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  1. #1
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    Help request for new commuter.

    Hello,

    My name is Ron and 3 months ago it had been 25+ years since I rode a bike. I passed 500 miles this week. I am the kind of guy who taught himself how to wrench on bikes when I was a kid, so please forgive the fact that I know very little jargon. My commute is 30 miles round trip and I can ride 3 days straight, or 4 days with a one day break on Wed. I am hoping you all can help me with some issues.

    1. My bike cost about 1/5th of what most bikes on this board go for. It is a Diamondback Edgewood comfort/hybrid. It has a suspension fork that seems to be made for my 8 year old daughter, I am 6-1 and trying desperately to get under 200 pounds (the bike has helped with about 25 already!) So a new fork would be nice. My issue is that the bike has a 1 1/8 inch threaded steerer (may be the wrong jargon) and I can't find a rigid fork to fit anywhere. Anyone know of a source?

    2. I use a U lock mounted to the vertical bar that the seat post goes in. It is a quality lock but the U does have some play when locked and it occasionally bumps my knee. Any way to tame it? I have decreased my time from 1 1/2 hour to 1 hour 8 minutes (I'll be below an hour soon!) and the faster I ride the more this is an issue.

    3. I am relativly sure I am out of luck on this one. The bike has a revited 3 ring chain ring and a 7 speed free wheel. At this point I am basically using it as a fixed speed bike, thier is 1 hill each way where I have to shift to "1" on the rear. My local bike shop says $100.00 to swap in an 8 speed cassette with a taller top gear. That's almost 50% of the cost of the bike, anyone have a less expensive solution?

    Thank you all in advance, I know this is wordy but I truly want to improve. I have fit a rack and CoPilot child seat and my youngest daughter loves riding. I have been looking at a method of exercise that I enjoyed enough to make a lifestyle for years and bicycling is definitely it for me. I am planning on fitting a SETMA rack and then all my grocery store runs will be on bike.

    Thanks again

    Ron

  2. #2
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    No bike-specific advice ... but great job riding ... and an even better job getting the young one in the child seat (those things are great!)

    The only piece of advice I have would be try and connect with locals and/or people on the board and see if source some of the parts you may want for free (or for little money) and do the wrenching yourself to keep costs low. There is a thread at the top of the forum about trading between commuters, perhaps you could post what you want and also offer something up.

    good luck

  3. #3
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    Go to your nearest bicycle co-op. They should have an assortment of rigid forks available from which you can choose. They will also have veteran bicycle mechanics, who will teach you the correct mechanical jargon with which you can communicate.



    Good Luck!
    Last edited by SlimRider; 06-02-12 at 02:19 PM.

  4. #4
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    I don't have much in the way of advice for you. I'm just here to join the cheering section, and offer to buy you a cold one when the chance comes around.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Big Lebowski's Avatar
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    First, congrats on the weight loss.

    I've asked a few specific questions on the mechanics forum and have received good advice. Tip: Be sure to enclose a quick picture for them for the best replies. http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...ycle-Mechanics

    Good luck!

  6. #6
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    Great to hear your story. Good for you. A 30 mile RT commute is ambitious for sure, but you are on it! I don't have any good solutions to your tech problems beside also suggesting a local bike coop. But in the longer term picture and excuse me if this is presumptuous, but from the sound of your situation my advice would be to start saving for a new bike.

    It sounds like you dig riding and commuting and you are committing to it as well. Great. Start doing research now (searching this forum is great place for info and advice). Every day while you ride your current bike think about all the things that would make it better, what are important and what are not as important. Over time you will figure out what type of bike will best suit your needs. Meanwhile dedicate all or some of the savings you are seeing from riding and not driving or using public transportation to build up a fund. It doesn't have to be a new bike, there are a lot of great used bikes out there that can be perfect.

    Good luck - keep riding!

  7. #7
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    OK, I'm definitely not mechanical, so this form might not fit in your situation, but a guy on the board was looking at a marin muirwoods 29er as a possible commuter. That bike has a really big fork (that according to the reviews I read was designed that way because it took the place of a front shock). I don't know if it would be the right size, but it's something to look at.

    Not sure of any way to stabilize the U Lock. Can you move it to hang off the seat post, or if you use a rear rack, store it hanging down from the rack? I've seen both of those options being used before.

    contrats on the success you've had cycling!

