Cycling: Two Years Later - Upgrades!

by Khiem Dinh

Khiem Dinh is an engineer for Honeywell Turbo Technologies at the time of this writing.  All statements and opinions expressed by Khiem Dinh are solely those of Khiem Dinh and not reflective of Honeywell Turbo Technologies.

The first major parts to wear out were the wheels. The wheels that came on the bike were Mavic Sports with Shimano 105 hubs. They are just a basic wheel set that gets the job done. After a while, I found myself having to true the rear wheel often; this is the process of straightening wheel rim out so there’s no wobble when then spin. Then on one ride, I hit one particularly bad pothole which taco’d the rear rim a bit. I was able to straighten the rim out mostly left-to-right, but now it was slightly egg-shaped. I rode on it for a few hundred more miles like that before I got fed up of having to true the wheel after almost every ride.


Enter the new set of Zipp 30 aero wheels. These wheels saved about a pound in weight for the set versus the previous Mavic Sports. Not only that, but they have a moderate aero profile for reduced drag. When I installed the Zipp 30 wheels, I also put on Michelin Pro4 Endurance tires.
On the left is the new Zipp 30 wheel with the aero profile. On the right is the old Mavic Sport with non-aero profile being more rectangular. To reduce aero drag even more, the Zipp 30 wheels use blade profile spokes instead of round spokes in order to slice through the air.
Here is one more look at the aero profile of the Zipp 30 wheel. You can see how the spoke attaches at the pointy part of the rim profile. Looking back at the old Mavic Sports, the rim is flat where the spoke attaches; i.e. not good for drag. You can also see how the spoke transitions to the blade profile from round where it attached to the rim.

Oh yeah, just like car brakes, the bicycle brake pads need to be bedded in to the new braking surface; in this case, the rim of the wheels. There's a hill I go down where I often hit 40mph and at the bottom of the hill is a stop sign. So I'm cruising down at my usual 40mph when I go for the brakes. They grab for a bit and I'm probably down to about 25mph when I get green fade of the pads. Well, that sucked. I was able to get down to about 10mph and fortunately there were no cars at the intersection.


Part of the weight savings can probably be attributed to the Zipp wheel skewers. The handles on these are relatively short for reduced weight and small in diameter for reduced drag.
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Thursday, February 19, 2015 7:43 AM
I road cycled for many years and it always amused me to no end how we keep trying to make our bikes faster, lighter, and basically easier to ride. This would be all good if we were competing and needed the edge. We are doing this for the exercise right? So making it harder theoretically is what is better. Lol
Thursday, February 19, 2015 7:56 AM
Good choice on the upgrades. If I may, a few suggestions. First, go back to the shop and have them remove the plastic disc behind your cassette, then dial in you rear derailleur so that it can't dump the chain into your spokes. Second, closing your skewer in that position makes it slightly more difficult to open when it's on tight. Rotate it so that the lever is level with the ground and ointment towards the rear of the bike. Lastly, you may want to rotate your tires more frequently. I do every 500mi, but if the tire is starting to square, you probably should have rotated sooner.
Keep the bike articles coming, I really enjoy them.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 7:57 AM
Ointment = pointed.
Mark F
Mark Flink
Thursday, February 19, 2015 1:41 PM
Did you try adjusting your rear derailleur first? Or replacing the cables and then do adjustment? If you are not comfortable with doing maintenance, take it to your LBS and they should be able to get it riding like new.

You only do road? MTB as well?

I saw you use Strava which has been adding more features, I also supplement Velo Viewer. More data the better.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 6:31 PM
SilentG, always appreciate pointers!

Mark, yeah, it started going out mid-ride and I thought maybe a cable had just slipped. So when I got to my water refilling spot, I busted out the tools. First I checked to make sure the cable hadn't slipped in the derailleur. That was good, so I thought maybe somehow the range adjuster had gotten loose, so I tried adjusting that. But that wasn't the issue.

So I peeled back the hood on the brake/shifter and started poking around and playing with the mechanism. Long story short, there's a little cam mechanism that is used to shift one direction and it had worn out. So it would no longer engage the toothed gear to pull the cable.

So yeah, i was all excited when i read in multiple places that the shifter could be brought back to life by a good cleaning and massive lubing. Some guys use the ultrasonic cleaner. But nope, no dice.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 6:32 PM
Oh yeah, I use to mountain bike all through high school and college, but now it's just more convenient to hop on the road bike and ride out the front door.
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