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Old 04-24-08, 10:34 PM   #1
spray2020
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got a new bike: why is it SO hard to pedal?

Ok-

I got this older columbia road bike for my girlfriend for 15 dollars.

its an old youth sized road bike

it has a one piece crack, unlike my schwinn fixed gear conversion, that has a 3 peice crank.

On my fixed gear, even when it was single speed I found it soo much easier to pedal, especially going up inclines.

on this old one piece crank, the crank arms are a little shorter than my schwinn,

but they both have 27 inch wheels- the columbia is really heavy, compared to my schwinn- but can that make it harder to pedal?

The gear ratio is similar on both bikes, the columbia is a single speed-

anyone know what it might be? Should I take apart the bottom bracket and check it out?

I wonder if the crank/bottom bracket is well worn and is rubbing in an area causing friction?

I hear a clicking noise when I pedal also-

I got the bike for my girlfriend to ride, but I am killing myself trying to ride it, she rode 20 feet and couldnt take it?
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Old 04-24-08, 10:39 PM   #2
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Make sure the tires aren't rubbing on anything....
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Old 04-24-08, 10:40 PM   #3
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Hmmm....Take the rear wheel and chain off, and that should let you tell if the problem is in the crank or in the wheel.
Could the bearings on the crank be adjusted too tight, or have tightened up under use?
Could the chain be way too tight?
Can the rear axle nuts or bearings be too tight?
You probably found out why it was $15.
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Old 04-24-08, 10:43 PM   #4
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chain is on the loose side, but ive ridden it both loose and tight and it feels the same-

how could I tell if the wheels bearings are too tight?

the rear wheel is from my schwinn before i converted it to a fixed gear, which worked fine on that bike.
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Old 04-25-08, 04:44 AM   #5
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Take the wheels off, hold them by their axles and give them a spin. I'll bet the rear is all bound up.

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Old 04-25-08, 12:37 PM   #6
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the wheels spin forever, its not them-

the chain is connected to the 2nd to lowest gear on the casette (16tooth) and the lowest chainwheel (about 40 tooth) I wanted to put in on the lowest gear on the casette but i think the chain wouldnt be straight.

the bike is really heavy for a small bike, compared to my schwinn which is much lighter- could that be the reason of why its hard to go up hill/incline?

but then again, my bmx bike is heavy as ****, but I can stand up and pedal up a hill pretty easily?
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Old 04-25-08, 12:43 PM   #7
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does coaster brake bind?
or does the bottom bracket?
will it coast downhill?



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Old 04-25-08, 12:48 PM   #8
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Okay. In order to provide you with more solutions, it is time for pictures. Post some pictures of the bike in question and, in order to maintain our interest, throw in some pics of the girlfriend.
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Old 04-25-08, 12:55 PM   #9
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You may need to repack the BB, but since the cranks are shorter, you will have less leverage than you did on your old bike.

Since it sounds like you transferred over the same wheels, then the BB seems like the most likely culprit.

The heavier bike will impact you some on acceleration and hill climbing, but once you are rolling on the flats, you should be fine.

To check out whether it could be just the length of the crank, look at Sheldon Brown's gear calculator and at his explanation of "gain ratio" to see what I am referring to.
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Old 04-25-08, 12:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spray2020 View Post
the wheels spin forever, its not them-
Do they spin while they're on the bike?
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Old 04-25-08, 01:04 PM   #11
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the bike doesnt have a coaster brake-

the crank arm legnth in inches from center to the center of the pedal axle is around 5.25- 5.5 inches-
versus my schwinn fixed gear which has almost 7 inches from center to center of the pedal axle.

my guess is that I need to take the bottom bracket apart and see if anything is binding, if not- replace the one piece crank arms with longer ones? maybe the bearings arent lubricated at all?

maybe because the bike used to have 24 inch wheels, and I fit 27 inch wheels (changed out the front fork as well) and using way too short of a crank arm might mean I need longer ones

yes, the wheels spin very well on the bike !
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Old 04-25-08, 01:16 PM   #12
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i will post a pic of my bike later-

but it is just like this huffy, except with riggd up 27 inch wheels on the same size frame. same sized cranks.
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/bik/655835497.html
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Old 04-25-08, 01:23 PM   #13
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Why not put it in a higher gear?
It should at least have a 26-28 on the rear.
Steel wheels take more energy to get moving.
Leg strength?
I'm not "quadzilla" by any means so I often notice when I jump on my old Raleigh from my Marinoni.
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Old 04-25-08, 01:53 PM   #14
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^so having a closer gear ratio in the rear will make it easier to pedal uphill?

i am trying to make it so my girlfriend will be willing to ride it-
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Old 04-25-08, 02:15 PM   #15
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The BB likely requires lube anyways, but I woulod suggest longer crank arms while you are there.

Changing form 24" to 27" rims changes the geometry of the ride and the cranks should be changed as well to match the extra diameter.

Steel rims are a little slower on the start, and the stop, yet once rolling they should remain in motion, thus the longer stopping distance many experience.

If you resolve the crank issue do her a favor and upgrade rims as well, or find a natural 27" bike for her.

The smaller frame may fit her better, adding matching 27" components should resolve if the BB is not damaged.
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Old 04-25-08, 02:34 PM   #16
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^thanks for the great advice!
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Old 04-25-08, 03:15 PM   #17
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Fiddling with part dimensions and weights may make a minor difference for better or worse, but if you can't ride it 20', that's not the problem.
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Old 04-25-08, 04:37 PM   #18
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I'm not sure I follow you.
Does this bike have an RD?
Can you shift it into the larger cogs? If you can there should be no problem.
Even my 12 year old can peddle his 34 pound disco era 10 speed by selecting the right gear.
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Old 04-25-08, 04:44 PM   #19
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I didn't see if you tried spinning the cranks without the chain attached but that would be the first thing I would try (after wheels of course). My guess is that the BB and pedal bearings have never been serviced (if the pedals even can). I'm putting my money on that and possibly a gunked/rusted chain too. If all of those parts are binding up or just plain shot I can imagine the pedaling to be less than effortless.
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Old 04-25-08, 06:00 PM   #20
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ive converted it to a single speed due to the fact that some components were in not so great shape.
i have spun the cranks with the chain not attached, they move fine.

i think its because the crank arms are too short for the 27 inch wheels i put on it.

i added a new chain, so thats not the case.

i noticed it was easier to get going on 24 inch wheels than 27 inch, which is why the crank arms smaller
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Old 04-25-08, 06:29 PM   #21
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Single speed eh?
Well, that's your problem right there.
You should try and get one of those new fangled multi speed bikes...............
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Old 04-25-08, 06:47 PM   #22
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Those are some very short cranks to be using with such large wheels. I'd try to find some adult sized one piece cranks or put some smaller wheels back on it. Or just use a larger cog in the back.
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