  8. #8
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    I wouldn't ditch the OEM fork just yet. I'm guessing it has some kind of preload adjustment? It has to be wound right up to the point at which the fork becomes nearly rigid.That's when it will do its suspension thing. If no preload it still shouldn't be a deal breaker. Most of your weight is one the rear wheel and more to the point, the power robbing aspects of suspension mostly affect the rear, not the front. So give the OEM fork a fair trial.


    3. I am relativly sure I am out of luck on this one. The bike has a revited 3 ring chain ring and a 7 speed free wheel. At this point I am basically using it as a fixed speed bike, thier is 1 hill each way where I have to shift to "1" on the rear. My local bike shop says $100.00 to swap in an 8 speed cassette with a taller top gear. That's almost 50% of the cost of the bike, anyone have a less expensive solution

    Hmmm... So you are using it as a single speed... which of the three front rings are you using as your full time chainring? The middle one would be the wise choice. But you are probably rocking the Big Kahuna, aren't you... admit it. So there is this hill that forces you into the big rear cog... ... wait a minute... that's cross chaining big time... is you is or is you ain't using the middle front ring? Ir you are, lower gears are easily available on the "granny" (smallest) front ring. There isn't any need to buy a new rear cassette.

    The other posters are correct. In addition to encouragement you also need hands on training. The nuances of front triples and 7sp rear cassettes comes easily to some but others need a little observation and some pointers from someone with a little more experience. Go get some before you trash the OEM cassette and don't have any choice but to pay $100.... whoa... I guess that's with shop labor for the installation. Ouch. I do all my own wrenching... a bike like yours I'd get a $29.00 cassette and call it good.

    H
    Last edited by Leisesturm; 06-04-12 at 12:24 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    I wouldn't ditch the .... H

    ...not sure about your wording, but I understand what you are saying and like it.

  10. #10
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    You say there's a 7 speed freewheel on the back. Your bike shop says $100 to switch to 8 speed cassette. The bike shop sounds idiotic. What you need to do is put on a differnet 7 speed freewheel on the back that has a wider range of gears. Do a google search for Shimano Megarange 7 speed freewheel.

  11. #11
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    Re the U lock bouncing around

    Solutions:

    1. Get a handlebar bag and keep the u lock in it. There's a model bag sold in Walmart and Target for $12, it is probably on walmart.com.

    2. Use a backpack, shoulder bag, or messenger bag and put the U lock in there.

    3. If it is a mini u lock it may fit in your back pocket.

    4. Dont use the u lock, get a 4' cable from a bike store (about $12) and padlock and wrap it around the seatpost instead when riding.


    5. Get a saddle bag (they are under $15) and if you have a mini u lock the u lock will secure tightly between the seat post and saddle bag when you are riding.

  12. #12
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    The 7-8 speed conversion includes a complete new wheel. Screw on freewheels only go up to 7 spd. 8spd systems use a "freehub" with a spline-fitting cassette. Stick to freewheels. If you can get use of a bench vice, then you can change the freewheel yourself using a small tool of the correct pattern.
    I put my lock on top of the rear rack, underneath some elastic bungie chord.

    A 1 1/8 threaded fork is a less common type. Check the dimensions again. Sometimes the spec published on websites such as this are incorrect.

  13. #13
    Senior Member kookaburra1701's Avatar
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    No advice, but I wanted to give you kudos on riding with your daughter! Some of my best memories from my childhood were made on the back of my dad's bike.
    2014 Specialized Dolce, 1987 Schwinn Tempo, 2012 Windsor Kensington 8

  14. #14
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    1.:

    As others have said, don't ditch the fork yet. I would recommend saving for a new bike as you better learn what you like. Upgrading piecemeal is significantly more expensive than a new bike if you end up replacing much. A "new" new fork is likely to cost $50 or more. If there is a bike co-op nearby, that is an excellent route and they'll be happy to teach you. Alternatively, looking for a bike to cannibalize is a cheap way to go, but will take a lot of shopping and a bit of luck to match the steerer and brake setup.

    2: I use a backpack. Actually, I have a mega-chain at my work parking spot, and I normally don't carry a lock to-and-fro. When I do carry a U-lock, I put it in a backpack or pannier.

    3: Upgrading your legs is way cheaper than upgrading gears. You'll find the gears suitable for the task at hand very soon. And don't swap from 7 to 8 just to have an easier gear, there are 7 speed options, and if your LBS isn't interested in discussing them, you should try other stores. It's not a crime to run 7 speeds. Also: As above, are you in the smallest (easiest) chainring up front? That may solve your problem. Otherwise, give it time. The hills will get easier quickly, both as your legs get stronger and the pounds come off.


