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Owned my first road bike for about a month... questions...(10 posts)

Owned my first road bike for about a month... questions...Zenith
Jun 13, 2003 8:43 AM
I've owned my new bike for about a month and put about 200 miles on it so far (missed about 2 weeks of riding due to travel, being sick, and lousy NE weather).

Is it about time to take it in to get the cables tightened up again? I've heard that new bikes kind of "break in" and need to be dialed in again about a month after purchase.

The bike is a Cannonadle and I am riding in my MTB shoes and the coda pedals it came with... I'm getting a sore left knee and having some problems with that foot (no problems on the MTB in 2 years). Is this something I can ride through or is it really worth it to upgrade to road specific pedals and shoes? Any recommendations for a small woman with fairly narrow heels?

Thanks in advance...
shop might helpDougSloan
Jun 13, 2003 8:58 AM
Typically, cables stretch a little at first. If the shifting starts getting a little sloppy, you may want to take up some slack with the barrel adjusters or at the rear derailleur. Normally, the shop that sold you the bike will do this for free.

I like road specific pedals and shoes much better. The pressure is more widely distributed. Your pedals are not necessarily causing the knee pain -- that could be simply from doing something different. I'd recommend Sidi or Vittoria shoes (narrower ones), and maybe some Look PP206 pedals (noting that there are many pedals and shoes out there -- I'm just recommending what works for me).

no upgrade necessary to fix knee problems.niteschaos
Jun 13, 2003 9:22 AM
You should get about 6 degrees of float with either mountain pedals (like the $20 Wellgo SPD knockoffs I have over 3000 miles on for my road bike) or road pedals. You can adjust the cleat position on the shoe if you are hitting the limit of your 'float' (that's the degrees of freedom).

If there is nothing wrong with your shifting then don't worry about it. Bikes usually don't develope problems that can hide themselves for a while like a car can and then leave you stranded. And doing a check or tune up on your shifting is so easy that it doesn't even involve tools and can be done on the side of the road in seconds. If you are interested I'm sure there are pleny of sites or people willing to give you links on how.
no upgrade necessary to fix knee problems.Chen2
Jun 13, 2003 9:28 AM
If that knee hurts in the front, try raising the saddle a bit. My knees like Speedplay "X" series pedals, I use X-1's. Like Doug said, road shoes are more important than pedal brands and there are plenty of both to choose from. I like SIDI Genius shoes, so does my wife and she has narrow feet.
That's not really good advice... take it to the shop...russw19
Jun 14, 2003 1:13 AM
If you want I can repost what I wrote in the General Discussions about what all I check for customers at a 30 day check, but it's a lot more than just turning a couple barrel adjusters. Yes, you can develop problems that the average consumer may not know to look for. And no offence, but based on the above response, I might be inclined to think you could be one of those average consumers.

If you have a square taper bottom bracket spindle, it is imperative that the crank bolts be tightened properly. If they are not, your crank will slop around on the spindle. The spindle is steel the crank is aluminium, and the softer material is the one that will wear. That means your crank will wallow out the square into more like a circle, destroying your crank. The left bolt has a tendency to come loose after a few rides and needs to be retorqued. There was a great article posted to this forum a few days ago that explained in very precise terms why this happens.

Also, most people don't know to check headsets for proper adjustment. After a few rides the bottom race may seat further down on the fork causing the headset to be loose. If you ride a loose headset, every you hit a bump, the bearings act like a ball-peen hammer and dent your race causing it to "index." You will need a new headset after that. Even more of a concern is if your new bike uses an integrated headset or internal headset. If those come loose (and they do, see Kristen's thread about this in General from Thursday) then you can actually destroy the headtube in your frame. It's the same concept of a harder material wearing against a softer one like in your cranks.

Also, you want to catch tension problems in a wheel before you hit a curb with the tension too low and flat spot your wheel. When wheels are new, especially handbuilt wheels, the spoke heads don't get seated all the way into the spoke holes in your hubs. It usually takes a few ride of putting these wheels under tension and torque that pulls them into their proper seated position. When that happens, the wheel looses tension. It should therefore be retensioned before you destroy the rim by hitting something. This is incidentally an advantage to machine built wheels, as the machines can often force the spoke heads more securely into the hub's holes.

These are just a few of the things I check when doing a 30 day check and why. Now I will admit that working on a bike is not rocket science, but it's obviously more intricate than you are giving it credit to be. If your shop offers this service for free, why would you pass it up? Do you just have that kind of money that you would throw away your bike that much earlier by not having a very needed and valuable service done to it for free? Maybe you think that's all they do is turn a few barrel adjusters, and maybe that's all some shop do, but that is not what the service if for. And if you think that's all there is to it, you are under-educated. Again, I mean no offence when I say that, as I know it's easy to misinterprete someone's written words, but this is only to educate you and anyone else as to what should be done on a 30 day check up, and why it is so important to get it done. I would go so far as to say it's a service you should pay for if it is not offered for free. But I certainly don't think you should skip it or I wouldn't have taken all this time to tell you what is done and why you should go have it checked.

Hopefully this helps everyone understand what happens at the check (or what should) and why you should have it done, especially if it's offered for free!

the shops should really want to do this, tooDougSloan
Jun 14, 2003 12:42 PM
Getting the bike back in allows the shop a chance to catch something that might otherwise cause an injury and lead to a nasty product liability suit -- aside from the good customer relations and potential for more sales.

Knee actually hurts in the back...Zenith
Jun 13, 2003 10:07 AM
That knee actually hurts in the back, like its going to give up on me... Sort of rode through it last time though.

The shop where I bought the bike doesn't have a very wide selection of shoes and pedals but there's a few nearby that are more road specific and have more gear in stock. they recommend not only their $50 bike fit, but also a $30 custom cleat positioning session ($50 without shoe or pedal purchase).

Is the extra $80 for bike and cleat fit worth it? If I add that to my anticipated $200 or slightly less for shoes, pedals, and cleats, it ends up costing almost half of what I paid for the bike in the first place ($800).

Knee actually hurts in the back...took
Jun 13, 2003 10:19 AM
don't waste your money on the cleat positioning garbage. we offered it at a shop i worked at and 9x out of 10 the customer would end up moving the cleat around the next day anyway.

cleat position should center the ball of your foot along the pedal axle. adjust left to right depending on what feels right.

soreness behind the knee usually means you're too low/fwd on the saddle. try bringing the saddle up and back a bit.

also, stretch those leg muscles good before riding. quads, calves, hams. at least a minute each. keeping everything limber lessens the likelihood of soreness.
Knee actually hurts in the back...Chen2
Jun 13, 2003 1:14 PM
Those charges sound extravagant to me. My LBS does all of that for nothing if you are buying from him. The sore knee could be anything from fit to strain. The rule of thumb as far as saddle height goes is if the pain is in front, raise the saddle, if in back lower the saddle. Sometimes it only takes a mm or two. But also be sure that you aren't trying to push too high of a gear. Spinning is better for the knees.
Why wouldn't you take advantage of the service?Spoke Wrench
Jun 13, 2003 10:16 AM
Why wouldn't anybody want to take advantage of the free tune up that most shops offer when you buy a new bike? In addition to cable stretch, stuff like loose crankarms and loose headsets can be discovered during this process. Maybe even fit issues that can cause knee pain. These things can develope into expensive issues if left unchecked.