Author Topic: [LEL17] Mechanic's advices for the next LEL  (Read 9682 times)

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2017, 11:21:25 am »
Interesting post, Alain.

FWIW I have found that Ultegra 6800 chews cables a lot faster than my 6-yr-old 105.  I've had one RD cable snap and an FD cable chew through the pestilential little leader on the outer, both inside the shifter.  I never had a break with my old 3x9 105, 1999 vintage.

Re low spoke-count wheels:  2x11-speed bikes use severely dished wheels with minimal spoke counts.  My Trek uses an asymmetric rim to compensate.  These wheels are so, well, weird that fitting a high spoke-count replacement from another manufacturer feels dodgy.  I didn't do LEL but I did do PBP on the Trek-supplied 24-spoke wheel and it was fine, but I'm only 70 kg and my luggage was ~6 kg: I reckon that an 80- or 90-kg rider with a heavy saddlebag would have been pushing it.
I dare eat all that may become a man.

But hold the oysters.

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2017, 12:17:15 pm »

If reliability is your no 1 decision criteria, my answer is yes. I think Ergo / STI levers are an excellent thing for criterium racers who need to shift very often and very quickly without moving their hands from the bar. But for audax, do we really need that?

We probably don't, but it is an extra level of customisation over a standard bike. I would agree with you if STI were an upgrade, but they come as standard on all bikes with drop bars AFAIK.

Personally I've never used bar ends and I am not sure of their practicality if I need to go up a sprocket whilst I am going up a steep incline... I always thought they are OK for flat riding, less so to go uphill, but I might be completely wrong.

Can you buy a bike with bar end shifters or it is an "upgrade"? I've looked at Thorn, which is probably as old school as it gets and they seem to fit STIs to their Audax bikes

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2017, 12:37:42 pm »

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #28 on: August 10, 2017, 12:43:22 pm »
I would agree with you if STI were an upgrade, but they come as standard on all bikes with drop bars AFAIK.

Yes, you are right, and I am very saddened by this situation. I have to admit that the last time I bought a complete bicycle, it was, some 25 years ago! Nowadays, I only buy frames and build them up by myself.

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2017, 12:50:04 pm »

Yes, you are right, and I am very saddened by this situation. I have to admit that the last time I bought a complete bicycle, it was, some 25 years ago! Nowadays, I only buy frames and build them up by myself.

I do too, but not many do and to be honest it is not cost effective. The sum of the parts far exceeds the cost of a bike even before you factor in various sales and discounts.

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #30 on: August 10, 2017, 01:19:07 pm »
My advice for riders in 2021 is pretty much the same as that I gave to riders before 2017.  I am happy to report that many riders did take my advice and I saw fewer failures in 2017 compared to 2013 despite the 50% more riders.

My main advice is this:
Avoid using weight weenie low spoke-count wheelsets.  (in fact any super-lightweight components should be avoided, many weight weenie super light components compromise durability for lightweight and thus are more prone to breaking)
Every rider should carry with them some spare spokes, however this is doubly important if you are running wheels with non-standard spokes.  Had to replace one rear wheel this year due to a broken non-standard spoke.  Also if your wheels have weird non-standard nipples then you should take the tool with you.
If you are running a frame with a replaceable derailleur hanger then you should take a spare with you, thankfully many riders this year did, I replaced 2 bent hangers where the rider had a spare on them.  Hangers are normally specific to the frame so very unlikely to be found at a local bike shop.  Hangers are designed to be weak so they bend/break off before the frame is damaged.
As per my advice after 2013, all riders should check the condition of their gear cables inside the STI shiftier for any fraying.  Only had two cables broken inside shifters this year (down from 4-5 in 2013).
All riders should carry a spare folding tyre however this is double important if you are running some weird obscure size which is not readily available at local shops (yes, Stuart with the 451 wheel!)

