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Cantilever Brakes For A Gravel Bike Build? | GCN Tech Clinic #AskGCNTech


(electronic whirring) – All right, welcome back then to another episode of the GCN Tech Clinic, where we try and solve your bike-related problems So if you've got a tech issue which has been plaguing you and you just cannot fix it, leave it down there in the comment section below and I'll do my very best to try and solve it in an upcoming episode

Let's crack on, first question this week comes in from Alexander Wendebo who says: Hi Jon, I have a touring frame, with V-brakes or cantilever mounts, and an 8-speed Claris Groupset Will the brakes/shifters work with V-brakes or canties? Have a gravel build in mind Right, Alexander, either type will work with those STI levers you've got on there The canties, they will work most likely straight away and don't need any modifications or playing around with whatsoever, because the pull of the cable works fine with that If you're going to go ahead and put some V-brakes on there, because the way that linear-pull brakes work, you're road bike brake levers won't be able to pull quite enough cable for the V-brakes to work efficiently, or effectively

So, what I suggest here is to get something called a travel agent I believe they're made by a company called Problem Solvers, believe it or not They make all sorts of little wizardry and gadgets to try and fix problems that we tend to find, as we try and cross-compatibility issues with things So, anyway, this is a little wheel, which routes the cable around it, so when you pull on it, that wheel pulls more cable than intended It's a great little bit of gear and loads of people do use them

So, that's what I suggest, if you want to put the V-brakes on there Okay, next question comes in from Juan Antonio Monzon, who says Hi John! I recently bought an old Peugeot Frame I need a bottom bracket, but I don't know which kind it has on there I bought a standard BSA, and just one side of the caps screws correctly in, but the other side, doesn't at all Could you tell me what kind of bottom bracket I need? I also want to build this bike with just one chainring and 6 or 7 speed block on the back, so that the shifting from the down tube is easier

Which ratios would I recommend? I was thinking to get inspired by cyclocross and use a 48 in the front and 11-26 in the back, as I won't be hitting any hard climbs with this bike I'd be really happy if you could just help out with this Thanks in advance! Okay, let's talk about the ratios one first Whatever you can get really with a six or seven speed freewheel Because, you're not necessarily going to have that many options out there

Providing, of course, you're not going to tackle any hills, you should be all right But, when it comes to your bottom bracket question, here we go Okay, BSA threats, when it comes to bottom brackets If you look at the bike's side arm from each side, when I am talking about this Left-hand side, it tightens in a clockwise direction for BSA or British thread, English thread, whatever you want to call it

On the right-hand side, anti-clockwise or counterclockwise Then, for an Italian-threaded frame, both sides tighten clockwise, if you are looking from the side Of course, a French frame with Italian threads, probably fairly unlikely I got to say, more likely to have a French-threaded bottom bracket, which tightens in the same way as an Italian one, but the thread pitch is different again, quite rare If in doubt, I'd pop along to a local bike shop, which should have a tool which could easily identify exactly what it is you've got on there But, I'd say it is unlikely to be Italian

More likely, BSA or French Your French-threaded ones, it's not going to be that easy to find, eBay will be your friend Right now, we've got a question here from quincemothman, who says Hi Jon, I'm a bit concerned with how deep into a bike frame you can fit the seat post Being of short height I ride a Wilier that is extra small in its frame size This is my correct frame size and the saddle height looks fine

However, I still have to fit the seat post a little deeper than the marker printed on it Should I have it shortened or not worry? No one seems to talk about this, only the minimum amount Right, nice question Now, unless you're having to really ram that seat post in for it to go down low enough, there really is nothing to worry about Of course, there is an exception here

So, if you had an aero-shaped seat tube, so it's like a standard profile and then maybe there's a cutout in one way or another If you had to put that seat post in too far, could well pop out the actual frame tube, the seat tube So that is something to be aware of Like you say, no one really talks about how much seat post can go inside of your frames It's always about how much you must have in it

But that, sort of, maximum insertion depth I guess you could just cut the seat post down a very small amount, just to allow it to go down, and satisfy it really, so it just covers up that bit of detailing on the seat post Without seeing it, is really really difficult to actually help there What I suggest doing in this case, because of obviously you don't want to go invalidating a warranty of either component, is take photos of the actual parts Send it off to the relevant manufacturers, so Wilier

