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New bike, but riding it feels crunchy

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New bike, but riding it feels crunchy

Old 08-03-20, 01:08 PM
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SBPiano
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New bike, but riding it feels crunchy

I recently bought a GT GTR Series 5 road bike online.It has:

Shimano 2300 derailleurs

Shimano microshift shifters

Sun Race 12-25 8 speed cassette

8 speed Shimano CN-HG40 chain

FSA Tempo Compact 39/53t crank

RPM BB-7420 bottom bracket

I put it together, had a shop look at it and tune it, and thought everything was done. However, when I got on it to ride, the pedaling did not feel smooth. To compare, I have a nice mountain bike (XT/XTR) that feels smooth/regular while pedaling. I figure a new bike should at least feel smooth even if it has heavier, lower end parts.

Here are the steps I took to rule out any issues:
  1. Changed the pedals (I wanted mountain bike pedals, so I got the Fooker ones advertised on Amazon).
  2. Removed the chain and spun the cranks on the bottom bracket (it feels smooth).
  3. Taken the 9 speed chain off my mountain bike and put it on the GT GTR Series 5 road bike to see if it was the chain. The problem is still there. I figured this would be fine since the crank is a 9 speed one and a 9 speed chain can supposedly be used with an 8 speed cassette, which the GT GTR Series 5 road bike has.
  4. Adjusted the rear derailleur (H, L, B screws). Everything shifts fine.
  5. Made sure the chain was not hitting the front derailleur. The anti-smooth feeling while pedaling happens in all the gears, in all the combinations, in some way.
  6. Checked the rear derailleur hanger to see if it was straight. It seems completely straight.
  7. Checked most of the bolts everywhere to see if they were any loose ones.
The only thing that I noticed, which might not be anything, is if I run the crank backwards, the chain hits the side of the rear derailleur cage as the top pulley cog shifts from side to side in it's housing. I am pretty sure this is not the problem since my mountain bike XTR rear derailleur acts the same way. I think the rear derailleur would work without having to do anything to it physically.

On a side note, I live in a hilly area, so I need a new crankset and cassette. I ordered a Shimano FC-A070 Tourney 8 speed 34/50t crank and Shimano CS-HG50 11-30t cassette (I have seen in Shimano documents that 26t is the max cog the 2300 rear derailleur will take, but I have also read a lot of posts online saying the 2300 should be able to take a 30t cog). The reason I have pushed the cassette to this number is because I live in a really hilly area and I only use my road bike on hills (I do not want to kill my knees). Already I have to stand up and pedal for almost forty minutes straight on the current hill I bike up with my 39/53t, 12-25t combination.

Along with these new parts, I also ordered a new 8 speed chain CN-HG71, and a Shimano UN55 bottom bracket (to rule out any incompatibilities). This might have been unnecessary, but it was not too expensive and I am desperate to get my bike feeling smooth.

I figured maybe with some luck, since I was already replacing my cranks and cassette, maybe that would do the trick and also eliminate the uneven feeling I get while pedaling with my current setup (at the same time giving me the upgrades I am needing). However, I also do not want to throw parts at a problem in the future without knowing what is going on. If I can catch this problem before Thursday when my order probably ships, I can cancel my chain and bottom bracket portion of the order, since the current ones I have installed are good.

I am asking anyone for help, because all the other bike shops in my area have a 2 week appointment waiting list. The mechanic at the original shop that tuned it does not does notice the lack of smoothness, but I have a feeling they are not as particular as me with their bikes since their clientele is mostly college kids who do not care about that sort of thing.

Thank you!! (and apologies for the extra long post).
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Old 08-03-20, 01:13 PM
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Wow, it's shocking you can buy a cheap road bike with such steeep gearing today.

Not sure what's up with the bike without it in my hands, it sounds like you're doing a pretty good job trying to diagnose it as is. See how it feels with the new crank/chain/cassette.
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Old 08-03-20, 01:42 PM
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I think the only adjustment you didn't mention was the cable tension for the rear shifter. You mentioned limit screws, but they only affect the limits. Cable tension affects the position in every gear except the highest.

