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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    My first ride with Power.

    Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/388469533# (250 watts)
    Strava: http://www.strava.com/activities/88212382 (164 watts. You'll see why in a bit)


    Today was my first ride with the power meter. I was coming off of a cold so I probably should have put this off at least another day, but I am too impatient and decided to go for it.

    I got about 200 feet down the road before I noticed something was wrong. I was wobbly, and the brakes were rubbing, in spite of having adjusted them last night. What I failed to notice last night is that the hub on the wheel is either a 125mm or 130mm hub when my bike needs 135mm. ARGH. Hopped off and bent the frame together with the QR so that there was no gap and the wheel didn't wobble. Then I readjusted the brakes. Forgot to adjust the derailleur as well, but I got on and kept riding.

    I noticed the shifting was off pretty quickly, but I also didn't feel like getting off to fix it again since that would likely mean going back home and putting it on the stand. I made a mental note to simply avoid the biggest cogs, in case the frame alignment caused the chain to be off enough to throw the chain into the spokes.

    So I left it on the power screen the entire ride. No miles, no speed, no distance. Just power. Strava says I normally do 150 watts, which seems pathetic to me, but I supposed I was probably weaker than I felt. I figured I was a 200 watt kind of guy. Almost immediately I noticed some interesting things.

    First, even the slightest rise can pop me over 600 watts (30s), easily. That surprised me, but it makes sense when you look at how heavy I am. I was trying to maintain speed on the rises and since I weigh so much I need to output so much more power. When people say that weight is everything in cycling, they're not kidding. I ***REALLY*** need to lose more weight.

    Second, it's amazing how fast your wattage drops as soon as you hit a slight decline. Using this knowledge I decided to increase my power output every time I saw it drop below 200, even if I was descending. This was very easy to do at first but became weary in the last 5 miles. That being said, I was still able to average 250 watts for the ride. I didn't set that as a target until about halfway through when I saw I was averaging about 260. Strava is always reporting wattages of 150 for me, so this was surprising.

    For this upload to Strava I made a C# program that strips out all power data (TCX files are XML, just remove all <Watts> nodes) and uploaded it to see how it compares to actual power data. Strava says 164 watts. Powertap says 250. Since actual instrumentation is involved in the powertap (and my ego is a bit stroked), I'm going to go with the PT numbers.

    So I feel better about myself. This was really eye-opening. Strava has been under-reporting my power for ages and I felt mediocre. Now I know better. I have to wonder if the Strava numbers are so off because it can't factor in wind, and that I'm so far out of the bell-curve of the average athlete. Regardless, an actual power meter will definitely help me to be a more consistent rider, as well as train better, and get a more accurate picture of how much work I'm really doing. Now that there's power numbers... there's no more cheating.

    My next steps are going to be to get used to the power meter a bit more. See what my power does when riding in groups, what the relationship of power to speed is when I'm in different positions, different gears and cadences and so on. After that I'm going to try to perform a self-administered FTP test so I can begin calculating my power zones. I'm going to have fun with this toy.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Good job. Enjoy your new tool/toy.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  3. #3
    Senior Member SeanBlader's Avatar
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    That's awesome. Wish I could do the same but I don't believe Strava for Android supports power meters yet... or didn't last I saw. I do know the hardest I've pushed myself is when I was on a commute home and wanted to maintain an average speed the whole distance, so I tried to keep it over 15mph and ended up over 16mph.

    And weight really does matter, going from an aluminium bike to a composite bike was so massive. I'm sure part of it was that it was immediate, compared to dropping 15 of your own lbs, over time you don't notice that as much. But if you can remember the effort it takes to climb hills while you're eating lunch, it would really change your attitude about eating lunch, heh.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanBlader View Post
    That's awesome. Wish I could do the same but I don't believe Strava for Android supports power meters yet... or didn't last I saw. I do know the hardest I've pushed myself is when I was on a commute home and wanted to maintain an average speed the whole distance, so I tried to keep it over 15mph and ended up over 16mph.

    And weight really does matter, going from an aluminium bike to a composite bike was so massive. I'm sure part of it was that it was immediate, compared to dropping 15 of your own lbs, over time you don't notice that as much. But if you can remember the effort it takes to climb hills while you're eating lunch, it would really change your attitude about eating lunch, heh.
    Yeah, I'm not really concerned about losing weight on the bike right now, since I still weigh 360. I figure once I hit 200 I'll start looking into lighter bikes. Until then, the weight needs to come off of me.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanBlader View Post
    That's awesome. Wish I could do the same but I don't believe Strava for Android supports power meters yet... or didn't last I saw. I do know the hardest I've pushed myself is when I was on a commute home and wanted to maintain an average speed the whole distance, so I tried to keep it over 15mph and ended up over 16mph.

