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bike 'feels' slower...need help

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bike 'feels' slower...need help

Old 04-04-09, 11:06 AM
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nickthaquick1
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bike 'feels' slower...need help

alright here's the deal. I've been riding for a year now with the same bike, and i know that on the terrain i ride with the same type of weather my average speed is around 17-18 mph. Now i know its just spring and I should give myself some training time to get back to that level after a long snowy winter but my bike is seeming to ride 2-3 mph slower than i should be riding. It feels like the brakes, esp the rear wheel , is giving some kind of resistance against me pedaling. i notice it especially when i am at a complete stop with one foot clipped out. I'll start up and usually that one push with the one foot will get me to a decent speed where i can put my other foot in the pedal. Now it seems like i have to put the other foot in as fast as possible because i'd fall over from lack of speed if i dont.

You guys have any suggestions as to what this could be? and how i can fix it?

i took it to my LBS but they were super busy. the guy took it up on the rack to look at it but said everything 'looked' normal.

I think i first noticed it on a ride last week. i was cruising at about 16 mph when i came on a traffic light. I went over to the side on some dirt/light mud because of heavy traffic at a bad spot in my city, and when i started back up i was like wtf?


any help i can get on here is much appreciated...i love to ride but i dont know much about maintainance or fixing inner workings of my bike.

im going to throw some lube on the chain/rear hub and see if that does anything
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Old 04-04-09, 11:15 AM
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Do the wheels spin okay if you lift them off the ground? If so, it's not likely the brakes or the hubs. A lubed chain makes a noticeable difference IME.
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Old 04-04-09, 01:50 PM
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What you can do depends on your skills, but this is what I would do: Clean first (the whole bike), especially brakeshoes. If you think something got stuck on the shoes that is now rubbing your rims then maybe remowe the wheels to clean pads properly.

put the bike upside down and spin one wheel at the time. Look closely if there is any sign of wobbely rims (out of true), tyres rubbing frame or other problems. If they do not rub anything then try to spin the wheel, apply the brakes, release brakes and spin wheel again. Sometimes, especially after a long winter the brakecables could "hang" in the housing so that the brakes is rubbing, at least for some time after you use the brakes.

If this is the case you could try to lube cables (innside housing) and try again. If this is the problem but no success with lubing then new cables and housings.

If it is not brake related and not tyre rubbing on frame then suspect the hubs. Maybe they need greasing and tuning (or new bearrings if things are bad). You can use a srewdriver to listen to the hubs before opening them (stetoscope). Put the metal part of a screwdriver on the axel of the hub, Spin the wheel. Put the handle side of the tool in firm contact with your ear without remowing metal end from axel. This way you can listen to the hubs and sometimes actually hear quite bad crunching sounds from in there.

Age of the bike, how much you used it, maintenance in the past, where did you ride and such things could tell us more.

Best of luck! I know the feeling and it is annoying.
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Old 04-04-09, 01:59 PM
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theck the cones on your hub. Mine got real tight and locked up and made it really really hard to get going. When I put my bike on the stand I spun the back tire and not even a full revolution of the tire the wheel stopped. After further inspection I noticed that the cones on my hub were locked into place. I just adjusted those and now everythign works fine. I don't know if that will help.. but yeah.. good luck!
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Old 04-04-09, 02:43 PM
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You may just be out of shape after the winter off. Your fitness and speed goes down quickly after stopping workouts. Saw some reports that you lose 20-25% immediately in the two weeks after stopping.
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Old 04-04-09, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
You may just be out of shape after the winter off. Your fitness and speed goes down quickly after stopping workouts. Saw some reports that you lose 20-25% immediately in the two weeks after stopping.
that may be true but i've continued to work out consistently over the offseason and ate right..my weight may have increased 5 pounds. i may be tired quicker or not be able to accellerate that quickly but i can FEEL something slowing me down in the bike...it makes me not even want to ride it!

the bike is a year old. its a fiji newest 2.0..2008 model.

ill flip it upside down outside and take a look at it...i know the wheels suck on it, they've been trued up once and even the owner of the shop who sold me the bike said the wheels are garbage...saving up to pick up a set for my charity ride i'm doing. any suggestions on a decent $150-200 wheel set?
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Old 04-04-09, 03:30 PM
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The wheels or brakes could be an issue, spinning them freely would tell you if something really was going on quite quickly though. Lubing the chain is a great idea, but I would also try backpedaling with your hands when the bike is upsidedown, I recently had a bottom bracket go to crap enough that you could really tell that it was more resistant than it should be (ideally not at all), and that would be noticeable.


Also could your tires be underinflated? If they are you could definitely get more rolling resistance to slow you noticeably.
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Old 04-04-09, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by DaJMasta View Post

Also could your tires be underinflated? If they are you could definitely get more rolling resistance to slow you noticeably.
nope, i learned the value of inflating your tires last summer when i increased my speed by 2-3 mph over a 3 hour ride by boosting the psi in my tires to what they should be..best upgrade i ever bought
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Old 04-04-09, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by badmother View Post

put the bike upside down and spin one wheel at the time. Look closely if there is any sign of wobbely rims (out of true), tyres rubbing frame or other problems. If they do not rub anything then try to spin the wheel, apply the brakes, release brakes and spin wheel again. Sometimes, especially after a long winter the brakecables could "hang" in the housing so that the brakes is rubbing, at least for some time after you use the brakes.

If this is the case you could try to lube cables (innside housing) and try again. If this is the problem but no success with lubing then new cables and housings.


