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  1. #1
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    A Little Advice Please

    Here I am again, helmet in hand, to ask some advice on a couple of minor issues.

    1) I was noticing that I have a black streak caused by the brakes on my back wheel. It is about a complete circle on the back wheel, caused no doubt by my tendency to use the back brake as a "slow-down" brake approaching a turn/curve. The front doesn't have black marks all the way around because I use it more as a "stop-now" brake. (I hope that makes sense) My question is, what is the best way to clean up the aluminum rim?

    2) This is my first bike with external gears (had a 3 speed once and it was terrible....about 55 years ago). I think I am finally getting them down (you wouldn't believe that if you had seen me shift to the low gear of the crank-set while putting too much pressure on the pedals and it went off on the inside.....and I had no idea how to fix it...logic worked it out in a couple of minutes). Today while riding I pulled another dumb stunt and was "cross chained" for a few seconds. Which brings me to the point. It seems to me to avoid cross-chaining I should use the following combinations: 1 on crank-set, 1, 2 or 3 on rear 2 on crank-set, 3, 4, 5 or 6 on rear, 3 on crank-set, 4, 5, 6, or 7 on rear. Is that close to right? (This is with Shimano, 7-speed: 14-34 rear cogs and 42/34/24 chain-rings)

    I hope I expressed my questions so they make sense to everyone. Thanks for your advice.
    The Old Sarge

  2. #2
    tougher than a boiled owl droy45's Avatar
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    The brake pad material on the rims is normal and you can clean it up occasionally with a green scotch pad. For your gears, cross chaining occurs on some setups if the gear ratio is too wide. Your doing the right thing when using the smallest ring on the crank, avoid using the highest gear on the cassette. And also when using the largest ring on the crank avoid using the lowest gear on the cassette. This will limit your crosschaining.
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

  3. #3
    Senior Member TomD77's Avatar
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    Small in front, avoid 2 smallest in rear
    Middle in front, use any rear
    Large in front, avoid 2 largest in rear

    At least that's what my 1st first adult bike manual (Schwin) recommended for a triple front x 8 speed (Shimano Tourney). I ride a Bianchi w/a Shimano 105 compact front (50/34) now, you don't have to worry about crossing with only two fronts.
    Last edited by TomD77; 01-22-13 at 05:21 PM.

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Cross chaining is a habit you do not want to get into but unless you are always cross chaining you will not do any major damage. Tom has it right on usage and you won't get other riders giving you a lecture on how to use the gears.

    On the brakes- sounds as though you are using the rear brake too much but that will improve as you get more rides in. Soap and water will clear the rim but perhaps with the aid of a scotch pad. Don't be too aggressive and don't worry about it too much. But also clean the brake blocks aswell as it could be contamination on the blocks causing the problem
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  5. #5
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Here's an interesting article on using the front brake more than the rear:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html
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    USMC Veteran qcpmsame's Avatar
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    I always use the front brake as my primary, comes form racing motocross. Use alcohol and a cloth to clean the brake track on the rims, works great for me, or the Scotchbrite pads, as said above. The advise you got above on cross chaining is spot on, just use what they said.

    Glad you are enjoying your riding so much, it helps me keep going when I read posts like yours here. You express your thoughts very well in your posts, Sarge, don't sweat that a tall.

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    My LBS told me today, cut strips to fit under the brake pads of 3M green Scotch Brite pad. Loosen your brakes and put the strips between the pad and wheel. Tighten the brakes back up and go for a ride. Put on brakes a few times, pressing the pads with Scotch Brite against the rims. Voila! C'est polished!

  8. #8
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Whatever you do, don't shift gears while cross chained. Shifitng is much smoother using transition gears. Meaning shifting the rear to cogs nearer to the center fo the cluster before shifitng. There is less chance of throwing the chain as well. I have double and triple cranksets on my bikes, if you have good technique, the triples are not a big PIA like most riders will try to lead you to believe.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    My 2 bikes are 3X9's, but I pretty much use them as 1X9's using the middle ring.
    I'm only in the lowest couple gears for a few feet before I shift, so I don't worry about that amount of cross chaining. I don't spend a lot of time in 8 or 9 either, but don't worry about it if I do. Sometimes you want to just ride.

    Unless you are hearing noticeable noise, don't be overly concerned about "SOME" cross chaining. Life is too short.

  10. #10
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    It's really too bad your experience with the 3 speed was so negative so long ago. Must have been poorly set up or something, because when properly installed and adjusted, they work flawlessly and give a great many years of trouble free service.
    But, now that you have dipped your toe into the world of those wacky contrivances known as derailleurs, the advice above is pretty good.
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  11. #11
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    You are on the right track, if not maybe a little too strict, about avoiding cross-chaining. It sounds like you would do better to use your front brake more.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  12. #12
    tsl
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    WRT the the brake goop on the rim, when the time comes, switch to KoolStop brake pads. If you ride only in the dry, get the black ones. Use the salmon-colored ones if you ride in the wet.

