Tuesday, October 28, 2014

9 Easy Steps to Quiet Down Your Noisy Rim Brakes (with pictures)

 Squealy rim brakes? These tips will help quiet them down. 

(Tips and photos from Bikeradar.com)

The following tips will hopefully explain and illustrate some of the principles involved for the three main types of rim brakes commonly seen. The most important principle affecting noise is the angle of the pad relative to the rim: generally, the front must come into contact before the rear – known as ‘toe-in’.


  • 4, 5, 6mm Allen keys
  • Adjustable spanner
  • Abrasive block by Mavic or light sandpaper
  • 10, 11, 12, 13, 14mm offset brake spanners
  • 8, 9, 10mm Y-wrench
  • 0mm box end/open ended spanner

1. Clean-up act
If your pads still have a fair bit of material, you’ll need to clean them first. Wipe them off with a bit of damp cloth and check the wear indicator, usually a line about 2mm from the backing edge. If they’re worn beyond this mark, you should replace them. The pad will sometimes have developed a ridge along either the lower edge, which indicates that it’s set too low, or the upper edge, which could indicate it’s too high and risks wearing through the tyre over time. Using a coarse half round file or emery cloth, roughen up the surface, making sure to remove all signs of shiny hard glaze. Remove the pad first to improve access if required.

2. Rim in trim

The condition of the rim surface can have a great effect on braking and noise levels. Most rims now have a machined or heavily scored surface when new. This has gone a long way to reducing the need for masses of toe-in, but as this rough surface becomes re-polished, squealing can occur. Not only can pads get glazed, but so can rim surfaces. Removing pieces of embedded aluminium will keep the scraping noise down; you might have noticed little raised dots of metal which form through braking and deposit themselves on both the rim and pads. Use a Mavic abrasive rubber block or coarse emery cloth and wipe clean. Carefully remove embedded aluminium from the pads.

3. Pad points

Concave and convex washers provide rotational adjustment in all planes, and are included on many aftermarket pads which can be fitted to side-pulls, dual pivots, V-brakes and cantis. Kool-Stop popularised offset pads, which were orientated in such a way that more force was exerted at the front of the pad than the rear, minimising the need for substantial amounts of toe-in while simultaneously curing squashy brakes and squealing. In the late ’80s, Shimano introduced offset pads orientated with the long edge forward. Where possible, short edge forward is less prone to noise, but be sure the closed end of the metal pad holders is always pointing forward.


4. Snug and secure

First tighten the main fixing bolt to ensure the calliper is firmly attached to the frame. This will be a 6mm recessed nut with a 5mm Allen head, or an older style non-recessed 10mm hex head, preferably a nylock nut (with a nylon insert to prevent the nut working loose). Using a brake spanner or cone wrench on the back adjuster nut, release the front lock nut, tighten the adjuster nut enough that the arms don’t deflect under braking loads, while still moving freely, allowing snappy lever return. Re-tighten the lock nut against the adjuster nut. On some dual-pivot brakes, check the exposed pivot bolt, if any – it’s usually a 4 or 5mm Allen. Tighten firmly while retaining movement.

5. Side-pull toe-in
With the advent of concave/convex washer systems, toe-in adjustment achieved by bending the calliper arms has become pretty much obsolete, but among bikes being dusted off and taken out of the shed there’ll be a few skinny Weinmann side-pulls getting a second chance at glory. Bend the arm inward at the front – we used a Park tool that’s now discontinued, but you could use a small adjustable spanner positioned to grab the arm in a similar way. On current dual-pivot brakes you’ll often get a set of concave/convex washers making toe-in easy; if yours are slightly older and don’t have them, install some that do. Tighten pads firmly so they can’t be moved or twisted by hand.

6. Baggy pivots
Minimising flex and vibration is the main goal of this anti-noise exercise, so checking that the pivot mechanisms and bolts are tight is critical. V-brakes and cantis are attached to the frame posts using a 6mm bolt, usually Allen but occasionally with a 10mm standard head. The brake arm either rotates directly on this pivot, using a brass bushing on older cantilevers, or incorporates an integrated pivot system which displaces wear from the frame post to its own internal mechanism, shared by modern Vs and cantis. This will also include a spring and adjustment screw, which add mechanical complexity and wear possibilities. Replace if the arms are really baggy, and/or if any toe-in of over about 3mm is lost through play in the arm.