Also be sure the derailleur dropout is aligned correctly. The best way to do that is with a special tool, but it can also be done with a spare wheel that has a 10 x 1 threaded axle (most QR rears) to provide a parallel plane to measure against.
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Old 08-03-20, 03:12 PM
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Hi Andrew, sorry about not mentioning the cable tension for the rear shifter. When I adjusted the rear derailleur I first set the limit screws, and then used directions online to adjust it further with the cable tension knob. It worked well for shifting on the stand, however while biking I feel anti-smooth pedaling. Last night I went out and tried to get the feeling to go away with the cable tension knob by riding fifty feet, seeing if it felt bad, then turning it a quarter turn in either direction (at that point I was desperate so I tried most turns of clockwise and counter clockwise in quarter turns, and then ending the test ride by setting it back to what it was). I could not get it feeling much different, other than getting skipping gears, and fixing them by turning the knob back to where it was.

The dropout point is good though. The bike was advertised new with scuffs on the cranks and dropouts.

Last edited by SBPiano; 08-03-20 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 08-03-20, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
Wow, it's shocking you can buy a cheap road bike with such steeep gearing today.

Not sure what's up with the bike without it in my hands, it sounds like you're doing a pretty good job trying to diagnose it as is. See how it feels with the new crank/chain/cassette.
Thanks for the compliment! If anything the new parts will help my knees!
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Old 08-03-20, 03:25 PM
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If nothing else, get a Sunrace 12-34 8 speed cassette and a Deore 591 rear derailleur. You use XT/XTR, so you can use any pre 10 speed XT/XTR MTB rear derailleur If you prefer... and another chain to fit the new cassette.

The only thing you haven’t mentioned are the hubs. Some new hubs lack grease and are adjusted too tight. Check them just to preserve them, if nothing else.

John
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Old 08-03-20, 05:53 PM
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I would check hubs as well. Maybe also a quick check that the freehub is spinning as it should with no chain attached.
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Old 08-03-20, 06:14 PM
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Incorrectly routed chain thru rear DR hanger could be crunchy as well.
But we don't know if the crunchy is while coasting or pedaling, do we?
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Old 08-03-20, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Incorrectly routed chain thru rear DR hanger could be crunchy as well.
But we don't know if the crunchy is while coasting or pedaling, do we?
"However, when I got on it to ride, the pedaling did not feel smooth"
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Old 08-03-20, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cb400 View Post
I would check hubs as well. Maybe also a quick check that the freehub is spinning as it should with no chain attached.
I agree. If everything else looks good, it might be the freehub.
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Old 08-04-20, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
I agree. If everything else looks good, it might be the freehub.
Hi,

Checked (dismantled) the free hub and hub, everything seems not too tight and spins great.
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Old 08-04-20, 02:48 PM
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Pedaling did not feel smooth is really the only thing you gave us. All the other stuff doesn't help us understand anything about what doesn't feel smooth while pedaling. However it does tell us what you have done attempting to remedy the issue.

To expound on what ​​​trailangel mentioned, on some rear DR's it's very easy to run the chain over a keeper tab instead of under it on the pulley wheels. Surprisingly you can still pedal, but it makes noise and your pedaling won't be smooth.

Another issue might be just that if you are in the 11 or 12 rear sprocket and on a very smooth peaceful quiet area you might feel some roughness or vibration as the chain rollers engage the cogs of the smaller sprockets. I do most any time I clean the gunk off my cassette.
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Old 08-04-20, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Pedaling did not feel smooth is really the only thing you gave us. All the other stuff doesn't help us understand anything about what doesn't feel smooth while pedaling. However it does tell us what you have done attempting to remedy the issue.

To expound on what ​​​trailangel mentioned, on some rear DR's it's very easy to run the chain over a keeper tab instead of under it on the pulley wheels. Surprisingly you can still pedal, but it makes noise and your pedaling won't be smooth.

Another issue might be just that if you are in the 11 or 12 rear sprocket and on a very smooth peaceful quiet area you might feel some roughness or vibration as the chain rollers engage the cogs of the smaller sprockets. I do most any time I clean the gunk off my cassette.
The pedaling does not feel smooth through the chain while in any gear combinations. It's an uneven cranking motion. It vibrates through my legs. The only way I can describe it is it's an uneven cranking feeling. I do not know any other vocabulary to describe it, feel free to help me with that It seems like it's coming from some part of the drive train that the chain is linked to - the crankset, the cassette, the rear derailleur. Maybe the front derailleur. My gut says it's the cassette or the rear derailleur, mostly because I have ridden other bikes with this issue that are 1x7, without a front derailleur, and it does not feel smooth either. That is my amateur opinion, which means that it's probably something else. Sorry about not explaining everything, I gassed out after spending forty minutes typing my initial post.

