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    The Corbah Blog — Cycling

    5 Tips to Adjusting Your Rear Derailleur

    5 Tips to Adjusting Your Rear Derailleur

    Tip #1: Adjust your high-limit screw

    Your high limit screw will be on your rear derailleur and is usually marked with an H. This screw will limit the amount of range of your rear derailleur. If your high limit screw is off, then your chain might come off your *Smallest* cog and shift outboard too far. This limit adjuster prevents your bike from shifting over the limit of the smallest cog outward. To make the adjustment:

    • Make sure the bike is in the biggest front chainring
    • Make sure you've clicked the rear derailleur all the way into the smallest cog as possible.
    • Adjust the barrel adjusters if any so that they are de-tensioning the shifter cable

    Once this is all done, you can align your rear derailleur pulley wheel with the cog by turning the H limit screw clockwise until you hear the drive train become noisy. Once it's noisy, back the screw out until the noise is gone, and you have a smooth-running chain.

    Make sense? 

    Tip #2: Adjust the indexing

    The purpose of this adjustment is to make sure the derailleur lines up with each cog. The first step is to ensure the chain is on the correct front chainring. If you have a double, make sure it's on the biggest chainring. If you have a triple, make sure it's in the middle chainring. 

    Adjusting the indexing takes a bit of trial and error, but we can do it systematically so that our results are repeatable, and we minimize the work. The first step is to shift your rear derailleur into the smallest cog. Once we're in the smallest cog, shift up one single click. If the chain does not make it to the next gear, return the gear to the outermost cog using the shift lever and then turn the barrel adjuster on the rear derailleur one turn counter-clockwise. Repeat this step until it makes the step.

    If your shift lever is shifting multiple sprockets, in the rear, that means your shift cable is too tight, and tension must be taken out of the shift cable by turning the barrel adjuster clockwise.

    Now we fine-tune the rear cog since we have the general setup done. Shift up and down the sprocket and check for noise. If there is excessive noise, turn the barrel adjuster clockwise just a quarter turn and check for excessive noise. Repeat until the sound is no more. Repeat this for all sprockets.

    Tip #3: Adjust the Low Limit Screw

    The key here is to adjust this screw too tightly and then back it out. This limit screw offers protection from going off the biggest cog and into the wheel spokes. To begin, shift your chain to the next smallest chainring. If you cannot get into the largest rear cog, if it shifts slowly into the largest cog, or there's a ton of noise in the largest cog, then your L screw is already too tight. Loosen the screw a quarter turn at a time until you can make it into that biggest rear cog properly.

    The key here, like the other parts of this job, is that we need to tighten the L screw until we create symptoms of an L screw that is too tight, then loosen it one half turn. The symptoms we're looking to create are:

    • Slow shift into biggest rear cog
    • Noisy chain in biggest rear cog
    • No shift whatsoever into biggest rear cog

    To check your work, try to shift the rear derailleur past the low limit while your bike is stationary. Watch and see if the rear derailleur can move past that largest cog. If it moves, you've done something wrong.

     

    Tip #5: Adjust the B screw

    The B Screw makes your shifting snappy and quick. What it does is pulls the derailleur wheels closest to your biggest cog. To check this, put your bike in the smallest chainring and largest rear cog. Most manufacturers recommend a 5 mm gap between your rear pulley and the largest rear cog. If the gap between your derailleur and largest rear cog is too small, your drivetrain will sound loud and crunchy. To increase the gap, turn the B screw clockwise.

    Tip #6: Ensure that your chain and sprocket isn't overworn

    Having a worn-out chain and sprocket will make this task infinitely more difficult. If you're noticing that no matter what you've done, the bike won't get into gear properly, it could be because of a worn-out component. In my experience, chains begin to show signs of wear after 2000 miles. Cassettes don't wear out too fast but riding a worn chain on a cassette will wear it out faster. Terrain will likely be the largest factor here.

    If you've completed all these steps, your derailleur is properly adjusted.

    Top 6 Differences between Carbon and Aluminum Frames

    Top 6 Differences between Carbon and Aluminum Frames

    Difference #1: Price

    All things being equal, a carbon frame is going to cost more. Yes, you might be able to get a carbon frame from Alibaba for cheap but there really is no comparison to something imported directly to the USA from Taiwan and something purchased from a reputable brand. 

    So, one could say that Aluminum wins in the bargain department. But you need to make up your mind about what is valuable.

    Difference #2: Comfort

    Carbon, all else being equal, is more comfortable than Aluminum. There is a reason even aluminum bikes use carbon forks. And high-end saddles use carbon rails.

    Difference #3: Stiffness

    Stiffness is one of those things that becomes noticeable when it comes to power transfer. You may look back to Tour de France videos of yesteryear to see the riders on frames that seemed small for their height. This is because they would size down those old alloy frames to make them less "noodley."

    In the stiffness department, carbon wins out.

    Difference #4 : Weight

    Carbon in terms of weight wins out here. If you were to create a bike with the same rigidity, a carbon bike will weigh less than an aluminum bike.

