Monday, October 15, 2012
Note that if you intend to switch to another brand or type of lube, the chain should be quite clean to start. Some lubricants very much prefer to start on bare metal, so this may require removal and soaking in biodegradable degreasing solution. Hopefully you’re happy with the lube you’ve been using, so you can simply add oil and clean all in one process without removing the chain.
Rather than allow old and dirty or excess lubricant to overspray or drip inside your house, this is best done outside, or at least in your garage. Hanging your bike, using a repair stand or car-trunk/hitch rack, works great. All you really need though is to lean the bike, standing on its wheels, fairly straight and upright against something solid. The drive-side should face you, and pedals and chain can spin freely backwards without striking anything. If you’re feeling especially clever you might find a way to secure the bike so it leans toward you slightly, helping to prevent excess lubricant from spattering onto your rim’s braking surface.
You probably have two options for application: drip and spray. Drip is usually more economical, is certainly less wasteful, and easier to control. With spray you’re paying more for the propellant and spray mechanism. Although spray is faster to apply, it is also messier, and probably requires more time and effort to clean up afterward. For either option you will also need a dry shop rag or a couple paper towels.
Using a drip:
Choose an easily identifiable link, such as the reinstallation pin or "master" link, if possible and position it on the lower section of chain just behind the front sprockets. Carefully drip one drop of your favorite lubricant on each roller all the way along the lower chain until you’re as close as you can comfortably get to the derailleur pulleys beneath the rear cogs. Stop, and rotate the crank backwards just enough to move the most recently lubed link forward to behind the sprockets again. Repeat beginning from there, applying along the chain until you reach the pulleys. After doing this about 3-4 times you should be able to tell that you’ve reached the first link you lubricated, the entire chain is oiled, and there’s no need to go further.
Put the bottle of lube down and spin the crank backwards several times with your right hand, allowing the chain to flex over the gears and through the pulleys, permitting the fresh lube to penetrate the tiny rollers in the chain. Now pick up a rag or paper towel and, gently wrapping your left hand around the lower chain, continue rotating the crank (with your right hand), drawing the chain through the rag in your left hand. You can stop and re-situate the rag as many times as you like. If it becomes saturated before you’re satisfied, switch to a clean rag, spinning while you wipe off the excess. What you’re trying to do is wipe off any lube from the exterior surface of your chain. Don’t worry… you’ll never get it all, and what you do get should not be there anyway. The lube that will make your chain run smoother has already penetrated and you can’t wipe it off. What you are wiping away however includes lots of road grime and abrasive dirt, so you’re lubing and cleaning simultaneously, and minimizing the excess that could attract more grit, which wears your chain and gears as you ride. All the lubrication your chain needs will remain inaccessible beneath the rollers.
This is nearly identical to the above procedure except that you simply spray the chain, with your left hand, just as it passes over the rear cassette cogs while you rotate the crank in your right hand. This generates quite a bit of over-spray, and you’ll want to be careful not to get much on the braking surfaces of your rim, or rotor if you have disc brakes. One nifty thing about doing it this way however is often you may feel in your hand a noticeable drop in resistance, especially if some time has passed since the last time this was done, serving as a demonstration of how beneficial a lubed chain can be. Again, when you’re finished, be sure to wipe off all the excess you can with a rag or paper towel. This keeps the chain relatively clean, which is just as important as keeping it lubricated.
Monday, February 01, 2010
It is important to remember that all perspective is removed, as depth is defined entirely by an adjacent view. That is, each individual view is a parallel projection of an object’s defining features, as perpendicularly viewed on its respective side, onto a 2-dimensional plane. This is useful of course because paper and computer screens are 2-dimensional mediums.
What is handy about orthographic projection is that objects, such as endpoints of lines, centers of circles, intersections, radii, etc. can simply be transferred (projected) from one viewing plane to another. If done correctly, all information can be gleaned from what appears to be very little at first. A fine example of this can be found in these two fun exercises,
- The cylinders must be different in diameter. Cylinders of the same diameter project an “X” onto the view plan – one indicator that the “law” must change as the cylinders approach each other in size (thereby rendering it a non-law).
- The cylinders must be perpendicular to each other relative to the view plan. Any variance from perpendicularity immediately illustrates why this shortcut idea is technically incorrect.
