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  1. #1
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    What's wrong with my bike?

    Okay, first let me say I am a VERY CASUAL rider. I know basically very little about bikes - just when the tires are flat and they need air. I recently took my barely used Jamis Citizen (2005) out with my sister riding. She rented a bike and I rode my Jamis. As I mentioned, the bike has barely been used and I looked it over well before I went out. I noticed that I was having to push a lot harder than she was to go the same distance - using any of the gears. At first I thought it was because I was out of shape, but then we switched bikes and I was able to cover much more distance on the rented bike than on my own and she also noticed the difference.
    Any thoughts as to why this is happening and how I can fix it? I'm taking it to a shop tomorrow.
    Thanks for the help in advance.
    Loliz

  2. #2
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    Are the brakes dragging? Do the wheels spin freely, or do they stop quickly when you spin them?

    Are the tires pumped up to recommended pressures? Don't rely on looks and feel, use a gauge. The Jamis website says, "Tires: CST inverted tread design, 700 x 38c, with kevlar puncture barrier and 3M reflective safety stripe". I don't know what pressure those particular tires take, but it could be up around 100 psi.
    Last edited by deraltekluge; 07-21-08 at 11:12 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by deraltekluge View Post
    Are the brakes dragging? Do the wheels spin freely, or do they stop quickly when you spin them?

    Are the tires pumped up to recommended pressures? Don't rely on looks and feel, use a gauge.
    Thanks for the help.
    The wheels spin freely and the tires are pumped up to recommended pressures. Any idea?

  4. #4
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    What kind of bike did she have?

    OK, I googled the Citizen and it is a pretty upright "Comfort bike" that is not very aerodynamic. So perhaps the bike she had was simply a faster design - thinner tires, lower handlbars to make you more aero, lighter overall, etc.
    Last edited by cooker; 07-21-08 at 11:28 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    What kind of bike did she have?
    Hmmm. That's a good question. I'm not sure.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    What kind of bike did she have?

    OK, I googled the Citizen and it is a pretty upright "Comfort bike" that is not very aerodynamic. So perhaps the bike she had was simply a faster design - thinner tires, lower handlbars to make you more aero, lighter overall, etc.
    Yes, the Jamis is a kind of upright bike. But the bike she had was not that much different design-wise and for some reason I don't remember it being that hard to push before.

  7. #7
    Safety Zealot wyeast's Avatar
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    Flip the bike upside down (or put it up on the stand) and see if there's a lot of drag in the cranks. Could also be the suspension has gone out, causing you to soak up some energy while pedaling. Or the rental bike was simply a lighter faster frame.

  8. #8
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Your bike has 700x38 tires. Very wide for "fast/easy" road cycling - lots of rolling resistance. What size tires did her bike have?
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon

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    Quote Originally Posted by wyeast View Post
    Flip the bike upside down (or put it up on the stand) and see if there's a lot of drag in the cranks. Could also be the suspension has gone out, causing you to soak up some energy while pedaling. Or the rental bike was simply a lighter faster frame.
    Hmmm, "drag" and "cranks" and "suspension" - such big words. Well, I can't say that I checked those since I'm not even sure I would know how to, but I will definitely ask the guy at the shop about that.
    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    Your bike has 700x38 tires. Very wide for "fast/easy" road cycling - lots of rolling resistance. What size tires did her bike have?
    Wide tires - that makes sense to me. But I think her tires were the same size, maybe even wider.

  11. #11
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    It's not the width of the tires so much as it's the pressure. The "knobbiness" also makes a difference. A 2" wide, knobby mountain bike tire at 50 psi will have a lot more rolling resistance than a 1" wide, slick road tire at 100 psi. But you shouldn't notice a huge difference between a 1" tire and a 1.5" tire of similar tread design at similar pressures.

  12. #12
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyeast View Post
    Flip the bike upside down (or put it up on the stand) and see if there's a lot of drag in the cranks. Could also be the suspension has gone out, causing you to soak up some energy while pedaling. Or the rental bike was simply a lighter faster frame.
    Quote Originally Posted by Loliz View Post
    Hmmm, "drag" and "cranks" and "suspension" - such big words. Well, I can't say that I checked those since I'm not even sure I would know how to, but I will definitely ask the guy at the shop about that.
    Thanks!
    Turn the bike upside down and turn the pedals and see if it feels like there is some resistance. The bike has built in suspension (springiness) in the front fork that holds the front wheel. With the bike upright, press on the handlebars and see if the fork compresses down and rises up again smoothly.

  13. #13
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    Besides having correct air pressure and making sure the brake isn't rubbing on the rim, you can also lube the chain, clean the cassette and the little plastic wheels if it's a derailleur. Also, check to see if your saddle slipped down. If it's too low the effort to pedal feels terrible.

  14. #14
    Senior Member st0ut's Avatar
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    Take your bike to an LBS hae them give it a once over.
    Cars make you weak.

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    Thanks everyone for all your suggestions. I just picked up my bike from the shop. The guy there said that he thought it was the derailer and fixed that. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet because it rained here tonight. But for all you experts out there, do you think that sounds like something that could have contributed to the problem?

  16. #16
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loliz View Post
    Thanks everyone for all your suggestions. I just picked up my bike from the shop. The guy there said that he thought it was the derailer and fixed that. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet because it rained here tonight. But for all you experts out there, do you think that sounds like something that could have contributed to the problem?
    It wouldn't cause drag, but it might slow you down if was badly adjusted and prevented you from using the best gears.

  17. #17
    Tell a thousand lies... BurnMyEyes's Avatar
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    It could have been the derailleur. I once had a really dirty jockey wheel that kept the chain from moving smoothly. It made it a little harder to pedal and the chain jumped every few revolutions. It wasn't so much that it made it harder, but that I chose not to go fast because I feared a catastrophic failure . I cleaned my entire drivetrain and lubed my chain and everything was considerably better.

    It seems to me if the derailleur is going to add that much resistance, it would indicate such damage that it isn't going to be easily fixable (but I could be wrong, since I'm a newbie myself). But overall, I don't know how the derailleur itself would cause so much extra resistance.

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