I guess another description would be it feels like there is tons and tons of sand in every crevice of the drivetrain, however this is a new bike with the original grease and only 4 miles under it's belt (and everything looks new). Now sure if it makes a difference, but this is a 2012 bike that has been sitting in a warehouse for 9 years.
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Old 08-04-20, 04:15 PM
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I don't see where you answered the question about how the chain was run through the rear DR pulley wheels. Sorry to push you on this, but this is the tab I was talking about and what I think trailangel was talking about. It will make your pedaling feel crunchy. It's the one on the upper pulley wheel that some people miss.


https://si.shimano.com/pdfs/ev/EV-RD-2300-2923.pdf

https://si.shimano.com/pdfs/si/SI-5XA0A-001-ENG.pdf
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Old 08-04-20, 04:16 PM
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The OP again doesn't mention having checked chain routing through the RD. I once made that error in a mad rush to get the bike reassembled after flying. But it was quite noticeable just rotating the cranks in either direction while the bike was stopped. Fits his description though and nothing else does.
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Old 08-04-20, 05:22 PM
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Hi,

Thanks for the diagram! I tried posting a picture of my RD but I am not allowed until I have 10 posts. Same goes for URLs.

However, my chain avoids the tab (it goes above, to the left of it if you are looking at it straight on).
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Old 08-04-20, 07:55 PM
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Keep posting to this thread, you only have 3 to go. But posting a video of the bike on a stand while turning the pedals by hand would be very useful. Of course, you likely don't have a stand, most of us don't. See if you can suspend it from something or have someone else hold it up while you do the pedals so we can see what is happening. A third person would be helpful too to operate the camera. I'm guessing it is some routing issue too. Barring the video, pictures will certainly help, but make sure they are in focus, the bike is upright, and the angle is useful. Too often we spend more time trying to figure out what we are looking at than solving the problem.
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Old 08-04-20, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
Keep posting to this thread, you only have 3 to go. But posting a video of the bike on a stand while turning the pedals by hand would be very useful. Of course, you likely don't have a stand, most of us don't. See if you can suspend it from something or have someone else hold it up while you do the pedals so we can see what is happening. A third person would be helpful too to operate the camera. I'm guessing it is some routing issue too. Barring the video, pictures will certainly help, but make sure they are in focus, the bike is upright, and the angle is useful. Too often we spend more time trying to figure out what we are looking at than solving the problem.
I have a stand I received the other day from Amazon. I'll post a URL or video ASAP. I needed to get one after I nearly tore my hair out trying to balance my mountain bike and bleed it's brakes at the same time.

I took a ride on a Claris equipped road bike at the college LBS today. It felt a little better pedaling, but still had a few of the same problems. Knowing Claris is the successor to 2300, I do not feel too bad. If only the pro bike shops were open so I could get an idea which components I need to get me riding the way I want
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Old 08-05-20, 08:02 AM
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What? The pro's use different bike shops than us amateurs? <grin>

Just curious, where are you that the retail local bike shops aren't open? Ours have always been open for business with limits on people in the store. (self imposed I think, more so than state imposed). The strictest places I've heard of still have drop off and pick up.

Without seeing the bike, and probably it would have to be in person, my last guesses will be wrong chain for number of speeds. Warn cassette, but that would typically be skipping and you'd notice that with the crunching. Or maybe the chain to stiff still from sitting around for so long.

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Old 08-05-20, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
What? The pro's use different bike shops than us amateurs? <grin>

Just curious, where are you that the retail local bike shops aren't open? Ours have always been open for business with limits on people in the store. (self imposed I think, more so than state imposed). The strictest places I've heard of still have drop off and pick up.

Without seeing the bike, and probably it would have to be in person, my last guesses will be wrong chain for number of speeds. Warn cassette, but that would typically be skipping and you'd notice that with the crunching. Or maybe the chain to stiff still from sitting around for so long.
If the OP is to be believed, the chain was an 8sp on an 8sp bike, but then replaced with a 9sp chain and the problem didn't go away. So if it were a chain routing issue, one or the other chain would likely have been correct. Worn Cassette is not likely as it is a new bike. He says bottom bracket spins smoothly, but here's the thing, it'll spin smoothly if loose without the chain but when pedaling hard that might feel like crunching if it is too loose. Other things are pretty obvious, like rubbing against the front derailleur, rear derailleur not being adjusted properly. The only other thing I can think of is the freehub, maybe that isn't any good, poorly assembled, cassette not tight against it. Did he check the lockring? I've had minor issues when a cassette wasn't as tight as needed but still tight.