    And weight really does matter, going from an aluminium bike to a composite bike was so massive. I'm sure part of it was that it was immediate, compared to dropping 15 of your own lbs, over time you don't notice that as much. But if you can remember the effort it takes to climb hills while you're eating lunch, it would really change your attitude about eating lunch, heh.
    Wouldn't there need to be a power meter sensor to feed the data to the phone? Is there one out there? I don't see one on Wahoo's site. If not, it's all calculated guessing.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member SeanBlader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    Wouldn't there need to be a power meter sensor to feed the data to the phone? Is there one out there? I don't see one on Wahoo's site. If not, it's all calculated guessing.
    Yes, you would need some kind of additional hardware to measure your power.

    No, there is not one out there. Strava for Android doesn't officially support any power meters at this time. https://strava.zendesk.com/entries/2...metric-sensors

  7. #7
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    What type of power meter did you get?

  8. #8
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    Was it expensive? The Power meter I mean.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbeasley View Post
    What type of power meter did you get?
    Quote Originally Posted by Greyride View Post
    Was it expensive? The Power meter I mean.


    So I got a PowerTap G3. I had the wheel custom made from Dave's Wheels (http://speeddream.com/), my club highly recommends him and he said he was confident he could build a 32-spoke wheel for me that could hold my weight just fine. The hub itself was something like $600, and total the wheel was $850. Probably a bit pricey to most people, but considering that my bike shop carries $4,000 wheels I didn't think it was too bad. I'm definitely going to utilize this so I feel like it was worth it. Plus when I drop enough weight to go down to lighter wheels I can just disassemble the wheel and reuse the hub in a new one.

    Powertaps are currently the cheapest power meters on the market. I opted for one of those because I can at least swap it between bikes, whereas the crank ones are generally harder to do. I've wanted a Garmin Vector for a long time but when they announced the prices I thought they were out of their minds. Powertaps make more sense imo.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    So I got a PowerTap G3. I had the wheel custom made from Dave's Wheels (http://speeddream.com/), my club highly recommends him and he said he was confident he could build a 32-spoke wheel for me that could hold my weight just fine. The hub itself was something like $600, and total the wheel was $850. Probably a bit pricey to most people, but considering that my bike shop carries $4,000 wheels I didn't think it was too bad. I'm definitely going to utilize this so I feel like it was worth it. Plus when I drop enough weight to go down to lighter wheels I can just disassemble the wheel and reuse the hub in a new one.

    Powertaps are currently the cheapest power meters on the market. I opted for one of those because I can at least swap it between bikes, whereas the crank ones are generally harder to do. I've wanted a Garmin Vector for a long time but when they announced the prices I thought they were out of their minds. Powertaps make more sense imo.
    They're good products. I had the previous generation (had Psimet build it up for me--wheel is rock solid! after 2-3 years!!), and it failed. Sent the hub & wheel to Cyclops, they replaced it with the G3. Now my son rides/races on it--it's pretty much his full time

    So I ended up getting a Quarq SRAM s975 (eBay used from former Pro-rider) for myself for ~$1,000. I can swap out wheels anytime I like (train on 50mm carbon clinchers or OpenPro's, race on 50mm carbon tubulars) It eventually failed on me, too. Quarq called for it back and replaced with next version up: Riken. So far, so good. Both companies seem to have superior customer service.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Powertaps are currently the cheapest power meters on the market. I opted for one of those because I can at least swap it between bikes, whereas the crank ones are generally harder to do. I've wanted a Garmin Vector for a long time but when they announced the prices I thought they were out of their minds. Powertaps make more sense imo.
    If you can afford them, I actually think that crank- or pedal-based power meters are a better option. Cranks, it turns out, are actually pretty easy to swap from one bike to another: you just have to make sure that all the bikes use a compatible bottom bracket. Most modern cranks can be removed and installed with an Allen wrench. Pedals can be removed and installed with an Allen wrench or open-ended wrench.