    I've never had to clean my rims since I switched to KoolStops.
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  13. #13
    USMC Veteran qcpmsame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    WRT the the brake goop on the rim, when the time comes, switch to KoolStop brake pads. If you ride only in the dry, get the black ones. Use the salmon-colored ones if you ride in the wet.

    I've never had to clean my rims since I switched to KoolStops.
    +1, tsl has this one spot on, I switched to the Kool Stop Dual Dura cartridges last month, make a big difference in braking and much less dust from the pads' wear to clean off. These are the two compound type, both the salmon for wet riding and black for dry weather, as tsl said. Worth the little bit of effort to gain the benefits.

    Bill
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  14. #14
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    All the above and one point to think about when shifting.

    If you look at a chain driving a bike wheel you will notice the top of the chain is under tension turning the rear wheel and the bottom of the chain has no tension except from the spring of the rear derailleur. The derailleur in the front works by shifting the chain on the top “tension side” and the change in tooth count ring to ring is quite high. The shift in the rear moves the chain over from the bottom non tension side and on the cassette the teeth count cog to cog is very close. For that reason the rear shifts work well under power but the front shifts need to be done with the crank turning but turning slower than what would be driving the bike, soft shift or soft pedal.

    Also the shifts are much smoother the straighter the chain line. The biggest time to remember to anticipate a shift is when you think you will be needing the granny. If you wait too long and are in the climb it’s hard to soft pedal without losing a lot of speed fast, that causes the panic to get the shift done starting to put power in and then the shift gets harder and you end up throwing the chain or grinding the gears. I try and move the chain at least midway or better onto one of the biggest cogs first when I see a need for the granny then do the front shift not under power and then move the rear back over to the gear I want to be in to start a climb. I have 9 cogs in the back and I use 6 of them off the granny.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  15. #15
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    I appreciate all of the advice. I read the Sheldon Brown article suggested by TromboneAl and found it most interesting. So as Bluesdawg suggested I am going to try to use the front brake more. As qcpmsame and others suggested, I will clean the rim up with some scotchbright though I had also thought of using alcohol to remove the residue. Stapfam, I will check the blocks for any contamination. I appreciate the information from TomD77's manual and I have, as Bluesdawg noted, been a little more conservative in my riding but now I'll worry less about it. Especially when I'm on the middle ring. Like Bill, I spend most of my time on the middle ring and I have, purely by chance, been following Mr. Beanz advice since I usually shift into 3 or 4 rear cog before shifting rings. And, oddly enough, I was already considering the koolstop pads when I change pads, just as tsl suggested.

    Dan, it was actually more than 55 years ago I had the three speed, I must have been ten or eleven and I had no mechanical ability and my dad wasn't far ahead of me there. We never could get it adjusted right and I needed something heavier duty for my paper-route anyway. I'm sure it would have been a fun bike if we had more knowledge of them at the time. I am loving my current bike, I think it was a good choice for what I need right now, but a year from now I might be looking lustfully at others.
    The Old Sarge

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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    The biggest time to remember to anticipate a shift is when you think you will be needing the granny. If you wait too long and are in the climb it’s hard to soft pedal without losing a lot of speed fast, that causes the panic to get the shift done starting to put power in and then the shift gets harder and you end up throwing the chain or grinding the gears. I try and move the chain at least midway or better onto one of the biggest cogs first when I see a need for the granny then do the front shift not under power and then move the rear back over to the gear I want to be in to start a climb. I have 9 cogs in the back and I use 6 of them off the granny.
    Your description of the "panic" and throwing the chain is exactly what happened to me the other day. And the idea of "soft peddling" or "soft shifting" is the lesson I've been learning from riding. Thanks for expressing it so well. This forum is great for beginners because everyone is so willing to share their knowledge and experience.
    The Old Sarge

  17. #17
    Senior Member flan48's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
    Here's an interesting article on using the front brake more than the rear:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html
    Trombone,
    Thanks for this link and article -I learned quite a bit from it.
    Best regards
    Barry,68,New Jersey
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  18. #18
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
    Here's an interesting article on using the front brake more than the rear:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html
    As always, what Sheldon says makes sense...

    But myself and (increasingly) a lot of other riders ride on crushed limestone trails. Traction is always a potential issue during hard maneuvers. And, if I'm gonna' lock up a wheel, I'd rather it be the rear one.

    Call me a beginner,,, but I'll stick to using both brakes.
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