- The cylinders must be true, and not elliptical, in cross-section.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Friday, December 04, 2009
I just discovered the reference this morning. Normally we are wary of finding the name HubBub (or word hubbub) used elsewhere in the bicycle industry.
This time... maybe we should consider the possiblitity of having found an honor:
" 'The Hub Bub' Award is Given by Cycle Path in Recognition of Excellence and Commitment to Bicycling..."
In all honestly, I doubt very much any association was intentional, but it's interesting nonetheless.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
After class we hung around in the classroom for an additional hour and entertained Diane with our banter. (This often requires a chalkboard, and is the reason I insist on always having one in my workshop.) Dr. Greber is a professor of engineering, so most of our chats naturally involve math and physics. Yesterday’s was no exception, as we discussed the place, and appropriate application, of approximations in engineering. One of my initial points was how challenging it can be for a budding engineer to accept that an absolute solution may not always be possible, let alone that approximation may indeed be most appropriate. It seems engineers are often thought of as “precision oriented” thinkers, but I prefer to think of experienced engineers’ methods as “optimization oriented” thinking. We started out discussing what a few of my college classmates and teachers referred to as Brian’s Law. (Maybe I’ll write about that another time. For now, it will suffice to say it involves the orthographic projection of intersecting cylinders.) We then moved through another project I did involving changing chip-load on a slotting cutter as it is plunged into a shaft. (Does intersection of cylinders seem a common theme?) Finally, we settled on Dr. Greber’s example of inappropriate use of approximation, and I learned something I’m ashamed to admit I never thought deeply enough about to realize on my own. He was barely into his explanation before it became intuitively obvious.
He pointed out how it is all-too commonly taught in physics that a pendulum’s period is angle-independent – that is, the time required for the bob to swing is not dependent on the amplitude (theta, angle of swing from vertical), nor the mass of the bob, but solely on the length of the rod, and gravity. The formula given is: T=2pi*sqrt(L/g), where T is the period, L is the length, and g is acceleration due to gravity. This equation is false, albeit close. In fact, it should not even be an equation.
The truth, if we are to stick with this basic formula, is: T is approximately 2pi*sqrt(L/g), for any small theta; and even then it is only accurate for minutely small swings, as the period grows exponentially with amplitude. This is a subtle but, in my opinion, crucial change when considering the purposes of teaching physics.
“So what?” you ask. So what indeed… for most practical purposes (small theta) it simply doesn’t matter and the equation applies just fine. My issue (and on this Dr. Greber and I readily agree) is with the idea that the equation is taught as fact, rather than as an appropriate application of a deeper understanding of what is really happening. Use of the equation is usually acceptable in practice, but teaching it without the accompanying understanding of a more accurate context is not.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
According to Mavic's side of the story, "the cause of the accident has not yet been determined." This is understandable from their perspective, but I still fail to see how a cracked top-tube, or a sheared valve-stem, or rolled clincher, or whatever else might have caused or contributed to the crash... I don't see how these possibilities create space for an utterly shattered wheel.
Mavic also point out the relatively obvious, "Carbon acts differently in a crash situation than steel or aluminum, but all bike components can be pushed to failure with enough force." Uh, yeah... maybe steel is a more appropriate material for bicycle wheel spokes.
It should come as no surprise that I pay little attention to VeloNews, but kudos to them this time for flipping off a major advertiser when it appears deserved. Any decent wheelbuilder can build a shockingly lightweight, smooth, fast, and reliable pair of wheels that won't explode until kicked by a horse. It's hard to win a race when you're battered and bloody, writhing in the ditch (if you’re still conscious) beside your broken, unreliable, lightweight components.
That all said, we cannot expect racing equipment to hold up under all conditions. Racing is about getting across the line first, and that means going faster than everyone else using any sportsmanlike means necessary, but it also requires finishing in one piece. We caught some flak for a comment Diane mass-e-mailed last summer during the TdF about that Specialized carbon frame that exploded in stage 13. The responders accused us of elitism, and asked to be removed from our contact list. They thought we were insulting Specialized, when we were actually sympathizing with the prospect that some consumers may not understand that frame did what it should, just like a Formula-1 car when it hits the wall and disintegrates. This is not to say coming apart on impact is a reasonable design parameter, although controlled failure to absorb impact energy may be desirable. Designing it to hold together under all conditions however would require sacrificing other criteria, more critical to maintaining a competitive edge.
