Are Your Road Bike’s Cranks Too Long?  | GCN Tech Clinic

Are Your Road Bike’s Cranks Too Long? | GCN Tech Clinic


– Welcome back to another GCN Tech Clinic. This week I answer your questions on bottom bracket
compatibility, crank length, and many other of your issues. Don’t forget, if you want to
have your question answered, use the hashtag #ASKGCNTECH
in the comments box below. But, we also use the same
hashtag on all of our social media platforms, and
we will find your questions. Epi Graphic wrote in
with the first question, “Hi, I am a rider of
really quite short stature, I have two bikes of different sizes. I notice my legs ache a little bit more after a long ride on the larger frame. Would swapping the stock 170 mil cranks for 165 cranks make a
noticeable difference? I run Ultegra and it seems like quite a price to pay for a 5 mil difference.” Well, Epi, this is a good question, and one that I’m particularly
interested in myself, as I have experimented
with lots of different crank lengths over the years, just to try and make my legs feel a little bit better. The first thing that you want to note is are your cranks definitely
a different length on the two bikes? If they are indeed different
lengths then it’s easy, simply swapping the cranks to shorter ones will almost certainly help you. If they’re not different
then you probably want to adjust your position
on the larger bike. Ultegra cranks aren’t the cheapest, and I understand it is quite
a considerable purchase, but, you could consider other brands. So, you might find a good
deal on FSA for example, who often sell their stuff
at quite a discounted rate. But how do you know that
165 is actually gonna be the right length for you? Why not try something a
little bit shorter again? So, even going down to
155 you might find really helps elevate those muscle aches. Darrel Whitford. “I was riding a crit race last weekend on a hilly course that
required using the big ring and the largest sprocket on the cassette. When I was changing down on
some of the laps the chain would jump from the from the
big ring into the small ring. What must I adjust to
stop this happening?” Well Darrell big-big is
bit of a frowned upon no-no isn’t it? What were you thinking? What you could do perhaps
is run a 28, 30 or even a 32 cassette meaning the gear
that you’re actually wanting is then 3 or 4 down the cassette and you can stay on that big
ring a little bit longer. It doesn’t take a lot of energy
to shift into the small ring but since you’re written
in, asked the question, what you could do is try
trimming your front derailleur. I mean it really is a bit of bodge you’re chain is gonna
rub a lot of the time and it may not shift perfectly
when you want to get back into the little ring but, it will prevent your
chain from dropping off into the small ring. Going with what we
suggested before though, and try and change into the little ring. Euan Munro has the next question: “Sorry if you’ve heard this before, but how come whenever
I’m indexing my gears they always shift great in the work stand but when I’m riding out on the road they’re never quite right?” Well this is a bit of an
age-old problem this one and in my personal experience, from having raced,
mechanics and everything, It’s because people can be quite sloppy when they put the rear wheel into a bike when it’s in the stand. Instead I would always
put my weight on the bike, undo the quick release, make sure it sits
correctly into the dropouts and then clamp it up reasonably
quite tight actually as well and then start adjusting your gears. Also you might wanna check
that your rear hang is actually tight in the frame as if you notice sometimes when you claim the rear– the rear wheel you’ll see
it swing ever so slightly. Certainly if you’ve got a long cage rim you can notice that a little bit more. So watch out for those things and try and have another
go at adjusting it. And then if that’s not working, why not just ride it and
adjust it as you’re going? So, ride along, listen to all
the sounds that it’s making and then make those minor adjustments and you should have a
rear mount that shifts perfectly well whilst on the road. Mark J.A writes in with: “I have taken my road bike out for the first time after winter. When I stop pedaling the
deraileur moves forward and the chain goes super slack. It was perfectly fine before the winter and the wheels and group set
were both new last summer. I’ve tried indexing my gears but the problem still persists” Well Mark it sounds like
you’ve got that age-old classic problem of a sticking freehub. So, if you are a competent home mechanic what you’re gonna want to do is whip off your freehub, pull it off, unscrew it, however it
happens depends on your particular hub. And then you want to clean it, degrease it and clean out all of those pawls or the– the inside of the hub and then re-lube it. If that doesn’t work though
you’ll want to put your finger into the inside of the freehub and feel the bearing there
because it could be that actually that it’s that bearing that is seizing. It’s gonna be a job that’s
gonna take you quite a while so set aside a good amount of time and make sure you’ve got
some good quality lube and some cloth and make
sure those pawls don’t just spring everywhere when
you rip out your freehub. Good luck. Him writes in with: “Dear GCN. I would like to ask, do I need to change the
chain if swap from a 52/36 to a 53/39 chainring? And I also changed the
oversized pulley wheels as well. Thanks, right now I’m
