Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
Well i have hit the 12 month mark commuting on my Avanti Inc with 2000km
under its belt and i though i would post something as i read info like this
prior to buying the bike originally and found it helpful. This is an essay
I commute on this bike 5 days per week and am currently riding 16km each way
on it. I use my commute as a training workout and this bike has been
fantastic for it. I'm 193cm and weigh 90kg so I am on the XL frame. To get
down into a more aggressive position required a few adjustments but I'm
about as low as I can go now whilst still being comfortable on the bike.
Mondays is flat out time trial each way to build endurance and times are
kept on Strava, Tuesday and Thursday are recovery slow rides, Wednesday is a
series of sprints on the way in (6 in total) with a max time of around 2mins
flat out this helps with power and pedalling speed? and Friday is riding
the whole commute in the biggest gear to improve strength.
I bought the bike as an Inc 2 with the alfine 8 speed, and gates CDC belt
drive and i upgraded the mechanical discs for avid elixr 1's hydraulics as
the mechanical shimanos hit my heel when pedalling due to where the cable
attaches. I rode it as was for a while but during that time the 8 speed
wasn't shifting right in some gears and shimano replaced this under
warranty, there were also some issues with the spokes loosening and the
bottom bracket not set up correctly but these were relatively minor and
rectified free of charge by the LBS. Shimano sent an 11 speed by mistake for
the warranty claim so this was fitted anyway (win!!) along with the 11 speed
I drive a certain distance to my commute point so this bike is perfect for
that scenario as no grease makes the car trip very clean. There is nil
maintenance and the riding is deadly quite with only the whirl of the tyres
on pavement to be heard. In foul weather the bike performs flawlessly and
only needs a hose down when i get home. My commute started as 6km but i have
extended it over time to the current 15km each way which takes around
30-35mins (on Mondays). The bike can take racks, mudguards and panniers but
i use a backpack. Other geometry specs can be found here
http://www.avantibikes.com/au/bikes/on- ... tro/inc-3/
As i rode more i made some minor changes to the bike:
* Trimmed bars by 50mm each end
* Flipped stem and removed all spacers underneath it to get a bit
lower and rolled bars forward
* Replaced the conti sport contact 700x37 with gp 4 seasons 700x28
* Added shimano m530 clipless pedals and mt34 shoes which replaced
flats and a pair of asics
* Replaced the brake pads with sintered pads
I haven't noticed any issues with the bike or things that i haven't liked or
that annoy me in the design. The gear shifting is great, the cable takes a
bit to full stretch and settle in but i have not adjusted it in months now.
Shifts are fast but you do generally need to back off ever so slightly
especially if shifting when doing a climb for instance. The avid elixrs are
ok they did need to be bled a bit early on but have been fine since. The
frame feels sturdy even when putting in and the seat is comfortable. The
performance of the belt is fantastic but not having ever ridden a road bike
with chain and der setup i don't have anything to compare to.
As mentioned i like to use my commute as a workout and as training to get
faster. If you are a fast rider you can ride fast on this bike (in original
spec but even more so now), it wont slow you down considerably. It is no
road bike but once the lightweight tyres are on being on a "urban" bike is
only really noticeable if there are lots of hills or inclines in the ride as
the added weight is a burden. It isn't heavy by commuter bike standards but
it is still 10-11kg so heavy compared to a roady. I have raced my mate home
on the same bike and i can easily account for him but when he is on the road
bike i struggled to even draft him but that was prior to the 4 seasons and
clipless pedals going on.
I noticed speed and performance gains on my strava times after a few of the
* 8 speed to 11 speed - this saw my overall time and several segment
times improve noticeably. This was instant but the change of hub was after 6
month of riding so i had some fitness base to work with. The gearing was
closer and obviously i had an extra 3 gears. With the 8 speed i did max out
going down hills with 2% average grade. The 11 speed could still pedal down
these hills and my sprinting only uses up to 10th on the flats so there is
still scope for improvement there.
* 700x28 4 season tyres - this saw my sprint times improve probably
as a result of improved acceleration as the new tyres weighed only 220g ea
compared to the 500g sport contacts. My sprint average speeds improved
around 2km/h. It was noticeably easier to accelerate and maintain top speed.