Racing bicycle frames are no more designed to survive hitting curbs at 35mph than race cars are designed to survive connecting at 200mph. Wheels however, racing or not, should be designed to not spontaneously explode under any conditions.
Additionally, such equipment is for racers who have a shot at winning in competition. Much of this stuff is no more appropriate for the general consumer than a Formula-1 car is for a Sunday drive through the countryside. Your bike should help you finish first, but it first needs to help you finish - and perhaps most important, live to ride again tomorrow.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I consider myself lucky to still have some floppy drives around for my computer. At the back of a shelf I found a small stack of discs so old that many had deteriorated and contained damaged files. Among the files I could read though were papers and essays written in high school. There was even a copy of an essay I wrote for a college application. It wasn't very good, but I was pleased with it at the time, and it worked.
How could I resist? This was from almost half of my life-time ago. Reading it, I could... kinda-sorta remember the criteria, or essay questions - things like, "Write about something you've accomplished that you are proud of?" and, "Discuss some of your goals during and after college." I certainly don't recall exactly what they were, but I'm sure they were something like that.
I was not yet working in a bike shop, but of course was heavily into cycling - or, more specifically, bicycles. What really threw me for a loop was how close my work is now to what I stated my goals to be in that original essay. I have to a surprising (to me) extent accomplished what I said I wanted. Even more interesting (although maybe less surprising) is the consideration that almost nothing between then and now could have been predicted. The path to get from then to now has been wildly different from what I (and others) imagined at the time, but my stated destination is shockingly similar to where I have landed.
Goals and intentions adjust of course.
The files have been erased, the discs thrown away, and there's still plenty of cleaning to do.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
It was also a little over 11 years ago that I moved to the Cleveland area, and just about exactly 16 years ago that I first got a job working in a bike shop. Damn! most of it has gone by so fast. Does that mean we've been having fun? Well, it certainly has not all been games, but yes, for the most part I would have to say we have enjoyed what we do. We've accomplished a little, and learned a lot too - often the hard way, but at least we learned.
As a 2-person (occasionally 3) custom-only (non-stocking) bike shop, we have in the past 12 years:
- Occupied 3 locations (moved twice).
- Acheived top-5 (nationally) retailer status for 3 of our 4 builders.
- Designed (in 1999), prototyped (in 2000), and brought to market our drop-bar adapter for twist-style shift controls - originally for Rohloff, now for SRAM and Nexus as well - St. John's St. Cycles brought it to the U.K., and Harris Cyclery began featuring it in 2005; QBP began distributing it in 2006.
- Diane trained, and was certified, for teaching yoga in 2002.
- Built out [our current] space from scratch, in 2003, to contain 3 businesses:
- Diane published her book, The HubBub Guide to Cycling - In fact, today marks the 12th anniversary of its release as well.
- Directed the Emerald Necklace Tour through 2004. (founded by Diane, pre-HubBub)
- Founded and directed the WooCity Century in 2002 and 2003.
- Founded and directed the Ponte-Vino-Giro weekend tour since 2006.
- Learned the nuances of brewing fine coffees and drinks, and owning and managing a gourmet cafe.
- Developed our own evolving in-house system for fitting, designing, and building custom bicycles.
- Sponsored and conducted week-long remote tech service for XOBA since 2007.
- Survived 12 years in NE Ohio, what we believe is one of the nation's most competitive markets, building a business MANY said couldn't be. (little pat on the back there - for us and other local area shops)
A respectable list, I think, even if it is a bit short (possibly even incomplete). We'll be sure to try to lengthen it over the coming years.
Finally, and most importantly, a big thank you to our families, suppliers, and especially our friends and customers for the abundance of support, lessons, business, and criticism that has brought us so far.
Monday, February 09, 2009
- Fine handling is not only subjective, but also largely a function of a particular bicycle’s intended use. A variety of purposes and even wider range of rider experience and opinion invalidates any idea of targeting a single precise value for a design parameter (trail), especially without regard for all the others.
- Trail is a function of exactly 3 dimensional values: head-tube angle, fork offset (rake), and overall tire diameter. While trail is a strong indicator of handling characteristics, all three of these affect how a bicycle handles, independent of the trail they generate in combination. Additionally, there are several other dimensional and non-dimensional factors to affect handling characteristics, none of which are related to trail or its components.
