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Old 03-25-08, 04:31 AM   #1
Invisibl
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Improving quality/speed/smoothness of ride

Hey everyone, I have two bikes currently...that my g/f and I ride, and we were hoping to somehow improve the ride quality/smoothness/speed with little to no monetary investment. When I refer to any improvement of the bike...I am thinking of anything regarding general maintenance (tightening, lubricating, degreasing, adjusting) of the bicycle and its parts. Currently, the two bikes are correctly fitted for sitting height (one is a mountain bike and the other is a "hybrid"), both have brakes in good working order, shifting that seems to be in good working order (could be tuned? adjusted? etc?), both are going to have new slicks and tubes, no rust, good condition shifters and shifter grips, etc. Can anyone give me an idea of where to look in regard to certain parts of the bike, in order to improve ride quality without purchasing new expensive parts ($50 limit per bike)? Btw, I regularly hand wash both bikes and make sure the tires are filled to correct psi, but I have been looking into some maintenance for the drive train (lubricants, degreasers, etc). Thanks everyone
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Old 03-25-08, 04:32 AM   #2
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I forgot to mention, these bikes are being used as commuter bikes...therefore, I don't feel as though high performance parts are needed...since we do not participate in any bicycle sports or competition. Thanks again
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Old 03-25-08, 09:37 AM   #3
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You're on the right track with the slick tires. Fatter tires at slightly lower air pressure will ride more smoothly. Smooth tread is good for almost everything but rocky trails. You'll give up a little speed but probably not as much as most people think. For commuter bikes think "puncture resistance".

Better wheel sets will ride more smoothly too, but you'll blow your $50.00 budget big time.
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Old 03-25-08, 10:07 AM   #4
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Won't do anything for speed, but Performance has the Ascent Rebound Suspension Seatpost on sale for $14.99. Don't know if it will fit your bikes. Is that something like what you're looking for?
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Old 03-25-08, 11:01 AM   #5
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What complaints do you have with current "ride quality"?

Offhand, slicks will give you a smoother ride and much lower rolling resistance on the road. Good start. don't pump the slicks up to 100 psi and they'll smooth out the bumps. Get a Brooks saddle and you'll be more comfortable in the saddle.

Raise you handlebars and you'll put less pressure on your hands and have less numbness there.

Ride more and you'll get faster for free.
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Old 03-25-08, 04:18 PM   #6
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If you are looking for a deal on more expensive parts try Craigslist or Ebay.

N.

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Old 03-25-08, 04:24 PM   #7
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If your butt hurts, use your $50 to buy a new saddle or padded cycling shorts. If you're commuting, you should probably have lights. Fenders or racks would be something to think about for a commuter also. You could probably get any one of the things I mentioned for under $50.

If you don't have a tire pump, that would probably be the best place to start. $30 will get you a good floor pump.
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Old 03-25-08, 05:04 PM   #8
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Get a Brooks saddle and you'll be more comfortable in the saddle.
A Brooks saddle will blow away that $50.00 budget.
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Old 03-25-08, 06:07 PM   #9
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Fatter tires with lower pressure will do a lot for ride smoothness. Won't help speed, though. bk
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Old 03-25-08, 10:19 PM   #10
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If you look around, it's possible to find a used bike for under $50.00 that might have many of the parts you want already.
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Old 03-26-08, 08:45 AM   #11
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Thank you everyone for taking the time and effort to give me advice/suggestions/assistance...they are very much appreciated. I recently ordered the slicks, and currently have a comfort/cushioned seat on one of the bikes...and I was looking into getting one for the MTB (thanks roody, supcom, commuterrun...I'll look into the products you've mentioned). I'll be looking through nashbar, ebay, craigslist, performancebike, etc for all of the things mentioned...pricing them...deciding which are most important/useful for the current stage I am. I apologize for not responding to all of you directly...I'm at a bit of a rush right now, but I'll be sure to post again a little later in the day . Btw, to perhaps clarify as to what I had in mind (other than a new saddle, fenders, racks, tire pump etc...things I am pursuing currently), does anyone have any suggestions for routine maintenance that can be done...to improve the ride quality (ease of pedaling, shifting, breaking ability, etc) of "a" bike? To be honest...I haven't had much experience in maintaining mountain bikes or hybrids (both ridden on streets)...I have however, heard of the importance of cleaning the chain...lubricating the chain (maintenance of moving parts), etc. Thanks again, any suggestions are very appreciated .
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Old 03-26-08, 10:26 AM   #12
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Go to your LBS and have them overhaul the bikes. This will blow the $50 budget, but it will give you an almost new bike condition.
For saddles, I recommend this http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Bike-An..._tdp_sv_edpp_i Real comfy saddle for so little money.
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Old 03-26-08, 10:47 AM   #13
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Pick up a copy of the guide to maintenance and repair...
http://product.half.ebay.com/The-Bic...26149QQtgZinfo

It just takes some very simple tools and a little time to tune up your bike..... Now if your like me (A former professional Auto/Tank mechanic) and your inclined to go whole hog.....Sorry, off topic.

Take one thing at a time and lube everything...... Its amazing the diference!

