Bike Updates

Replacing Worn Brakes

posted Jul 21, 2015, 10:57 AM by PJ Im   [ updated Jul 22, 2015, 3:15 PM ]

Both brakes on my Lynskey 650b Ridgeline started squealing. The noise was clearly a metal on metal grinding noise. When I pulled out the Shimano F03C metal pads, it was in rough shape. I decided to order G01A resin pads as replacements to save money and to try a different material. Plus, I don't do heavy enough braking to warrant a finned brake. I actually like the feel of modulation that comes with resin pads. Instead of spending $20+ per set of pads, I ended spending under $9 per set of pads. 
Considering that I rode more than 1,700 miles, I'm pretty impressed with the performance and durability of XT brake and the pad that came with it.

So, I watched couple of YouTube videos to refresh my mind about replacing pads and bleeding brakes. It had been few years since I last did these on Giant Anthem which has Avid Elixicir CR. Steps are similar, but I needed to order Shimano bleed kits. I found the video from Performance bike to be most thorough. Be sure to watch all of it.

I ran into a bit of snag when one of the pistons in the rear brake caliper stubbornly refuse to reset. After battling it for it bit, I tried using a metal plier. Bad. What was I thinking? Using a hard metal on a ceramic piston is a bad idea. I ended up cracking a ceramic piston, and it still didn't budge. Promptly went online to order a new XT brake caliper. Bringing out caveman rage to wrenching a bike ended costing additional money to buy a new rear brake caliper and a "look" from my wife. 
Bedding a Brake
Be sure to "bed" in the pad after the replacement to make sure that newly installed brake pad is working properly. I didn't properly bed in the brakes, and also got my self in trouble couple times in trail this morning. Not all YouTube videos teaching you brake pad replacement mentions bedding.

How to bed a brake. Find yourself a safe area. Accelerate your bike to moderate speed. Then, brake to a very slow walking speed. Repeat several times. Then, accelerate your bike to somewhat fast speed. Then, brake to a very slow walking speed. Repeat several times. At this point, your brake should perform as it should.

Giant TCR gets new shift cable and housing

posted Jun 29, 2015, 12:32 PM by PJ Im   [ updated Jun 29, 2015, 1:19 PM ]

On most recent road bike ride, the dried out front derailleur cable on my Giant TCR ripped open. So, decided to put extra pressure on the rear shifter. The rear cable ripped open as well. Seeing that these are original derailleur cables from 2005, replacing derailleur cables was long over due. 

I already had Jagwire shifter cable housing, cable end-caps, and cable ferrule, so I only had to get shift cables. Decided to "splurge" and got Novara's teflon coated cable. Tools I used were cable cutter, hex wrench, plier (not pictured), and sharped Phillips screwdriver. I also used Park Tool's PolyLube 1000.

If you have never replaced a shift cable before, here's the link to the tutorial.

After the installation, I did front and rear derailleur adjustment to make sure that the bike was shifting properly. Shifting is better than new. Jagwire shifter cable is an upgrade from OEM shift cable that came with Giant TCR in 2005. Its lining is already lubed with teflon. I also greased the teflon coated cable. Greasing was bit of an overkill, but it's just part of my wrenching habit. Besides, it can't hurt.

Here are links to adjusting rear derailleur (video) and front derailleur.

Blue Giant is family friendly now

posted Jun 26, 2015, 1:19 PM by PJ Im   [ updated Jun 26, 2015, 7:54 PM ]

I haven't been riding Giant Anthem as much as I used to ever since I got my Lynskey 650B Ridgeline hardtail couple of years ago. So, I decided to make small changes so that my pre-teen son, a teenage daughter, and my wife can feel more comfortable riding Giant Anthem. Yes, we're all about the same height. 

I install a shorter stem to give more upright riding position as well as more immediate handling feedback. Also, I added flat pedals to the mix so the rest of the family doesn't have to deal with SPD pedals. The total cost of family-friendly modification came just under $90.

Flat Pedal
I swapped out Shimano M647 DX pedal for Shimano PD-MX80 Saint Flat Pedals, which cost me around $60 (including sales tax) from Jenson USA. Shimano Saint seems to be a good beginner flat pedal. It's very grippy especially after I took out the washers and added the remaining screws. With a flat pedal, one can run an errand just as well as ride a trail with any old shoes. By replacing my SPD pedals, the rest of the family can just hope on pedal. No special shoe, no learning curve that comes with SPD pedals.


Shorter Stem
I swapped out a generic 90mm stem for Truvative Hussefelt Stem 40mm. This effectively reduced the reach of the bike by 50mm (~2 in.), which allowed my son standing a shade above 5 feet to ride Giant Anthem. My wife, who stands 5'5", and my daughter, who is slightly shorter, can be seated in a preferred more upright riding position.

Tires Update
Initially I had 2.3 Kenda Nevegal in the front and 2.1 Kenda Small Block Eight in the rear. While Kenda Nevegal performed fine in a trail, riding on a pavement felt slow and was noisy. In spite of its flaws, I still like Nevegal for its predictable grip. Small Block Eight worked well enough most of the time, but during the driest part of the summer slipping during the steepest climb wasn't uncommon. I tried Slant Six, but surprisingly it didn't perform must better than Small Block Eight. 

After few trials, I settled on 2.3 WTB Bronson (below left) in the front and 2.1 WTB Weirwolf in the rear. Bronson felt almost as grippy in the trail, but it had the added advantage of rolling slightly better in trail and MUCH better in pavements. Bronson represented a better choice for the trails that I rode. I tried Weirwolf as the front tire, but absolutely could not get used to the drift mid-turn before the grip. So off it went to the rear, where it performed remarkably well. I'm sufficiently happy with WTB tire combination. Funny enough, my times climbing and descending is no better than Kenda tires. Go figure.

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