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    Component Questions

    OK, now that I've actually ridden "hard" in a race I have questions. I should preface this by saying that I don't attribute my poor performance to my gear and that I'm not looking for upgrades just for the sake of spending money or that I have delusions of huge performance gains from spending money at my ability level -- I have to practice.

    Brakes. I have Avid Shorty 4s. I've never ridden with Cantis before this bike, and until yesterday only on the road. They seemed weak to me. The race was wet grass, no mud. Still I didn't feel like they did a great job shaving speed. Change pads? Upgrade to something else?

    Cranks. Lots of people were running single chain rings in the front. Now I can see why. Recommendations? You buy those Salsa chain ring guards? I'm running a FSA Gossamer Compact with a 36/46.

    Pedals. Ran Eggbeaters and was generally OK with them. I think I may try something with more platform. Anyone using Candy SLs?

    Thanks.

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    Congratulations on your first "hard" race. It will get easier as the season wears on.

    Regarding your brakes, I also have a set of Avid canitilevers, and I've found that installing a wider cable yoke helped increase the braking power because you can decrease the yoke angle slightly and thus increase the mechanical advantage. Sheldon Brown has interesting article regarding this very subject. Also, your brake pads may not be optimal for wet conditions. Although, I have yet to find a set of pads that do all that well in wet conditions. It took a lot of dinking around before I finally got my brakes to perform adequately. I actually don't use them much in a race. It is, however, nice to be able to lock up the rear wheel and skid down a sketchy section of wet grass or mud.

    Single chainrings are the way to go, in my opinion, as they simplify the bike, make it easier to clean, and reduce the likelihood of chain derailment, because you can shorten the chain quite a bit to increase tension. With a single chainring set-up, you need a chain guard on each side of the chainring. You can run a "Third Eye" or similar chain keeper on the inside. They work really well when adjusted properly. You could try just using the 36t chainring, with a chainguard, although I think you'd find yourself undergeared. You'll probably need to pick up a 40t or 42t chainring to obtain reasonable gearing.

    Eggbeaters and Time ATACs are the standard for cyclocross. I like Time's because of the wider platform and solid reliability, although they don't have the 4-sided entry, like the eggbeaters.

    I hope this information is helpful to you.

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    Thanks, that is helpful!

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    i use candy sl's but i actually prefer standard eggs. the platform can be a bit of a crutch, whereas eggs *force* you to clip in immediately when you remount. lots of ppl use the sl's and the eggs and u cant really go wrong with either.

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    I'm finding that if I clip out before dismounting and try to pedal clipped out then I slip off. Also slipping around when I put a leg through on dismounts. May just be I need more practice...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 92degrees
    I'm finding that if I clip out before dismounting and try to pedal clipped out then I slip off. Also slipping around when I put a leg through on dismounts. May just be I need more practice...
    huh? yes. more practice. this is not the pedals' fault. why are you pedaling while unclipped b4 dismounting? i hereby forbid you to do that again. effective immediately. now go practice yer dismounts.

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    The clinic I was at this weekend had us approaching an obstacle, unclip on the left at the bottom of the pedal stroke (leave your arch on the pedal), take a pedal stroke, unclip the right, then bring the right leg over to dismount. Not sure if my description is clear, but I'm certain that they had us clipping out on the left for both a standard dismount and to bring our leg through the frame on faster approaches.

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    For the OP, here's Bontrager's articles on brake setup: http://web.archive.org/web/199704041...96/vbrshrt.htm

    Don't pre unclip, nothing good can come of it. I know, some guys teach that, it adds a step and increases the number of things that can go wrong in a process that is already fraught with danger. Just keep your pedals and cleats in good shape and unclip as you step out. It might be good to know how to pre unclip in case you run into a course covered in mulch and your pedals are hopelessly clogged. But I wouldn't do it unless something wasn't working.

    I like the single ring for racing, but it's a bit of a pain doing road work for training. So I'm leaving the double on this year.

    Ron

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    Thanks, they did show us how to stay clipped in and then unclip as we stepped off, but suggested that we use that only when a situation required spinning hard right up to an obstacle...such as a slight incline up to a barrier. I see your point, tho.

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    Senior Member sfcrossrider's Avatar
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    Congrats. The single up front is a GREAT upgrade to any cross bike. I like a 40 meself. I also use avid 4's. They work ok for me. Could be set up or my super sized hands. Also... use the largest tire you can stand (IMO). What you lose on the solid you'll get back in the mush. Have a great year. The cross kids are the cool kids.