running on Ultergra Di2 with a a 52/36 and 28 rear.” Well Him I would say that
if you were just changing those front chain rings that no, your chain will be absolutely fine and there’s no need to run along the chain but I did a quick search
on the Ceramicspeed website and if you do indeed upgrade
to an oversized pulley wheels that you will need a longer chain. So make sure you do that don’t
just add in a few lengths make sure you get a brand new chain. Callumph has a question: “Hi askgcntech – a slightly
not quite bike related but still close enough question.” I like, I like his style. “I seem to get a very short
lifespan from my bib shorts. I do 400k’s a week, and
have multiple pairs, but after not very long the
elastic seems to stretch and the stitching begins to wear. I use RedWhite bib shorts. Am I washing them wrong? I am very tall but also
very skinny, 74 kilos.” Ooh, 1 meter 95 as well. “So I have to wear medium
to have them fit right, any tips?” Well, I don’t know how you’re
washing your shorts obviously. But what I would recommend
is don’t machine wash them with loads of other clothes. So things with heavy zips
or anything like that, that are gonna damage them
and catch the elastic. Don’t use fabric conditioner, that’s something you’re
not meant to do with lycra. And don’t tumble dry them. But, another bit of advice is, 400k’s a week you wouldn’t
really expect a pair of shorts used regularly to last
much more than 6 months if you’re doing that sort of mileage. And finally, have you
ever thought of having your shorts tailored? So if you’re that tall
and you’re that skinny then there’s a chance that the elastic is never really, like,
biting at your legs anyway. And you might find that actually having the elastic turned over
and shortened a little bit will help them last longer and also be more comfortable
and stay in place better. Dean Andrews is having trouble
keeping his paint clean. “Jonny boy… HELP! I’ve got a Canyon SLX
Ultimate with the Grant T blue matte paint job -it
looks the business for sure but despite taking care of
it and trying to look after the aint job properly, I’m struggling to clean it.” Basically he’s got loads of water stains and what looks like
sweat marks all over it and wanted to know what can be done. He knows that you shouldn’t use wax on it and apart from elbow grease, which is something Jon
Cannings is a big fan of, what do we recommend? Well we’ve had a good old
look around on the interweb and everywhere else and
they recommend using– like a window cleaner
because that will help– So a matte finish is basically
designed not to reflect the light in one direction and the light pings off in
lots of different directions making it look like it’s matte. And using a window cleaner will cut down into those little troughs and
valleys of the paint finish much better than anything else and also it won’t smooth
it out so it will never become gloss by using that. And then once you’ve
cleaned it with a microfiber cloth and some window cleaner use something like a really
really thin liquid wax, just to spray it on. Because again this is so thin
it won’t create a barrier to reflect the light
but it will protect it with a very thin layer. Jim Moore would like to know “What is the perfect
way to prepare your bike for storage over 3 or 4 months?” And I think it’s a really good question because many of us will
do that over the winter. So, the answer is imagine
you were building up to your favorite event of the year and you wanted your bike in absolutely pristine condition and working order. What you would do is you
give it a really good clean and de-grease you may even service it and then you would re-lube it and you’d probably polish it as well to kind of protect it and
keep anything from sticking to it over the winter. You’d certainly make sure
there is no water left anywhere that’s not gonna rust, no surface water, and a final tip if would be to– if you’ve got mechanical gears would be to make sure the springs are in their closed position as it were so you want to be in the 11
if you have that on the back and the 39 on the front. And you wanna undo the
quick-release on your brake calipers so that they can be relaxed as well that way the springs
will feel nice and sharp when you get back onto your bike. And then inflate your tires to about 50% of their total pressure. That way when you come
to get back on your bike all you’ve got to do is blow
up your tires and flip your quick release on your
brakes back into position and it’ll feel like a brand-new bike and you’ll enjoy riding it again. Finally Erik Wolfe writes in with: “Hi gang I have a Cannondale Synapse, BB30 with a Cannondale chainset. I want to replace it with an Ultergra one. From research I understand
that the BB30 and Shimano are not compatible. There are some conversion
bolt brackets available as well as some press-in shims. Are there other options and
what’s the best solution?” Well from previous experience
Wheels Manufacturing do some brilliant converting
adapters on their website and that is the best thing to use they don’t creak they fit perfectly, they’re actually quite a tight fit and would feel almost like
a manufacturer-made product. So I recommend using those. That’s it for this week! Don’t forget if you have
any questions use the hashtag #ASKGCNTECH and
you can throw that onto any of our social medial platforms. Or just drop it in the comments box below. If you want to see
another tech related video check out Jon Cannings’ amazing work on Cheap Bike to SuperBike just down there.