Author Topic: Lower Gearing on Road Bike is presently Problems w  (Read 8235 times)

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Offline Bowdrie

Lower Gearing on Road Bike is presently Problems w
« on: September 13, 2006, 11:44:30 am »
   I addressed this topic on June 18 and received very helpful direction.  I was looking for a lighter weight road bike and lower gearing.  After visiting numerous shops and riding varied makes and models and considering the solutions I received here, I settled on the Specialized Sequoia Elite and finally found a dealer that I was comfortable with and who would work with me on the customization in the gearing.
   The first problem was that the 2006 model of which I was familiar and had tested was no longer available (end of year stock gone from Mfr stock), and my only option was to order a 2007 Model.  When it arrived I found that Specialized had downgraded the Shimano 105 components to Shimano Tiagra, along with several other much less important and very minor changes, some good, some not.  I accepted this because I was changing a portion of these components anyway.  
   I took possession of the bike with the following modifications based on the suggestions I received here, and dealer recommendations &
1. Cassette:  SRAM PG-950 9-speed 12-26t stock, was changed to a SRAM PG990 9-speed 11-34t.
2. Rear Derailleur:  Shimano Tiagra stock, was changed to a Shimano Devore XT Mountain.  
3. Chain:  Shimano HG73, 9-speed stock, was changed to a Shimano HG93 HyproGlide, an upgrade according to the Dealer.
4.  Chainrings:  50x39x30T is stock.  I opted to try these for a while with the rear mountain gearing before proceeding to the next step of changing the smaller 30T to a 26 or 24T, and I find that I am fine, at least without a load of gear, with the 30T, so I left that alone for now.  
5.  Chain Watcher:  The bike comes with a chain watcher installed stock, not the one I would have put on, but I left that alone.
6.  Front Derailleur:  Shimano Tiagra, 31.8mm clamp, bottom pull is stock, and I left that alone.
7.  Brake Levers/Shift Levers: Shimano Tiagra, 9 Speed STI are stock, and no changes were made here except I had a Shimano DuraAce Shift Selector Indicator Tube installed in the rear cable, a nice addition which indicates at a glance what gear you are in.
   The first several short rides involved a couple of return trips for minor adjustment and tuning of the gearing.  This was not unexpected, although I noticed that the bike did not seem to want to stay in tune  mostly, in the rear the chain seemed to want to jump from one gear to next and back and forth, and shifting seemed to jump two to three gears on one shift.  Minor turning by the dealer would correct it, but 15-20 miles later it would be back.  
   Then one day, about ten miles out into a ride I was climbing a slight hill and the left pedal and crank arm fell off still clipped to my foot.  Luckily I was not moving fast or going downhill, and it only caused me to fall to the right into a grassy embankment.  One skinned knee later I am thinking this does not say much for Specialized quality control.  But, the dealer said it was his fault for not checking every nut and bolt on the bike before delivering it.  Whatever the case, apparently and unknown to me, a dust cover and the nut that holds the crank arm on came loose and was lost during the ride.  Under pressure or a climb, off it came.  This situation initially had nothing to do with the gearing problem except that apparently when I laid over onto the embankment, I bent the derailleur hanger which really did a number on the tuning. Dealer said the hanger is designed to bend first so that the frame is not damaged.  In any case he was able to re-true the hanger, and re-tune the derailleur.  The bike ran great.
   I am now only about 35 miles onto the last re-tuning and it is acting up again.  The chain does not want to stay in one gear in the rear, jumping first up a gear, then down a gear or two.  This occurs intermittently.  Shifting sometimes takes me 2 or 3 gears up or down in a shift.  I also find it sometimes (not always) difficult to shift from the middle chainring to the large chainring in front, with it wanting to stay in the middle.  The problems occur often enough to ruin a pleasurable ride.    
   This bike is a dream-come-true to ride when it is in tune and I love it, but it does not stay in tune for more than 25-30 miles, and thus is turning into more of a real pain.  I realize that initially the cables on a new bike will stretch and need re-tuned, but not that quickly or frequently.  
   I thought that perhaps the chain was some kind of problem, or it was incompatible with a different manufactures part, but the dealer assures me it is a better chain than the stock chain.  I do not find fault with the dealers ability to tune the bike because when I leave the shop it runs fine  for a while.  Any ideas or assistance would be greatly appreciated.  