Best of luck! I know the feeling and it is annoying.
i did this and i THINK it fixed the problem. it was hard to figure out when and where the resistance was occuring, but i realized that its most noticable when i am starting from a complete stop. my city riding makes me stop hard at most traffic lights. so maybe the cable was causing the break to stick in place when i started again. I squirted some teflon lube into the parts where the cable comes out of the housing and it eased it up a lot. Going for a long ride tomorrow so i'll see how it works out. i also cleaned the chain throughly, so i should be good to go
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Old 04-04-09, 05:50 PM
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I can't say its necessary, but just to tweak everything to the 9's it wouldn't hurt to get the wheel bearings overhauled.
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Old 04-04-09, 07:44 PM
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Hub overhauling details can be found here:

http://bicycletutor.com/overhaul-wheel-bearings/

And here:

http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=105
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Old 04-04-09, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
if i have to look at that first link again ill just say f-it and buy a new bike. theres no way im successfully doing all that ish w/o f-ing my bike up for good
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Old 04-05-09, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by nickthaquick1 View Post
if i have to look at that first link again ill just say f-it and buy a new bike. theres no way im successfully doing all that ish w/o f-ing my bike up for good
Best is if you can do this on some spare wheels or old wheels the first time. Not funny to start picking to pieces for the first time something you would like to use for commuting the next morning. I am lucky to have plenty of dumpsterfind bikes around.

Best way to lube cables is to unhook the housings from the cableholders that is brazed on the bike. That way you can slide the housings away from where they normally are and lube the cabel. Then slide the housing back into place and hook it into the holders on the bike again. Do this with all the small pieces of housing.
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Old 04-05-09, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by nickthaquick1 View Post
Now i know its just spring and I should give myself some training time to get back to that level after a long snowy winter
Ya think,
Originally Posted by nickthaquick1 View Post
but my bike is seeming to ride 2-3 mph slower than i should be riding.
I had the same thing happen to me a few years ago. It's called sitting on the couch all winter. When you don't exercise for several months you get out of shape. It aint the bike. If the bike worked fine last year and you didn't ride it then there's nothing wrong with it except some extra dust. In the words of the late great Freddie Mercury "get on you bike and ride."
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Old 04-05-09, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
Ya think,


I had the same thing happen to me a few years ago. It's called sitting on the couch all winter. When you don't exercise for several months you get out of shape. It aint the bike. If the bike worked fine last year and you didn't ride it then there's nothing wrong with it except some extra dust. In the words of the late great Freddie Mercury "get on you bike and ride."
yea i can see my speeds being slower from me just being gassed after a half hour on the bike but ill go out 5 mins and pedal as hard as i can and can feel the bike slow me down. For example i do this 3 mile climb near my house and time it from a certain point at the base to the very top...it normally took me 9.5 mins to get to the top. I drank a iced turbo coffee and hopped on the bike. beat my avg. time last summer by a whole minute on my first ride out this spring. I just tried it again yesterday and i was 3 minutes slower after i notice the resistance in my wheel.............and it was hella windy
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Old 04-05-09, 11:01 AM
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make sure the freewheel spins freely.
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Old 04-05-09, 11:08 AM
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Make sure your derailleur cables are properly adjusted and you are able to shift into all the gear combinations - even the ones where you would be cross-chaining.
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Old 04-05-09, 02:18 PM
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Look, if you can't really do some of this slightly beyond basic bike work, you should just consider your costs. To get a full tune up with wheel bearings, should cost at most $200. A new bike is $1000 and up. If you take your bike to a good shop, you'll get all this resolved, not have to worry about breaking something yourself or deal with instructions that may not work for you, and get back to riding within a week depending on shop workload.

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Old 04-09-09, 08:55 PM
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just an update..i just went on my first night ride and my bike felt slow as hell..i was going on pure adrenaline and still felt like there was someone holding my wheel from spinning..taking it to the shop this weekend (rain forecasted) and seeing what the deal is
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Old 04-09-09, 09:41 PM
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So get an overhaul for around $200. If that doesn't do it - sell the anchor and get something you like.

Both are cheaper than a psychiatrist.

Do let us know what the shop says, please. You've piqued my curiosity. The old 1980's Shogun road-bikes were notorious for having some peculiarity built-in that just made them slow. No one ever satisfactorily explained why. The components were good. The wheels were okay. They were really slow! Bizarre.
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Old 04-10-09, 12:17 PM
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Fully inflate your tires before EACH ride.
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Old 04-16-09, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
Fully inflate your tires before EACH ride.
I bought a pump this spring (great investment) and fill the tires to the max every other ride out. its definitely NOT a PSI issue, because last year i thought i was slow...because my tires were running at about 70 PSI. I check to make sure its above 105 each time

ill be taking it to the shop this saturday (after my morning ride of course ) i'll see what they say, but hopefully i wont have to drop $200 on getting my bike to ride the way it should
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Old 04-16-09, 08:56 AM
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sounds like you need a spring tune up - new cables might help
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Old 04-16-09, 06:11 PM
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I'd also be curious as to what the guys at the shop say, as I noticed this very same thing today on my bike. Am I out of shape after the winter? You bet, and I can feel that. But this is something on top of that. I'm thinking that the brake cables may be it, especially as it seems to be happening intermittently. I haven't caught the pads rubbing, though. But we'll see if a quick lube doesn't solve the problem.
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Old 04-17-09, 05:38 AM
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why the heck would you buy a new bike if it is only 1 year old??????? And yes you are just out of shape. Back to the bike thing though... Mine is from the early 80's and its is still running just fine, sure it requires maintenance, but it works, and smoothly at that.
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