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General Bike Thread (Desiderata, Questions, Pics)

razl

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(It's been quiet in here - I suspect northern weather must have put a full stop on most people's riding - being in Florida, I'm still hitting it!)

Approaching my first year anniversary of switching from the Dualsport to a Domane and, again coming from a long mtb background, there's one thing I seriously miss - being able to downshift small gears and trail brake at the same time.

Having had both controls on the right side, but with a trigger shifter, I could feather the rear brake and small downshifts with the same hand simultaneously. On the Domane I find that near impossible because of the "flick" shift, I can either brake or downshift but not both, and there's too much articulation between the actions to do one-then-the-other-and-back quickly enough to work.

As an aside, most of the trail braking instead of front braking on mtbs was because I had shocks in the front and was avoiding upsetting the front balance. Also, I'm talking about situations like going into a corner and wanting to slow/adjust, not emergency braking (where the front is what you want because it has more stopping power).

So, a couple of questions/ideas:

1) is this just a skill that's doable with the domane controls that I need to work on and/or I'm just doing it wrong?
2) without the front suspension, do I just need to unlearn my habitual use of primarily rear brakes only for smaller slowdowns and get used to using the front brake more?
3) thinking I could re-wire the brakes so rear is on the left and front is on the right and then unlearn a lifetime of which-brake-is-where
 

HRoi

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I suspect that you have a mechanically-shifting drivetrain, am i right? Because it’s much easier to same-hand brake and downshift with the electronic groupsets. Also with the SRAMs you can assign upshifting and downshifting to whichever side you prefer. Finally, you can install a satellite shifting button somewhere on the bar so that a free part of your hand (like your thumb) can do the downshifting while the rest of it is doing the braking.

None of the above helps if you don’t have it or are not willing to change groupsets. Why do you trail brake, anyway? If you used to do it to not compress the forks and upset front balance like you said, that isn’t really an issue with road bikes unless the Domane has a lot more front dive than i assume. If you’re using trail braking to rotate the bike, maybe you could (this is gonna sound racer-douchey) just take a different line through the turns
 

sugarbutch

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In what circumstances is this technique useful on the road? (Genuinely curious, not being snarky.) I'm unsure why you can't shift then brake if you prefer to feather the rear brakes, and, as you note, feathering the front brakes on a rigid bike doesn't have the same implications. Weight transfer presumably would be about the same whether using the front or rear brake, and with light braking, you're not pushing up against the traction limit of the front tire.
 
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otc

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I'm gonna come in with a hot take here...but you're way overthinking it.

You don't need to worry so much about upsetting the balance on a bike with such little travel as the dualsport (I certainly don't on my MTB with significantly more front travel--front brake is primary for all kinds of slowdowns) and you definitely don't need to worry about it on the Domane.

You also probably shouldn't be shifting in a situation where you feel the need to trail brake (as defined as feathering the brakes through the turn). Bikes don't shift if they aren't being pedaled, and if you are coming into a turn hard enough to feel the need to trail brake, then you should definitely NOT be pedaling and should instead be focused on body position. Inside pedal up if seated in road cornering position (or pedals leveled out if your cornering in attack position like on an MTB).

Either drop the gears before you enter the turn, or just do it as you exit...as I said, bikes need the pedals turning to shift and you don't pedal through the hardest corners. You can sweep through a bunch of gears in one motion, and the shifts will be done within the first or second rotation of the pedals.

3) thinking I could re-wire the brakes so rear is on the left and front is on the right and then unlearn a lifetime of which-brake-is-where
They call this "moto style". See above for why this is unnecessary in your case, but it is totally doable (and is actually standard in many countries). It also doesn't really take that long to re-learn.
I had my CX race bikes set up this way. The idea being that if you dismount to non-drive-side, you can can still use the left brake to control the rear while you hold the bike frame with your right hand coming into a barrier. Some people still liked having the front brake on the left since you could lock it up and cause the bike's momentum to help lift it up onto your shoulder (a lot of cyclists do have tiny weak t-rex arms...).

