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Daily Archives: January 16, 2021

Bicycle Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder: Behold! Bike Pron! And The Great Paint Debate!

My riding buddy, Chuck, is awaiting his brand new Specialized Tarmac SL5 (hydraulic disc, Ultegra Di2, etc, etc). He’s also got a set of Roval 50’s on the way as well, because he decided late that he wanted the SL7 instead, but that would have kicked him to the back of the que and likely meant he wouldn’t get his bike till the spring of 2022 when leaving things as they are will mean his 5 will be here in a couple of months (some time in March).

Chuck’s issue, beyond the badass Roval 50’s, was the blue paintjob. I, on the other hand, prefer the silver for one spectacular reason that I’ll get to in a minute.

I have been locked into black and red for a long time, since 2012. Oh, sure, I can get away with a blue jersey now and again (I own three, but only one I wear regularly on the Trek), but for the most part, if I want to look good atop the good bike, I’ve gotta be in red and black.

Chuck, if he had gone with the blue Tarmac, would have been locked into blue black and gray for the next decade, possibly longer. On the silver SL5 he can wear anything and get away with it. White, blue, red, black, gray, silver… he’ll get away with anything he wants.

Now, having been locked into red and black for so long, there are worse color schemes out there – in fact in the 2021 Tarmac SL5 line, even. The other two SL5’s are a terrible peach/pink and a baby blue to $#!+ brown paintjob… I don’t know how they got those by the big wigs, but having to always hunt for red and black can be a little monotonous. God only knows what you’d wear on the peach bike, but on the baby $#!+ model, you’d be stuck with throwback AG2R kits… until you sold the bike (or had the ugly bastard repainted red & black).

In the end, bicycle beauty is in the eye of the beholder. While there’s a lot we can do to influence that beauty with proper a proper setup, paint schemes are left to the owner. Unless you’re the owner of this:

If that’s your bike, I’m sorry, first, for poking fun. Second, take your palm and firmly smack your forehead.

What Makes a Bike Clunk When You Pedal? And There’s a BIG Difference Between a Clunk, a Click, a Tick and… Uh, Anything Else.

Were we simply talking drivetrains, I could write this post in two words because only the main culprit will make a “clunk”. “Ticks and clicks” take care of virtually everything else in the drivetrain. The two non-drivetrain related “clunks” are a quick release skewer being loose to a point of being dangerous and a loose headset. “Ticks and clicks” cover everything else there as well. The diagnosis of a loose headset is simple: grab some front brake and rock the bike back and forth. Place your right hand on the headset while you’re rocking the bike. If it’s loose, you’ll feel the slop in the system. Loosen the stem bolts that clamp to the fork post, tighten your stem cap bolt till the slop is taken up, tighten the stem bolts, and you’re done. Quick release is even easier. Give your wheel a side-to-side wiggle. If it’s loose, you’ll feel it. Tighten the quick release before you crash into something and don’t ever let your bike get like that again. You should be checking things like that routinely before you ride.

The main clunker is your crankset and/or bottom bracket bearings.

Road bike cranks tend to be relatively simple affairs nowadays. The pricier models, such as the S-Works crankset on my Venge, is ridiculously simple and impressively light. The cheaper the crank, the heavier and more complex they get, requiring special wavy washers and cap washers to keep dirt out. Cranks that require wavy washers are notorious for letting dirt into the system. They require regular cleaning to keep from clicking and ticking while the pedals go ’round. Your Dura-Ace, Ultegra, S-Works and SRAM Red and Force lines don’t require as much fuss.

We’re talking about clunking, though. Not clicks and ticks. Clunking is caused by a loose spindle or bearing. If the crank bolt isn’t tightened enough (and they require a hefty amount of torque, just look on the crankset and it’ll tell you how much), you’ll eventually get a little clunk at the top of the pedal stroke as power is transferred from one crank arm to the next – often in the left arm.

Now, on one hand there’s the simple fix; tighten the bolt. On the other, I like to go a little further and pull the crankset out, clean it, lube it and put it back together. If I’m going to be in there anyway, I may as well clean it out and do it right. I’m going to have to deal with it sooner or later anyway.