Try removing the cassette, check the freehub while it is off, and re-install the cassette. You'll need the Shimano tool and a chain whip or substitute to do this.
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Old 08-05-20, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
What? The pro's use different bike shops than us amateurs? <grin>

Just curious, where are you that the retail local bike shops aren't open? Ours have always been open for business with limits on people in the store. (self imposed I think, more so than state imposed). The strictest places I've heard of still have drop off and pick up.

Without seeing the bike, and probably it would have to be in person, my last guesses will be wrong chain for number of speeds. Warn cassette, but that would typically be skipping and you'd notice that with the crunching. Or maybe the chain to stiff still from sitting around for so long.
I am located in Santa Barbara, CA. Biking has become big since COVID-19, shops are restricting customer access, and they also have limited hours. Every time I call a shop they tell me, at least now, that their nearest appointment is after September 11. I say they are pro shops because they carry multiple-thousand dollar bikes, whereas the shop I go to by the college has at the most, one used Claris equipped road bike. So I guess I am saying someone who races professionally would not visit the college LBS unless they needed a tune. They are a good shop for tuning and truing, but they do not carry many road bikes. They mostly carry fixies, mountain bikes, used bikes, that sort of thing. I love their shop though, they are the nicest around.
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Old 08-05-20, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
Keep posting to this thread, you only have 3 to go. But posting a video of the bike on a stand while turning the pedals by hand would be very useful. Of course, you likely don't have a stand, most of us don't. See if you can suspend it from something or have someone else hold it up while you do the pedals so we can see what is happening. A third person would be helpful too to operate the camera. I'm guessing it is some routing issue too. Barring the video, pictures will certainly help, but make sure they are in focus, the bike is upright, and the angle is useful. Too often we spend more time trying to figure out what we are looking at than solving the problem.
I just filmed a short video of me going through the gears and turning the cranks on my stand, but I will have to wait for one more post to put it up.

On a side note, I tried out a Roubaix from 10 years ago tonight from a nice person on craigslist ($800, full carbon, S Works, Ultegra/DuraAce, but with chips and a Large when I need a Medium), and their bike's drivetrain felt great. I do know that it has Ultegra, but at the same time, it gives me hope that my situation is due to poor components on some level that can one day be identified and remedied, so I can continue biking as I love. The only challenge is to identify which components I need to get it feeling nice. I used to own an Allez with 105 in 2010 (which was unfortunately stolen), and I remember that feeling great too.

I figure I do not need to do anything to the shifters, unless the problem is that I need more than 8 gears, since my shifters are 8 gear MicroShift. I do not mind at all how they shift, with the thumb shifter, I actually like it. I noticed the Roubaix had an Ultegra rear derailleur, and my Allez had a 105 rear derailleur which worked smoothly. If anybody can give me any clues on the most inexpensive way to find a combination of components to get a normal feeling bike, that would be great I will try to get a part list of what makes up a 105 Allez and see if that helps. I have also heard they used to make 105 8 gear rear derailleurs.

When I rode the Roubaix tonight, I felt great, but also a little sad because of the bikeshop/COVID-19 low inventory situation that has been described to me by local bike shops. Oh well, there are much worse things going on!
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Old 08-06-20, 03:21 PM
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To anybody reading this thread, I found out today what the issue was. I went to another mechanic, and he was at a loss as well. I mentioned I have a mountain bike with a good drivetrain, so he said I could start swapping parts with that, starting with the cassette.

It turns out the cassette was giving me all the problems. The 9 speed mountain bike cassette felt great. I am a little confused why the stock cassette did not work at all with the rest of the drivetrain, but there you go!

Thanks all!
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Old 08-06-20, 03:50 PM
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I think cpach nailed it when he said a 12-25 is an odd cassette for the bike.

Maybe the bike had been sitting in a warehouse since 2012, but not the cassette. It is an easy swap to pull off the original cassette and throw a used one, or a cheap off brand with a Sunrace lockring.

It could have even been a 9 speed and the 28t was dropped but the spacing is off.

Not saying that is what happened, but I’ve used Sunrace cassettes and haven’t had any issues; freewheels are another subject.

Who knows the history of that cassette.

John
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Old 08-12-20, 02:31 PM
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Quick update, the new 8 speed cassette I ordered did not fix the issue. I guess it's only a 9 speed cassette that can help. So I suppose I can spend money on new shifters, or get a Jtek Shiftmate. I was thinking of cutting my losses and selling the bike though. If anybody has any clues why a 9 speed cassette would feel better than an 8 speed in my situation, let me know. Thanks all.
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