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How Do I Keep My Chain Super Clean? | GCN Tech Clinic


Welcome back to another episode of the GCN Tech Clinic where I help to solve your bike problem, how cool is that? And I'm lucky as well, because I absolutely love getting stuck into reading your problems and trying to help solve them So, if you've got one, leave it down there in the comments section so I can help tackle it in a future episode

Anyway, let's crack on with the first question this week, and this one's from Christoph Mohr, who says, "Hey Jon, love the Tech Clinic" That's a good one always to start with, Christoph, to get your question answered "I am looking forward on receiving a pair of old Campagnolo Shamals Guess where that idea came from" I can only guess

me, anyway, "I'm quite unsure how to deal with the Campagnolo rear hub situation What is the simplest way of fitting them onto a bike with Shimano 105-SC from the mid 90s?" Christoph, you are a lucky lad, getting hold of a pair of those Campagnolo Shamals, because they're absolutely stunningly beautiful I can't talk about them enough

Anyway, one way in which you could well get your gears working absolutely fine is if you're using down tube levers From memory, those 105 SC had two modes, friction, as well as index Take them out of index, you're going to old school, my friend, so you're not going to have that nice click noise positive shifting Instead, you're going to have a little bit of guesswork and find out just what it was like to ride back in the 80s and 90s So, if you have got that mode, use that

Alternatively, if you're using the 105 SC STI levers, get this, this could take a little bit of hunting around, but there was a company out there called Marchisio I've only just found out actually, they no longer exist, but good news for you is they made cassettes that fitted onto a Campagnolo free hub body, but had Shimano spacing inside and they also did it vice versa as well It was an absolutely brilliant solution that many, many people out there were using for quite some time because the tolerances were big enough, basically, that you couldn't use one manufacturer's levers with another's cassette and vice versa, all of those issues Have a look around online, Marchisio, and you should be able to get yourself sorted on those lovely wheels Let me know how you get on, and I want to see a picture of that too

Make sure you send it in Next up is Samuel Ljungqvist, and Samuel says "How do you keep your chain clean? When I have cleaned my chain ad put lube on it, straight away it gets black and sticky and then I see all these people riding around with a beautiful, clean, metal-looking chain What am I doing wrong?" Right then, keeping the chain clean, one of life's little mysteries that, so far, only few of us have managed to actually really conquer So, preparation is absolutely key here, so whilst you're applying that chain lube, don't go wild, spraying it here, there, and everywhere Simply start at the joining pin or that joining link and apply it to the drop there on the roller, a couple of drops say, and then the next roller, the next roller, and the next roller, and so forth, until you've done a complete revolution of the chain

When you've done that, back pedal it a few times, I don't, know, say enough for 10 seconds, and then wipe away any excess from the chain, and then importantly here too, wipe away any excess from the jockey wheels and also the chain rings too, because they can get incredibly gunked up, giving you that black chain Now, important too, is to use a good quality chain lubricant, because that's not going to attract as much dirt, and then using lubricant fit for purpose So, dry weather dry lube, wet weather wet lube, seems simple right? Let me know how you get on with that one, Samuel, because a dirty chain is an absolute nightmare, and it doesn't look cool, especially if you got yourself a goldey looking chain (cash register ding) Next question this week comes from Protocol23

"Hi Jon, I wanted to upgrade the Tiagra groupset on my 2006 Specialized Allez to Shimano Ultegra R8000 or to Shimano105 Currently my bike is only having a BB-7420 Will the upgrade work? I need better suggestions, budget is limited, but I hope you can help" Now, this would be a really, really nice upgrade on that bike, and that bike is going to have a BSA, so a British-threaded bottom bracket As far as I know, Specialized didn't ever use an Italian thread or a press fit back then

So, yet it is going to work, now some people out there will say "Well, hang on, you're putting an 11-speed chain set onto a 9-speed bike" It's gonna work, I've never run into any problems with that, and I'm 999 percent certain that it's going to work You're going to save yourself a lot of weight on that bike too by upgrading it that way Now Lee Jefferson, he's fancying some off-road action

"Hi Jon, I'm looking to change my old aluminum road bike into a gravel bike Could you tell me, is it possible to put 11-34 on my Sora 9-speed cassette without changing the real derailleur? Thanks, Lee from South Wales" Alright then, Lee, it does depend on the derailleur cage size you've got fitted at the moment, but I'm pretty sure you are going to, in fact, need a derailleur hanger extender What's that? Well, it simply drops your derailleur just by a couple of centimeters so it can accommodate more teeth on that rear cassette just by pushing it down a little bit Now, you can pick them up just for a few pounds on eBay and that kind of thing, so have a little look around for one of those

Now, I hope you have thought about this issue as well, because you are going to need, well, you're going to be using it as a gravel bike, so you're gonna be taking it off road, therefore you're going to need bigger tires So make sure that the frame and also the brakes can accommodate that extra volume that's high If you've got disc brakes, then it's not such an issue there with the actual clearance around the brake, but you're gonna want to make sure it goes through the fork as well as well as the chain stays and seat stays okay, so just look into that first Clifford Romina wants to know "Is it okay to use chain lube on other parts of the bike apart from the chain Say for example, the joints of the brakes

