noob questions :)



K

KoperniK

Guest
After 31 years of sofa-surfing I finally decided that exercise might be a
good thing. I bought a Terrago Disc 06 and went straight in at the deep end
and have been doing a round trip of 30 miles a day for the last month in and
out of work on and around the Alban Way.

A stone and a half later with an immunity to nettle stings and dog sh*t
impregnated in the skin of my lower legs, I've got a couple of questions I
hope you can help me with!

1/ As 75% of my daily journey is on the flat or mild inclines, I rarely come
out of the 3 highest gears and am finding the highest gear is not high
enough - is there a way I can get the gears altered to provide more of a
challenge or do I have to buy a new set of gears?

2/ I have hydraulic disc brakes but they are howling when I brake too hard -
what needs doing to fix this as supposedly they don't need oiling.

Several more questions but not enough coffee yet to remember them - will
post as they occur to me - thanks in advance for any guidance :)

Jon
 
P

Paul - xxx

Guest
KoperniK came up with the following;:

> 1/ As 75% of my daily journey is on the flat or mild inclines, I rarely
> come out of the 3 highest gears and am finding the highest gear is not
> high enough - is there a way I can get the gears altered to provide more
> of a challenge or do I have to buy a new set of gears?


A new chainring with two or three teeth more, thus making it bigger, thus
giving you a higher gear ratio. A smaller rear cog would also do this, but
is often too large a step up in gearing. Take the bike to a lbs (Local Bike
Shop) and see what they have available to suit either end. In fact, take it
to a few and see what they all say before you buy anything. There are many
flavours of chainring and wildly differing budgets ... ;)

> 2/ I have hydraulic disc brakes but they are howling when I brake too
> hard - what needs doing to fix this as supposedly they don't need oiling.


Something is possibly loose and vibrating then, so check they're not too far
worn down. It may also be a loose piston in the caliper, a sticking piston
or the sliders.

Generally regular maintenance should keep squealing to a minimum, not that
I'm suggesting you're not maintaining them, but disc brakes do need some
looking after, probably more than caliper brakes.

--
Paul ...
(8(|) Homer Rules ..... Doh !!!
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
KoperniK wrote:

> 1/ As 75% of my daily journey is on the flat or mild inclines, I rarely come
> out of the 3 highest gears and am finding the highest gear is not high
> enough - is there a way I can get the gears altered to provide more of a
> challenge or do I have to buy a new set of gears?


Yes (see Paul's post), but having said that it may be easier, and better
in the long run, to change your pedalling style so you're basically
doing more RPM.
If you keep the cadence (RPM) of the pedals at ~80+ that will keep the
whole exercise aerobic, which is easier to sustain (one you're used to
it, anyway) and gives you a "power band" where it's easier for you to
vary the power.

To check your cadence, select a fairly straight bit of flattish
road/track where you can pedal at a constant rate. Once you're up to
speed, check your watch and start counting pedal revs (say, right pedal
at top of stroke) and after 15 or 20 seconds multiply the result by 4 or
3 to give you your cadence. Typically, people who haven't worked on
increasing cadence come in at well under 80. If you do, start trying to
spin lower gears at faster rates and soon you'll be able to apply the
technique across all gears, including the highest.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
D

David Martin

Guest
Paul - *** wrote:
> KoperniK came up with the following;:
>
> > 1/ As 75% of my daily journey is on the flat or mild inclines, I rarely
> > come out of the 3 highest gears and am finding the highest gear is not
> > high enough - is there a way I can get the gears altered to provide more
> > of a challenge or do I have to buy a new set of gears?

>
> A new chainring with two or three teeth more, thus making it bigger, thus
> giving you a higher gear ratio. A smaller rear cog would also do this, but
> is often too large a step up in gearing.


Probably can't add a smaller rear cog. The other alternative is to get
clipless pedals and shoes, and learn to spin faster ;-)
But seriously, I think you should be able to just change the front
chainset - the rings on teh one you have are probably not individually
replaceable. Your LBS can advise, but it is an easy change and cost
should be under 40 quid for a reasonable chainset with replaceable
rings.

