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  1. #1
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    Things I'd like to change about my bike (some help needed)

    Hi everyone. I'm currently going through a bit of a bike dilemma. I'm at university at the moment and have decided I'm bored of living without a bike. Initially I thought about getting a nice foldiing bike, then I realised I wouldn't be able to race it and looked at what I could get in terms of a normal road bike for the same price and I'd pretty much settled on building one...

    Then a spanner got thrown in the works. I went home over easter and saw my lovely Bianchi D2 Axis and thought "why waste all that money when I already have a bike that I love". As with all things though it's not perfect. It is a rather heavy relaxed bike, not ideal for a 130lb 22 year old such as myself, so there are some things I'd like to remedy about it. Below is a quick list with my thoughts of likely solutions but some I am not sure about and would like some input with.

    1. My STI levers are shimano ones, and tbh I just don't find them that comfortable. I tried out a bike in a shop with campy levers and they just felt so much nicer. I'd rather not have to change my whole drivetrain but have heard about 11 speed campy shifters working with 9 speed shimano derailleurs. I'd happy to try this out, and if it doesn't work then I'm fine with having to either go back to shimano or swap completely to campy. I'm thinking of getting a pair of chorus levers so I can benifit from the multiple shifts in both directions. There doesn't seem to be much infortmation on the internet about the front derailleur though. Would it work ok or would I need to get a campy one (not too expensive) but would that then work with the rest of my drivetrain?

    2. I can't get as an aggressive position as I like due to the headset mounted hanger being in the way. The forks on my bike have a hole for mudguards. Is it ok to attach a brake cable hanger through this so I can lower my handlebars a bit more?

    3. The feel of my brakes is far from stellar. Hopefully changes 1 and 2 will help. If not I geuss I'll try some wide profile brakes at the front and see how I get on (I currently have Avid Shorty 3 front and back.

    4. Weight. My bike is pretty heavy. I think around 12kg from what I remember. The other changes might help with this a bit but I'm not sure how much. From what I hear loosing weight of the wheels is a good place to start. ATM it has Mavic CXP 22 rims on tiagra hubs with god knows what flat profile spokes on it. Seeing as I am quite a light person I figure I can get away without quite such burly wheels but I don't know where to draw the line if I still want to be able to do some cyclocross type riding with it. Any tips on wheels for a guy like me?

    5. Finaly, and this is a minor quibble. I'd like it if I could someone make the steering a bit "quicker". From what I gather this is a property of the head angle, and there's not really much I can do to change that. Because I have quite a slight build I've wondered if narrower handlebars would make a difference, something I've been thinking about doing anyway, especially if I'm going to be redoing the shifters. And other ideas as to how I could speed up the handling?

    Sorry, that was a pretty gargantuan post. Any help with any of the point mentioned would be much appriciated. Thank you.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Realize: building a bike piece by piece is the most expensive route, because retail parts cost more..

    If you like Campag parts that will up the cost considerably.. you have any Custom frame builders around you?

    getting fussy about front end geometries is past the buy it, ride it and call it good that most people are satisfed with.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Realize: building a bike piece by piece is the most expensive route, because retail parts cost more..

    If you like Campag parts that will up the cost considerably.. you have any Custom frame builders around you?

    getting fussy about front end geometries is past the buy it, ride it and call it good that most people are satisfed with.
    That's assuming that you can find a bike with the pieces you want. For the folding bike I was looking at could build it to my exact spec for only 100 more than stock (and that was because I chose a higher spec build that weghed about 800g less).

    Campag is also pretty reasonable in the UK.

    I know I'm being picky, but I truth be told I love my bike, have had it for around 4-5 years now so subsequently have gotten to know it pretty well, and there are a couple of changes I'd like to make. I see nothing wrong with that.

  4. #4
    Senior Member GrayJay's Avatar
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    1) good shimergo interchange info at;
    http://www.ctc.org.uk/cyclists-libra...gears/shimergo

    So long as your front ergo shifter is the type that has tiny micro-adjustment ratchets instead of just 2 or 3 index jumps it will work fine with a shimano front derailleur.

