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How Do I Perfectly Align My Handlebars & Stem? | GCN Tech Clinic


(laser sound) – Welcome back to another episode of the GCN Tech Clinic, where I help solve and remedy any of your bike-related technical problems I know just how frustrating it is when you can't go out riding, so make sure if you've got a problem, leave it down there in the comments section for me, and I'll do my best to answer it

Let's crack on then First question this week is from Matt, who says, "How do I change to a different 1x SRAM chainring? Would I have to recalibrate everything or anything, or would it just be a case of extending the chain?" Right then, Matt Well, it does, to be honest, depend on how many teeth you are adding or losing from your current setup, but I would say four teeth either way, so if you're upgrading by four teeth or going four teeth lower, then you should be all right with the current chain That is, of course, unless your current chain is really stretching to accommodate when you're riding in the lowest sprocket so the biggest one at the back So just have a closer eye on that, but I think four either way, you should be okay

(swooping sound) The next question is something which I am particularly fond of, certainly when it comes to fiddling around Let's have a look, though Alan Taylor Farnes: "Hi, John I think I have a weird alignment issue because I feel like I'm sat more to one side of the bike I wonder if my handlebars aren't perfectly placed in the center, but it isn't something I can eyeball

Do you have any tricks or tips on how to make sure the handlebars are perfectly centered and that the wheels are perfectly straight with the stem?" Right then, Alan There is nothing worse than this I'm particularly particular about this certain issue, so have a look at your handlebars either side of the actual stems, where they sit in the stem there Most cases, they have some little lines Use them as a guide

They should be even on both sides of then stem That way, you know your handlebars are going to be perfectly central As for getting the stem spot-on in line with the front wheel, that is something which can be really difficult because you close on eye, knock the stem, that's in line, close the other eye, knock it, and you could just play tennis, essentially, with it all day long What I would suggest, undo your stem bolt slightly, just enough that you can turn the handlebars and then, get yourself a plumbline It's a bit of string with some weights on the end

And hang it right from dead center in the middle of the stem I'm hoping you can find this It should be a lot easier And hang it down And you want that weight to be touching exactly on the middle of the tire

And then, you can tighten up those stem bolts and you're good to go again But I know just how frustrating it is when you're convinced that something isn't quite right with the bike position Hopefully, though, you're gonna be all straight and ready to go Peanutboy – Sounds like they've been riding out in the wet Anyway, "Hi, I notice after a rainy ride" – Yep, they've been out in the wet – "that water had gather inside my wheel, not inside the tube, but between the tube and the tire

There was quite a bit of it, too," enough for peanutboy to clearly hear it inside of the wheel when turning it "I recently changed from butyl tubes to latex I have never had this problem with butyl Is this common with latex tubes, and is there a way to stop the water from getting in?" All right then, peanutboy, as far as I'm aware, you shouldn't be any different using butyl or latex tubes, so I don't see any correlation necessarily with that As for stopping water getting in, without sealing up all of the room around your spoke nipples and valve hole, then no, there isn't really a way of stopping it getting in

Now, I've had this happen to wheels over the years, a bit of water gets in there and you can, in fact, hear it, but don't worry It finds its way out, and I've never had any ill effects on any parts due to it being in there It will find its way out If you're particularly worried, maybe put it near a dehumidifier or a radiator, and it should dry out even quicker Stefan Hofmeister is next up this week

So Stefan says, "Hey, John I'm replacing my 105 5800 short cage rear derailleur with an Ultegra R8000 medium cage rear derailleur I'm keeping the same gearing of a compact chain set with an 11:28 cassette, but I'm replacing my chain Do I need to change the length of the chain compared to the old chain? Thanks, mate" Right, then

I'm a bit confused here why you want to go from a short cage to a medium cage because your current short cage will actually be able to accommodate that 28-tooth sprocket, but I'm guessing you just fancy that new fancy R8000 Shimano Ultegra rear mech, so there we are As for the length of the chain, yep, it's very likely you are gonna have to have a couple of pairs extra links in there to take up the distance of that longer cage rear derailleur All the best Helicase21 has got a braking question Right

"I'm planning on buying a bike with the older Shimano RS505 hydraulic brake and shifters If want to upgrade to some slightly smaller levers, say the Shimano 7000 series, do I need to buy a new caliper as well, or can I just pull the hose off the existing ones and re-bleed the system? Right, Helicase I like your thinking on this one because those levers which you currently have, well, they're pretty big, aren't they, to be perfectly honest, and they're not to everybody's taste The good news is that your current calipers will work absolutely fine with the RS785 shifters stroke brake levers that you're talking about because, yeah, they use the same mineral oil and also, they're cross-compatible, so you're all good to do that, and you're gonna have those much nicer looking shifters, especially in my opinion anyway (swoop sound) Now, Umar Chaudhry has got an electrical question, something which pops up every week as electronic group sets get more and more popular, which is fantastic