- Experience has shown how it is surprisingly difficult to build an un-ride-able bicycle (with respect to handling geometry). Experience also indicates which controllable factors have the greatest effects, and within only a narrow range. For example: head angles for road bikes rarely run outside the range of 71 to 74 degrees (generally in half-degree increments). It should then be easy to imagine how a builder can quickly develop a seemingly fundamental “knowing” for how to combine head-angle and fork offset options to consistently produce an experience of optimal handling characteristics. While this builder likely knows what trail is, he or she finds little reason to care.
So, why the occasional fuss about trail? My best answer for now is… because at the very least, it is interesting to some of us. We find the complex theory and math behind why single-track vehicles operate the way they do fascinating. In fact, to me one of the most interesting things about bicycles is the dichotomy of simplicity (as the simplest and most efficient mode of transportation known – even more than walking) and complexity (our limited understanding of the finer points for how they steer and stay upright remains largely theory – explored by physicists and mathematicians). That said, interested physicists, mathematicians, and builders alike generally agree that trail is a dependable value as representative of, at least in large part, a bicycle’s basic handling characteristics. The term representative of however is unfortunately often confused with meaning responsible for.
What Is Trail?
Most simply, trail is the horizontal distance along the ground separating the points of intersection of each, the steering axis and a vertical line through the front axle, with the ground. That is, extend to the ground the axis about which the fork rotates and note the point where it strikes ahead of the tire’s contact point on level ground. The distance between the center of the contact patch and the point we just located is trail. A formula for trail is provided in the diagram. See if you can tell, by looking at the picture, what happens to trail as we adjust the variables. Does trail get bigger or smaller as the head-tube angle is made steeper, or shallower? How about as we shorten or lengthen the fork rake? As we change tire sizes?
Actually, I prefer to distinguish this as Ground Trail, and here’s why:
What trail is really meant to represent is the arm of a moment, or an applied torque. The moment we refer to here is that applied by the frictional force between front tire and the ground about (relative to) the steering axis. Effectively this is the force you experience as your bike self-stabilizes coming out of a turn. This effect is also related to what castors do on shopping carts – they roll in the direction you push the cart. (I say related because the cause and effect have actually switched places in this example.) Notice however that the Ground Trail in the picture is not perpendicular to the steering axis, as it must be to accurately represent a moment arm. This is okay for design purposes, as Ground Trail is always proportional to our true Mechanical Trail. They are not close enough to be used interchangeably, but Ground Trail does quantitatively indicate the castor effect generated by the combination of steering-axis inclination and fork offset (assuming tire diameter as a constant design parameter).
The question was, “How do you design for neutral trail?”
The issue I have with using the term neutral is that its common use implies too much subjectivity. Handling characteristics are subjective enough already without us tossing in further ambiguous descriptions. It is however common to hear references to neutral steering and neutral trail. So, what do they mean? It is because nobody seems to have clearly defined their meanings that I avoid using them. Once we have a mutual understanding of meanings, I am happy to use them too. So then, what does neutral mean?
What is neutral gear? Neither forward nor reverse. That works – it’s stationary, but it doesn’t translate well into handling characteristics. Well, what is neutral temperature? Neither hot nor cold. Hmmm… you see the problem here? We have not established exactly where the threshold lies between hot and cold. What is neutral steering? Neither twitchy nor sluggish. Same problem… too subjective. How about, neither understeer nor oversteer? That’s better, but why not just say predictable steering, and avoid all the confusion? Neutral position – neither left nor right – straight!
Okay then… what is neutral trail? I have read some strange definitions, and here’s one (roughly, from memory since I can’t recall exactly where): Neutral trail occurs when the top-front of the bicycle neither rises nor falls when the handlebars are turned. This actually never happens, but I think what the writer meant was when trail and fork offset are equal. This is certainly possible, but generally will not create favorable handling characteristics, and neutral so often refers to a “sweet spot” of perfect handling – stable but responsive, predictable but agile, etc. Even here, that sweet spot is subjective. It’s different for everyone, especially with so many possible riding disciplines with widely varying handling requirements. So maybe what was meant by the question was…
So, how do you use Ground Trail to design a bicycle’s geometry for an individual’s preferred handling characteristics?
Now we’re cookin’ with gas! The answers however will probably double the length of this already too-long post, so I will discuss overall handling geometry in the near future.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
HubBub Custom Bicycles Presents...