    2) yes, crown mounted cable hangar is a good way to go, see other recent threads here regarding clearance with the headset, maybe post a picture of the crown/headset for opinion. YOu can also always get a stem with more acute angle if you want to try the bars lower.

    3) Make sure your brakes are setup corrently and have good pads. If they are not stopping good you are probably setup wrong.

    4) Cyclocross on reasonably smooth courses is not terribly hard on wheels. Speeds are usually fairly slow and you use you body to cusion the impact. Hitting a pothole or RR crossing on a road bike at 30mph with all your weight solidly on the saddle will kill wheels much faster than CX riding. CX tires also help by providing more cusioning than rock-hard 120psi, 21mm road tires.

    5) If you have excess mud clearance at the fork crown, a fork with lower Axel-crown length will increase the head tube angle by about 1 for each 20mm of AC removed. You might also experiment with a fork with more rake to produce lower fork trail.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Well Ridley bikes, http://www.ridley-bikes.com/be/en/ from just across the channel are pretty nice ,
    .. managed to be under some fast riders onto race podiums..

    dealers like ours, locally , [though not selling those, (can, with QBP being their US national Distributor, but never have) ]
    do a take off- substitution deals when people buy new bikes,
    so components that can be resold , are given a deduction to the ones that you may want.

    Koga's signature bike program gives you a set of menu lists to pick through
    and the NL factory builds up the bikes from that list then ships it to your local Koga dealer ,
    there further changes can be done..


    you still have some decent Steel small framebuilders there in England. talk to them ,
    maybe they will assemble the spot on bike for you..


    Best wishes..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 04-04-13 at 02:54 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayJay View Post
    1) good shimergo interchange info at;
    http://www.ctc.org.uk/cyclists-libra...gears/shimergo

    So long as your front ergo shifter is the type that has tiny micro-adjustment ratchets instead of just 2 or 3 index jumps it will work fine with a shimano front derailleur.

    2) yes, crown mounted cable hangar is a good way to go, see other recent threads here regarding clearance with the headset, maybe post a picture of the crown/headset for opinion. YOu can also always get a stem with more acute angle if you want to try the bars lower.

    3) Make sure your brakes are setup corrently and have good pads. If they are not stopping good you are probably setup wrong.

    4) Cyclocross on reasonably smooth courses is not terribly hard on wheels. Speeds are usually fairly slow and you use you body to cusion the impact. Hitting a pothole or RR crossing on a road bike at 30mph with all your weight solidly on the saddle will kill wheels much faster than CX riding. CX tires also help by providing more cusioning than rock-hard 120psi, 21mm road tires.

    5) If you have excess mud clearance at the fork crown, a fork with lower Axel-crown length will increase the head tube angle by about 1 for each 20mm of AC removed. You might also experiment with a fork with more rake to produce lower fork trail.
    Thanks for the help. Unfortunately it's the cable hanger that is physically getting in the way of me lowering the stem so a new stem wouldn't help, but I hear the fork mounted ones are better anyway. I'll try and post a pic once I've picked my bike up from home. As for the brakes I will see how they feel once I've got the new levers and such installed and have had a chance to re-adjust them. Your right in that there is no point in spending money if I don't need to, but equally there do seem to be better, lighter brakes out there these days.

    With regards to wheels what sort of spoke count do you think I should be looking at for a person of my weight?

    As for the fork it's something I'm a bit wary of. I assume it would also result in a steeper seat tube angle (mine is already at an angle of 74o) and a lower BB. I'm not knowledgable enough to make me want to mess with my bikes geometry to such an extent. What effect does increasing the fork rake have?

  7. #7
    Senior Member GrayJay's Avatar
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    Effects of trail are not straitforward. It is not simply a matter of making steering faster or slower but more of making it predictable or erratic. Sometimes the erratic behavior of high or low trail bikes works to your advantage in as specific circumstance but rarely is it all-good all the time.


    Best trail effect descritption I have seen is at;
    http://www.spectrum-cycles.com/geometry.php

    If you know the head tube angle and the rake, you can calculate fork trail;
    http://yojimg.net/bike/web_tools/trailcalc.php

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    What bike / spec do you have, this info is useful.