" Right then, Clifford, it is I use chain lube, believe it or not, on gear cables, brake cables, as well as pivots on the brakes, so feel free and go ahead and do that Obviously, on some inner gear cables and brake cables, it's not necessarily advised, because they do have teflon liners in there and you don't want to go around mixing in different chain lubricants with that teflon-coated material Now, if you are putting them on your brakes, on the springs, in the joints, in the little, you've got little plastic bits and you've got a metal braking arm in there, that kind of thing, you know what I mean if you look behind your brakes, make sure that chain lube doesn't drip down onto your wheels or braking surfaces at all, because well, let's face it, that could end up pretty nasty indeed So just keep clear of any side walls, but, yeah, use it to your heart's content

Next up this week is a question from Gabe Hart Gabe says "Jon, I have a question about carbon wheels I ride an S-works Roubaix with Roval CLX carbon wheels I ride very steep grades, do I need to be concerned with generating heat on the wheels from braking? Lots of horror stories on the Internet about this Is it all just nonsense?" Alright then, Gabe, there are loads of scaremongers out there who love to get their ten-pence worth or ten-cents worth by writing something on a forum

Now, important to remember here, is if you're buying wheels from one of the big brands out there such as Roval like you've mentioned, they've had so much R&D go into them, you know, ways to make heat dissipate more effectively when you're braking, that kind of thing, so you don't need to worry about anything Personally, I've ridden down Alps, I've ridden down the Pyrenees, I've ridden down very steep hills and I've braked really, really hard and I've never had any problems with carbon clinchers or carbon tubers, and the same can be said too from other GCN presenters when I asked around the office earlier on So, don't worry about it Get yourself some decent carbon wheels, like what you've already got, and you're perfectly fine At least, that is my take on it

Scaremongers on the Internet, whew, it can be a scary place Now Frizi Hugo is next up, "I used a cassette with single sprockets," so ones that were individually placed on, not on a cluster of a spider, that kind of thing, "on the new Mavic wheels they've got, and after 200 kilometers, it's already started to slightly damage the free hub body Is there a way to use the cassette without damaging the free hub, or do I have to buy a cassette with all the sprockets on a spider?" Hi Frizi, this is actually a really, really common problem out there on nearly all good wheels, because the free hub body is made of a softer material than the sprockets are themselves, so as you're generating torque, you're kind of working against that free hub body as you accelerate, as you pedal But there's nothing to worry about here, because like I say, nearly all wheels out there do suffer from that unless you're using an ultra-heavy free hub body or a titanium one, something like that, that's just not going to get damaged or sort of scored as easily It's not necessarily going to wear through, unless you use that for the rest of your life, I imagine, because I've got wheels that are many, many, many years old and they've never actually stripped all the way through

Something more important to think about, though, is how tight you've had your cassette done up, because that could well effect how much scoring is actually being done, so use a torque wrench and make sure that lock ring is done up fully tight, and once the cassette is on there tightened up, it shouldn't rock at all on the actual free hub body Next question is from Regina Blitz, who says "I love you, Jon" That's the first I've ever had that happen to me on this Anyway, "I have a brand new bike with complete R8000 Ultegra groupset and after two or three rides I noticed that the finish around the Ultegra logos on both the crank arms has distorted The black finish around these areas now has some clear, white kind of signs all across them

I noticed this after no more than 200 kilometers I'm worried that I may have somehow warped the crank arms with the insane power I may have put through them, but the truth is I'm a very low power cyclist So although this would be flattering, I find it unlikely and the bike is too new for this to be an age-related issue Hopefully this is just normal flex, right? Any insight?" Alright then, Regina, thanks for the love Right, the logos and the lines on those cranks, what could it be? Well maybe, just maybe, as you're pedaling, your shoes or your overshoes are very slightly rubbing on the crank arms and you don't even notice it because it's a really, really faint rubbing motion

Particularly if you're using overshoes, you wouldn't necessarily feel it, so that could well be rubbing away those logos slightly Now that's certainly what I think it could well be If they are looking damaged, though, take it to a shop and actually get them to check in case, for some reason, something drastic has actually gone wrong Alternatively, like you say, well, blame it on your power, if anything Just say, you know, you're flexing this bike like nobody's business and you're, well, getting wattage bazookas left, right, and center

PS, I love you too Final question this week comes from Emiliano Martinez and says "I have a 2018 Giant TCR Advanced 0 Currently, I'm running the Shimano Ultegra R8050, and was wondering if it's possible to piece together a way to convert from rim brakes to disc brakes? If so, what will I need to make it happen? Thanks for the help

" Right then, Emiliano, you are going to need first of all, a frame to fit those disc brakes onto Then you're going to need some new levers and also calipers and then also you're going to need some new wheels as well that you can fit those disc rotors onto So, all in all, it's not as straight forward as you may well think, and it could well cost you a fair bit too, so just bear all those things in mind, and, yeah, let us know how you get on with that I'm intrigued as well to know why or what is your reason for going from rim to disc But yeah, go for it, if you've got the budget, of course

Now, I do hope that I've been able to answer your questions this week in the GCN Tech Clinic If not, you ought to go leave it for me down there in the comments and I'll do my best to answer it in a coming episode As ever as well, like and share this video with your friends, give it a thumbs up, especially if a mate of yours has got one of these problems Now, it's hopefully solved for them And remember as well to check out the GCN shop at shop

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