Seven Cycles' What Is Custom? practicum, and
Campagnolo Sportswear Trunk Show
Most who have purchased bikes with us in recent years have a pretty good idea how we define and approach the idea of custom as it applies to bicycles – at least as far as we discuss it and explicitly demonstrate it. That is to say, we attempt to relay all the potential available to you, depending on your interests, while also trying not to bore all the excitement of buying a new bicycle right out of the process. Now we have come up with another idea, an event we wish to invite everyone to.
We spent two days at Seven Cycles’ Factory Immersion event in September. Their tour is truly impressive, but having visited Seven’s facility once before in 2002, this time we were able to really settle in, participate in the presentations, and think about (and discuss) the torrent of information and ideas. This was for two reasons: 1.) Seven set aside two full days of well-designed clinics to actually do this, and 2.) Since we had been impressed by their facility and manufacturing process before, the distracting sense of awe had long since worn off.
Even though, for us, there was relatively little new information, the presentations were fresh, thought provoking, and generated new levels of appreciation for what custom means and how Seven seeks to provide it. We have often found it tricky to present and describe what we do differently, and it became clear during the discussions that Seven is very good at relaying what we all do. We want to think we can be pretty good at it too, but everyone has a different way of explaining the same things, and Seven clearly has put tremendous effort into defining and effectively discussing custom.
We have therefore invited Joe Wignall, from Seven Cycles to come spend a day with us and anyone else who wants to come.
Simultaneously, Joni Taylor from Sinclair Imports, and Paola Del Pesce from Campagnolo Sportswear (yes, the GM from Italy) will be visiting to provide us with a Campagnolo Sportswear Trunk Show. We hope the duo isn’t so dynamic that they distract too much attention from Joe!
We have three basic target audiences in mind, in no particular order-of-priority:
- Cyclists who already own a Seven, and want to know more about why you love it so much or what went into its creation that you may not be aware of.
- Those who have ever considered a custom bicycle, pondered what the benefits may be for you, and want to know more about what is involved.
- Skeptics and riders who to want challenge the value, validity, and/or appropriateness of custom as we approach it.
- Okay, there’s a fourth, but it’s really just to say we hope absolutely anybody who is interested, regardless of whether the first three types apply, stops in to listen, ask questions, learn, and challenge us.
RSVP's are not necessary, but will be much appreciated. Seating is limited (fire codes) and in the event of a full house, priority will be given attendees who notify us before the event.
Rather than post an email link here, please use the contact information found on our website.
Attendance is free, of course.
And there will be great deals on Campagnolo Sportwear. (clothing, apparel only)
Here at HubBub - 8005 Mayfield Road, in Chesterland, Ohio. We intend to use the Daily Yoga Studio mostly (enter through the High Peaks Coffee shop), as it works very well for presentations and slide shows.
Our intention is to provide an inside view of what kinds of expertise, thinking, processes, equipment, and people apply to the creation of a truly fine custom bicycle – specifically in this case through Seven Cycles and HubBub. If you have ever wondered about the fitting processes, capabilities, options, materials, construction, how it’s all achieved, etc. this is a great opportunity to ask the questions and get detailed answers – directly from Seven Cycles.
None of this is carved in stone, but topics considered for discussion include:
- Seven Cycles’ history, philosophy, and future
- What Is Custom? Seven’s 5-Element approach
- Materials – Titanium, Steel, and composites
Seven’s A6 Carbon platform
The 5E fork
Models, tube-sets, and names
- Paint and Finishing
- Fitting, and the Fit Design Process
- Performance, and the Performance Design capabilities
- Our “Tools” and Services
Brochure & Tech Supplements
Order & Confirmation Process
Seven’s Manufacturing Card, Flow, Testing, Warranty
- Aerodynamics, Fit, Power, Efficiency, Speed, Endurance
What they are, and what they are not – how they are related, and how they affect the design of a custom bicycle.
Saturday, February 7th - 11a to 4p
Open at 10:00am and close at 5:00pm.
The actual timing for presentations has not yet been determined, but they will begin at around 11:00am and complete by 4:00pm. We of course do not expect many attendees to want to hang around all day (although anyone is welcome) so we will be using the above topic outline, and the 5-hour window, to develop a rough topic schedule – which we will be providing soon so you can have a general idea of when to come and hear what you are interested in. Presentations should be as flexible as possible however, to maintain interest and answer what we hope to be many questions, so don’t expect a concrete syllabus.
Please attend! and pass this info along to anyone you believe might be interested.