I never really had any trouble switching between bikes set up moto vs traditional either...never forgot which bike I was on and sent myself over the bars. Not to mention there are tons of people who ride bicycles and motorcycles who deal with the front being on different hands all of the time.
 

otc

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And if you look at the bikes in an event like the Tour de France, you'll see a mix, likely influenced by the standard in the country the rider grew up in..."normal" routing is far more common (and moto can be a little awkward with caliper brakes), but there are some motos. Moto routing is the legal standard in UK and Australia, as well as many other countries that drive on the "wrong" side of the road--although I assume that if you are buying a $$$$ road bike, they'll mount it on whichever side you want.

Here's a Bahrain rider running moto with the cable going to the right hand:
1642699536890.png

Here's a teammate whose cable is coming from the left hand:
1642699623110.png


Although it is is really hard to tell now, as more and more people are using hidden or internal routing so you simply can't see any cables/hoses:
1642699745785.png
 
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razl

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I suspect that you have a mechanically-shifting drivetrain, am i right? Because it’s much easier to same-hand brake and downshift with the electronic groupsets. Also with the SRAMs you can assign upshifting and downshifting to whichever side you prefer. Finally, you can install a satellite shifting button somewhere on the bar so that a free part of your hand (like your thumb) can do the downshifting while the rest of it is doing the braking.
Yes, mechanical 105; didn't know there were electronic options; interesting (not just for my Q) - thanks for giving me food for thought!


Why do you trail brake, anyway? If you used to do it to not compress the forks and upset front balance like you said, that isn’t really an issue with road bikes unless the Domane has a lot more front dive than i assume. If you’re using trail braking to rotate the bike, maybe you could (this is gonna sound racer-douchey) just take a different line through the turns
It really is just habit from motorcycles and mtb with front suspensions and wanting to keep my own weight back/stable (although I'm not sure that really happens with a hard front fork). I do it (or want to) without even thinking.
 

razl

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In what circumstances is this technique useful on the road? (Genuinely curious, not being snarky.)
"Road" for me is in-city twisties and corners around and through blocks, and not much straight line - so when over in the turns, especially when I'm coming in aggressively.

I'm unsure why you can't shift then brake if you prefer to feather the rear brakes, and, as you note, feathering the front brakes on a rigid bike doesn't have the same implications. Weight transfer presumably would be about the same whether using the front or rear brake, and with light braking, you're not pushing up against the traction limit of the front tire.
I can, I'm just not "there" yet and exploring other options before changing my habits. Plus, there are instances where I'm feathering the brake, essentially lightly + constantly through the turn and then deciding at some point, should drop one gear - so I can't always downshift first and get it right.
 

razl

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I'm gonna come in with a hot take here...but you're way overthinking it.
No doubt, but that's why I'm asking ;)


You also probably shouldn't be shifting in a situation where you feel the need to trail brake (as defined as feathering the brakes through the turn). Bikes don't shift if they aren't being pedaled, and if you are coming into a turn hard enough to feel the need to trail brake, then you should definitely NOT be pedaling and should instead be focused on body position. Inside pedal up if seated in road cornering position (or pedals leveled out if your cornering in attack position like on an MTB).


Either drop the gears before you enter the turn, or just do it as you exit...as I said, bikes need the pedals turning to shift and you don't pedal through the hardest corners. You can sweep through a bunch of gears in one motion, and the shifts will be done within the first or second rotation of the pedals.
Now that you've made me really stop and analyze the specifics, I think it's more gearing down while trail braking just before starting to pedal out of the turn; in other words, attacking a turn; do some trail braking as necessary, and then - about apex or just past - determining that I really need to be 1 or 2 shifts down before I start to pedal but still not ready to stop braking yet.

So, it's really the phase where I'm still slowing somewhat enterring or in the first half of a turn and trying to adjust prior to resuming pedaling on the exit.


They call this "moto style". See above for why this is unnecessary in your case, but it is totally doable (and is actually standard in many countries). It also doesn't really take that long to re-learn.
I had my CX race bikes set up this way. The idea being that if you dismount to non-drive-side, you can can still use the left brake to control the rear while you hold the bike frame with your right hand coming into a barrier. Some people still liked having the front brake on the left since you could lock it up and cause the bike's momentum to help lift it up onto your shoulder (a lot of cyclists do have tiny weak t-rex arms...).

