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Newbie with some questions....(6 posts)

Newbie with some questions....DSrugis
Dec 7, 2003 8:31 PM
Greetings all. I have been an avid mtn biker for the past 8-10 years or so and I recently purchased a road bike off of ebay. I did the MS150 last year and realized I needed to buy a road bike because of the fun that I had...anways, I am not new to biking by any means or working on bikes but a couple things I wanted to check on...

The bike I won is a mint last 90s Diamondback Master w/ upgraded STI shifters. The rest of the components are RS100 and it has a nice set of Mavic 195 (I believe) wheels. Here are my questions...

1) On my test drive today, I noticed that upon gaining speed and using the front brake, I am getting a hopping/chatter effect (Quite scary.) I checked the headset and it seems tight...what else could this be, rim surfaces worn out or just brake angle?

2) The rear brake is squealling, I assume this is brake angle...agree?

3) Like I said, I am coming from a mtn bike so I am used to easy to spin gears and I noticed today that the lowest gearing is still very tall for me (40-23.) Will I get used to this or should I upgrade to a 12-26 in the rear?

4) Opinion question, what is a good road bike saddle with a good antinumbing/cutaway section in it? I don't want to spend too much (I got the bike itself for under 200 with no shipping) on the saddle but I want something that will be comfortable for long rides even if it is a little heavier and bulkier.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing everyone's responses.

A few thoughtsBowWow
Dec 7, 2003 11:18 PM
1. Front wheel chatter can be caused by several things. Here are a few things to check:
a) Is the front wheel true?
b) Is the rim dented/bent, especially in the braking surface?
c) Are the bearings properly adjusted? Loose wheel bearings coupled with bent rim/out of true could explain the chatter. Grab the wheel at the top (while mounted on the bike) and push/pull the rim from side to side. Any play will immediately be felt. Adjust the bearings, or have your LBS do it. Better yet, pull the axle and bearings out and give it a good cleaning and regreasing. That is the first thing I do with used bikes - clean and repack all bearings (headset, wheels, bottom bracket).
d) Brake pads. Old pads harden or break down. Replace 'em. I like Kool Stop salmons myself.
e) Check the brake calipers themselves. Is there any play or looseness (forward/back) in the calipers? Grab a handful of brake and rock the bike back and forth. Do you notice an unusual amount of motion in the front brakes? Both single and dual-pivot brakes can wear out at the pivot point(s). Wiggle the arms to see if you can feel any unusual play. Check this very carefully.
f) Cable adjustment - are the brakes adjusted properly, with a small gap (about 3mm) between the pads and the rim? Is the quick-release closed?
g) Center the brakes - do the pads contact the rim surfaces at exactly the same time? In other words, are the brakes centered on the rim? Slowly squeeze the brake lever and adjust the brakes so that the pads hit the rim at the same time. With dual-pivot brakes this is adjusted with the tiny screw on the top left of the "center" arm. Single pivot and center-pull brakes are adjusted by loosening the mounting bolt on the back of the fork, then re-tightening with the brakes in the proper position.

If you're really anal (and it seems that most of us are, in one way or another...), after you've centered the brakes, pop the wheel off, turn it around, and mount it in the fork backwards. The wheel should still be centered in the brakes. If not, there are other issues at work - rim not centered over the hub or possible bent fork/dropouts, to name a couple... If it's only a couple or three mm out it's no big deal...

2. Squealing brakes - Again, replace the pads. A good rim cleaning with extrafine steel wool would also be helpful. On both wheels. When you replace the pads try to give them some toe-in. This puts the front edge of the pad (towards the front of the bike) in contact with the rim first. When the front of the pad contacts the rim there should be a slight gap (1-2mm) at the back of the pad. This will help with squeal and possibly with the chatter in the front wheel.

3. I'd recommend the 12-25 cluster, with a 53-39 crank.

4. Good luck with the seat! We all seem to like different saddles. Start with the saddle you like best from your mountain bike and work from there. I haven't found nirvana yet, and I'm on my 7th saddle...

Hope that gives you something to work from. Welcome to the road! Let us know if these suggestions have helped. Oh, and if you can, post some photos of the bike - we all like to see what everybody else is riding!

Good answers so far, & I'll add............Len J
Dec 8, 2003 4:55 AM
3.) I'd try a 12/25 or 26 for the gearing. Were you on the flats? If yes, then just keep working at it, the strength will come the more you ride. Ride a slightly too tall gear at a slower cadence while keeping your effort smooth to build strength.

4.) Try one of the Sella Italia Trans am saddles. Everyone is different so it's hard to recommend beyond that. Your local LBS may have a used bin where you can try different saddles, or else ask other riders. Most of us have been thru several in the search for the holy grail.

Good Luck

Thank you so far...DSrugis
Dec 8, 2003 10:14 AM
Thanks for the advice so far. I am not going to have time to look into it too much this week (finals week at school) but soon after that. I am going to print all of this out and go through the checklist.

I will try to post pics later but my digital camera is pretty poor. Here is the ebay auction...

I live in southeast michigan so we have rolling hills where I am at. Not huge elevation changes but it is also not flat. Thanks for the advice and please feel free to keep it coming.

Looks like a great starter bike - for an excellent price!BowWow
Dec 8, 2003 10:08 PM
Ride the heck out of it! It has good components, especially for the price. Personally I prefer steel frames, they have a nice ride. You'll probably want to upgrade by the end of next summer, after you get a better idea of what you really want. Good work!
Looks like a great starter bike - for an excellent price!DSrugis
Dec 9, 2003 2:26 PM
Thanks...I am very happy with the bike too. It looks quite sexy in my basement right now sitting next to my mtn bike.