You haven't said who the seat post is made by Just send it off and explain the whole situation and show, actually, you can hold the seat post next to the frame and show how much seat post is inside of it, by removing it of course, and then they can advise you either way on what to do in it But, I can't really help any further on that one Next up, we've got Andrew Bruce who says, Hi Jon, I've picked up an old Gitane Tandem for very little money which I intend to refurbish and restore, however, I don't know whether it would make more sense to upgrade the components to more modern ones to cope with the demands of modern roads, or stick with the old tech of the '80s and stay faithful to the era, or a combination of both old and new, ie

old cranks with modern mechs, shifters, and brakes What do you think would be more desirable by the wider audience? Right, okay, Andrew, you've got to go with what you want to go Don't listen to all the other people around you But, ultimately, my experience with tandems is relatively limited And I know there are a few compatibility things to work out there, too

Maybe you've got HUB brakes on there, so they're different of course to disc brakes or rim brakes Things like that have to be considered But, ultimately, the newer components are going to really work better Because let's face it, technology has moved on quite a bit You've said it's come from the '80s, so just be aware of that

You know '80s tech was good, but well modern tech is even better, I reckon So, I'd go ahead with that, but where compatibility limits it, well, you're going to be limited there, aren't you, really? Send in a picture of it, because I'm loving the idea of a retro tandem build Right, next up is Nilo Neumann, who says, Is it a bad idea to store a non-steel road bike in the bathroom? Would the moisture do any damage to the bike? Right, funny you say this A couple of mates of mine, who used to rent a house together, they used to actually have a bike on a turbo trainer, set up in their bathroom What their thought process was, I do not know

Well, it's on the screen right now Really odd memories, of going around to their house ever But, I would say, it probably would have a slight adverse effect on any metal components on your bike Because, you've said there, it's a non-steel road bike But generally, moisture tends to be attracted to the coldest things

So on your bike, it's going to be your drivetrain, possibly your levers, your bottle cages I don't know, whatever is on it, which is going to be cold Because, if you think, really, inside of a cold house, moisture always seems to form on windows, bits of steel in the bathroom, things like that So, I wouldn't have it laying around in your bathroom That's just one word of advice

Right, next up is Vincent Noppe, who says, Hi Mr Cannings, I have got two questions Right, we'll tackle them in turn then, I think I want to clean and re-grease my headset, but my fork is stuck and I can't get it out of my bike I can wiggle it after removing everything, as in your How to video, but it won't come loose

What to do? Hammer it out? Right okay, good question as well You are going to use a little bit of force here So, you haven't said if it's got a carbon steerer, or anything, but, remove as much of the headset, the actual stem and everything like that, as possible Get yourself a decent bit of wood, quite sturdy, and put that on top of the steerer tube And with, you know, not a big hammer

Don't go using an ax or a sledgehammer, or anything like that But, use what I like to call a toffee hammer, or just like a midway hammer Give it a few taps on that bit of wood That should free it up, and then the fork should come out Of course, here you want to make sure, that if it does do that, if it does eventually come out

If the headset bearings are shot in the lower part of the headset cup, that they then fly out everywhere Because you may well need to know exactly the size of them, and everything, for the replacements to go in there So just be cautious of that Maybe put down a big sheet, so that anything that falls down can easily be found and not going to roll away, and get lost anywhere Anyway, second question, I recently got myself a new shiny gold chain

Well done After I put it on and fine tuned the gearing on the 105 5800 groupset, the shifting is perfectly smooth But not when the chain is on one of the two smallest sprockets on the cassette Then it jumps up a little bit, as if there is a bump on the cogs What do you think of this? Right, firstly, let's make sure that the hanger is nice and straight, so the gear hanger

Cause, it could well just be playing havoc with those last two sprockets Also, make sure that the inner cable is possibly not kinked or bent at all, and that it's not getting caught up, and it's not allowing the derailleur just to move into that perfect position And I guess something as well to consider here, you got no stiff links in the chain So, very smoothly around, so very slowly around backwards, with your bike either on a workstand, or on the floor, and just have a look Because, quite often, you can detect, a stiff link there

If you've got one, hold the chain in your hands, like so, and flex it back and forward, so laterally in its plane And, what else can I suggest to you with this one? Sounds silly, make sure that the sprockets are on in the correct orientation Because you can fit them in reverse, because the splines will likely line up Well, it could possibly do, anyway And the shifting ramps, they may not be working correctly

So, try out those ones and let me know how you get on Right next up, we've got Laszlo Zsolt Hurda I hope I've said that one correct Hi Jon! Indoor training season is on, and I just ordered my first ever trainer, a direct drive one Is there any preparation I should do that stress and sweat won't damage my pride and joy? You don't want to damage that

Also, should I use the trainer with a brand new cassette or with the one that's currently on the rear wheel? Your professional tips and thoughts are highly appreciated Right okay, I'd get a new cassette for the direct-drive trainer Reason being, you don't have to worry about swapping it backwards and forwards, and also, it's going to last you a pretty long time Because remember, it's not going to get dirty Is it on an indoor trainer? So, go ahead and do that one