7. V-brakes
Toeing-in V-brake pads will require, in most cases, a 5mm Allen key. In some instances, the pad will use a nut on which you can use a 10mm Y-wrench; it will often incorporate an internal 5 or 6mm Allen fitting. One technique suggested by some of the pad manufacturers for setting toe-in is to insert a small piece of folded card between the trailing end of the pad and the rim. This will keep the rear part of the pad further away as you tighten the nut, and can be useful if you’re having trouble holding the pad in place by hand. Having the spring unhooked on both sides can also make life easier when positioning pads. Bring the pads against the rim to check they’re at the correct height, and then tighten firmly.


8. Canti correcting

If your cantilever brakes have an external return spring then it can be easier to position the pads if you unhook the spring first; the arm won’t then fight you as you’re trying to line up the pad against the rim, and fine tuning will be easier. To toe in the pad use a 10mm spanner to immobilise the brake pad mount, then loosen the front nut using a 5 or 6mm Allen key. Some designs reverse this configuration or even require two 10mm spanners. When setting up the pads, leave roughly a 2mm gap at the back of the pad. If the pad keeps moving back into its previous position, try rotating the washers and clamping the pad either a little higher up or down the arm, to avoid the old marks left by the previous setting.

9. Swap brake type
Cantilever brakes can be tricky to silence, especially on skinny steel touring forks which are more prone to flexing. One thing that doesn’t help is a design that favours noise-making, where the brake pad post clamp sits way out in front, forward of the arm and mount. If you’ve tried everything to stop the squealing and still no joy, you might have to resort to a different design altogether. One to consider would be the inboard type pictured here, which seems to squeal less; both Ritchey and Avid offer this more compact design. Compare the forward type pictured in step 8 above with the rear mount design pictured below, which minimises flex in the brake arm, reducing the likelihood of high frequency vibration.

Them's the brakes

Brake squeal is caused by vibration, as that’s a fundamental requirement of generating sound (unless you’re riding in a vacuum). Vibration between the rim and pad can be caused by many things, but is most commonly a result of the interface between the pad and the wheel rim. Sorting your brakes out using all of the steps above will make sure your brakes are as good as they’re going to be, but there’s no hard and fast rule that will guarantee that you still won’t be getting brake squeal. The most common remedy, and often the quickest, is to fit a new set of brakes pads to freshly cleaned rims.

Dual compound pads can help to reduce the chance of the dreaded brake squeal coming back. The harder section of the pad gives slightly less friction than the softer sections and also serves to clean up the rim as you use your brakes. This kind of pad gives the best of both worlds: plenty of performance when you really haul on the anchors and clean rims for smooth, squeal-free braking.


Ride-A-Bike Shop
116 NE. Court Square
Lincolnton, NC 28092
(704) 735-1746

Friday, October 24, 2014

2015 Raleigh Maverick Comp Road Bike Review | Ride-A-Bike Bicycle Shop

Riders of a certain age and dirty disposition might remember the Raleigh Maverick name from a while ago.

Article Written by Jo Burt, Posted on Road.cc

Raleigh launched the Maverick mountain bike back in 1985. Now the Maverick name is back, and it’s morphed into a touring, century, commuting, towpath, gravel, cyclo-cross type of thing. It’s still all steel though. And has more gears. Raleigh say the Maverick has gravel road geometry, gravel being a Big Thing right now. It means that the frame angles on the Maverick are a little less racey than those of your normal 'cross bike, or are a tweaked touring shape if you prefer that description, chipper enough to make it a fun bike to ride but stable off-road or when loaded up.

There’s a gusset on the down tube/head tube junction for added strength should you prefer to take the Maverick over rougher terrain or down the steps to the station.

Elegant rear dropouts look like they come from a custom frame-builder’s catalogue, most of your commuting and adventuring needs are covered with bosses for a pair of bottles, front and rear racks and mudguards, and there’s even a little chain-pip on the seatstay to hang an oily chain out the way on when you remove the rear wheel for whatever reason.

All cables run along the down tube which goes against the thinking that it’s best to route them along the top tube out of the mud, but the cable to the rear brake is fully enclosed as it runs neatly over the bottom-bracket and along the chainstay.

