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*perfect* bike function?(21 posts)

*perfect* bike function?DougSloan
Jul 30, 2003 8:28 AM
Have you ever noticed your bike working absolutely perfectly -- when every single time you ask it to do something, it does exactly what you want, when you want?

I realized well into my long ride this last weekend that my EV2 with triple gears was working perfectly. No noises, mis-shifts, or thrown chains; brakes quiet and predictable; no flats (dumb luck there/knock on wood); comfortable, etc., and this was after changing out the entire drive train 4 days before. Cycling mechanic nirvana.

Is this rare, or should it be expected?

Test ride on shop owner's SerottaAlex-in-Evanston
Jul 30, 2003 8:32 AM
I've never felt any of my bikes function as beautifully as his CSI. Shifts popped, no noise at all when pedalling, just smooth as glass.

I can only wish.

re: *perfect* bike function?MXL02
Jul 30, 2003 8:34 AM
Don't know whether it is rare or expected, but like you, it adds so much to my cycling experience...I love it when the bike performs flawlessly.
with the proper construction and careterry b
Jul 30, 2003 8:38 AM
I think this should be expected. I try to build mine into this state, which I measure as zero noise from the drivetrain and the transmission working flawlessly.

Keeping it there is another story. I try to, because bike noises drive me nuts. And at any given time, most of mine are there. If you've done a proper, thorough job of putting it together then things that pop up later are either insidious (creaking noises) or simple (noisy Look cleats.) The former are the challenges provided to us by Nature to make us either more resilient or better mechanics.

Overall though, if you build it and you know what you're doing (which I know you do certainly) then perfect performance should be a basic expectation.

At least for a while.....
Jul 30, 2003 8:41 AM
I'm often maligned around here for this unpopular opinion. No matter how good you think you are mechanically, a top-notch bike shop mechanic is better. The situation you describe (shifts adequate, but not perfect), was, I believed, normal. Until I had the free use of a professional mecahinc. A good mechanic can make [almost] any bike perform at that level. It is absolutely amazing how much better than "adequate" a good, professional mechanic can be. Now, my bike always performs flawlessly. And if it doesn't, I know it's time for a trip to the shop.
I guess finding one is the problemDougSloan
Jul 30, 2003 8:48 AM
Maybe I can't find a good mechanic. I think maybe 1 out of 10 times a mechanic will do better than I would have. Sometimes they might do something well, but then won't do it the way I want, like cable routing.

Plus, I don't like the aggravation of dropping off and retrieving a bike from a shop, and then not really knowing when they'll have it done.

I think what you say would be wonderful, if only we could find the mechanic to do it.

I thought you were formerly a bike mechanic?

I have what I consider a top-notch wrench, butOldEdScott
Jul 30, 2003 8:53 AM
I always have to do the final tweaking myself. I didn't know it was possible to get a fully tweaked bike back from the shop. It sounds wonderful.
I was, until I was put to shame,TJeanloz
Jul 30, 2003 9:04 AM
No, I wasn't really a full-time bike mechanic. I ran the sales side of the shop, which requires you to know how to do everything, but doesn't require the "touch" that you need to be a good mechanic. Granted, I fixed my share of flat tires (once estimated at over 5,000), trued some wheels, and built up new (entry/mid-level) bikes - but that's child's play in the world of bike mechanics.

You do sacrifice some of your own anal-niss when you give in to the professional, but that's something you have to live with. And likely, you get a whole new set of quirks - like the Seinfeld episode when Jerry takes his car to the mechanic.
I'm with you on that one.dzrider
Jul 30, 2003 9:47 AM
Worked side by side with them on charity rides. They're faster and more accurate than me in both analyzing and fixing most problems. I could only hold my own with them at truing wheels and wound up being the doctor for broken spokes. I still do most of the family's work, but I know it could be done quicker and probably better by a pro.
One of the main reasons I like single speeds....Dave Hickey
Jul 30, 2003 8:44 AM
Fewer moving parts. No rattles, clicks, ticks, or clunks. Just the sound of tires humming on the pavement.
Jul 30, 2003 9:57 AM
ANY noise is serious on my bike.
Here's my expectation: The knowledge that IFOldEdScott
Jul 30, 2003 8:46 AM
I bothered to fiddle with it, it would be perfect and perfectly quiet. I tolerate all kinds of weird noises because I know I can silence them with a little effort.

