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Professional Cycling For the Fans Follow the Tour de France,the Giro de Italia, the Spring Classics, or other professional cycling races? Here's your home...

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Old 05-21-13, 08:44 PM   #1
Waxbytes
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Giro and chain drop/drivetrain issues.

I'm watching the Giro and I don't ever think I've seen so many chain drops and drivetrain issues in a grand tour before. Is there a problem with the pro equipment or am I just noticing it more?
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Old 05-22-13, 11:26 AM   #2
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I was thinking th same thing.
You would think that with the technology of today that this should not happen as much as it has in this race.
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Old 05-22-13, 12:04 PM   #3
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It's not really something that technology can solve, assuming the setup is correct to begin with. Whether it's traditional "manual" gearing or electronic, the action is the same. Most often, the cause of those situations is shifting under undue stress that the drivetrain can't handle at the time. I'm continually amazed in my group rides at the number of people I see shift on a hill rather than slightly before they begin the climb. The latter is much better technique and decreases the likelihood you'll have trouble dramatically.
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Old 05-22-13, 12:39 PM   #4
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One thing worth mentioning; it seems that most mechanics started adding chain catchers to bikes for Paris-Roubaix a while back, and in the last half decade, decided to just leave them on the rest of the season. While it certainly helps, your chain can still be dropped, and if it is, a flick of the left wrist isn't going to get the chain back on. You're going to need a small allen key, or a bike change.

How it is physically possible for a 1/8" wide chain to fit through a 1/16" gap, I do not know, but it is certainly a pain in the ass when it happens.
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Old 05-22-13, 01:00 PM   #5
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No good 11 speed.
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Old 05-22-13, 01:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cafzali View Post
Most often, the cause of those situations is shifting under undue stress that the drivetrain can't handle at the time.
+1 for this

There have been a fair few in the giro, the gear technology is advancing quickly so that might explain why there have been a few problems. I ride mostly on vintage bikes and they require a love and understanding to ride well.

I notice many riders I ride with in group rides or when racing fully cross chain. Ie big front big back, or small front small back. On vintage you don't stand up while shifting, its virtually impossible with downtube shifters and its best to momentarily back off the power. I have heard that cavendish likes to select his gear ratio for the sprints before the race starts factoring in gradient and windspeed. Perhaps many riders have grown up with brifters and just push the buttons willy nilly and expect the gears just to click on over?

The chain drop of Andy Schleck was massive news, rider error? can't really think of many others before that.

Riis no idea what his problem was but its a classic, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFzteK_y1b4
David miller chain snap, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIW1MAvyPD4
wiggins 2009 wc ??- http://youtu.be/dVBoPY6wfrc?t=36s
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Old 05-23-13, 02:50 PM   #7
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I think part could be noticing it more. At 2 levels. Things like this get remembered fro a short time unless there is some real impact in the final result. Also there seem to be more cameras and more coverage of riders having problems. So in a sense you notice it more because it is on camera more.

For example does anyone here beside me remember that the first Mexican rider to win a Giro stage had that win delayed for a few days because of a chain issue?

The above is what I remembered, I admit to having to look up the rest.

He won stage 13. Looking at the results it has to have been stage 8 where he was alone ahead of a small group which was closing, but not fast enough when he broke his chain. About 55 seconds ahead. They had just pulled the car training him out. No mechanic until after the chasing group passed him.

But on stage 13 Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio was in a 2 man break on the final climb with Gilberto Simoni.

Perhaps I would not remember except for what happened then. They had been working well as a pair. Obvious to me that they had cut the standard deal. Both work and Perez gets the win and Simoni maximizes the time gap. But a couple kilos from the end just as they hit a steep part Perez simply is unable to even hold Simoni's wheel. No attempt by Simoni ot drop him, Perez was simply out of gas.

Simoni would have been justified if leaving Perez. But they had been working very well as a pair and put a lot of time on others. Instead Simoni looked more like a teammate pacing his team leader to the finish. He sat up at the end to give Perez the stage.

If not for all the things that were special I doubt I would have remembered this.
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Old 05-23-13, 04:57 PM   #8
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I've had very few problems with a dropped chain back in my days. we were taught to develop a feel for when the chain jumps and you could hear the noise it would make right before and like cafzali said, to look for the right time to do it. Could it be that today's jittery stealth bomber carbon frames contribute to this by amplifying every tiny little rut or bump right up the fork to "vibrate" (for lack of a better word) the derailleurs or the chain to cause this? I'm sure that shifting under full force puts undue strain on the components. One thing I disagree with is that the process is the same. Manually shifting (like with down tube shifters) is a much slower process where the chain is advanced more gradually over to the next cog versus modern shifters that pop the chain over immediately.

Last edited by Rhinelander; 05-23-13 at 05:06 PM. Reason: more
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Old 05-23-13, 05:15 PM   #9
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speaking of jittery stealth bomber carbon frames. Are they that much harder to control compared to the old steel or alloy frames that we see what seems to me an ever increasing number of crashes? Yeah we had crashes in the old days but is it just me thinking that they're far more frequent today than ever?
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Old 05-23-13, 06:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhinelander View Post
speaking of jittery stealth bomber carbon frames. Are they that much harder to control compared to the old steel or alloy frames that we see what seems to me an ever increasing number of crashes? Yeah we had crashes in the old days but is it just me thinking that they're far more frequent today than ever?
I'm not aware of any statistical evidence to indicate that there are, in fact, more crashes now than in the past.