As for stress, I've never seen a bike break, personally, you know firsthand through stress on a direct-drive trainer, or anything, I know people out there have said they've seen it, but while I've never seen one in all my years As for sweat, yeah, be really, really cautious about this Because, once sweat gets in there, and it starts to work away on your components, it could well be bad news So, after using it, your direct-drive trainer and your frame, get a fresh towel, not the one you've been mopping up your face, and get rid of all that sweat Because, that's going to be covered in sweat

And if you wipe the bike down with it, all you're doing is just transferring it back onto the bike So, get a fresh towel or a bit of cloth, something like that, and wipe it away And use something like WD-40, or Muc Off MO-94, I think it's called Just spray bolt heads and things like that with it I always do that, just as a bit of prevention, because it's amazing how that sweat can get down and start corroding away, at your headset for instance

And you don't know even realize it's happening Right then, the next one comes in from, possibly one of the weirdest usernames ever, mybrotherisnotapig has said, Jon keep up the good work! Large dilemma here, I have a Shimano Tiagra groupset and I've replaced plenty of Hollowtech II bottom brackets during owning the bike But my last bottom bracket, I made a blunder and I forgot to add grease on the threads, and now my left-hand bb is seized shut! Same thing happened a year ago and my local bike shop managed to hacksaw the bottom bracket cup from the frame The removal tool they used was like the Park Tool BBT-9, which is very thin and the teeth ate through it Right okay, this one, a bit of dilemma here

Always let that be a lesson Grease those threads, but it's too late It's interesting, you've done this twice, as well So, something you could do is lean that frame, or lay it down, so it's on the left-hand side Before you do it though, get yourself some gaffer tape, or some very-strong tape, and cover up the hole the crank or the axle would normally push through on that left-hand bottom bracket cup

So, cover that up Sounds daft, maybe you could try this one, right, first of all Pour some Coca-Cola in there What's going to happen there is, it could well break down the seizure that you've had inside that bottom bracket shell Cause Coca-Cola has a tendency just to work its way through anything

Of course, if you do that, you want to make sure after you've done all that, that you wash the bike really, really carefully, inside as well So you're going have to hose it all down So it's a bit of a daft thing to do, but it could well help But, like you say, using a spinner like that is all well and good, but in your case, it sounds like it is really stuck in there So what you want is one that you can attach to a socket, or even inside of a vice

Quickly, just going to pick one up, actually from the work station behind me So, this one here is deeper, so it's going to go all the way over that bottom bracket So, go ahead, shut that into a vise You can get them as well with a square, external square, rather than the internal like this But, either way, you can probably fit a 3/8, you know, bit in there and put it inside your vice

Cause, that's what you're going to need, a vice So you're going to pull it, so that the vice like so Then, you're going to lay the frame down on it And while it's in the actual socket there, you're going to use the frame like its a giant lever, all right, so then you're going to just turn it like that, best impressions now and it should free it up Failing that, you could, again use something like this

Cause it's not going to slip off the bottom bracket This is what's so important Get it through You want it to be locked in place, almost So, maybe you have to have a friend who's just helping you, because you have a tendency, you know, to slip a little bit

That sort of thing Get yourself a ratchet on there, and make you're going in the right direction That's the most important thing, when you're doing anything like this, that you're going in the right direction Then, with your ratchet bar, even put an extension on it I've done some ridiculous looking things before to try and free up stuck parts, and it's nearly always worked

But, you're going to use some penetrating fluid, something like that first of all And allow it to soak in there before you tackle it That way, it's just going to try and help free up that nightmare that you've created, if you're not using grease Now, you get on mate Right, the final question this week comes in from Andrew Ferguson

Jon, question for you Layback seat posts look better than a straight one Right, this is all subjective, but I know what you mean Is there a benefit to it, or is it purely aesthetics? Yeah well, a laid-back one, you get a slightly laid-back position So, those straight ones really, they're designed for people who possibly have a shorter upper body, so they want to get a little bit further forward

You know, because their natural proportions don't allow them to do it But yeah really, it's about finding the right position on your bike You can get, you know, 40 mm layback, if you really look around But most tend to be like 25, or inline is becoming increasingly popular, as people trying to just creep forward a little bit in their positions But, ultimately, it's all about finding the right position

And, some people, I guess, would say it's all about looks, but don't let that influence your decision Right, I hope that I've been able to help try and solve your bike problem Like I said at the start, if you've got one, leave it down there in the comments section below And also, remember to subscribe to GCN Tech Channel and click that little Notification icon too, so you get alerted each and every time we put a video live Check out the GCN Shop, well head on over to shop

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