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  1. #1
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    Possible to create wheel drag to provide additional resistance?

    This might sound a bit crazy, but I'm trying to create additional wheel drag on a road bike to make my commute bike rides more of a workout. I live in a flat area with lots of great bike trails but can't go too fast because of joggers and other cyclists. I know this is what indoor bike trainers are for but frankly I commute to work on a bike and it's really the only time I have in the day to exercise. Unfortunately, the fact that I can't ride fast on the trails really limits how much exercise I can get. I've thought about different ways to make my rides more difficult and the best seems to be to create additional drag on my wheel(s) similar to how spinning bikes work. I guess the problem is that adjusting the brake pads so that they rub against the rim will heat up the rim possibly causing a tire puncture. I thought about going with heavier wider tires and decreasing in tire pressure but wanted to see if there are other ideas before I invest in new tires. I also thought about switching to a mountain bike but would rather not spend the money on buying one (I also don't the have the room for 2 bikes at my place).

    Does anyone know of anyway to create adjustable wheel drag on a road bike without possibly doing damage to the rims? Maybe installing a disk brake in the rear and somehow using felt pads to create resistance?

  2. #2
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    That's one of the worst ways you could do it. Get onto the road and try to keep up with the cars -- now that's a workout.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  3. #3
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    I vote for a sub-$100 used hardtail mountain bike with underinflated 26" knobbies and a rusty chain.

  4. #4
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Put on low pressure knobbie tires on rims with crappy hubs that need to be repacked. You should use both a dynamo hub and several side wall generator charging a car battery that you carry on the rear rack.

    Edit: I really like the rusty chain idea. Just make sure you are up to date on your shots.
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  5. #5
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    fill the inner tubes on those knobbies with that flat-proof goo, too.

  6. #6
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    Another vote for riding on the street. It trips people out to see a bicycle passing cars lol. gotta get with that 53:11 baby
    half centuries-3 metric centuries-2
    I stand vehemently opposed to stupid people.

  7. #7
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    I feel your pain. I typically only ride the bike paths in my town in winter as there are fewer people out.
    In summer, it's simply too crowded and I switch to auto-jousting.

    Though, in your area/route, it may not be practical, pleasant nor safe.

    I haven't explored 29ers at all (next MTB), but then I'm still on URT -- SO TAKE THIS AS AN IDEA TO EXPLORE, NOT A RECOMMENDATION

    I don't know if 29er tires will fit a 700c rim, but some MIGHT (I've heard that some of the kendas actually have a 700c spec right on the sidewall, but can't confirm it)

    One downside of larger tires is dealing with the caliper brakes (a lot of times with those sorts of wide tire with caliper configurations, you can't put the wheel on with tire inflated) - not the end of the world, but can be a hassle on a commuter

    eh, just a thought

  8. #8
    Goes to 11. striknein's Avatar
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    Run in a higher gear and increase your distance. Or use your commute to hone your spinning skills.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nagrom_ View Post
    I actually just run calipers. Levers are for scrubs.

  9. #9
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Attach some slats from a mini blind to the spokes, then it will be like a schwinn aerodyne.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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  10. #10
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinky View Post
    I don't know if 29er tires will fit a 700c rim, but some MIGHT (I've heard that some of the kendas actually have a 700c spec right on the sidewall, but can't confirm it)

    29er *IS* 700c, but the fatter tires (often way over 50mm wide) won't fit on most non-mountain FRAMES.

    hybrid tires come in 700c 32,35,38,40mm wide, depending on your frame and rim width, you might be able to fit one of these. trouble is, a good hybrid tire, like a Vittoria Randonneur Hyper, is nearly as fast as a 'road' tire.

  11. #11
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    Ride a unicycle.
    Last edited by richeydog; 01-26-13 at 02:32 PM.

  12. #12
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    just add weight to your frame. ie. put some panniers and cheap heavy racks on it and load it with 2 liter bottles of water, or carry a really large hydration backpack. or adjust your brakes to drag, or lower the air in your tires, or tie some string around your cranks at the BB or fill the BB with heavy grease, or set your drive train to allow only one gear and make it 100 gear inches. put on a couple of those ancient dynamos to both the front and rear wheels, etc, etc.

    essentially think of what we all do to make it EASIER and FASTER, then do the opposite.

  13. #13
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    Sorry to take the OP seriously and try to answer his question in the midst of your merry japes, but there you go.

    X-FD.jpg

    Touring bikes use drag brakes to reduce speed down hills when laden. One such is a front hub drum brake like this which could be retrofitted to your commuter. Instead of running the cable to a standard lever, it is run to a mechanism which allows adjusting the drag (and releasing it when needed). You could jerry build something with an old fashioned friction shift lever (you'd need to drill the cable hole to 1.6mm).

  14. #14
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    thanks for the suggestions. I'll look into the dynamo hub. Anyone know if the drag for these is noticeable? I don't really want to buy them and then find out it's not going to make a difference. I think I might try going with cyclecross tires, puncture resistance tubes and tire liners. One of the reasons I was going with the adjustable brake pad resistance idea was that it would give me the option of just doing a regular ride w/o drag if I wanted to. About the traffic riding suggestions, I live in an urban city and it's either stop and go riding with cars or bicycle trail riding with not having to worry about cars.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kelly View Post
    Sorry to take the OP seriously and try to answer his question in the midst of your merry japes, but there you go.