    Difference #5: Durability

    In this department, Aluminum might be the winner. A big difference between aluminum and carbon is that when a carbon bike is overstressed, it will crack and require costly repairs. This may in some cases yield catastrophic results. Do a google search of "catastrophic carbon failure" and you'll know what I mean. Aluminum, on the other hand, may "yield" where carbon would crack. 

    Difference #5: Looks

    I think Carbon wins here but your personal opinion may differ. The thing about carbon is that it can be molded in any which way. Aluminum faces difference constraints, however, and has a more limited range of designs. So given the absolute flexibility of how a carbon bike can be designed, the ole carbon frame takes the win here.

    Top 6 Worst Pieces of Cycling Advice

    Top 6 Worst Pieces of Cycling Advice

    Bad Tip # 1: Sweat out your cold

    With this tip, people are typically referring to getting out there on the bike and working through the cold. I cannot recommend against this enough. Dehydrating yourself is literally the opposite of what most people recommend. This might be what they recommended years ago, but not now.

    Bad Tip # 2: Train in the 53 x 11 uphill until you reach a standstill

    While low cadence intervals are quite certainly a thing, the cadence required for this exercise is sub 30 RPM and is spelling disaster for your knees.

    Bad Tip # 3: Don't drink anything on a long ride

    You will get no training benefit out of this. This is stupid.

    Bad Tip # 4: Start out your climbs as hard as you can

    If you want to minimize the amount of time you spend in your zone (which is not what most coaches recommend) then do this. If you start out too hard, the rest of the climb will be absolutely miserable.

    Bad Tip # 5: Slam your stem

    Yep, slammed stems look cool. But a low stem is something you need to work up to. If you want to get more aero on the bike, try making very small increments. Take out one spacer every month or so until you reach the desired height.

    Bad Tip #6 Carbo Load the night before an event

    There may be some situations where you want to have carbohydrates in your diet but loading your belly full of past and going to bed is not the best way to get good rest.

     

    9 Common Mistakes Made by New Cyclists and How To Avoid Them.

    9 Common Mistakes Made by New Cyclists and How To Avoid Them.

    Mistake #1: Leaving the house unprepared

    Not only is this a mistake that can leave you stranded, it's also not fair to the cyclists you ride with to outsource your needs to them. I recommend a small saddle bag or if you can't stand to lose the aero advantage, just a small zippered pouch you can throw in your pockets. At a minimum, it's recommended that you bring:

    • Money/ID/Phone
    • Pump or CO2
    • Levers
    • At least 1 Tube
    • Boot for fixing big gashes in the tire

    As a bonus, think about bringing:

    • A 2nd tube
    • Tube patches
    • Multitool with chain tool

    Mistake #2: Going out without enough food or water

    In my experience, if you're riding for over an hour, bring food. I can typically ingest about 100 calories per hour. Any more than that and the food will sit in your stomach. Stick to simple carbs but ditch anything hard and dry. There is nothing worse than being out of breath and taking a big lung-full of cookie dust! For water, bring a sports drink. In warmer weather, allocate a 16-ounce bottle per hour. Obviously, use your judgment depending on intensity but 1 bottle per hour is somewhere right in the middle that has worked for me. Consult a doctor first.

    Mistake #3: Braking harder than is necessary.

    This is really not one you can teach someone how to avoid. You need to learn it by experience. But over-braking if you're in a big group can pose some serious issues.

    Mistake #4: Incorrect Saddle Height

    This is a common one and also possibly the easiest to fix. A saddle that is too high will hurt the economy of your pedal stroke and kill your power. It'll also stress hip muscles and hamstrings. So if you're getting hamstring pain, think about dropping your saddle a little bit.

    How can you spot it?  That's an easy one. If your hips are "rocking" back and forth like you're reaching to get to the bottom of the pedal stroke then you're saddle is too high. Try dropping it in small increments first.

    Mistake #5: Incorrect Kit Washing

    Now I'm not saying this is the only way to wash a kit. And if you do it another way, more power to you. But I've done it this way for the last 15 years as well as tried other methods and this one yielded the best results. Here are some tips:

    • Wash kit as soon after ride as possible - this will prevent bacterial growth
    • Be sure to remove all items from jersey pockets
    • Zip up jerseys before putting in the wash
    • Hang dry items in the sun if possible. 

    Mistake #6: Not being able to unclip

    There is nothing more embarrassing than falling over at a red light or stop sign. If you want to avoid this, you need to build muscle memory. In my opinion, it's not enough to hold onto a railing and practice rotating your ankle. You need to make it second-nature. To practice this, go to an open parking lot with no one around and practice going through the motions of coming to a stop and unclipping before putting that foot down.

    Mistake #7: Braking mid-corner

    Like with racing, the best tire contact patch for braking is when your bike is going straight. Braking mid-corner will put forces on the tire that might make it more susceptible to washing out underneath you.

    Mistake #8: Over-lubing your chain

    Nobody likes a squeaky chain. But over-lubing yours can actually lead to pre-mature wear because a wet chain will capture dirt and dust and then work that abraisive paste into the rollers.

    Mistake #9: Wearing pants or underwear under your cycling kit

    This one is a no brainer. Having a panty-line or a bunched up pair of boxers is going to ruin your day on the bike.