At Louth one person did present with a flat Di2 battery however he was able to lend of a charger off another rider and charge it.  It was an internal battery so we had to put the bike next to the socket which was a tad awkward.  As per my advice from 2013, anyone running electric gears should take the charger with them, even if the manufacturer claims the battery will last long enough!  Even better is a means of powering said charger without needing a mains socket (such as a power-bank).

Thankfully no-one presented with a broken internally routed cable, however if anyone had, I would not have spent hours replacing it, I would have just run a full length of housing from the shiftier to the derailleur and zip-tie it to the frame (I had a workshop roll of housing).  They can then internally route it themselves after the event.

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #31 on: August 10, 2017, 01:32:36 pm »
Regarding electronic shifting, I think the Di2 battery may last 1400km unless you have a wireless transmitter to record your gearshifts on your GPS.

I have such a transmitter and my Di2 battery (new in February; latest firmware) showed 60% charge after LEL. Maybe I don't change gear enough?

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #32 on: August 10, 2017, 01:38:13 pm »

All riders should carry a spare folding tyre however this is double important if you are running some weird obscure size which is not readily available at local shops (yes, Stuart with the 451 wheel!)

All very good advice, especially so if running tubeless. It can be hard to "go tubeless" on the road and an inner tube could be hard to fit or it could get punctured by some sharp bits inside the tyre (residues from previous sealed punctures) After a bit of searching I have found my ideal spare tyre... I carry an "open tubular" type of tyre, like a Vittoria Corsa, which can be rolled flat and takes much less space than a conventional folding clincher

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #33 on: August 10, 2017, 01:55:37 pm »
Would a compressor not be a useful thing to reduce fatigue of mechanics/riders on breakdown stands? I am sure that if I was volunteering and had it in my power I would bring a small one (and the modern trend to larger section tyres means that very high pressures are less of a requirement).

Reading all the comments on mechanicals (nice to learn from the pain of others  ;D)I am left with a feeling that there must be some riders who assume that any bike with any modern equipment should do the ride with no further input on their part and that there is automatically no better way to do it (thinking of comments on STI/Di2) when really they should be thinking a lot more of the potential consequences of their decisions. I have a horror of internal and under tape cable routing - even if I have it on my bikes, I would consider the options before risking needing to change cables in the middle of the night in the rain with a deadline to meet. (Of course the Gitane would be my first choice, internal routing with guide in the tube, no trouble - but then it is over 25 years old - nuff said).

Does one have to be a member of AUK to be a volunteer (mechanic preferably in my case but all included) on LEL? I have come to the sad reflection that I will never be up to riding it but volunteering for the next edition could be on (and I will have retired  :) ).

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #34 on: August 10, 2017, 02:06:56 pm »
Does one have to be a member of AUK to be a volunteer (mechanic preferably in my case but all included) on LEL?

Nope :)

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #35 on: August 10, 2017, 02:12:06 pm »
Air shot inflation (as mentioned up thread) or a compressor are the quickest ways to seal a tubeless tyre reliably - but I wouldn't expect such things to be available at an LEL or PBP control. Self sufficiency and being prepared dictate that a tube should always be carried in case of unsealable punctures in tubeless tyres.

I agree wholeheartedly with the second sentence above.  But that sentiment is not at all incompatible with wider availability of airshot cyclinders at controls- for the convenience of those who prefer to revert to running tubeless as soon as they can.  I suspect that road tubeless will be very much more common in 2021.

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #36 on: August 10, 2017, 02:34:27 pm »
Air shot inflation (as mentioned up thread) or a compressor are the quickest ways to seal a tubeless tyre reliably - but I wouldn't expect such things to be available at an LEL or PBP control. Self sufficiency and being prepared dictate that a tube should always be carried in case of unsealable punctures in tubeless tyres.

I agree wholeheartedly with the second sentence above.  But that sentiment is not at all incompatible with wider availability of airshot cyclinders at controls- for the convenience of those who prefer to revert to running tubeless as soon as they can.  I suspect that road tubeless will be very much more common in 2021.