* Clipless pedals and spd shoes - after 4 weeks of riding with these
this saw overall times, segment times and my sprint times all improve. I
estimate my av sprint speed based on strrava averages improved by 3-4km/h
and i can now get in the low 40's on the flat for efforts up to 2 mins. The
clipless also improved my hill climb segment times although this was in
combination with lowering seat height slightly too. The bike handling is
much better being attached to the bike vs on flats and i am still learning
pedalling technique but there are gains in the smoothness of my pedalling (i
think). I would not go back to flats even in spite of my tipping over at an
intersection on the first ride with clipless. I have sinced back the tension
As i am getting faster and better at riding i am feeling like a more
comfortable position is to be down lower than i currently am, in combination
with extending my commute out to 35km each way after Easter, this has
resulted in a dropbar conversion being planned. Im hoping to get more
aerodynamic along with a few more hand positions for the longer commute. The
only unknown is how the geometry will work out but i have fitted the bars
prior to making this decision and i felt there was enough there to suggest i
can overcome the long top tube with a shorter stem and adjusting the spacers
etc without the bike becoming a pig.
I have got all the gear and will be working on it over the next few weeks as
time allows. The mods will include:
* Giant contact 44cm drop bars, 135mm drop 90mm reach
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-gb/gea ... p.bar.road
* Versa VRS 11 shifters http://www.sussex.com.tw/versa.html
* TRP spyre mechanical disc brakes
* 60mm and 90mm stems
* Jagwire hyper universal stainless low compression brake cable kit
* 3m shimano sp41 outer gear housing
* Fizik black performance bar tape
I will post some pics as i go. And will update this post with how it goes
after i start riding it.
You may say just get a road bike but for the ability of being able to put
this in the car without getting grease on things and it being virtually
maintenance free even after riding in any weather these are two things i am
unwilling to give up to replace this bike with a chain and der setup even if
it does mean i can go faster. I also don't have the funds for 2 bikes
although with the dropbar conversion costing $400 this is probably arguable.
But given i am on this bike every day i figure i can justify the cost. The
initial outlay of $1200 for the bike has been recouped in a yr from not
paying for train travel even with the added items mentioned above factored
in. If i spend another $400 on it now i will have a IGH commuter with drop
bars and a belt drive for well under $2000. I am lucky to find something
similar unless you look at the milk bikes and thes cost a packet. Also the
$1700 quote for full Di2 conversion whilst tempting was just too much, even
taking into account my travel savings in the long term.....maybe later. The only other concern is going back to mechanical discs but plenty of cx riders survive on these.
If the dropbars perform as expected the only other thing i would consider is
maybe looking at getting the CDX belt installed when the cdc belt is worn
out along with investigating what using cogs with different teeth
configurations might provide me as far as performance gains go? Im not
really sure how all this works but gates do make front and rear sprockets
with different teeth arrangements.
Ps how to i get photos off my iphone onto here?
Good story, keep it updated
Pictures: install Photobucket app, upload photos to there, then copy the IMG link and paste into your posts.
Easiest way to compare gearing is with a spreadsheet. I can give you some examples later. Basically it will shift all the gears up or down, like a new diff ratio in a car. So the gap between them is the same, but instead of gears 1-11 it will feel like you have gears 2-12 (for example). This won't necessarily make you faster, unless you are spinning out top gear regularly (which I doubt). It may help if 1st gear is too tall and you need a lower gear, but that doesn't sound like the case either.
Wow that is slammed for a flat bar!
Though given the drop bars will be further out and don't have a rise, you might want to move them up a spacer or two when you do the conversion.
Given what you say above I wouldn't bother doing anything to the gearing. Lots of cost for no benefit.
Tips from me:
Run the shifter cable around the head tube, makes for a smoother arc and stops it rubbing on the frame.
Consider the same for the rear brake cable (though I run mine with front-left and rear-right brakes, which does this more neatly)
Yeah was thinking about 1 spacer and flipping stem right way up as a starting point but i think 2-3 spacers might be needed plus a shorter stem else the drops will be too low. I figure that i want the drops about 50-75mm lower than current bars which will leave the hoods a bit higher but the extra reach might negate this.
What do you mean by running the shifter around the head tube? From a cockpit view do you mean running it around the left of the tube then crossing back to the right side to follow clips under bottom bracket?
Cable routing question - yes.
With the versa levers it is tricky to brake and shift at the same time with one hand hence my swap to left front (more power) leaving the right hand free to just shift.
If you're only riding on the drops it should feel fairly aggressive, for sprinting or downhills. You'll probably spend most of your time on the hoods though, so you might want to lower it again later. But don't feel you have to follow rules about positioning, just do whatever is comfortable for your physique and riding style.