And as far as I know, new bikes are easier to control than traditional steel frames. They're much stiffer, tires have generally improved, and the pro cyclists are fully acclimated to them. Of course, that can encourage riders to take more risks -- e.g. if you have more control and feel more confident on a big descent, you're more willing to descend faster, which is riskier.
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Old 05-23-13, 07:10 PM   #11
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I think the number and severity of crashes is about the same as it has always been.
I think the ultra light bicycles, both carbon and aluminum, break more easily than the older and heavier steel machines..
So usually a team car and maybe a bike swap is involved in what would have been a "pick yourself up and go" type
of crash in ye days of yore. This can make it look like there are more crashes when there are in fact the same amount.
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Old 05-24-13, 09:25 AM   #12
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They're much stiffer, tires have generally improved, and the pro cyclists are fully acclimated to them. Of course, that can encourage riders to take more risks
The biggest difference I have found in the handling of modern and old bikes is the brake levers.
I have a large collection of vintage bikes, and the first day I raced I took a vintage bike. The brakes don't work well enough when your on the hoods with vintage brake levers, so when riding in a volatile tight pack I had to be in the drops the whole time. After that I have always raced with aero brake levers as these work when in the hoods.

I am not sure if modern bikes have helped stop crashing, or made people more aggressively, but crashes have always been around.

pile up grio italia 1974, needs new forks?
http://youtu.be/-lmhUxY-Azg?t=7m24s

the 1971 Luis Ocana crash
http://youtu.be/Dc5te542baM?t=1m23s

hinault hits a dog, roubaix 81
http://youtu.be/pdjP4TFwDEc?t=19s
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Old 05-24-13, 02:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhinelander View Post
speaking of jittery stealth bomber carbon frames. Are they that much harder to control compared to the old steel or alloy frames that we see what seems to me an ever increasing number of crashes? Yeah we had crashes in the old days but is it just me thinking that they're far more frequent today than ever?
I've never ridden carbon fiber so I couldn't tell you from personal experience. But I've read Alexi Grewal give creds to the newer frames for tracking better on the corners. I don't recall that he elaborated on the road conditions.
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Old 05-24-13, 03:42 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Rhinelander View Post
I've had very few problems with a dropped chain back in my days. we were taught to develop a feel for when the chain jumps and you could hear the noise it would make right before and like cafzali said, to look for the right time to do it. Could it be that today's jittery stealth bomber carbon frames contribute to this by amplifying every tiny little rut or bump right up the fork to "vibrate" (for lack of a better word) the derailleurs or the chain to cause this? I'm sure that shifting under full force puts undue strain on the components. One thing I disagree with is that the process is the same. Manually shifting (like with down tube shifters) is a much slower process where the chain is advanced more gradually over to the next cog versus modern shifters that pop the chain over immediately.
I have a CF frame bike and don't notice any difference in the ability to control it. The thing you'll notice most is that they smooth out road imperfections and make for a less jarring ride. People have this misconception that CF is inherently fragile and much more difficult to acclimate to, but that's not really an issue with frames at all. Where you do see a difference is in the way CF wheels perform compared to their alloy counterparts. This article explains the various types of "stiffness" that you need to look for in a CF wheel: http://www.slowtwitch.com/Tech/Debun...ness_3449.html

It's possible to push a CF wheel past its designed limits if you really know what you're doing, which will cause deflection. That's not going to cause the wheel to fall apart or anything, but it can cause an inexperienced rider to lose control of their machine and crash.

Last edited by cafzali; 05-24-13 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 05-25-13, 06:49 PM   #15
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This is the pattern I believe I have seen this Giro: Blanco and Gesink, shimano; Sky and Wiggins, shimano; BMC and Evans, shimano. Based on this, I feel that electronic shifting is not there yet, which may be the result of an especially wet Giro this year. That's why I'm still waiting for a hydraulic drivetrain; I will certainly be an early adopter. There is a reason why ALL transmissions in the motoring and moto world is hydraulic.
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Old 05-26-13, 12:39 PM   #16
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Thanks guys for taking the time to input. I know I've not kept up enough to say and old guys like me often forget (or choose to remember only the good stuff... lol). it's interesting to compare the many valid arguments from "pro cyclists are fully acclimated to them. Of course, that can encourage riders to take more risks..." to specific awareness just how stiff frames and wheels are, what impact they have and how (possibly unforgiving) direct steering input (better and more immediate tracking) can be under various parameters. Can't remember seeing anyone lose confidence in their equipment to do a safe descent like Wiggins during this yrs Giro. Specifically, I never thought the crash rate to be out of the ordinary during intermediate or mountain stages. The current mass sprint arrivals, specially during the first 3, 4 or 5 flat stages seemed to see daily major crashes. I have to admit, I don't remember if it was that bad, back then...
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Old 05-27-13, 06:52 PM   #17
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This is the pattern I believe I have seen this Giro: Blanco and Gesink, shimano; Sky and Wiggins, shimano; BMC and Evans, shimano. Based on this, I feel that electronic shifting is not there yet, which may be the result of an especially wet Giro this year. That's why I'm still waiting for a hydraulic drivetrain; I will certainly be an early adopter. There is a reason why ALL transmissions in the motoring and moto world is hydraulic.
That is completely false (that all transmissions in cars and motorcycles are hydraulic).
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