The groupset is full-on SRAM Rival 22 with 50/34 chainrings linked to a 11-28 cassette that should get you up and down most things, although it might be a little harsh if you pannier up. Those cranks are sized according to frame size with the smallest two getting 170mm and the largest one 175s.

The wheels are RSP branded AD 3.0 Disc hoops with sealed bearings and mid-section rims for cheating the wind on those long draggy avenues to work.

Schwalbe Marathon Racer 700x35 tires hint at this bike's most intended use as a steady mile muncher, hardcore commuting machine or gravel grinder, with plenty of room in the gaps to fit mudguards. If you wanted to extend the Maverick’s range to see where its heritage came from and explore more off-road horizons, those tires are going to get a bit slippy pretty quickly, but there’s easily space to fit chunkier knobblier rubber in there.

You could even venture onto a cyclo-cross race course although weighing in at over 25lbs for all that steel-is-realness of the Maverick, you might be at a disadvantage to the pure-bred machines. You can always prove them wrong.

Stopping is sorted by TRP’s cable-actuated hydraulic HyRd disc brakes, and they’re a component highlight on a bike of this price. What you get here are the benefits of a hydraulic brake without the drawbacks of having to pay for a full hydraulic system as the caliper is controlled via a standard cable brake lever.

The Maverick is one of the new breed of cyclo-cross bikes, like the seminal Genesis Croix de Fer, that aren’t really what could be seen as cyclo-cross bikes in the traditional sense but an evolution of the species, with a bit of, ahem, cross breeding with other bikes for good measure. It's less of a specific bike for racing around a field for an hour and more of a bike that can do a little bit of everything else, which is what a lot of people were using their cyclo-cross bikes for anyway.

Designed to take on tarmac, gravel or mud, it’s a more relaxed and versatile cyclo-cross bike, or a more rufty-tufty touring bike depending on your viewpoint, although calling it a touring bike isn’t cool, call it an Adventure Bike, a Gravel Racer, something All-Road, or whatever the marketing team decides.


Ride-A-Bike Shop
116 NE. Court Square
Lincolnton, NC 28092
(704) 735-1746

Friday, October 17, 2014

2015 Santa Cruz Tallboy LT R : Value-Packed Trail Maniac

2015 Santa Cruz Tallboy LT R - Decidedly Aggressive, Yet Balanced Performance

At A Glance:
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Color: Gloss Black Frame, Red decals
  • Shock: Fox Float CTD
  • Fork: Rockshox Sektor Gold RL 140
  • Kit: R

If big wheels, big rides, big races and big adventures are your thing, the Tallboy LT is your big ticket.

  • 135mm (5.3") VPP™ suspension
  • 29" wheels
  • Forged upper and lower links
  • Double sealed pivots for long bearing life
  • Dual grease ports on lower link for easy maintenance
  • Full carbon dropouts and disk mounts
  • Angular contact bearings maximize stiffness
  • Collet axle pivots lock in place without pinch bolts
  • Stealth and external seatpost cable routing
  • 142mm rear axle spacing
  • Threaded BB for creak-free riding and easy installation
  • ISCG-05 tabs for chainguide compatibility
  • Direct mount rear derailleur option

The Tallboy LT is made of aluminum, with Santa Cruz's signature hydroformed top and down tubes. A medium frame is about a pound and a half heavier than its carbon brother, but its price is much friendlier, and it’s still amply strong. And the strength and stiffness are further enhanced with the mechanic-friendly, oversized 15mm collet-style hardware and a 12x142mm thru-axle out back. The result is a frame that's light enough for endurance racing, and strong enough for anything you can throw at it.

At the heart of the LT's handling is a highly refined VPP suspension. It's a suspension platform that's widely beloved for its blend of pedaling efficiency and trail-erasing smoothness. VPP employs two aluminum counter-rotating links to achieve this balance. If you're wondering how it works, the upper link provides most of the rotation as the bike compresses into the sag point. This yields a vertical wheel path, which you'll notice in the form of a firm feel during acceleration. As the bike compresses deeper into the suspension, the lower link activates, moving the axle path rearward. The rearward axle path enables the rear wheel to travel out of the way of impacts, so the ride is smooth, not jarring. And you'll find the same collet-style pivot hardware that has become standard for Santa Cruz's suspension bikes. That means that your pivots stay tight and are simple to service, even for home mechanics.

