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Two things I learned from building my bike(16 posts)

Two things I learned from building my bikeE3
Apr 18, 2001 1:06 PM
I recently transplanted the parts off of my Sampson Kalispell onto my new no-name carbon frame from PedalForce. The only new stuff was DA STI w/cables to replace the Ultegra STI.

This was my first experience with a "build." Two unexpected things I learned:

1) The front derailleur was much more difficult to adjust than the rear. I expected the opposite to be true.

2) Does every rider in the world know that you can trim the front derailleur to access more rear cogs? In my five years of riding, reading cycling mags, etc., I never heard or knew of it.

So there I was, reading the Shimano DA STI installation instructions. There was a section about trimming. It was like discovering the shortcut to the New World. I've been happilly trimming and accessing cogs that used to be out of reach ever since I finally got the damn front derailleur adjusted.

Is this common knowledge? Am I the last to know?

By the way, I very much like the stiff and comfy ride of carbon.
Oops...How'd this happen? Sorry. nmE3
Apr 18, 2001 1:09 PM
re: Two things I learned from building my bikemust_pedal_harder
Apr 18, 2001 1:52 PM
I can never get my front derailleur adjusted just right... but then again most of the work I do on my bike is soaking my chain :/
Shifting and the Dead Sea Scrollsgrz mnky
Apr 18, 2001 2:13 PM
Well, we were hoping you wouldn't find out about the trim thang. But now that the secret is out, welcome to the inner circle. The Shimano Sanctum if you will. No doubt about it there is some tricky stuff going on with bikes and it's not obvious. Probaly worth your effort to get one of the fine publications (Zinn, Barnett, etc.) and learn some more tricks. Either that or start hanging around a good LBS. You'll be amazed what you can learn from a skilled mechanic. BTW - you're really not considered a true bike mechanic until you start building your own wheels. Not that everyone needs to do that - it's just that things that look and sound straight forward often aren't when it comes time to actually do the work.

Your experience also underscores the fact most bike mechanics are severely underpaid for their skills. If they worked at an auto dealership they'd make a bunch more money and get sent to all sorts of training paid by some one else. Checked the hourly rate charged by a dealer ship lately (of course the mechanics don't get that rate). Developing good basic skills is an important thing - it sometimes makes the difference between completing a ride and taking the sag or getting a date or not. On a MTB, where things get trashed *all* the time - it means the difference of a long walk with your bike.
The things you can learn from friction shifting.Jimb0b
Apr 18, 2001 2:54 PM
Everyone who rode non-SIS bikes was a pro at trimming the front derailluer. Sometimes I wonder what it feels to have your first bike have 9 speeds, SIS, STI, Hyperglide, Superglide, downtube barrel adjusters, disc brakes, etc, etc. It makes everything so brainless. It just goes to show that there was something to learn form those old, non-technologically advanced bikes.
I too believe BS mechanics should be paid more. Of course the cost of a tune-up would also increase. Grz Mnky, I never jumped into the realm of wheel-building, we always had guys that were eager to sit down for a half hour and put them together, but I think Im a decent wrench if I do say so myself. It is one skill I want to eventually learn and perfect. So much to do, so little time.
Amen, Brothergrz mnky
Apr 19, 2001 9:03 AM
Yup, one learned a lot from old friction shifting systems. The modern day "point and shoot" systems just add another level of complexity as well as conveience.

Of course you can be a good wrench w/out wheel building - it's just another dimension that makes you well rounded. It's also nice to have someone along on a ride that can do an emergency roadside truing when needed. You don't really save much $$$ by doing it yourself when you consider the cost of the tools and the learning curve and your time.
Apr 20, 2001 7:51 AM
is the skill I lack. Truing, tensioning, taking out hops, dishing, etc, etc, are not a prob. I can radial lace!!! Theres no learnign curve on that!
re: Two things I learned from building my bikeBecky
Apr 18, 2001 3:43 PM
So, for those of us who are financially-challenged and can't spring for a repair manual right now, are there any decent online instructions on how to trim a front derailleur? I seem to have figured out basic adjustment (especially since the d@mn cable continues to stretch after my 30-day tweaking at the LBS), but trimming seems like a useful clump of knowledge.
re: Two things I learned from building my bikeKEN2
Apr 18, 2001 5:19 PM
The 'trim' he's referring to is something built into your STI left shifter. Different levels of Shimano components have none, one, or two such detents, but for at least Ultegra and DA you can move the front derailleur slightly to the outside by pushing the left brake lever inward as usual for a shift, just partially. That resets the derailleur cage so that the chain doesn't rub when using the small chainring with the outer two or so rear cogs. Ditto for the large chainring: when you're on the large chainring, just press the small left release lever that you use to shift down partway, and the derailleur will move slightly inward to allow no rub when using the large chainring with the inner two or so rear cogs.

Everything needs to be adjusted to spec first or it doesn't work right.
re: Two things I learned from building my bikeDan T
Apr 19, 2001 7:10 AM
FYI: My 2000 105 STI shifter includes this feature, with one detent.
re:you know.......Sydnie
Apr 18, 2001 4:43 PM
.....things like this by having instructions or by the person selling the stuff telling you, assuming they even know or care.Or by having friends who care enough to share..........
On the other hand...DG
Apr 18, 2001 9:29 PM
if you had Campy, trimming the front derailleur would be an elementary task and quite self-evident too :)
That'sCamp Guy
Apr 19, 2001 5:13 AM
EXACTLY what I was going to say.....must have been pretty hard work riding before that trick became clear...
Ignorance was bliss,....E3
Apr 19, 2001 5:29 AM
...I guess. I didn't realize that it could be easier.

One of the things I often thought about during a ride was the fallacy of "18 speed." How can it be called such if only 12 were functional?

You know, I'm surprised that I didn't discover trimming by accident because I've ridden at least 5000 miles and performed plenty of gear shiftin' during each of the last three years.

Now, someone needs to figure out a way to carry water bottles on the frame. By the way, what are those four little holes on my down and seat tubes? ;)
Those four little threaded holes ...Breck
Apr 19, 2001 7:17 AM
Those four little holes are for the four little bolts if you use a CamelbaK. Otherwise you can duct tape the bottle carriers on.

I still run Dura-Ace down tube so-called indexed shifters. However the front is not indexed so you can trim away. You are right about the number of speeds. On my eight speed triple there are 24 discrete "speeds" depending on the chain ring and cog set used. However there are overlapping gear inches if you plot out the ranges. If you calculate the gear range of the middle ring and cog set, then the big ring and little ring only give you a few choices outside the middle range.

Hang in there, you are holding your own against the so called "Big Boyz".

Apr 20, 2001 5:31 AM
So what's going to happen with your Kalispell frame? Early retirement or will it be built up some time in the future?