can't fit a pump.

    Third option are the seat stays. These are the two narrow tubes rising from the rear wheel hub on each side ending up just under the saddle. You may be able to wedge a frame fit pump along one of these - this is what I do on my training bike with a small sized Blackburn as I don't have a pump peg on the top tube and like the option of 2 bottle cages - it works well but be sure it fits securely as if it falls out it could jam in your wheel and make you crash.

    Before buying you need to measure the tube you intend to fit the pump on and order a pump of the correct length. To be honest it may be best to buy your pump from a shop with your bike there so you know it fits. Most bike shops should sell frame fit pumps.
  • I felt a bit bike poncey today, I picked up my bike which had a new chain fitted as part of a service (last one has done 2500 miles and was a bit tired).

    I understood everything the bike shop guy said to me, I even thought about interjecting with an intelligent question about loose chains and potential for casette wear...

    but i didn't.
  • popsider, thanks for that. I bought a Blackburn frame-fitting pump from LBS, but mistakenly took the measurement on the packet for being the frame size - it was actually the size the pump would compress to, ie the internal tube measurement. I discounted putting it along the top tube, as my gear cables go under there, and I don't have any nubbins for keeping it on. So I tried it on the seat tube; it was too big. Went back and tried to get one to fit my frame on the seat tube, but they didn't do one small enough for a 50cm frame :-( That's why I ended up with the mini pump. My dad swears by the Zefal pump, but I'm wary about buying one off the internet; if the Blackburn one didn't go small enough for my seat tube, will the Zefal?
  • And, looking up that Blackburn pump on Wiggle, their sizing implies the Small size fits a 16.5" - 18.5" frame. The Medium, a 18.5" - 20.5" frame. This is pants. I got a Medium from the LBS and it was way too big for my 50cm frame, about 19.5"? It may well fit a *top tube* of that size framed bike, but no way does it fit a seat tube of that size. Grrr.
  • Sean Yates had his brakes set up wonky after a crash his his body alignment wonky. Don't try this at home!

    Seriously, learn bike mechanics guys, it's not rocket science and will save you a fortune and give you confidence to do roadside repairs. I was shocked at the state of some of my fellow IM'ers machines in Switzerland to the extent that in one case at least the bike wasn't roadworthy, let alone ready for a 180km IM ride with very fast and potentially lethal descents!
  • .. an engine?

    isnt 100 metres a bit short though?
  • Oh SP, do we really have to learn mechanics?
    I've been trying to avoid it, but I just know you're right.
  • Heaven forbid I'm bike poncey - more science poncey but IR, CO2 will not break down over time - it's incredibly stable - but it's density is higher than N2 and therefore if you want to rid yourself of the weight deflate after using a canister and pump it up again with air.
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