...d
 
A

Ambrose Nankivell

Guest
KoperniK wrote:
> 1/ As 75% of my daily journey is on the flat or mild inclines, I
> rarely come out of the 3 highest gears and am finding the highest
> gear is not high enough - is there a way I can get the gears altered
> to provide more of a challenge or do I have to buy a new set of gears?


That's not a problem I have on flat rides, and I don't hang around. The most
efficient way to cycle is just to get your legs going round in a nice brisk
steady rhythm and not to have to push hard on the pedals, so lower gears can
help that. This is also difficult to do if the saddle is too low, so maybe
take a look at that. Your leg should be pretty near straight when you're
sitting on the saddle and the pedal's at the bottom.

> 2/ I have hydraulic disc brakes but they are howling when I brake too
> hard - what needs doing to fix this as supposedly they don't need
> oiling.


Quite right, it's best not to oil the brakes. It might be that the pads need
bedding in. The best way to do it is to do a few fairly sudden stops from
high speed with them if you can.

A
 
P

Paul - xxx

Guest
Peter Clinch came up with the following;:
> KoperniK wrote:
>
>> 1/ As 75% of my daily journey is on the flat or mild inclines, I rarely
>> come out of the 3 highest gears and am finding the highest gear is not
>> high enough - is there a way I can get the gears altered to provide more
>> of a challenge or do I have to buy a new set of gears?

>
> Yes (see Paul's post), but having said that it may be easier, and better
> in the long run, to change your pedalling style so you're basically
> doing more RPM.


Good point, which I completely missed. ;)

--
Paul ...
(8(|) Homer Rules ..... Doh !!!
 
M

Mark Thompson

Guest
> 1/ As 75% of my daily journey is on the flat or mild inclines, I
> rarely come out of the 3 highest gears and am finding the highest gear
> is not high enough - is there a way I can get the gears altered to
> provide more of a challenge or do I have to buy a new set of gears?


Pretty much wot the others said about spinning faster in a lower gear. If
you're not convinced, then the thought of possible knee damage due to
mashing in too high a gear should persude you ;-)
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
Mark Thompson wrote:

> Pretty much wot the others said about spinning faster in a lower gear. If
> you're not convinced, then the thought of possible knee damage due to
> mashing in too high a gear should persude you ;-)


There's a lass that often rides in and passes me as I walk in, and she
was a serious masher of big gears coming up the hills approaching the
hospital. I asked one day why she didn't use lower gears, she said it
"looked silly" and she preferred doing it her way. Fair enough, I let
her get on with it and she continued mashing her way up the braes. Last
couple of times she's passed me she was having a considerably faster and
easier time of it spinning a low gear, so /something/ (and I doubt it
was me!) has persuaded her it's a Better Way.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
P

Pete Biggs

Guest
KoperniK wrote:
> After 31 years of sofa-surfing I finally decided that exercise might
> be a good thing. I bought a Terrago Disc 06 and went straight in at
> the deep end and have been doing a round trip of 30 miles a day for
> the last month in and out of work on and around the Alban Way.
>
> A stone and a half later with an immunity to nettle stings and dog
> sh*t impregnated in the skin of my lower legs, I've got a couple of
> questions I hope you can help me with!
>
> 1/ As 75% of my daily journey is on the flat or mild inclines, I
> rarely come out of the 3 highest gears and am finding the highest
> gear is not high enough - is there a way I can get the gears altered
> to provide more of a challenge or do I have to buy a new set of gears?


What is your top gear? How many teeth do the largest ring on the front
and the smallest sprocket on the back have?

If it's something like 42 x 11, for most cyclists, the top three gears
should be high enough for descending hills, let alone riding along the
flat. But you'll be able to change the gears if sure you can't or don't
want to spin those legs any faster (need to know more about bike to make
precise suggestions for that). Anyway, I suggest giving it a couple more
weeks before deciding, unless the top gear is unusually low.

~PB
 
C

Clive George

Guest
"Peter Clinch" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Mark Thompson wrote:
>
>> Pretty much wot the others said about spinning faster in a lower gear.
>> If you're not convinced, then the thought of possible knee damage due to
>> mashing in too high a gear should persude you ;-)

>
> There's a lass that often rides in and passes me as I walk in, and she was
> a serious masher of big gears coming up the hills approaching the
> hospital. I asked one day why she didn't use lower gears, she said it
> "looked silly" and she preferred doing it her way. Fair enough, I let her
> get on with it and she continued mashing her way up the braes. Last
> couple of times she's passed me she was having a considerably faster and
> easier time of it spinning a low gear, so /something/ (and I doubt it was
> me!) has persuaded her it's a Better Way.


