So, for the first time, in quite awhile I took the singlespeed out for a short blast. Mostly to get out the house for awhile.
And, I must say, I bloody enjoyed the short ride. Despite my initial disappointing outlook with the bike, I’m starting to really love it for the short, utility rides. It kind of takes me back to riding as a child.
The fun of the singlespeed, no gears to worry about, just your legs and a simple drive chain.The whole bike just made me smile riding it, it was nice to shed the road bike kit, not worry about the cycle computer whinging of average speed. To just enjoy the bike, and that’s, ultimately all it boils down too.
The new DMR pedals I had installed, worked brilliantly, my feet where never going to slip, given the pins where digging right into my shoes, and the size of the pedals are pretty much perfect. I felt comfortable getting out of the saddle to put power down, and get the bike upto a decent speed.
The day after, I went a bit further on it, basically down the cycle path to ripley and back, a good 8 miles. The bike was hard work, but not unmanageable, and again, enjoyed every minute of it. Every lump, every uphill. I guess it’ll make me stronger at any rate.
Tired of these shitty pedals that came with my single speed, so a quick trip over to Wiggle, and I purchased a set of DMR V12’s.
I don’t need anything special, but for the money, the DMR pedals are ideal. Large platform, grippy and long lasting. That’s all I need, and no doubt the pedals will likely outlast this bike. We shall see what they are like when I take the bike off for a trip to town on Wednesd
Sometime ago I wrote about trying Rock ‘n’ Roll Gold lube. I did try it, and its an odd lube to use. Its advertised as a cleaner as much as a lubricant. When using it, I found it didn’t last as long as my favourite dry Lube, Squirt.
You literally douse the chain at the cassette with this stuff, you don’t skimp with it, really soak the chain. Once you get over the strong petroleum smell, you run the chain backwards, while wiping. The solvents in the lube penetrate the links in the chain, causing any muck to raise up and get wiped off.
Keep doing this until you have a clean chain. Then reapply to get the lubricant in. Its a long winded job. The instructions do say it will remove other lubes, but I would still suggest a full clean and degrease before application. No doubt it will remove lubes from the same manufacturer, however more stubborn lubes will need a full clean.
The formulation goes deep down into the chain and traps any dirt. Then, with the energy of the chain freewheeling backwards, the dirt and grit floats to the surface so you can wipe it all off, leaving a new and clean application of lube inside the chain, where it’s needed. The lube down inside the chain creates a protective membrane to seal out dirt and moisture from the moving parts of the chain. As well as holding in place the best lube on the planet, for longer chain life, super smooth shifting and pedaling.
But, once I was happy the chain was at least lubricated I went out on a ride. To me at least, the chain was noisy, and the lube didn’t last that long. Perhaps with more applications and time it’ll prove its self a bit better.
You never know, I might give it another chance when I clean off the drive chain next time and see what happens.
On the last few rides I noticed a click, a metallic click that only happened when I was out of the saddle. So, out on the road, I made sure that the cable ends where not clicking or catching on my shoes, they weren’t.
The noise sounded like it was from the rear of the bike. Don’t let this fool you though, bike noises can travel through the frame and be somewhere else completely.
I knew however, the likely cause was the chainring bolts, as I’d recently replaced the chainrings.
So, tightening this bolt up to the recommended torque of 7nm, and noise stopped.
However if you don’t know what is causing the noise, just work methodically, push and pull things like your cranks, ensure bolts are done up to torque, and greased, check for play in bearings. Spin cranks backwards while looking for jumps in the rear derailleur, You’ll find it eventually.
In my last post, I said how I was wanting to try oval chain rings. Well, due to good fortune, I’ve come by some.
So, I stripped down the chainrings, threw out the knackered shimano bolts, and installed the new rings, with a helping of anti seize paste on both parts of the bolt. Just watch out for this stuff, a tiny spot on the fingers, and your finding spots of it all over for months. It’s really tenacious stuff.
Fitting them onto the bike, it’s noticeable just how odd they appear. They where easy to install however. I hadn’t changed the gearing, sticking with the same 50/34 the bikes always had. Installation meant I had to move the front derailleur up, to account for the greater height of the large ring. The official installations have instructions to fanny about with the limit screws. I didn’t have to touch those. I raised the derailleur, ensured the cage was parallel with the ring and then set the cable tension, ensuring the gaps were correct.
Testing the shifting, it was absolutely fine, didn’t drop or over shift, and each change happened as expected.
The first few rides, I never really felt any difference in the pedals, but a few rides, I started to notice a couple of things. Firstly, I was riding higher in the cassette (smaller cogs) because my cadence had shot up, to get my favoured RPM, I’d had to start using gears well up the cassette. This meant that I’ve also started to use the larger chainring a lot more than I ever have.
“Our Oval chainrings work because a rider does not produce power evenly through a pedal stroke; they maximize the part of the stroke where power is produced and minimize resistance where it isn’t. Oval rings make the spin cycle a lot smoother and are easier on legs while climbing. Believe it (or not), but a round chainring doesn’t transfer torque to your rear wheel as smoothly as an Oval one. You will actually feel your stroke to be more “round” with an Oval shape than with a round chainring.”
Secondly, I was rotating the cranks easier, and for longer. I found it a lot easier to just keep going. Coasting was down and out. This may be down to the fact it feels smoother, less forced as that “Dead Zone” is overcome with the oval.
You can see in the graph above, cadence is constant, speed and power are levelling out. It just seems easier to keep going. When sprinting, the power just seems more urgent, and direct.
Don’t get me wrong, these chainrings are not going to change you into Bradley Wiggins overnight, but they do, clearly make a difference, to me at least. I’d recommend, if you need to change worn chainrings, give them a try and see if they are for you. One of the drawbacks, I’ve noticed a few people looking, and noticing this weird wobbling thing. 😏
Unfortunately, I have had a string of issues with the bike, which means its off road until parts arrive.
Recently, I replaced the chain and cassette, but on subsequent rides, the noise from the chainrings was a steady grind and occasional clank as the chain struggled to mount the teeth. It appears the inner chain ring is worn off the old chain. Strangly, its almost two years to the day I last replaced it. Now, removing the chainbolts, two sheared off when placing back into the crank. So not only have I to replace the worn chainring, I now have to source 4 crank bolts. Ah well.
I had been looking at getting Absolute Black chain rings, but money is very tight at the moment, so I’ll stick with the standard Shimano internal ring. ChainReaction where wanting about £20 for a ring, but as I was looking round, bike-discount.de was offering them at about €8. So that was a no brainer. The crank bolts however, are stupid expensive. EBay was the cheapest I could find, at about £25 for the 4.
As the Ultegra crankset is no longer produced, and I have no desire to install the new 8000 series, and its dérailleur, I might just go with the Absolute Black once the outer chainring wear becomes an issue.
The replacement parts for my single speed arrived. New chainring and cranks.
That’s obviously a job for the weekend, along with installing the new brake callipers that are sat waiting to be installed. First impressions of the new crank are good, it’s quite light, and stiff and looks good.
So, time will tell how it works out of course. I got round to fitting the new callipers, however, the front cut down on the available space for the mudguards. I had to cut the front off the guard, so it ends just behind the Caliper. Only time will tell what difference this makes, but it has the added benefit of stopping the rubbing that no amount of tweaking cured.
Shouldn’t be a issue, as the spray back should be caught by the rear part due to tyre rotation.