It's the strange noises I CAN'T identify that drive me nuts.

But you're right: There's no sound sweeter in the world than a perfectly silent bike, interrupted by the occasional 'thock' of a perfectly executed no-click friction shift. (That last part is my gloss, obviously.)
Noises you can't identifyDave Hickey
Jul 30, 2003 8:57 AM
That drives me crazy. I had a ticking sound on my new LOOK and it drove me nuts.. I tried every trick known to eliminate it. I finally tore everything down and cleaned and regreased the entire bike, it went away. My only problem is I did all the repairs at once so I don't know what actually fixed it.
Noises you can't identifyTNSquared
Jul 30, 2003 10:38 AM
Last night, 3 miles into a 35 mile ride I noticed a high pitched whirring noise. The frequency sped up and slowed down in correlation with my cadence, but I could not tell where it was coming from.

I stopped twice, got off the bike and turned the cranks by hand while moving my ear closer to the bottom bracket, the cassette, the pedals, the brake pads. I still couldn't tell where the noise was coming from, much less what was causing it or how to fix it. It drove me crazy the entire ride, not the noise itself but that I couldln't figure out why I had the noise.

Only after I got home and removed the rear wheel to wipe down the chain and cassette did I discover that a small piece of aluminum foil coated in discarded chewing gum had lodged itself in the rear brake calipers and must have been rubbing the tire.

Removed the foil, remounted the tire and presto - no noise. What a relief. Another ride with the mystery noise would have put me over the edge. :-0
*perfect* bike function? - yepLeroy
Jul 30, 2003 8:54 AM
I was thinking about this the other day. I am converting a 9 speed campy bike to 10 speed. I have another bike, a retro-ish lugged steel bike with racing t/chorus 9 speed triple, and I'm thinking 'well, lets convert this one to 10 speed, too.' Then I took it on about a 2 hour ride and absolutely everything worked flawlessly. Quiet, smooth, like a magic carpet you pedal. So it occurs to me to leave it alone - I like it like it is, working that way. What a great ride!
agree; leave it alone until it makes you angry ;-) nmDougSloan
Jul 30, 2003 8:56 AM
mine is like this most times (nm)ColnagoFE
Jul 30, 2003 8:59 AM
Normal experience for me.Humma Hah
Jul 30, 2003 9:01 AM
The joy of singlespeed/fixed gear.

The cruiser has some difficulty keeping the chainwheel centered on the one-piece cranks, and if I let chain slack adjustments or chain wear go to far, it'll toss a chain at high speeds. Properly maintained, the cruiser is normally a dream to ride ... no problems all day. The Paramount's Campy crankset is working so well, I've decided to upgrade the cruiser to Campy cranks in a BB adapter.

The 3x7 MTB (Shimano Acera) is such an irritation to use that I've relegated it to the occasional 5-mile ride up at the cabin. Loaned it out for a year, and hardly missed it.
always ;)gtx
Jul 30, 2003 9:56 AM
but like TJ said, I was a shop mech for many years. I let my bikes get dirty, and tend to wear stuff out before I replace it, but I don't tolerate any noises, bad shifting, etc. My bikes are all old with many miles but they all ride like new.
Perfect for all three of mine.c722061
Jul 30, 2003 10:10 AM
I hated noise and missed shift so much that I vowed to know all about adjusting and keeping bike in good shape. The result is I have three in perfect working condition all the time. Never again hear the metal grinding noises, just the noise of wind goes through spokes which makes my heart sing along.
re: *perfect* bike function?aliensporebomb
Jul 30, 2003 10:58 AM
On my 63 miler a week ago today the bike was like glass -
smoooth as well as reasonably fast and no noises.

Two days later it was like a different bike - it got a
bit out of adjustment and shifting was a bit more noisy
but it was still working fine.