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Do bikes break-in?(12 posts)

Do bikes break-in?Continental
Nov 21, 2002 12:45 PM
I recently bought my first new road bike (Fuji Finest) in 20+ years. I've got about 500 miles on it. It now seems to be smoother and faster than when it was brand new. What's breaking-in me or the bike?
Nope, just down...peter1
Nov 21, 2002 12:53 PM
Well, the saddle will break in, for sure. But I suspect that you're also smoother and faster because you've gotten used to the new position, shifters etc.
Modern saddles don't break inKerry
Nov 21, 2002 4:43 PM
A modern saddle is made of a plastic body, plastic foam and/or gel, and a leather cover, supported by metal or CF rails. There is nothing to "break in." Your rear end will adapt to the saddle, but not the reverse. If the saddle changes shape, it is breaking down, not breaking in (leather saddles excepted, of course).
My King HS took over 100 miles to be as smooth as it is nowKen of Fresno
Nov 21, 2002 1:07 PM
My Marzocchi Bomber fork took several hours as well before it loosened up. Buy my DuraAce bottom bracket has been as smooth as silk from day one. So, I would say, some things yes, some things no.

Ken
Both of you...Quack
Nov 21, 2002 1:20 PM
Youe body is adapting to the new riding position and you are getting stronger and smoother with your pedaling in the new configuration. As far as the bike goes, the bearings are probably a bit smoother and looser than when new due to the stresses placed on them and the grease breaking down a bit. My favorite set of wheels is built on a set of 10-year old Shimano Exage Sport hubs that came on an old Schwinn. The seals are nonexistent and they are heavy, but man are they smooth. They will spin in the stand forever.

Enjoy the bike!

Larry
AbsolutelydeHonc
Nov 21, 2002 1:34 PM
All bikes do break in - and your observation that your new bike is "smoother" is quite correct - Your wheelset will take even longer to bed in - around 3000km to be completely broken in - check your wheels then - have them trued if necessary, and enjoy your bike.

Your body will also "break in" - as in, you will become more supple as your lower back muscles stretch.

Ride Safe.
And cables always seem to stretch a bit... nmPdxMark
Nov 21, 2002 1:39 PM
AbsolutelydeHonc
Nov 21, 2002 2:06 PM
All bikes do break in - and your observation that your new bike is "smoother" is quite correct - Your wheelset will take even longer to bed in - around 3000km to be completely broken in - check your wheels then - have them trued if necessary, and enjoy your bike.

Your body will also "break in" - as in, you will become more supple as your lower back muscles stretch.

Ride Safe.
They do but ...Humma Hah
Nov 21, 2002 2:53 PM
Wheel and BB bearings will break in, getting smoother with time. They may actually be set slightly tight at the factory in anticipation of this, so the break-in does not make them excessively loose.

How much difference does it make? I recall one day I was taking a track class. Got my butt kicked soundly in the first sprint by a guy I'd beat easily the week before. I checked the loaner bike I was riding. Both wheels were so tight the wheel would stop rotating by itself in about 1 turn when spun, and the chain was excessively taut. I whipped out my tool set. Convinced I'd found and fixed the problem, I went out for another sprint, and he whupped me by about the same amount.

Very humbling.

I'd say, while you may feel the bike getting smoother and drag going away, if you're actually getting measurable improvement, it's YOU doing the improvement.
How long for the hubsNC_Jim
Nov 21, 2002 7:53 PM
to get broken in. I have > 500 miles and they still seem slow.
At that point, tweak 'em yourself ...Humma Hah
Nov 22, 2002 6:34 AM
It really should take only a hundred miles or so for the bearing contact points to get pretty smooth (much depends on the initial quality -- top parts are silky smooth when brand new). They'll continue to wear for the life of the part, but the fastest wear occurs knocking down initial machine marks.

Sounds like yours may have been assembled over-tight. After 500 miles, if the wheel is not turning freely, I'd tweak the cones until it does. I prefer my bearings to have a barely perceptible play in them, as otherwise they may tighten up with temperature changes.

I'm not up on all possible bearing types, dealing almost exclusively with old cup-and-cone styles, on which the user sets the tightness with a pair of wrenches. Some cartridge BB's can't be adjusted, and if those never loosen up, they may be defective. Really old grease can gum up like a bearing that's too tight, too. But for cup and cone bearings, get used to the idea of periodically tweaking 'em, as they will loosen slightly with time.
What kind of hubs? Sealed or cup/cone style?cyclinseth
Nov 22, 2002 9:56 AM
My traditional cup/cone ultegra hubs were silky smooth right out of the box. But my Hugi 240 rear, sealed bearing hub is just coming around after about 2000-2500 miles. It created so much friction, I could ride down a slight descent, going about 15-20 mph in my 53-19 and the cranks would spin at about 65rmp. The grease took a long time to get everywhere it needed to.