    Some thoughts in addition to the above

    You say you don't like Shimano STI's, which ones?, there are multiple distinct generations out there, and they have got better ergonomically each year. You say you have 9 speed, have you tried the current 10 speed range?

    If you really want to, you can try and mix match Shimano with Campag, there is a lot of love for it on BF, but in the real world, would stick with parts which have been designed to work together, especially as it's a CX bike, and if you ever intend to take it off road.

    For getting a fork mounted canti mount, Tektro make them, as well as others, go to a good LBS, and they should be able to get you one.

    Not sure where you are getting cheap Campag from, it's a long time since it was cheap, or that reasonable in price, less the Xenon range.

    For brakes, setup is key, if you don't like cantis, have a look at mini-v's

    For the bike weight, if it's 12kg to start with & a CX bike, the most cost effective way to reduce weight, would probably be to buy a new bike, I picked up a CX bike last year for 775 new, which weights in at 9.75kg, and nothing on it is particularly light weight.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
    What bike / spec do you have, this info is useful.

    Some thoughts in addition to the above

    You say you don't like Shimano STI's, which ones?, there are multiple distinct generations out there, and they have got better ergonomically each year. You say you have 9 speed, have you tried the current 10 speed range?

    If you really want to, you can try and mix match Shimano with Campag, there is a lot of love for it on BF, but in the real world, would stick with parts which have been designed to work together, especially as it's a CX bike, and if you ever intend to take it off road.

    For getting a fork mounted canti mount, Tektro make them, as well as others, go to a good LBS, and they should be able to get you one.

    Not sure where you are getting cheap Campag from, it's a long time since it was cheap, or that reasonable in price, less the Xenon range.

    For brakes, setup is key, if you don't like cantis, have a look at mini-v's

    For the bike weight, if it's 12kg to start with & a CX bike, the most cost effective way to reduce weight, would probably be to buy a new bike, I picked up a CX bike last year for 775 new, which weights in at 9.75kg, and nothing on it is particularly light weight.
    The full spec of my current bike can be found here.

    I've tried shimano shifters up to the current 105 ones, and tbh just find campag more comfortable.

    I intend to take it off road, but am happy to experiment and see how stuff goes. There seems to be a fair amount of support for it various places on the internet, although not much info about the front derailleur, hence asking here.

    Thanks for the tip with the brake hanger. Looks like I might have to get a longer bolt, or possibly use the one I had to buy for my mudguards. We'll see.

    As for the reasonably priced campag, it isn't too hard to find a campag group/components priced similary to thier weight equiv shimano and SRAM counterparts.

    I know starting from scratch would be the easiest way to get a light bike, but I'd be happy with just a lighter bike, and I do love my current bike. I'm also not 100% on the current weight. It was a long time ago that I measured it and that was with commuter pedals (a good 500g) etc on it.

    Thanks for the help.
    Last edited by Dheorl; 04-04-13 at 07:05 PM.

  10. #10
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    Looking at you bike, looks like a decent spec, not sure where the weight is, is it really 12kg?, would try and get it on a bike scale to see what it really weights.

    For Campag, have a look at Campyonly http://www.campyonly.com/phpBB3/index.php they may be useful for advice specific to campag. (+ if you go into a bike shop, call it Campag or Campagnolo, the term Campy isn't used in the UK)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
    Looking at you bike, looks like a decent spec, not sure where the weight is, is it really 12kg?, would try and get it on a bike scale to see what it really weights.

    For Campag, have a look at Campyonly http://www.campyonly.com/phpBB3/index.php they may be useful for advice specific to campag. (+ if you go into a bike shop, call it Campag or Campagnolo, the term Campy isn't used in the UK)
    Thanks for the link; looks like a useful website. I think I weighed my bike to be 12kg, but that was using the method of me holding it whilst standing on a set of scales so I guess is open to quite a bit of error.

    I'm trying to get out of using the term campy, but tbh all the bike shops I've been into recently know what I'm on about =)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayJay View Post
    Effects of trail are not straitforward. It is not simply a matter of making steering faster or slower but more of making it predictable or erratic. Sometimes the erratic behavior of high or low trail bikes works to your advantage in as specific circumstance but rarely is it all-good all the time.