    Swapping wheels is physically easy, but logistically painful. My PowerTap is setup for use on my road bike and wears a 700x25 tire. I can (and do) use it on my touring bike, but it looks ridiculous and feels a bit weird to have a 700x35 on the front and a 700x25 on the rear. I could swap tires, but that's more of a hassle and the PowerTap wheel's rim is a bit narrow for a 700x35. I've also been tempted to try carbon wheels, but it doesn't make sense to invest $1K+ in wheels and lose power data. A crank- or pedal-based power-meter would solve both of these problems.

    Sadly, crank- and pedal-based power meters are still ridiculously expensive when compared to the current generation of PowerTap hubs. If you shop wisely, you can probably end up with two PowerTap wheels for the same cost as a single Garmin Vector or Quarq system!

  12. #12
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    I was always under the impression that super clydes would put out a ton of wattage for short periods of time like climbing hills. hmmm.
    "When dealing with stuff like this consider that this is a bicycle, not a spaceship." -- FBinNY

  13. #13
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobotech View Post
    I was always under the impression that super clydes would put out a ton of wattage for short periods of time like climbing hills. hmmm.
    I didn't really try any big hills on the first ride. Being a new wheel I wanted to keep it easy and familiar in case there was a problem. There was only one "hill", which was a railroad bridge that forced me to drop down to my middle-ring. I think going up that I was averaging 500 watts.


    It was amazing though. I'd start going up an invisible incline; just a segment of road that looks flat but you know it's not because you slow down in the same spot every time, and the watts would suddenly be at 400-600 whereas you were doing 200 moments before.

    The variation in watts is multiplied for clydes; since the formula for potential energy is E = mG*H; or Energy = mass * Gravitational Constant * Height. This means that there is a directly proportional amount of energy required to climb hills based solely on weight. If you're twice as heavy, excluding all factors besides gravity, you'll expend twice as much energy going up the same hill.

    This, I think, has the effect of "smoothing" power use for lighter people. The power expenditure of a lighter person will still fluctuate as they go up and down hills, but the difference is that the power level will change less as a percentage than if you were heavier. This makes for more consistent riding, which is why as a clyde, I *always* get dropped on the hills, but can keep up indefinitely on the flats. In fact the flatter the ride, they actually often have trouble keeping up with me, and I've dropped my clubmates many times on our flat rides.

  14. #14
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    So your frame is spaced for MTB wheels? (135). You're right that a PT hub is a 130mm hub, I'd have your bike shop check into that for you, it would be a shame to damage your frame (or your wheel). They might be able to space out the hub for you or something, I have no idea.

    It also seems like your average speeds are higher than what you used to do - congratulations. :0)

    Enjoy your new toy - I have one and my inner nerd likes seeing the data, even though I really don't "need" it.

    The stages power meter is probably the least expensive option out there, they're about $600 and don't require building into a wheel.

  15. #15
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    So your frame is spaced for MTB wheels? (135). You're right that a PT hub is a 130mm hub, I'd have your bike shop check into that for you, it would be a shame to damage your frame (or your wheel). They might be able to space out the hub for you or something, I have no idea.

    It also seems like your average speeds are higher than what you used to do - congratulations. :0)

    Enjoy your new toy - I have one and my inner nerd likes seeing the data, even though I really don't "need" it.

    The stages power meter is probably the least expensive option out there, they're about $600 and don't require building into a wheel.
    I'm with ya... I really would love to have power as I love having the metrics avl to me after the ride... I might be able to use power just to not go over a threshold similar to me using my HRM to tell me when to back off a bit

    as for the stage power meter I love the concept... and it using btle is a nice perk for future proofing... also seems you can get a comptable crank (the shimano 105) for about $150... so ya def not a bad option these days and in theory could be used on multiple bikes with about 5 min of tinkering (yay hallowtec 2 mounting haha)... it looks like you'd need to reset it before each swap but if you had a more relaxed randonneur bike for longer rides and a racing bike for faster/shorter rides it would prob be easier to swap the crank arm then pull the wheel and swap tires back and forth... I've got a set of rims that are tubless ready and it's a serious pain to break the bead, remove the tire, or seat the bead again.

    I think the easiest to swap would be pedal based power meters like the garmin vector... but at $1700+ you could easily just buy and mount multiple power solutions to your stable

    to the OP... ya I'd talk to your LBS about getting a spacer to the axle and re dish the wheel, it'll be a stronger wheel once it's redished for 135mm hub spacing to boot... (upon further looking it looks like you might have to send it in to be sized for 135mm... still something I'd look into if you don't plan on ever using it on a standard road bike)
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    I'd have your bike shop check into that for you, it would be a shame to damage your frame (or your wheel).
    I cringed a little when I read that part of the OP about "bending" the frame to fit the wheel.