  • Guest
Lower Gearing on Road Bike is presently Problems w
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2006, 12:51:56 pm »
Wow.  I don't blame you for being frustrated.

I will assume that your chain is long enough to allow you (when the bike is "tuned") to shift into the 34 rear cog while in the big 50 cog chain ring.  (Don't ride in this combination, but your chain should be long enough to allow you to do so)

My bike is set up basically the same as yours except I have Ultegra shifters and a 46 cog big ring.

It sounds like cable stretch or that the shift indicator doohickie is reducing the compression of your cables. Try Aztec or Nokon derailleur cables and/or take off the doohickie.  The cables that came with your bike are the cheapest available, perhaps not intended to shift the gearing extremes you now have.

OTOH, if you haven't already, you should learn to tune your bike yourself.  If you are making the gross tightening adjustments by pulling the cables and rebolting the cable bolts or the fine tuning using the rear derailleur adjustment, you will have a much better sense of what your bike is trying to tell you.  I recommend the Park Tool Blue Book of Bike Repair.

Good luck!

Offline Sailariel

Lower Gearing on Road Bike is presently Problems w
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2006, 10:55:39 pm »
Very frustrating. Have you or the bike shop checked the gear cable? Sometimes the cable nearest the rear derailer has one or two strands break--especially after a spill that bends the rear derailer bracket. Had that happen on my Fuji and the darn thing shifted at random. I joked about my Fujimatic transmission. Fortunately my bike dealer was on the club ride when my bike acted up--bike had less than 300miles on it, and he made the diagnosis and replaced the cable. He has been in business for 35 years and has been a great mentor. I work for him in exchange of experience--what else is a retired bike addict to do?  Hope that helps.      Alex

Offline Craig Wagoner

Lower Gearing on Road Bike is presently Problems w
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2006, 12:33:32 am »
Question for you. I have the same bike and my local shop says I can't put racks on the front or rear.  Haave you installed them?

Offline Bowdrie

Lower Gearing on Road Bike is presently Problems w
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2006, 01:40:33 am »
wagaces ...  In reply to your question -
     You were probably told that because of the Carbon Fork and Carbon Seatstays.  
     I have installed a Trek Interchange System Backrack.  The bike has threaded attachment points just behind the seat on the seatstay, and also at the very bottom of the seatstays below the point where the chainstay and rear wheel attachment are located.  These threaded attachment points are intended for rear rack attachment and I have loaded it on several occasions (not particularly heavy but with full trunk and drop down panniers) and have had no trouble with the rear rack.  
     As for the front, if I ever get the bike to that point, and have a need for a front rack, I will probably need to look into some sort of clamp attachment.  There is nothing on my 2007 Elite Model.  The 2006 Model had low rider fittings stock from the factory, but that model is no longer available.  I had noted that there were a few changes between the 2006 and 2007 Model.  That is one of the things the Mfr changed.  They also dropped the third water bottle attachments and downgraded the 105 drive train to Tiagra.

Offline peterbro@hotmai

Lower Gearing on Road Bike is presently Problems w
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2006, 01:36:38 pm »
Check out Old Man Mountain racks on the web.  They do specialty racks for situations like these>