Anyone who's ridden the LT will tell you that the feel is balanced, yet decidedly aggressive, and the geometry of the LT is an integral part of its near-magical handling. The 69.5-degree head angle doesn’t look particularly slack on paper, but with the larger wheels and longer-travel fork, it inspires incredible confidence at speed, while remaining maneuverable when you need it. Roomy top tubes per size enable the use of a modern cockpit setup consisting of a shorter stem and wider handlebars. The seat angle is fairly steep at 72.6 degrees, for an aggressive climbing position that enables efficient power transfer.

At 17.7 inches, the chainstays are long enough for incredible climbing traction and confidence inspiring stability, without being so long as to compromise the quickness of handling. The short of stature will notice that the smallest size that the LT comes in is a medium. That's due to the increased standover height associated with the longer-travel platform and larger wheels. While that will keep some riders off of the LT, we can't help but admire Santa Cruz's approach to not build smaller 29ers if the handling would suffer.

FOX handles rear suspension duties with a CTD Evolution shock and its Climb, Trail, and Descend modes, while a RockShox Sector Gold RL fork does its thing up front. The Shimano SLX drivetrain is light, but tough and reliable, while the Deore M615 disc brakeset will give you smooth, predictable stops every time. The Race Face Ride stem, bar, and seatpost are tested to RF's rigorous durability standards, which should instill plenty of confidence. Tubeless-ready 2.3-inch Maxxis tires wrap around bombproof WTB STi23 tubeless-ready rims, and WTB also tops off the package with a comfortable-all-day Volt Race saddle.

Full Specs:

Frame Material: aluminum
Suspension: VPP
Rear Shock: FOX FLOAT CTD Evolution
Rear Travel: 135 mm
Fork: RockShox Sektor Gold RL
Front Travel: 140 mm
Headset: Cane Creek 10 Mixed Tapered
Shifters: Shimano M670 (SLX) 10spd
Front Derailleur: SRAM X5
Rear Derailleur: Shimano M675 SLX Shadow Plus
Crankset: 22/34 t SRAM S1000
Bottom Bracket: SRAM GXP
Cassette: 11-36 t Shimano SLX HG81
Chain: Shimano SLX HG75
Brake Set: Shimano Deore BR-M615
Rotors: Shimano RT66
Handlebar: Race Face Ride
Handlebar Width: 740 mm
Grips: Santa Cruz Palmdale Lock-on
Stem: Race Face Ride
Saddle: WTB Volt Race
Seatpost: Race Face Ride
Seat Collar: Santa Cruz bolt-on
Hubs: [front] SRAM MTH 716, [rear] SRAM MTH 746
Rims: WTB ST i23 TCS
Spokes: DT Swiss Champion 2.0
Tires: [front] Maxxis High Roller 2 EXO Tubeless, [rear] Maxxis Ardent EXO Tubeless
Tire Size: 29 in x 2.3 in

Ride-A-Bike Shop
116 NE. Court Square
Lincolnton, NC 28092
(704) 735-1746

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

VIDEO REVIEW: 2015 Raleigh RX 2.0 Cyclocross Bike!

Ride-A-Bike Review of 2015 Raleigh RX 2.0 

Brantley shows off the features of the brand new 2015 Raleigh RX 2.0! Come check it out today at Ride-A-Bike Shop! 116 NE. Court Square Lincolnton, NC (704) 735-1746

Read more Here

Monday, October 6, 2014

Awesome 2015 KHS Mountain Bike Under $3000!

KHS SixFifty 3500

2015 KHS SixFifty 3500 – $2949

From www.mtbr.com

KHS has been in the 27.5 game for a lot longer than many other manufacturers out there. In fact, their model names still refer back to the “old” name for it, 650B. The SixFifty 3500 shown here is in the middle of the model line-up and the Horst-link FSR rear suspension design has been reworked for 2015 (due to the expiration of the FSR copyright).

The KHS SixFifty 3500 frame is made from 6061 aluminum with custom formed double butted top tube and down tube. The bike features a RockShox Reba RLT fork and RockShox Monarch RT3 HV rear shock providing 120mm of travel front and rear. The bike also features a Shimano SLX/XT 2×10 drivetrain, Shimano M506 brakes, Kore stem/bar, Stan’s Rapid 25 double wall, tubeless ready rims, KT hubs and 27.5 Maxxis Ardent tires.