    Power2Max is a crank based power meter that recently dropped their pricing to match Powertap.

  17. #17
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
    I cringed a little when I read that part of the OP about "bending" the frame to fit the wheel.

    Power2Max is a crank based power meter that recently dropped their pricing to match Powertap.
    steel frame and 5mm... 2.5mm each side... been going on for years http://sheldonbrown.com/frame-spacing.html my road frame is an old 126mm using a 130mm hub, it's just not an issue.

    granted if it was alu or carbon it would be an issue... still not ideal but not a big deal either.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by donalson View Post
    steel frame and 5mm... 2.5mm each side... been going on for years http://sheldonbrown.com/frame-spacing.html my road frame is an old 126mm using a 130mm hub, it's just not an issue.
    I did note the LHT in OP's profile. Steel is certainly going to be most tolerant to bending but the Sheldon Brown link recommends careful adjustment with a 2X4 or you run the risk of damaging the frame.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    So your frame is spaced for MTB wheels? (135). You're right that a PT hub is a 130mm hub, I'd have your bike shop check into that for you, it would be a shame to damage your frame (or your wheel). They might be able to space out the hub for you or something, I have no idea.
    Quote Originally Posted by donalson View Post
    to the OP... ya I'd talk to your LBS about getting a spacer to the axle and re dish the wheel, it'll be a stronger wheel once it's redished for 135mm hub spacing to boot... (upon further looking it looks like you might have to send it in to be sized for 135mm... still something I'd look into if you don't plan on ever using it on a standard road bike)

    Yeah the wheelbuilder shipped me an endcap for the hub that will increase its width to 135mm. I swapped back to the old wheel for the time being so I'll be powerless for the next few rides. D'oh. But all I've got to do is swap the cap, re-dish the wheel, and I'll be golden. In theory.

  20. #20
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
    I did note the LHT in OP's profile. Steel is certainly going to be most tolerant to bending but the Sheldon Brown link recommends careful adjustment with a 2X4 or you run the risk of damaging the frame.
    but only says it is required when going more then 1 size... ie old school road 126mm to mtb 135mm or real old school 120mm road (5spd) to modern road 130mm... although it is ideal to cold set it it's not necessary... even many modern cross type bikes are using a 128.5mm spacing so it can be used with both mtb or road wheel spacing...
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  21. #21
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Yeah the wheelbuilder shipped me an endcap for the hub that will increase its width to 135mm. I swapped back to the old wheel for the time being so I'll be powerless for the next few rides. D'oh. But all I've got to do is swap the cap, re-dish the wheel, and I'll be golden. In theory.
    is the end cap only for the non drive side?... if so you'll still need to have the wheel re dished... :-/
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Yeah the wheelbuilder shipped me an endcap for the hub that will increase its width to 135mm. I swapped back to the old wheel for the time being so I'll be powerless for the next few rides. D'oh. But all I've got to do is swap the cap, re-dish the wheel, and I'll be golden. In theory.
    Quote Originally Posted by donalson View Post
    is the end cap only for the non drive side?... if so you'll still need to have the wheel re dished... :-/


  23. #23
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    lol doh...
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Yeah the wheelbuilder shipped me an endcap for the hub that will increase its width to 135mm. I swapped back to the old wheel for the time being so I'll be powerless for the next few rides. D'oh. But all I've got to do is swap the cap, re-dish the wheel, and I'll be golden. In theory.
    Look at 5mm on a ruler: it's a tiny distance! I honestly wouldn't bother futzing with the wheel or trying to cold set the frame. You're not really going to gain anything from either. Just make sure that you have a reliable quick release that can pull the rear drop-outs against the hub. Once the wheel is in place, you should be able to adjust the brakes and derailleur so that they work without a problem.

  25. #25
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Look at 5mm on a ruler: it's a tiny distance! I honestly wouldn't bother futzing with the wheel or trying to cold set the frame. You're not really going to gain anything from either. Just make sure that you have a reliable quick release that can pull the rear drop-outs against the hub. Once the wheel is in place, you should be able to adjust the brakes and derailleur so that they work without a problem.

    derailleur wouldn't need adjusted as the spacer goes on the non drive side
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