Offline Bowdrie

Lower Gearing on Road Bike is presently Problems w
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2006, 10:13:09 pm »
     Thanks for the replies concerning possible cable problems.  I have checked over the cables and they seem ok (not damaged in any way).  
     I did some adjusting and playing with the cable adjustment and thought I was able to get some of the slipping and jumping around the rear gears corrected.  It seems however to continue jumping around when in the next to lowest rear gear from all chain rings, and also in the 34t low gear when in the smallest chain ring (low) in front.  
     I took it for a spin today and except for the continuing problems above it seemed ok until I was about 15 mile out.  At that point I was also unable to shift onto the large chain ring (high) in front. So I hauled it back to the dealer.
     After examination he found that the cranks were starting to come loose again.  When they moved to the right it also moved the derailleur.  I did not feel or notice any movement while riding.  He felt that since he had personally tightened it after it came off the first time that there was a problem in the bottom bracket.  The factory equipped crank set and bottom bracket is a Sugino Direct Drive 2 piece integrated with exterior cartridge bearings.  A call was made to Specialized.  
     They did not say what the problem was but apparently they have had similar problems because they immediately gave me an upgrade to a FSA Gossamer complete crankset/bottom bracket.  It remains to be seen if this will correct the shifting problem.
     When the parts are received and installed I am half afraid to do any serious testing (go slow is the word) as I shutter to think of it coming off again without warning while I am moving full bore down one of the hills we have around here.
     In any case, in so much as I understand they are a relatively new item, I am wondering if anyone else has had any problems with outer bearing crank arms coming loose ???
     ALSO & ATTENTION WAGACES:  If you have the same bike, I would recommend that you pay attention to any loose play left or right in your crank arms.

Offline tdc2007

Lower Gearing on Road Bike is presently Problems w
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2006, 09:55:08 pm »
Interesting thread, I had heard of rear wheel problems, before I bought.I have had numerous problems with derailleurs, cranks, and rims. I have a 2006 Sequoia Elite.

No problems with the rear gears, but many headaches on the front. Throughout the summer, changing gears on the front was erratic. Sometimes the chain would fall off the lower chainring. Sometime I could not get it onto the large chainring. Sometime I would have to quickly shift up two gears in the front, to successfully get off the small chainring. Back to LBS many time for adjustment. Quite frequently, although somewhat erratic, shifting was very stiff, requiring almost all my hand strength to change front gears up. Finally, I had the LBS change the front deraileur cable. He commented that it was quite hard to get the cable out of the clip underneath the crank. Something about some black junk. The result. Oh my god, its a total different bike. I can change front gears with one finger. No more failed shifts. Just easy, smooth, consistent shifting, like the rear.

When the bike was new, I experienced problems with the chain skipping when peddling standing up. With less then 1000 km, I too experienced my left peddle coming off, and hanging from the bottom of my shoe. I didnt crash, but was wasnt quite sure at first how I was going to stop. The LBS reattached the pedals, and the chain skipping went away. During the last part of the summer, the bike had a shimmy, which I thought was coming from the rear tire. Then on a long ride, I noticed the crank shifting left to right. Tightened up the left crank, and the shimmy went away. The left bearing is now beginning to make some noise, and I have decided to replace the crank and bearings, with a Shimano Ultegra triple crank.

Around 1000 km, I started to break rear spokes, on the drive side. I am a fairly big guy, over 6 feet and 200 lbs. After the second broken spoke in a week, I had the spokes replaced with DT Champion 2.0 stainless steel spokes. Since then, I have not broken a single spoke. However, around 3000 km, the spokes began to pull right through the stock Alex rim. I guess the spokes were now stronger than the rim. The LBS recommended a Mavic Open Pro CD rim, with 105 hub. Since the upgrade, I have had no issues with the rear wheel. I have just decided to upgrade the front rim, to match the rear.

I too am using a Trek Interchange rack and bag. My only complaint is that the bag occasionally falls off. Its happened 3-4 times, and always when crossing railroad tracks. Its partially my fault for not connecting the Velcro strap, but I just assumed the rear clip would be sufficient.

I found the handlebar tape shifted forward leaving gaps. I removed the existing tape, and Bar Phat gel, and replaced it with Trek gel tape, and wound it very close above the brake hoods. No problems the rest of the season, and quite comfortable, even without the Bar Phat gel.

On the positive side, I actually wore out the rear tire, without a single flat.