Mavic seem to be making a big push for it with UST and the much awaited Open PRO UST rim... ultimately for as long as Continental, Michelin and Vittoria stay out of the game, it will not be mainstream.

The videos I have seen from Mavic UST tyres + rim combo seem to make the all process finally foolproof.. fingers crossed

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #37 on: August 10, 2017, 02:37:34 pm »
And on a related note...
I'm only just getting round to stripping out the tubes I put in at the roadside on LEL to go back to tubeless.   There was about a 1/4 pint of water in the hollow section of each rim which drained out of valve hole when I removed the tube!    I know it was wet at times on LEL, the tubeless tape seals off the inner end of the spoke holes (and my rims are not eyeletted) but the quantity really surprised me.

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #38 on: August 10, 2017, 02:51:17 pm »
I've learnt from a previous ride  ::-) to change all the gear and brake cables before an event such as LEL. In addition the bike had a new chain and bottom bracket although with new tyres. I was using low spoke count wheels (16/20) but these again were new and my son had run a second pair in all conditions for a year. In the saddle back was a spare mech hanger, chain links, cables, etc.

For me it was about preparation - with no major issues as a result.

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #39 on: August 10, 2017, 03:04:45 pm »

My bike only has one cable.... I had it changed prior to LEL  ;D

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #40 on: August 10, 2017, 04:21:04 pm »
My Di2 battery life was fine but I had a problem with the rear mech. 
Failed twice and left me with just being able to change the front chain ring. 
This was one of the reasons I was DNF on my way back. 
Rear mech has now gone off to Shimano for hopefully a replacement under warranty.

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2017, 08:44:01 pm »
It all came flooding back once again. And I don't need to express what I encountered because it's all been said by other contributors to this thread. Spokes, gears, tubes and tyres. And more spokes.

What I'd like to see is a paragraph included in the LEL 2021 website summarizing all the major points mentioned here, stressing the importance of preparation with special attention paid to bringing non-standard parts that are vulnerable to breakage - especially spokes. You'd have a job to find every spoke size in the very best of bike shops never mind on a bike stand run by a volunteer.

All this is easily resolved though.

What I really like to see [and it's said tongue-in-cheek but only kind of] is for the LEL 2021 to do away with the volunteer bike mechanics altogether. As much as I enjoy doing it, I wonder if there is a danger of engendering a sense of entitlement and laziness [in some]. I know of at least one controller who has never been keen on the extent to which LEL provides provisions for bike repairs and maintenance. In the purest sense it's not audax. Either prepare thoroughly and give yourself as much chance as possible........ or find out the hard way. That's harsh and drastic. Especially on the guy whose dura-ace rear hub cracked. Or the Italian guy on a tandem with a gashed rear tyre who was rescued at 1.30 in the morning by a few lads in the park and ride. But it would certainly make for a more interesting ride. And a bigger sense of achievement if you made it round too. :)
Garry Broad

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #42 on: August 10, 2017, 09:04:32 pm »
If you are running a frame with a replaceable derailleur hanger then you should take a spare with you, thankfully many riders this year did, I replaced 2 bent hangers where the rider had a spare on them.  Hangers are normally specific to the frame so very unlikely to be found at a local bike shop.  Hangers are designed to be weak so they bend/break off before the frame is damaged.

Another important point, thank you!  One rider that we saw at Barney had fallen on the drive side. The derailleur was clearly out of alignment, but the rider had no spare hanger. We managed to shim the derailleur with a piece of aluminium foil under the derailleur bolt. The result was not perfect, but good enough to put the rider back on the road with working gears.

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #43 on: August 10, 2017, 09:13:56 pm »
What I really like to see [and it's said tongue-in-cheek but only kind of] is for the LEL 2021 to do away with the volunteer bike mechanics altogether. As much as I enjoy doing it, I wonder if there is a danger of engendering a sense of entitlement and laziness [in some].