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Old 03-26-08, 06:46 PM   #14
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I'll tell you what I did today. Sprayed WD-40 on the chain, derailleurs, and freewheel. Took a rag and a small srewdriver and picked out all the built up crud. There was even a small twig stuck inbetween the rear sprokets. Take your time spray it and clean it real good. Take some oil and lube up the chain real good, wipe off any excess with the rag. By this time the rag and your hands should be all gunked up with black crud.

Spray anything that moves or pivots on the bike with the Wd-40. Brakes, brake levers, shift levers, cables, everything. Dont spray the tires or rims though. Try to get a little in the cable housing anyplace there is an opening. Wipe everything down with a clean rag.

Next give the tubes a shot of spray furniture polish. Buff it up with a clean rag.

Youre good to go. Bike should perform a little better, brakes and cables should be smoother, gears and derailleurs shft better.
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Old 03-26-08, 07:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
You're on the right track with the slick tires. Fatter tires at slightly lower air pressure will ride more smoothly. Smooth tread is good for almost everything but rocky trails. You'll give up a little speed but probably not as much as most people think. For commuter bikes think "puncture resistance".

Better wheel sets will ride more smoothly too, but you'll blow your $50.00 budget big time.
At $30 a pop for pro race 2's. I think it's worth the $10 overspend. They are ownage tires. The PR3's just recently came out, but they are more unfortunately $38.
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Old 03-27-08, 12:15 PM   #16
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Soft/cushy/plush saddles may feel comfy in the bike shop but experience shows that a harder saddle is more supportive and comfortable in the long run. The shape of the saddle is more significant than the thickness of padding, it should support your 2 sit bones well but not cause pressure to the squishy bits inbetween. You sink into soft saddles which can spread the load onto soft tissue and compress blood vessels and nerves.
Std maintenance and adjustment should keep the brakes and gears working sharply. I do an annual Big One (on a warm, dry day in Sept) and try to clean up and keep things in trip every few weeks. During the Big One I replace cables to see off any problems. I use brake cables that are sheathed with an outer for the whole length and spread the inner cable with a very generous layer of grease. This keeps the cable going smoother for longer with less maintenance.
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Old 03-29-08, 05:07 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
Won't do anything for speed, but Performance has the Ascent Rebound Suspension Seatpost on sale for $14.99. Don't know if it will fit your bikes. Is that something like what you're looking for?
I have a suspension seatpost on one of my bikes, and, more than anything else, it really does take the sting out of sharp bumps & cracks in the pavement.
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Old 03-29-08, 06:43 AM   #18
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^^I don't like suspension posts - they make me feel less connected to the bike. However maybe I just haven't ridden on a good one. Invisibl - I'm not sure what the problem is...is it that your butt or wrists are jolted by the road, or something else? If it's road jolts, remember when you go over rough patches you should stand or at least tense your legs to absorb some of the shock.

Re the comfort seat: echoing what MichaelW said, it's been claimed that really cushiony seats are a threat to your masculinity - you sink into them and they choke off the blood supply to the vital nerves and organs, and you get numb down there, which might lead to sexual dysfunction. According to this theory, a firmer seat allows your sit bones (ischial tuberosities) to carry more of your weight. It may be more uncomfortable at first, until you get used to it, but better for you in the long run.

Last edited by cooker; 03-29-08 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 03-29-08, 12:24 PM   #19
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^^I don't like suspension posts - they make me feel less connected to the bike. However maybe I just haven't ridden on a good one.
That's true about feeling less connected. I got mine as I was deciding between getting a hardtail or FS mountain bike, and my reasoning was that it would add comfort while keeping the relatively better efficiency of the hardtail. It's cheap -- it has no damping, so it "tops" out after springing me over harder bumps. But, it does protect against the rough patches & creases that catch me by surprise -- those are the ones that are too small to easily see but sharp enough to annoy. It's very much something I'd only put on a bike that I mainly use for easy riding.
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Old 03-30-08, 01:13 PM   #20
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Can anyone give me an idea of where to look in regard to certain parts of the bike, in order to improve ride quality without purchasing new expensive parts ($50 limit per bike)?
Get an inexpensive mp3 player, CD player, or Walkman and a decent pair of headphones. Load it with your favorite music or audio books (available for free from the library and other sources) and feel the improvement in your ride enjoyment. It may not increase your top speed but definitely boost the quality of your riding time.

Not recommended for those who prefer to listen to traffic noise.
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Old 03-31-08, 08:44 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
I'll tell you what I did today. Sprayed WD-40 on the chain, derailleurs, and freewheel. Took a rag and a small srewdriver and picked out all the built up crud. There was even a small twig stuck inbetween the rear sprokets. Take your time spray it and clean it real good. Take some oil and lube up the chain real good, wipe off any excess with the rag. By this time the rag and your hands should be all gunked up with black crud.

Spray anything that moves or pivots on the bike with the Wd-40. Brakes, brake levers, shift levers, cables, everything. Dont spray the tires or rims though. Try to get a little in the cable housing anyplace there is an opening. Wipe everything down with a clean rag.

Next give the tubes a shot of spray furniture polish. Buff it up with a clean rag.
Is WD40 a good idea on a bike?
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Old 03-31-08, 07:11 PM   #22
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I've used it on bikes for almost 40 yrs. Great stuff. Really good if you can get some in the cable housings. Use it on my 50 and 60 yr. old Lionel trains too. Makes them run real smooth.
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