Her gears are stuck in the lower ones :)

cheers,
clive
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
Clive George wrote:

> Her gears are stuck in the lower ones :)


But she'd have had to have used them to start with to get the bike stuck
in them!

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
B

Brian G

Guest
Pete Biggs wrote:

> What is your top gear? How many teeth do the largest ring on the front
> and the smallest sprocket on the back have?
>
> If it's something like 42 x 11, for most cyclists, the top three gears
> should be high enough for descending hills, let alone riding along the
> flat. But you'll be able to change the gears if sure you can't or don't
> want to spin those legs any faster (need to know more about bike to make
> precise suggestions for that). Anyway, I suggest giving it a couple more
> weeks before deciding, unless the top gear is unusually low.


A look at the spec suggests it is in fact 42 x 11 ("compact triple").

--
Brian G
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
Brian G wrote:

> A look at the spec suggests it is in fact 42 x 11 ("compact triple").


In which case I think there's a good chance you could usefully work at
higher cadences to get your top speed up.

At the cycling training course I did one of my fellow students on an MTB
with slicks had a 42x11 top and was making exactly the same complaint.
When we did the cadence session he found out he was running at about 40,
with the target being around 80.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
S

Simon Brooke

Guest
in message <[email protected]>, KoperniK
('[email protected]') wrote:

> After 31 years of sofa-surfing I finally decided that exercise might be
> a good thing. I bought a Terrago Disc 06 and went straight in at the
> deep end and have been doing a round trip of 30 miles a day for the
> last month in and out of work on and around the Alban Way.
>
> A stone and a half later with an immunity to nettle stings and dog sh*t
> impregnated in the skin of my lower legs, I've got a couple of
> questions I hope you can help me with!
>
> 1/ As 75% of my daily journey is on the flat or mild inclines, I rarely
> come out of the 3 highest gears and am finding the highest gear is not
> high enough - is there a way I can get the gears altered to provide
> more of a challenge or do I have to buy a new set of gears?


You can easily alter your gearing, by fitting larger chainrings or else a
cassette with smaller sprockets. However, what other people have said
about learning to spin is also good advice.

> 2/ I have hydraulic disc brakes but they are howling when I brake too
> hard - what needs doing to fix this as supposedly they don't need
> oiling.


Hydraulic disks tend to be noisy. To reduce the noise, make sure they're
as clean as possible - clean the disks with alcohol. Definitely don't
let oil get anywhere near them, as it will make the problem worse and
also stop them working. Also, if there's a risk that your brake pads may
be contaminated (especially with oil), take them out and clean them with
alcohol, too. Meths will do.

The other thing is to brake hard a couple of times early in a journey. In
my experience disks get quieter when they've been used hard. Whether
it's because braking hard cleans the surface or because they're quieter
when they've warmed up a bit I don't know - but if you go out with a
bunch of people mountain biking the first ten minutes tend to be
enlivened by the happy squalling of disk brakes, and after that they
quieten down.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

'You cannot put "The Internet" into the Recycle Bin.'
 
C

Chris Eilbeck

Guest
"KoperniK" <koperni[email protected]> writes:

> After 31 years of sofa-surfing I finally decided that exercise might
> be a good thing. I bought a Terrago Disc 06 and went straight in at
> the deep end and have been doing a round trip of 30 miles a day for
> the last month in and out of work on and around the Alban Way.
>
> A stone and a half later with an immunity to nettle stings and dog
> sh*t impregnated in the skin of my lower legs, I've got a couple of
> questions I hope you can help me with!
>
> 1/ As 75% of my daily journey is on the flat or mild inclines, I
> rarely come out of the 3 highest gears and am finding the highest
> gear is not high enough - is there a way I can get the gears altered
> to provide more of a challenge or do I have to buy a new set of
> gears?


Are you just riding on the road? If so, sell the Terrago and buy a
road bike. I only had a road-rigged MTB last year but it's so much
easier and faster on my road bike for the same level of effort.

