Upgrading a mate's bike for faster commuting.

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Upgrading a mate's bike for faster commuting.

Postby janus77 » Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:00 am

OK, so my mate's got the Trek FX 7.0, it's a pretty basic hybrid/urban road bike, $400 retail. Just wondering what would be the first thing people would do to improve speed on a bike like this? I believe it has an "open" bottom bracket, would getting an enclosed one with good bearings be a good start? I think he needs to inflate his tyres too, being a bit squidgy, they can slow you down a bit.

Any other advice?

Oh wait, one more question, is there much of a difference between running a 32mm and 37mm tyre for speed?
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by BNA » Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:05 am

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Postby europa » Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:05 am

Just maintain the bike correctly. If it's working properly, you don't need to change anything.

With commuting, the big factor is your average speed, not your ultimate speed. That average dives dramatically every time you have to slow for an obstacle, stop light, distraction at a bus stop. To improve your times, you need to reduce those incidents, not work on your top speed.

So, unless he has a very long run where he can hit and maintain top speed, spend all his time and money on getting his current bike right.

Richard
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Postby MountGower » Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:06 am

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Postby janus77 » Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:07 am

Thanks Richard.. it's more that the bike doesn't maintain speed very well, he borrowed my bike last night and said it was a much easier commute.

You're right on the maintenance though, I'm pretty sure his bike needs a service, he'd had a bit of an accident (with a porsche no less!), and the wheels may not be 100% true, plus with tyres not properly inflated, it's got to slow you down a fair bit.
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Postby europa » Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:11 am

janus77 wrote:Thanks Richard.. it's more that the bike doesn't maintain speed very well, he borrowed my bike last night and said it was a much easier commute.


Maybe tear it down and regrease all the bearings. Just an afternoon's work over a few beers. The factories aren't all that keen on wasting grease on these bikes - my Black Beast had a BB full of water within 300km of purchase so I'm not overly impressed with Trek.

Sure a brake pad isn't scuffing? (just found it on my bike so I'm sensitive to it this morning :roll: ).

Decent tyres at the right pressure will help - is there an issue with the tread pattern?

And you've got to applaud his style by taking out a Porsche :D

Richard
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Postby stryker84 » Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:14 am

i'm assuming slick road tyres here, correct me if wrong...

tyres are meant to be "a bit squidgy", but not too much. if they're rock hard, you'll bounce instead of roll, and will be both uncomfortable and lose some grip therefore losing forward acceleration/speed. but too soft, and you get more rolling resistance, also reducing speed (or rather increasing effort needed to achieve speed). there's an optimal pressure you need for so called "best performance"

http://sheldonbrown.com/tyres.html has good explanation, and a GUIDE to tyre pressure, however it'll vary depending on your riding style/preferences.

personally, i don't think 32mm and 37mm would make much difference, there might be some, but for most people it'd be negligible.


as for brackets and the like, no idea at all... afaik, sealed bracket means it's less likely to get clagged with grime, so perhaps that could translate to more resistance in pedalling? anyhow, imho that'd be a minor speed difference... would be more of a maintenance issue. sealed = clean = less work required. again, just speculation, someone correct me if i'm wrong.
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Postby Bnej » Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:34 am

Pump up the tyres to recommended pressure, clean & lubricate the chain, make sure the chain isn't rubbing on the deraileurs, make sure brakes aren't rubbing on the rims, check wheels are true.

Only upgrades I would consider:

Set of M520 clipless pedals and MTB shoes. ~$200 all told, but you can use these on another bike later on if you want.

Tyre upgrade, most cheap bikes come with crappy heavy tyres. You could get something like a 28mm Maxxis Detonator, or a 32mm Sport Contact, which would knock probably half a kilo of weight off the bike and improve the ride a fair bit (provided pressure is kept correct). Cost you probably $70 to $120 for a set of good tyres.

BTW you won't notice a big difference due to width, but weight and tyre quality is another matter.
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Postby janus77 » Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:05 pm

Would a 28mm tyre fit on his rims ok though?
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Postby Bnej » Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:21 pm

Should do if it's a conventional 700C rim. You'll probably need new tubes for the thinner tyres but that's all. The tyre just won't bulge out from the rim so much (sidewalls will look flatter).

If you're unsure you can go to a bike shop and ask them to fit the tyres for you - most bike shops will have a range of 700C tyres to choose from.
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Postby europa » Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:01 pm

How about changing your route so you ride past that place without the front fence and the very nasty dog :twisted:

Richard
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Postby janus77 » Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:15 pm

Even better, I live near a boxing gym, I can run in the door, yell "you're a bunch of coward girls who couldn't fight your way out of a paper bag. And I slept with your mother and/or girlfriend". Then run out and jump on my bike...
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Postby mikesbytes » Fri Sep 21, 2007 2:30 pm

janus77 wrote:Even better, I live near a boxing gym, I can run in the door, yell "you're a bunch of coward girls who couldn't fight your way out of a paper bag. And I slept with your mother and/or girlfriend". Then run out and jump on my bike...


Lucky for you I've got a broken hand, I was just about to resume boxing after a year off due to a shoulder problem.

Benj's on the money for how to get you mate riding faster.
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Postby Birdman » Mon Sep 24, 2007 11:00 am

I think the gym idea is a better way...mind you if there is someting wrong with the bike it will need to be replaced when they DO catch you.

Mitch.
SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKYS. NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS.

Until next time...
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