    Best trail effect descritption I have seen is at;
    http://www.spectrum-cycles.com/geometry.php

    If you know the head tube angle and the rake, you can calculate fork trail;
    http://yojimg.net/bike/web_tools/trailcalc.php
    Thanks for the info. Having had a chance to read it properly now I think it is probably something that I should leave well alone. It is my smallest quibble as it is, I don't want to accidently turn it into a large one.

  13. #13
    Senior Member IcySmooth52's Avatar
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    1. DON'T GET JUST A CAMPY SHIFTER!!! It might be able to shift a Shimano derailleur, but it would be like friction shifters instead of STI. Imagine trimming to keep from skipping. Get a new bike if you want new shifters.

    2. If you think just a lower stem could help, get a fork mounted bridge for the front brake. That way you can replace the headset hangar.

    3. #2 should help with this too, but I've found wide profile brakes were one of the best upgrades I've done.

    4. I'd recommend Mavic Aksium or Ritchey WCS Zeta. Like #1, get a new bike if you want to get a super expensive wheelset. Cost > Value

    Quote Originally Posted by Dheorl View Post
    Hi everyone. I'm currently going through a bit of a bike dilemma. I'm at university at the moment and have decided I'm bored of living without a bike. Initially I thought about getting a nice foldiing bike, then I realised I wouldn't be able to race it and looked at what I could get in terms of a normal road bike for the same price and I'd pretty much settled on building one...

    Then a spanner got thrown in the works. I went home over easter and saw my lovely Bianchi D2 Axis and thought "why waste all that money when I already have a bike that I love". As with all things though it's not perfect. It is a rather heavy relaxed bike, not ideal for a 130lb 22 year old such as myself, so there are some things I'd like to remedy about it. Below is a quick list with my thoughts of likely solutions but some I am not sure about and would like some input with.

    1. My STI levers are shimano ones, and tbh I just don't find them that comfortable. I tried out a bike in a shop with campy levers and they just felt so much nicer. I'd rather not have to change my whole drivetrain but have heard about 11 speed campy shifters working with 9 speed shimano derailleurs. I'd happy to try this out, and if it doesn't work then I'm fine with having to either go back to shimano or swap completely to campy. I'm thinking of getting a pair of chorus levers so I can benifit from the multiple shifts in both directions. There doesn't seem to be much infortmation on the internet about the front derailleur though. Would it work ok or would I need to get a campy one (not too expensive) but would that then work with the rest of my drivetrain?

    2. I can't get as an aggressive position as I like due to the headset mounted hanger being in the way. The forks on my bike have a hole for mudguards. Is it ok to attach a brake cable hanger through this so I can lower my handlebars a bit more?

    3. The feel of my brakes is far from stellar. Hopefully changes 1 and 2 will help. If not I geuss I'll try some wide profile brakes at the front and see how I get on (I currently have Avid Shorty 3 front and back.

    4. Weight. My bike is pretty heavy. I think around 12kg from what I remember. The other changes might help with this a bit but I'm not sure how much. From what I hear loosing weight of the wheels is a good place to start. ATM it has Mavic CXP 22 rims on tiagra hubs with god knows what flat profile spokes on it. Seeing as I am quite a light person I figure I can get away without quite such burly wheels but I don't know where to draw the line if I still want to be able to do some cyclocross type riding with it. Any tips on wheels for a guy like me?

    5. Finaly, and this is a minor quibble. I'd like it if I could someone make the steering a bit "quicker". From what I gather this is a property of the head angle, and there's not really much I can do to change that. Because I have quite a slight build I've wondered if narrower handlebars would make a difference, something I've been thinking about doing anyway, especially if I'm going to be redoing the shifters. And other ideas as to how I could speed up the handling?

    Sorry, that was a pretty gargantuan post. Any help with any of the point mentioned would be much appriciated. Thank you.
    '15 Lapierre Xelius 200 "Layla" - '13 Marin Palisades Trail SE 29er "Matilda" - '11 Trek T1 "Voskhod"

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    Quote Originally Posted by IcySmooth52 View Post
    1. DON'T GET JUST A CAMPY SHIFTER!!! It might be able to shift a Shimano derailleur, but it would be like friction shifters instead of STI. Imagine trimming to keep from skipping. Get a new bike if you want new shifters.