Umar's question is, "Hi, John Great show as always" That's not his question He's just saying it, but you know what I mean "I've just built up my first bike with DI2

Are there any differences in cleaning procedures for an electronic group set bike versus mechanical?" Right then, Umar Nope, there aren't So treat it just as you would a normal mechanical group set, so don't go jet washing wildly on the internals or anything like that But something you may want to invest in just for peace of mind is some silicone grease and put it around the cable entry points on your components, and that'll stop any water from ingressing Also, Finish Line, I believe they make a special electronic group set cleaner, so again, you know, if you really do want that peace of mind, maybe invest in some of that

And then finally, perhaps some contact cleaner, which is great for cleaning up electronics because it works in such a way that it dissolves, so there we are Anyway, you're gonna enjoy that DI2 Next up in a question from Nathan Phillips "Okay please please please can you explain to me why on earth cleats are made from plastic that wears down quickly, and is it possible to use metal alternatives for SPD SL or look?" Nathan, cracking question It brings me back to my youth or certainly, well, younger than youth, I suppose, reading the back of Winning Magazine, and there used to be a company that advertised in there called Foster Cleats

And these cleats were made out of aluminum and essentially at first, they seemed like the do-it-all answer, I guess, to your exact question However, if you look at a pedal body, they're quite soft really, and certainly a aluminum cleat would wear away at that pedal body, rendering it useless, because most riders do have a little bit of ankle movement or maybe even a bit of rocking, so a harder wearing aluminum cleat is gonna wear away that pedal, which isn't good for anyone So for the small cost of a consumable like a pedal cleat, I can see why Foster Cleats are no longer around or certainly not that I know of I reckon people out there will know about Foster Cleats if you had some, and did they destroy your pedals or anything like that Let me know in the comments section down below

There's one person in particular, MrGrumpy53, who I know watches every single one of our videos He will have heard of these cleats; I guarantee it (swoop noise) Now, StuiWooi- What a name Come on, Stui, who flat played you? "I've recently moved to Snowdonia, and it's a tad hilly, so I needed to re-cable my rear mech anyway due to fraying I thought I'd upgrade from 10-speed Tiagra to a wider range 11-speed 105

I'm a cheapskate, however, so I was hoping just to do the bare minimum – lever, cable, derailleur, cassette, and chain Would this work, or are 10-speed chainrings different somehow?" It will work just fine I've used 10-speed chain sets with 11-speed drivetrains, and it works absolutely spot-on And I don't blame you really if you're moving up to Snowdonia because having a wider-spread ratio of cassette with less big jumps when you are up in those low gears It's probably ideal for that

Oh, and as for being a cheapskate, there's nothing to be ashamed of I'm happily a cheapskate (swoop noise) Henry Jaenecke-Lane would like to know, "I'm currently running Shimano 105 5800, and I'm planning to slowly upgrade to Ultegra R8000 or 105 R7000 I would start upgrading the derailleurs Could I run into some compatibility problems?" Right

First up, that new Shimano 105 group set looks absolutely fantastic, and I've just been checking through my compatibility charts, and you will not run into any problems whatsoever They're totally interchangeable, so there you are Now, it's just the decision Ultegra or 105 Which are you gonna go for? Now, that I've told you it works, let me know down there in the comments which are you gonna choose (swoop noise) Final question, or questions even, this week from gueroblanco, who sent in two questions

Cheeky Right Let's tackle the first one, though "If my tubeless tire is already a little bit damaged, does it make sense to take an inner tube with me while riding? Can I stick it in when my tubeless sealant doesn't work anymore or the tire fails?" Right then I would always take an inner tube anyway, even if your tire's brand new because you never know what could happen when you're out riding

But in your case, definitely take one because that tire is slightly damaged, and yeah, it will work absolutely fine if you do run into an emergency Let's have a look at your next question, though "Does it make sense to put a 28mm tire in the back and a 25mm tire in the front for aerodynamic reasons, or should I just use 28?" Right, then I'm not sure about aerodynamic benefits or gains that you would get from putting a 25 compared to a 28 because there's a huge amount of variables out there, but generally, on the road, if you are gonna mix up your widths of tires, you would put the wider tire on the rear so it gives you a little bit of extra grip and also a little bit of extra comfort, and who doesn't like a little bit of extra comfort? So there we are, nearly time for the end of this week's GCN Tech Clinic, but don't go just yet because if you've got a problem, leave it down there in the comments section, and I will do my best to help solve it And remember as well to like and share this video with a friend

Sharing is caring after all and all that And also, remember to check the GCN shop at shopglobalcyclingnetworkcom, where we have a whole heap of products and goodies for you to get stuck into And now, for another great video, this time how to get rid of a creaky bottom bracket, a problem which people think they've got, and maybe it's not a creaky bottom bracket

Anyway, if you've got one, click just down here

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