In all my years of cycling I’ve whimped out at the thought of clipless pedals (a.k.a. clip-in pedals). The price of them and shoes seemed to be putting me off too.
But it turns out there are cheap ones available and £60 will buy you shoes, SPD (Shimano) cleats and pedals. Before Christmas I purchased the shoes and cleats with a view of fitting to my single sided touring pedals that I’ve had in stock since I bought a bike several years back, that didn’t happen. Then I acquired some double sided SPD pedals from my brother, so I then had a couple of options that didn’t happen.
- I cleaned bluebell before swapping winter tyres for normal ones (she was pretty dirty and it’s a good idea to clean a bike before swapping tyres because you can then store the clean tyres).
- I degreased my chain and tightened up the eccentric bottom bracket.
- I fitted new brake blocks.
- Re-indexed my gears…. Only kidding, I ride Rohloff 🙂
Then, I got carried away and in a fit of madness I fitted the pedals and put on my new shoes, cleats as loose as possible… Test ride around the garden… I don’t know what I was scared about!
These Shimano SH56 cleats allow easy sideways slide, twist or angled disengagement (I said it, it must be correct). The SH51 cleats are not for me and scare me, they are not for a learner like me. Since the cleats are cheap I may one day switch to them, but I can’t see why I would.
Other brands may be better or worse, I just went for what’s cheap and popular.
Here’s my attempt at a video showing my hand pulling and pushing the shoe in the right directions and then angling my foot (fishing???) to detach the shoe from the pedal:
First and probably last video! The birds in my back garden were mocking / heckling me.
Don’t fear cleats, just get easy release ones and setup the pedals for easy release.
I rode to work and back without falling off too, so can you!
I love new brakes.
Named after the dinosaur in Ice Age 3.
You will notice he is a crank forward style bicycle which makes you feel a bit gangster as you cruise along. Rudy is a RANS Fusion ST (step through), the RANS Cruz is very similar, but has curved tubing. Rather than the normal derailleur gears, he’s kitted out with a mint condition Rohloff Speedhub. I’ve written about my other Rohloff before, that one is old and well used, this one is barely used, newer (hence lower friction seals) and is a fancy red colour. I bought Rudy as a complete bike second hand (but barely used) and I made a couple of changes, but nothing massive.
Introductions over, let’s go through some of the issues he had.
Notice anything wrong here?
Yes, the blocks are on the wrong sides
But that is not all, notice anything here?
Yes, the pads were for different blocks and didn’t fit properly on one side. Closer inspection and the left and right are different, might be a manufacturer trying to prevent generic inserts being used as replacements
Anyway, I swapped them for a different set and all is well
Notice the bit of gaffer tape on the rim, I use that to toe-in my pads if I’m not feeling dexterous or i’m not having much luck at the time.
The second one shows Rudy is covered in road filth already – from the first test ride – mudguards are on the shopping list.
Next one, notice anything wrong?
Yes, apart from the colour of the pedal, it is on the wrong side, which leads to the pedals loosening as you ride and eventually falling off. Why’s that? Check this
Yep, they are a LHS crankset! Doh!
The fitted chain tensioner (required because of length of chain and no eccentric bottom bracket) was rubbish, fortunately I had a decent one i picked up second hand from eBay a while back, so I fitted that
It’s far better and meant I could fit a standard triple chainring and manually choose a chainring (should I want to)
Those are 152mm cranks so my midget wife can comfortably spin without hurting her knees.
All this of course meant I needed to extend the chain slightly
Can you spot the shiny new KMC X8 quick links joining it? I hope there will be enough chain remaining for the donor chain to fit Bluebell, hopefully nothing wasted. Worth mentioning, I like KMC chains, though the quick links are anything but unless you use a pair of pliers.
That’s it pretty much, a few other accessories fitted and I was cruising in style (or as close to it as I get).
I’ve since tweaked a few more things, snapped the mirror off, fitted a new one, etc. The wife took a quick test ride today and the summary of her thoughts:
- seat is comfortable
- both feet can touch the floor at once
- knees aren’t too high, so no knee strain
- gears change without fuss
- great gear range and very low bottom gear
- no pressure / strain on hands, wrists or shoulders
- it’s cool and different
- I didn’t feel as stupid as I thought I might
- I try not to think about how much it cost
Posted in Cycling
Tagged Avid, Bluebell, BottomBracket, Brakes, ChainTensioner, CrankArms, Cranks, Crankset, EccentricBottomBracket, FusionST, GafferTape, KMC, Mudguards, Pedals, QuickLinks, RANS, Rohloff, Rudy, SingleDigitSL, Suntour, V-brakes, X8
Not a massively exciting post, but I’ve wanted a less sticky front brake for a while now, so here it is:
I have no idea on quality, brand or anything, Avid seem a good enough brand. As for the model, Single Digit SL, it looks like any other v-brake I’ve had and I have no idea what differentiates it from any others.
It feels similar to my Shimano Deore rear brake, so I’m happy, just need them to get dirty to match the rest of Bluebell.
The brakes got clogged (still worked though!):
Good job there’s no room for my mudguards on Bluebell with the winter tyres.
The Rohloff was unaffected (as you’d expect):
This round of snow is the wet kind, last Friday’s snow was the dry powdery kind. So I was pretty damn when I got in, but I love it.