Looking at the bars, I would rotate them up slightly, so the ends are pointing down at about 5° to the rear instead of horizontal. That will level out the tops and make the transition onto the hoods smoother. Hoods should be roughly parallel with the ends, but again do what feels comfortable.
PS if you don't use the 110mm stem I'd be happy to take it off your hands (stack height depending).
After fitting the hoods the bars did rotate down a bit but im happy with this setup but i might just tape the cables and ride a bit before putting bar tape on. At this stage it all feels good with the 60mm stem. If im happy with it Matt the original 110mm stem is yours if you want it as your advice has been helpful. It has some paint off but is still fine just a no name though
Seatpost to bar centre (horizontal) 635mm
Top tube 545mm
Anything else that is useful to know?
Next step shift outer cable install. I have run this around the steerer tube and the crossed back to the right side under frame to meet the first clip on the right hand side. The arc looks ok and the bars can go full lock no worries. Could possibly go with less arc?? But i think this looks ok. I have a jagwire cable adjuster at the shifter end (are these meant to be fixed in??) and a cable ferrule in the end of the outer. The cable runs under the BB and i have marked where i want to cut at the hub end using white out. I might go a smidge longer just in case. Once cut (removing inner and the cable cutters make this cut easy) i will install a ferrule and attach the rubber bellows that sit in the cable holder on the hub. From here the cable bolt is attached at 184mm.
http://i1068.photobucket.com/albums/u44 ... 62w2pf.jpg
Before attaching cable the shifter needs to be in gear 11.
The shifter shifts perfectly and yellow dots aligned first go!
Last edited by dinga78 on Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
Brakes and brake outers in place. The trp spyres look great and fit really neatly. The jagwire universal sport brake kit looks good.
The trojan cable cutters i got from bunnings have cut both the gear outer and brake outer and both inners perfectly with really neat square cuts. I got a dremel for this but it definitely isnt required.
Next to cut brake outers to right length (once again might err on long side by 10mm) then thread inner and attach to brakes. Instructions say to loosen brake bolts, clamp brakes on rotor then tighten
Have you done a hub oil change yet? The shimano method tends to pressurize the hub when you inject new oil, which can flip the seal lips outward and create a leak. I now inject the oil via a bit of shrink tube on the end of the injector tube (plastic hode attached to a 25ml syringe). This is shrunk small enough to allow air out as oil goes in, so the refill only takes 30 seconds.
I have both the 11 speed Inc 3 and a basic road bike. The road bike is faster overall but the Inc 3 is so fast and easy to shift I am always in the right gear. And apart from an annual oil change, totally maintenace free. 5000 kms in 2 years and the original tyres are just beginning to show some wear.
Could you be more specific about "wasn't shifting right"? I have an 8 speed which very infrequently has slipped and I'm just curious as to what your problem was.
Yeah mine was missing the gears when shifting and was regularly skipping gears often a while after the shift was made, especially if i didnt get 3-4 revolutions of pedals in after a change and when under load. Infrequent skipping is prob more just a minor cable adjustment required, some of the hubs work better if yellow dots just off centre either way.
Well the cables are on and fitted nicely. The brakes feel ok and they do stop well with no shudder or noise but they do take a bit of a squeeze before engaging so i think i might need to pre load the brake arm a bit and re adjust cable at the brake nut. One thing though is the brake is very close to the spokes on the front so i may need a 160mm rotor to address this if it becomes a problem.The shifters work great and the hoods and drops feel good although i did adjust the bars down a bit as the shifter was a bit hard to reach from the drops. I havent ridden if far yet but things look good. The bar tape went on ok but isnt the best job ever but will do.
I will commute on it next week and report back on how it all goes.
First ride today on the drop bar avanti inc 3!
The bike felt good in the hoods and the levers shifted perfectly. The brakes performed well. They are not as powerful as hydros but the do stop the bike when needed. Had no issues with the spokes contacting the caliper which was good. The only problem is my wrists are angled up a bit when in the drops so i may need to untape bars tip them forward and readjust hoods but getting this so the levers are still reachable in the drops could be tricky. Overall im happy with the conversion but just need to do some tweaking to get it spot on. I was thinking about shifting saddle forward but i think this will alter my relationship to the pedals rather than just bringing me closer to the bars which would help my drops position.
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