    X-FD.jpg

    Touring bikes use drag brakes to reduce speed down hills when laden. One such is a front hub drum brake like this which could be retrofitted to your commuter. Instead of running the cable to a standard lever, it is run to a mechanism which allows adjusting the drag (and releasing it when needed). You could jerry build something with an old fashioned friction shift lever (you'd need to drill the cable hole to 1.6mm).
    thanks. Is this the same as a drag brake used on tandem bikes? Since these were designed to just slow a bike down on long descents do you see any problems with having them applied in a constant manner?

  16. #16
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    I have used drag hubs on tandems (as captain for blind riders) and the were pretty effective at slowing us down, but you are getting into expense/complication at which point you may just want to go the MTB route. I think there are better options (can't speak to the dynohub specifically)

    Tires are certainly an option (the user above brought up the good point about checking all clearances) -- if you search around you can usually find a tire that fits your needs (I didn't drive cars for years and found myself building up "omni-purpose everybikes" with a variety of mutt configurations. Oddly, they were some of my favorite bikes compared to my special purpose rides)
    Last edited by sinky; 01-26-13 at 03:47 PM.

  17. #17
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    Clothes pin some playing cards on the chain stays and seat stays so that they drag against the spokes. Your bike will sound kool, kind of like a motorcycle, and people will get out of your way.

  18. #18
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    Forget the dynamo hubs, they are typically rated at about 6 watts which is less than 1/120 horsepower. Remember that anything that dissipates power through friction is going to get pretty hot unless it is distributed through a large area.
    Is there a sandy beach that you can ride on?
    How about filling your inner tubes with BBs or bird shot?

    EDIT: Maybe you could adapt the magnets from a mag trainer to act on your rims instead of the aluminum disc in the trainer.

  19. #19
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    Get a trailer and load it with bricks. Get a job driving a PediCab
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

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  20. #20
    What, me worry? Telly's Avatar
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    I run a dyno-hub daily on my bike and there is very little friction... definitely not enough to make my commute any harder!

    My bike came with low resistance 700c x 35 Michelins and when they were worn out, I changed them to Maxxis Overdrive 700x40 (they're actually really 700x42) and I saw a huge difference in rolling resistance. I opted to keep the Maxxis on because I'm overweight (290lbs) and the Maxxis will live longer and protect my wheels.

    Other than a thicker tire, try riding on higher gearing (as mentioned above). If your bike has conventional gearing try riding only on the middle and large front gear (but watch out for cross chaining; i.e. large front gear to small rear gear).

  21. #21
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    Not trying to be funny, but why not just take the long way home from work everyday? No need to buy anything, no extra parts, and it'll simply take extra time (which unnecessary drag on the bike would do anyway.)

    Why spend time/money on making your bike less efficient? You can just be a less efficient you. (Also, I'm sure folks on the roadie forum have posted lots of methods for interval training and using the "wrong" gear to enhance the workout benefit of a training ride...)

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
    Forget the dynamo hubs, they are typically rated at about 6 watts which is less than 1/120 horsepower. Remember that anything that dissipates power through friction is going to get pretty hot unless it is distributed through a large area.
    Is there a sandy beach that you can ride on?
    How about filling your inner tubes with BBs or bird shot?

    EDIT: Maybe you could adapt the magnets from a mag trainer to act on your rims instead of the aluminum disc in the trainer.
    I like the mag trainer idea. Got any ideas on how to incorporate it into the wheel assembly? Maybe somehow mount the flywheel assembly from the trainer on the rear stays somehow. It sounds ridiculous yes.

  23. #23
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    why don't you add 100lbs of bricks to your backpack.
    it will make your ride much more difficult.

  24. #24
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    BITD the early trainers were rollers, with esentially no resistance when riding them. Some one came up with the idea to use a pair of squirrel cages/blower fans to add some resistance. Racer Mate first made these attach to the back side of the seat post, running off the top of the rear tire. There was a bike holding stand too but you could use the resistance unit while riding rollers. A racer type I knew would ride the road with the resistance unit for his training. I made a version of the unit and would use it if the seat post clamp was compatible with 27.2 posts (the post I designed it around was about 25.? on a late 1960s Frejus track bike). Andy.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
    BITD the early trainers were rollers, with esentially no resistance when riding them. Some one came up with the idea to use a pair of squirrel cages/blower fans to add some resistance. Racer Mate first made these attach to the back side of the seat post, running off the top of the rear tire. There was a bike holding stand too but you could use the resistance unit while riding rollers. A racer type I knew would ride the road with the resistance unit for his training. I made a version of the unit and would use it if the seat post clamp was compatible with 27.2 posts (the post I designed it around was about 25.? on a late 1960s Frejus track bike). Andy.
    check this out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDaFS_uL8UQ.

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