The problem with that is that volunteers like to help.  They want to support riders to get round.  They enjoy exceeding expectations.  The crank held together with zipties is a great story, and people like being a part of those great stories.  What they don't like, quite rightly in my opinion, is being taken for granted.

It's like I've commented elsewhere - volunteer management is really tricky because you can't make them do stuff.   You kind of can't stop them from doing stuff either :)

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2017, 07:50:56 am »
The crank held together with zipties is a great story, and people like being a part of those great stories. 

You mean this one?



You are right, Jim and I really enjoyed helping this guy. I really hope he made it to London. Anyone have seen seem him on the finish line?

By the way, I resisted to the temptation of adding "Don't use hollowtech cranks" into my recommendations list, as I might be accused of being an old stubborn git  ;)

Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #45 on: August 11, 2017, 08:51:08 am »
The crank held together with zipties is a great story, and people like being a part of those great stories. 

You mean this one?



You are right, Jim and I really enjoyed helping this guy. I really hope he made it to London. Anyone have seen seem him on the finish line?

By the way, I resisted to the temptation of adding "Don't use hollowtech cranks" into my recommendations list, as I might be accused of being an old stubborn git  ;)

What exactly broke on that ? I can't work out where the breakage was ...

yorkie

  • On top of the Galibier
Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2017, 10:06:31 am »
The crank held together with zipties is a great story, and people like being a part of those great stories. 

You mean this one?



You are right, Jim and I really enjoyed helping this guy. I really hope he made it to London. Anyone have seen seem him on the finish line?

By the way, I resisted to the temptation of adding "Don't use hollowtech cranks" into my recommendations list, as I might be accused of being an old stubborn git  ;)

What exactly broke on that ? I can't work out where the breakage was ...
The outer part (nearest the camera) from the spider down to and including the pedal became detached from the inner part, which includes the chain ring bolts, leaving the pedal flapping about. The break was about 2 inches from the pedal, on the rear of the crank arm, then ran up either side of the arm to the area of the spider. I believe Shimano crank arms are hollow, formed of a U shaped front, including the pedal drilling, and a plate welded to the back, which includes the drilling for the chain ring bolts. The break was along the weld lines.
The cable ties held the two parts together.

We added several more cable ties at Pocklington as the originals were starting to stretch, allowing the pedal end of the crank to move around again.

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wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #47 on: August 11, 2017, 10:23:58 am »
As per my advice after 2013, all riders should check the condition of their gear cables inside the STI shiftier for any fraying.  Only had two cables broken inside shifters this year (down from 4-5 in 2013).

I went to check my gear cables before the ride.  Discovered I didn't have any.  Rode on regardless ... ;)
RRTY #6 done; #7 started.  Cambridge, innit

tedshred

  • ACME photographer in residence
Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #48 on: August 11, 2017, 10:34:04 am »
Ziptied cranksman turned up at Great Easton with plenty of time in hand.  The repair had finally given way somewhere near Spalding but he had managed to find an LBS that supplied him with a new hollowtech crankset.

In the way of things, he seemed to be enjoying the additional edge it had given his ride - then again he was in the services.  He was also annoyingly lucid and fresh for someone who had gone through all that extra stuff on the way.
The pleasure of pain endured
To purify our misfit ways

mmmmartin

  • BPB 1/1: PBP 0/1
    • FNRttC
Re: Mechanic's advices for the next LEL
« Reply #49 on: August 11, 2017, 10:51:11 am »
I really hope he made it to London. Anyone have seen seem him on the finish line?
Yes, I volunteered at Loughton, saw him at the start, think also at Moffat (not sure) and chatted to him at the end, the chap in The Rifles cycling shirt. He showed me the crank at the end. And yes, he was annoyingly cheerful. Might be the military training and self discipline.

The overarching point in this case is that he was fast enough to have time in hand to have this sorted.
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.