    2. If you think just a lower stem could help, get a fork mounted bridge for the front brake. That way you can replace the headset hangar.

    3. #2 should help with this too, but I've found wide profile brakes were one of the best upgrades I've done.

    4. I'd recommend Mavic Aksium or Ritchey WCS Zeta. Like #1, get a new bike if you want to get a super expensive wheelset. Cost > Value
    Maybe I'm just weird, but I don't see how wanting new shifters, therefore getting a new bike is good value. Especially consdering the starting price of a chorus equiped bike (the shifters I'm planning on getting). Equally I rarely find any bikes under 2k to have great wheels, unless I build one up myself, in which case I may as well arealy use parts I have.

    Thanks for the help with brakes and wheels though. I could probably stretch a fair amount cost wise compared to the wheels recommended though; something along the price of fulcrum racing 1.

  15. #15
    Senior Member GrayJay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IcySmooth52 View Post
    1. DON'T GET JUST A CAMPY SHIFTER!!! It might be able to shift a Shimano derailleur, but it would be like friction shifters instead of STI. Imagine trimming to keep from skipping. Get a new bike if you want new shifters.
    Educate yourself, certain combinations of campy and shimano parts can be intermixed in a drivetrain with good results if you know what you are doing. Good article with rational for why you might want to do this is at;
    http://www.cxmagazine.com/shimano-ca...-compatibility
    & more technical details at; http://www.ctc.org.uk/cyclists-libra...gears/shimergo

  16. #16
    Slam That Stem. Sean Gordon's Avatar
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    You might have the wrong idea about modding your bike. If there's a part on my bike I don't like, I just ride the bike until that part breaks. Then I replace it with what I wanted. Its very easy to upgrade yourself into a corner, where you dump a bunch of money into a bike, and suddenly you realize that all the parts are of significantly higher quality than the frame. Fit issues aside of course, such as bars/stem/saddle.

    Shimano 105 sti levers don't last that long. I've burned through 8 and 9 speed 105 sti levers, and 9 speed ultegra levers, and I've rebuilt my record 10 levers a couple times (thank god you can).

    If you've got the upgrade bug, ride the hell out of your current rig (at least 3 or 4 more chain replacements for offroad), your STI levers will probably break at the same time you need a new drive train and bearings. Then, I'd decide whether the frame was in good enough nick to justify building up with a Sram Rival cyclocross group or similar (you'll like the lever ergonomics as compared to campy). SRAM also beats shimano in the durability department, in my opinion. I don't have experience riding SRAM but I've worked on it and its super popular with cross racers in the states.

    I've had SO many shimano levers crap out on me that I would not want to pay good money for them. SRAM rival cross kit costs around 800 USD here in the states, no idea what it would cost in the UK or EU. I also run, on one of my road bikes, ultrashift campy ergo 10 levers with SRAM derailleurs, chain, cassette, and chainrings with no problem. I save a lot of money on sprockets, wheels, and chains that way.

    One more thing, a simple way to get rid of the cable hanger and slam your stem is to drill a cable stop into your stem (depending on material). If its an ultralight forged aluminum or machined aluminum (think Thomson, or Ritchey WCS) or carbon stem, don't try it. But if its more of an overbuilt cheap cast or fabricated stem, you can get away with it.

    Just drill a clearance hole midway in the top of the stem for the brake cable housing, and a smaller clearance hole for the brake cable in the bottom. A long ferrule will help keep the brake cable clean and centered. An old barrel adjuster can work really well here, too. Or, if you want to get really fancy, you can tap the hole drilled in the stem and thread a barrel adjuster in directly. This would be super clean and would not rattle, especially with a spring. Of course, you'd have to adjust your brakes if you adjust your stem height. Just be sure to use a center punch to start your holes and lubricate the drill bit with WD40. A center drill bit and a drill press would make the job much easier, but I do stuff like this with a hand drill fairly often, so long as you have the hole started with a center punch.

    PS, make sure to deburr and/or chamfer your holes to remove any stress risers (sharp edges where cracks can form).

    Sean
    Last edited by Sean Gordon; 04-19-13 at 11:21 PM.

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