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    Portland, OR i_r_beej's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92degrees
    Brakes. I have Avid Shorty 4s. I've never ridden with Cantis before this bike, and until yesterday only on the road. They seemed weak to me. The race was wet grass, no mud. Still I didn't feel like they did a great job shaving speed. Change pads? Upgrade to something else?
    I have the Shorty 4's too. The only thing you'll get if you switch to another brake is "coolness" and a lighter wallet. The Shorty's work just fine for everyone who pays to ride and buys their own equipment (vs. pros who get paid to ride and ride and don't have to buy their own stuff!)

    However, i discovered pretty quickly, as you did, that the stock Avid pads are poor performers.

    Get Kool-Stop's dual-compound "Mountain Pads". Makes a world of difference, have a molded in rim sweeper that also "pre-sets" toe-in and are pretty much perfect. Smooth, consistent braking power. Not grabby and jittery. I've recommended these pads so many times on this board that people probably think i must work for the company-- i don't! I just hate wasting my time and money on over-priced junk that doesn't work. And when something works-- i stick with it!

    Pedals. Ran Eggbeaters and was generally OK with them. I think I may try something with more platform. Anyone using Candy SLs?
    My first season (last year) of racing was on some Candy Cs. I discovered that they gummed up with mud much more easily than did regular Eggbeaters. Actually it was the platform surrounding the spring-clips that prevented thick mud from evacuating quickly. I found that the plastic platform wound up being very slippery against the soles of my Sidi Dominator 5s. I've switched to some regular Eggbeaters.

    In off-road rides, practice transitions, and some short-track MTB races i've not found the Eggbeaters to be deficient in any way compared to the Candys.

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    Thanks, I'm getting better at my remounts and that's helpful advice on the brake pads. I can put "new brakes money" into tires or a CF fork now

    Michelin Muds. Anyone running them?

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    If you want better braking power look for a set of IRD Cantiliver brakes they come with a set of kool stop pads, I didn't really care for them, when they run out im gonna find a set of pads I cant remember the name, I they are red. But back to the Ird brakes The springs seem a lot stiffer and overall braking/adjustablity is better also I belive they are lighter.
    hope this helps
    -Matto

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92degrees
    The clinic I was at this weekend had us approaching an obstacle, unclip on the left at the bottom of the pedal stroke (leave your arch on the pedal), take a pedal stroke, unclip the right, then bring the right leg over to dismount. Not sure if my description is clear, but I'm certain that they had us clipping out on the left for both a standard dismount and to bring our leg through the frame on faster approaches.

    yeah, this is a school of thought that is out there, but i just dont get it. it's totally unnecessary. nevertheless, adam hodges myerson teaches it in his cyclesmart clinics. i guess some ppl do it with success, but if you ask me, the chances for error are DRAMATICALLY increased when you unclip first -- esp in a race situation when you are dying and cross eyes at race pace.

  15. #15
    +++++++++++++++ xccx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92degrees
    Thanks, I'm getting better at my remounts and that's helpful advice on the brake pads. I can put "new brakes money" into tires or a CF fork now

    Michelin Muds. Anyone running them?
    yes. they are great in a wide variety of conditions. cant really go wrong here.

  16. #16
    +++++++++++++++ xccx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_r_beej
    I have the Shorty 4's too. The only thing you'll get if you switch to another brake is "coolness" and a lighter wallet. The Shorty's work just fine for everyone who pays to ride and buys their own equipment (vs. pros who get paid to ride and ride and don't have to buy their own stuff!)

    However, i discovered pretty quickly, as you did, that the stock Avid pads are poor performers.

    Get Kool-Stop's dual-compound "Mountain Pads". Makes a world of difference, have a molded in rim sweeper that also "pre-sets" toe-in and are pretty much perfect. Smooth, consistent braking power. Not grabby and jittery. I've recommended these pads so many times on this board that people probably think i must work for the company-- i don't! I just hate wasting my time and money on over-priced junk that doesn't work. And when something works-- i stick with it!



    My first season (last year) of racing was on some Candy Cs. I discovered that they gummed up with mud much more easily than did regular Eggbeaters. Actually it was the platform surrounding the spring-clips that prevented thick mud from evacuating quickly. I found that the plastic platform wound up being very slippery against the soles of my Sidi Dominator 5s. I've switched to some regular Eggbeaters.

    In off-road rides, practice transitions, and some short-track MTB races i've not found the Eggbeaters to be deficient in any way compared to the Candys.
    +1. word.

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