For more information visit www.khsbicycles.com

Ride-A-Bike Shop
116 NE. Court Square
Lincolnton, NC 28092
(704) 735-1746


Thursday, October 2, 2014

13 Latest Cycling Tips From Ride-A-Bike Shop

Collection of General Cycling Tips - Add More in the Comments!

Front derailleur won't shift precisely? Make sure it's aligned with the chainring. If it is, your limit screws probably need a quick adjustment.

Remember: Your left pedal is a reverse thread (turn it left to tighten). If you do mistakenly thread a pedal in backwards, the pedal will likely be fine, but the crank will need to be replaced.

A low cadence (less than 60rpm) taxes muscles and joints. Spin above 80rpms to keep your muscles and knees happy.

We recommend replacing your disc brake pads before you can see daylight through them.

Having trouble catching shut-eye? Exercise during the day, not within the four hours before bedtime. Working out triggers a shut-down of melatonin, a sleep hormone. Use your ride to wake up rather than wind down.

For reliable gear changes, try shifting at the dead spot in your pedal stroke (6 & 12 o'clock). The less pressure on the pedals, the better.

Keep your eyes on the road while reaching for a bottle. And don't tilt your head to drink- pour the bottle into your mouth.

Before a long downhill, take a moment to lower your seatpost. You'll have more room to maneuver over tricky stuff.
After removing a disc brake wheel from your bike, be sure not to squeeze your brake. Doing so can cause your brake pads to clamp together tightly-- and moving them is a royal pain.
To become a better road cyclist, ride dirt. The balance and control required to ride skinny tires on gravelly roads will improve your handling skills exponentially.
Check your tube after a puncture to see what happened. If there are two parallel holes (a snakebite), up your tire pressure.
On steep grades, come off the saddle and hold your bike as vertical as possible, with minimal sway. It’s very important to keep your shoulders squared forward, with no side-to-side movement. That snaking motion wastes your energy and your forward progress.
When training intensity is high, you need to stay hydrated to keep up. If there’s not enough water in your bloodstream, your plasma decreases and your blood thickens. Thick blood is no good- your heart has to work harder to pump it. Even just a 2% loss of fluid body weight will slow a rider down by 4%. Sip as you ride to keep thirst at bay.    

Ride-A-Bike Shop
116 NE. Court Square
Lincolnton, NC 28092
(704) 735-1746


Monday, September 29, 2014

Get Ready For Cyclocross Season - 5 Great Tips

Have More Fun This Cyclocross Season by Being Prepared
Article from Bicycling.com, photos from cxmagazine.com

Start Fresh

Replace cables and housing at the time of tune-up, even if you don’t think it’s necessary. Dirt works its way inside housing lines, making shifting and braking gritty and slow. If you ride in sloppy conditions, ask your shop if it’s possible to fully enclose cables in one uninterrupted length of housing. 

Respect Your Rims

After every race and wet ride, or every 100 miles, clean your rims. For caked-on crud, scrub with soapy water and rinse using a light shower setting. To remove grimy buildup, wipe with a dry rag and rubbing alcohol. If the ride was exceptionally wet, remove wheels and buff brake-pad surfaces with an emery cloth.

Tread Lightly: Set Your Tire Pressure

A general inflation rule: With one thumb across the rear tire, and the palm of your other hand on top of it, push down with your body weight. If your thumb hits the rim, add air until it doesn’t touch. For soft conditions, run your front tire 5 to 7 psi less than the rear. On hardpack, increase both tires by 5 to 10 psi. 

Pick the Right Bar Tape

How much elbow grease you’ll need to clean your bar tape depends on whether you prefer comfort or convenience. Padded tape reduces vibration but stains easily. Tacky tape gets dingy and is less padded, but it’s grippy when wet and cleans up better. Leather tape is pricey, but looks sharp and is easy to clean.

Lube What Moves: Chain and Derailleurs

In addition to your chain, which you should lubricate after every dusty or muddy ride, place a drop of oil on each pivot point on both derailleurs and the contact point between the brake arms and spring (if they’re squeaking or not releasing from the rim). Always apply lube on a clean bike and wipe off excess.

Ride-A-Bike Shop
116 NE. Court Square
Lincolnton, NC 28092
(704) 735-1746