    Excellent job, and sounds like a fabulous commute. You are getting more miles than I am per day. Again, I recommend not upgrading things on this bike just to improve it. I think you'll want a whole new bike in not too much longer, and you'll be able to get a lot more bang for the buck on a new bike than you will improving this one.

  15. #15
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    I apreciate all the advice. I started a new thread in Bicycle Mechanics and have come up with a plan.

    1. I will use a new seven speed freewheel to get bigger gears.
    2. I am relativly certain I am ditching the suspension fork. The main issue is when I climb hills. I try as hard as I can to stay in top gear, so when I get out of the saddle and really start pounding on the bike, the fork bounces all over.
    3. One reason I haven't listed about shifting the front is that I may very well have the WORST deraileur ever installed on a bike. I have paid to have it adjusted at 2 different LBSs and I cannot make the thing work through all three gears. When I try, the chain comes off ALL the sprocets, and that really sucks when your pulling a big hill.
    4. I put a bigger bag on the rack and the U-lock fits on top of it, so I guess I've got that licked.

    I have reduced my time but am still not below an hour. I also still can't do more than 3 days in a row but I'm gonna give it a go again this week. So far, come the end of the 3rd day I feel like I'd rather be dead. Headache, legs so sore I can't walk and totally exhaustred. I have bought a 2 liter bladder and that helps alot, but I guess I'm still not strong enough to do it.

    Thank you all so much for all your support. It has really blown me away, anyone who says society is lost hasn't spent much time around here.

    Ron

  16. #16
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Well done, Ron.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by noyb72 View Post
    I apreciate all the advice. I started a new thread in Bicycle Mechanics and have come up with a plan.

    1. I will use a new seven speed freewheel to get bigger gears.
    2. I am relativly certain I am ditching the suspension fork. The main issue is when I climb hills. I try as hard as I can to stay in top gear, so when I get out of the saddle and really start pounding on the bike, the fork bounces all over.
    3. One reason I haven't listed about shifting the front is that I may very well have the WORST deraileur ever installed on a bike. I have paid to have it adjusted at 2 different LBSs and I cannot make the thing work through all three gears. When I try, the chain comes off ALL the sprocets, and that really sucks when your pulling a big hill.
    4. I put a bigger bag on the rack and the U-lock fits on top of it, so I guess I've got that licked.

    I have reduced my time but am still not below an hour. I also still can't do more than 3 days in a row but I'm gonna give it a go again this week. So far, come the end of the 3rd day I feel like I'd rather be dead. Headache, legs so sore I can't walk and totally exhaustred. I have bought a 2 liter bladder and that helps alot, but I guess I'm still not strong enough to do it.

    Thank you all so much for all your support. It has really blown me away, anyone who says society is lost hasn't spent much time around here.

    Ron
    JMO but your "plan" will likely fail. You probably won't even know it has. You simply lack the training and experience to know what needs changing and what needs to be left alone. You can easily pay more for a new fork than you paid for your bike... and you should... if buying a new fork were what you were supposed to do. It is not. The advice from others to buy a rigid bike if that is what you want, is sound. As far as the freewheel... I won't say much. But the issues with the front dérailleur just sounds like bad technique. Sorry... I've got to be that blunt. I have a tandem that costs less than your bike and it shifts fine.

    H

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    209.2!!

    That was my weight this morning, first time sub 210 this century!! Best time is 1:06 which is just shy of 14MPH.
    200 pounds and 15MPH HERE I COME!!!

    As far as my technique, I'm all ears. I am a Chief in the Navy, which means their is no one more blunt and no one who can take more bluntness. However, describing the water while someone is drowning makes zero progress. I would love for you to tell me what a more correct technique is. Thier are others on the web that need it to, I have found several references of people mentioning my particular deraileur being dificult to adjust.

    I apreciate your concern.

    Ron
    Last edited by noyb72; 06-06-12 at 06:46 PM.

  19. #19
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    I find it really hard to believe that any front derailleur on a modern $300 bike cannot be made to shift across all 3 rings. The LBS guys are probably just trying to adjust the derailleur position to index with one of the gears when it could be suffering from not being mounted correctly to begin with. Looking down at it, the derailleur should be parallel to the chainrings. Looking at it from the side, the bottom of the derailleur curve should be 1-2 mm away from the tallest teeth on the outer chainring. If not, then you need to remount it so, only then can the index position be adjusted. Index adjustment is done with little barrel adjusters located along the cable run or right at the shifter.