Chris
--
Chris Eilbeck
 
S

Simon Brooke

Guest
in message <[email protected]>, KoperniK
('[email protected]') wrote:

> After 31 years of sofa-surfing I finally decided that exercise might be
> a good thing. I bought a Terrago Disc 06 and went straight in at the
> deep end and have been doing a round trip of 30 miles a day for the
> last month in and out of work on and around the Alban Way.


I know I've already followed up to this, but... like everyone else I
think I'd missed the point.

The Giant Terrago is a mountain bike. It isn't designed to ride on the
road, and it isn't at all surprising it isn't any good for riding on the
road. If you are doing a 30 mile round trip on the road then the simple
answer is you have got the wrong bike.

As you have found out, mountain bike gearing and mountain bike brakes are
not suitable for road use. You can make your bike a little bit better
for road use by fitting slick tyres, and replacing the forks with rigid
ones, but that isn't going to solve the underlying problem.

The sensible advice has to be get yourself a road bike, which will have
gears, brakes, tyres and riding position set up for riding on the road.
You will be amazed how much difference it makes to how much you /enjoy/
your journey, and how much time and effort it takes.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

;; Life would be much easier if I had the source code.
 
A

Andy Key

Guest
In message <[email protected]>, Simon
Brooke <[email protected]> writes
>
>The Giant Terrago is a mountain bike. It isn't designed to ride on the
>road, and it isn't at all surprising it isn't any good for riding on the
>road. If you are doing a 30 mile round trip on the road then the simple
>answer is you have got the wrong bike.


Kopernik did say he was developing "immunity to nettle stings and dog
sh*t" from his daily commute. Now, dog **** on the road I can just about
imagine, but nettles? Either the roads are REALLY bad round his way, or
he's cycling MUCH to close to the verge... or part of his commute is
off-road.

The Terrago does seem an odd bike though - hydraulic discs with a cruddy
C50 chainset.
 
M

Mark Thompson

Guest
> The Terrago does seem an odd bike though - hydraulic discs with a cruddy
> C50 chainset.


I guess the hydraulic discs'll last longer than the chainset. Plus, you
can replace the chainset with something better when it wears out, and
you'll notice the better braking much more than a different chainset.
 
D

David Martin

Guest
Mark Thompson wrote:
> > The Terrago does seem an odd bike though - hydraulic discs with a cruddy
> > C50 chainset.

>
> I guess the hydraulic discs'll last longer than the chainset. Plus, you
> can replace the chainset with something better when it wears out, and
> you'll notice the better braking much more than a different chainset.


I was looking at the Terrago as a possible replacement for my current
MTB [1]
It does seem to have a reasonable frame and the disk brakes are
competent. As a base fora bike it seemed quite reasonable - everything
else gets changed over time - and good value at that price point.

...d

[1] Yes, that rusty heap of metal I went to York on..
 
S

Simon Brooke

Guest
in message <[email protected]>, Andy Key
('[email protected]') wrote:

> In message <[email protected]>, Simon
> Brooke <[email protected]> writes
>>
>>The Giant Terrago is a mountain bike. It isn't designed to ride on the
>>road, and it isn't at all surprising it isn't any good for riding on
>>the road. If you are doing a 30 mile round trip on the road then the
>>simple answer is you have got the wrong bike.

>
> Kopernik did say he was developing "immunity to nettle stings and dog
> sh*t" from his daily commute. Now, dog **** on the road I can just
> about imagine, but nettles? Either the roads are REALLY bad round his
> way, or he's cycling MUCH to close to the verge... or part of his
> commute is off-road.
>
> The Terrago does seem an odd bike though - hydraulic discs with a
> cruddy C50 chainset.


Non-cyclists like disk brakes, and slightly more educated non-cyclists
understand the difference between a hydraulic disk and a cable-operated
disk. But a non-cyclist doesn't understand the difference between a
cheap chainset which will bend under load and a good one which won't, so
if you're trying to build a bike down to a price you spend on disks and
scrimp on the chainset.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

The Conservative Party is now dead. The corpse may still be
twitching, but resurrection is not an option - unless Satan
chucks them out of Hell as too objectionable even for him.