I never really had any trouble switching between bikes set up moto vs traditional either...never forgot which bike I was on and sent myself over the bars. Not to mention there are tons of people who ride bicycles and motorcycles who deal with the front being on different hands all of the time.
Ahhh, interesting - I didn't know it was a thing and just thought I was a nut. Thanks for pointing it out!
 

sugarbutch

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I bet @Althis has some good thoughts about the best approach to aggressive cornering and powering out of corners
 

razl

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I bet @Althis has some good thoughts about the best approach to aggressive cornering and powering out of corners
Eager to hear!

Oh, and while we're here - back a number of months when I clipped my pedal being way over in a turn, near wrecked and got a bunch of stitches from gashing my leg, you said:


I think there are probably a few factors at work here. On your mountain bike, if you're that far leaned over, is the turn a bit banked? If so, there's going to be more clearance for your pedal even without the higher bottom bracket. Platform pedals are definitely going to eat into your maximum lean angle. Power and efficiency aside, clearance is definitely an advantage of road clipless.
I would have sworn not but I've since been back through and you're right - going across the road it's humped in the middle (like there's a sewer pipe running the same direction). What I've found is that while attacking it on the domane I'm actually completing flicking the domane right-then-left before I get over the hump in the middle, which means I'm over and pedaling out at exactly when I clip the hump. That wasn't the case on the slower-for-me-to-maneuver DS. Good catch! I now pay close attention to it ;)
 

Fueco

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I’ve been cycling for 30+ years and have honestly never thought much about which brake I was using more, regardless of whether I was riding a rigid, front suspension, or full suspension bike.
 
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Althis

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I bet @Althis has some good thoughts about the best approach to aggressive cornering and powering out of corners
Sure, I can share my general cornering thoughts but OTC summed it up pretty well

1. Equipment choice - Tire width/pressure are key knowing how they will react over different surfaces. With 25mm road tires the average person should really never be above 90psi; I run 28mm at 60-70psi weighing ~160lb. Too hard a tire and the contact patch will not be able to conform to the road surface

2. Body position - Keep your center of gravity low so be in the drops with elbows bent. Weight distribution should be pretty even, though on really tight corners your weight may be more forward to drive the front wheel

3. Look ahead - You can see the corner coming so identify the apex, pick your line, and look ahead to the exit. Don't get fixated on what's right under your front wheel

4. Shift/brake before the corner - You have time to set up for the corner so downshift before and brake late. You want a nice smooth cadence to accelerate from instead of mashing a big gear. I tend to use my front and rear brakes evenly most of the time. Trail braking isn't really a thing for road bikes and makes it more likely to lock up your wheel and slide out. It's ok for easy/medium corners but not hard ones. You want as few external forces possible on your wheels

5. Inside foot up - Don't pedal too early as you'll risk high-siding yourself for nothing. Get comfortable with your lean angle but there really isn't any reward worth the risk


On another note, I'm excited I just got back my ti frame from Alchemy. Going to build it with Campy Ekar now that I have mechanical routing

20220125_165820.jpg

Welded bottle cage bosses now instead of riveted
20220124_180635 (2).jpg

New brake and rear derailleur cable ports
20220124_161205.jpg
20220124_161213.jpg
 
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razl

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Sure, I can share my general cornering thoughts but OTC summed it up pretty well
Thanks for adding your thoughts; one point really made me think:

2. Body position - Keep your center of gravity low so be in the drops with elbows bent. Weight distribution should be pretty even, though on really tight corners your weight may be more forward to drive the front wheel
I'm thinking I'm still up and out of the saddle way too much which may be the crux of all of this - putting me up and over the front wheel and the weight transfer I'm still feeling (and making me resistant to using the front brake more) is my weight shifting, not the bike.

I'm already experimenting with and making progress on breaking that habit. I think this is just part of my learning curve durign my first road bike from a lifetime of mtb + dualsport.

@sugarbutch @otc @HRoi and others - thanks for your input too; even if I didn't cite it, all of it made it into the food-for-thought blender!
 

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