    To keep the chain from falling off, you need to adjust the limit screws from letting the derailleur go too far left or right. They should be 2 screws on the derailleur. One is the high limit, the other is the low limit, usually marked with an H and an L. Careful not to limit them too much such that it doesn't have enough swing to execute the shift. The other possibility is that you are putting down enough force or the frame is so poorly flexible around the bottom bracket that the bottom bracket is flexing as you pedal causing the position of the chain rings relative to the derailleur to move. The only solution to that is to install a chain catcher like the dirt-3 or don't put so much force into it. It is probably not bottom bracket flexing.

    It is bad form to shift while under load. Right before you're ready to downshift, with your last pedal stroke, make it a good one so your bike has a fraction of a second of momentum so your following stroke is lighter on the gears as you downshift. You can feel the shift go smoother if you do it right.

    If the chain still falls off, half the time, you can trim it back on to the little ring by making like you are upshifting to 2 and not finishing the click.

  20. #20
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    I appreciate the help. Yes, the adjustments so far have been using the index adjuster at the shifter, I'll look into the mounting tomorrow in the light and check the limit adjustment.

    As far as shifting, I'm clearly screwing that up. I often end up shifting because I'm standing on the pedal and the bike refuses to go anywhere, if that is causing the issue then I'll work on shifting earlier. I just don't like the idea of not going as fast as I can, especially because I am so slow in the first place.

    Thanks again
    Ron

  21. #21
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    Here's a place to start on fixing your old bike.
    http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help

    I'd be on craigslist looking for a used 90's rigid mountain bike or a road bike. Can be found relatively cheap in my area.

    30m RT says to me road bike.
    http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bik/3061705181.html

    http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bik/3061660321.html
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  22. #22
    Senior Member FenderTL5's Avatar
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    noyb72, congratulations on your progress.

    In 2004 I weighed on the high side of 240-250 lbs. I'm 6'0". After a visit to the doctor about acid-reflux, I decided it was time to get rid of the weight. I'm around 185 now, and have been as low as 161. (everyone was asking if I was ill).

    I've been commuting on my bike (8 miles or so roundtrip) for three weeks now.
    I'm riding the same bike as you, the Diamondback Edgewood. I've not had any issues with the gearing, shifting, or even the front suspension. I notice the suspension more on take off than anywhere else. Well, except that I'm glad it's there on Nashville's downtown streets.
    I'm a 'newbie' to biking, so I don't have any sage wisdom or mechanical tips to offer - but I just wanted to say, "Godspeed, I wish you well and continued progress."
    562203_4153024630813_1733796262_n.jpg
    My Edgewood.
    Nashville, like L.A. without a tan.

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    Nice to see someone using the same bike! After looking at my front deraileur, it is clear to see it is not mounted straight. I'll pull it off when I get home and see if I can't sort it out. Hearing from you gives me hope. Maybe if I loose 30 pounds and get stronger the fork won't bother me so much.

    I really am happy with the fit of the bike and it's overall performance other than the few things I've mentioned. I am also the type of guy who can't leave well enough alone!

    BTW, what light is that your using? I currently have a cheap Schwinn badged number and it is nothing but inadequate.

    Ron

  24. #24
    Senior Member FenderTL5's Avatar
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    I'm using the Blackburn Voyager. It came as a headlight/taillight set for about $30.
    Nashville, like L.A. without a tan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noyb72 View Post
    As far as shifting, I'm clearly screwing that up. I often end up shifting because I'm standing on the pedal and the bike refuses to go anywhere, if that is causing the issue then I'll work on shifting earlier. I just don't like the idea of not going as fast as I can, especially because I am so slow in the first place.
    14mph, wall clock time, is not that slow. It is certainly nothing to be embarrassed by.

    If you are going to a stand still while standing on the pedal, you are probably going too far on the gear. I make this argument, at that point you are going at 0 mph. If you drop down some gears say to 80% of you current gear inches, you're pedaling will be something greater than 0 mph. You could say being at your original gear is not the "fastest" gear. Often times, you will find that dropping 5% in gearing inches will let you pedal your legs 10% faster, thus the lower gear is the "faster" gear, just because your muscles weren't able to get over the hill at the higher gear. Sometimes it is difficult to see this without a cyclecomputer showing your speed or cadence. I guess you could take the hill in different gears and time each attempt instead.

    It is also good to change things up by spinning or mashing up hills. It stresses your legs in different ways and in the end will make you a stronger rider than had you trained only doing it one way.

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