Woopsie-dasies.

Woopsie-dasies.

Test Drive Dummies

by / / 96 posts

Everyone knows it’s a great idea to change out pieces of equipment the day before a group ride, especially an honorary Ronde van Vlaanderen Cogal involving steep, cobblestone climbs. There is obviously also no need to test-ride the equipment after making said change.

I remark at this point that it is rather unexpected to find an 11 speed chain inside a box labeled as being 10 speed. I also note that an 11 speed chain is not obviously narrower than its 10 speed counterpart. Once installed, it even seems to operate normally, happily jumping from one cog to the next, up and down the cassette, as you click away at it on the work stand. It gives the strong impression of being a happy chain.

This is a ruse. It is not a happy chain. In fact, it is a borderline malicious chain; it lulls the rider into a false sense of security, right until the moment that enough pressure is applied to the pedals, at which point the chain will rudely skip. The amount of pressure required to make the chain skip is dependent upon in which gear you are riding; some skip easily, some (seemingly) not at all. The ones that seemed like they didn’t skip at all were the two lowest gears. Comforting, knowing the steep cobbled climbs that were to be gobbled up towards the end of the ride, where they would be most instrumental.

As it turns out, the amount of pressure required to skip the chain is the amount applied at roughly 20% and the rider has risen out of the saddle in search of extra power. This came as quite a surprise to me, the rider, and also to those riding behind me, who used words like “ejected” and “like you hit an invisible car” to describe what they saw.

So, I can make with certainty the following observation: a 10 speed chain and 11 speed chain might not have any outward trappings of distinction between them but they are indeed very different. This difference manifests itself by one functioning as expected and the other having the capacity to eject a rider when combined with a 10 speed drivetrain. It all seems very obvious, but that doesn’t make it less true.*

There are many other examples of this I’m sure; I remember having quite a job of properly connecting my Cinelli stem to my Scott Drop-In handlebars because the diameters did not quite match. That one also resulted in some high speed handling anomalies.

There are two morals to this story. First, it matters whether your equipment is interoperable. Second, if you make a change to your gear before a big ride, for the love of Merckx, take it on a test drive.

*As it turns out, it does in fact make it less true; this should function flawlessly but it was a worn(ish) cassette that held the secret to the bikes newly discovered ejection function.

// Accessories and Gear // Belgian Affirmations // Breaking The Rules // Cogals // Defining Moments

  1. @TheVid

    All this dialogue among Velominati, and not one has identified the rider in the lead photo? That must be a first. I honestly have no idea, but part of me thinks, “Saxo Bank rider, attempting to ride cobbles and failing horribly…must be a Schleck”.

    Gustav Larsson 2010 training ride – following a little inter web digging.

    Schleck was a different jersey (and event)…http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/frank-schleck-talks-about-his-crash-on-the-cobbles/

  2. Gotta love this that I came across….

  3. @Oli

    Unfortunately the entire premise of this article is flawed; there is absolutely no issue with using an 11sp chain on a 10sp drivetrain whatsoever.

    If the chain skipped under load it’s because a cog/some cogs are worn enough that they won’t mesh with a new chain, or perhaps the 11sp chain mysteriously in the 10sp box is actually a discarded worn chain.

    Good lad! Thanks for clearing that up immediately. Stand tall, take no shit.

  4. @chris

    @Teocalli

    Size isn’t everything…

    So how does that puppy work? Do you put some kind of solvent in it? It must be a high quality product because it says so right on the front!

    Apropos of this thread, I never experiment before anything over a century or away from home. Even before a century I check everything over and make sure the machine is clean and ready to roll.

  5. @Oli

    To clarify, using a chain wider than specified isn’t good – i.e. using a 10sp chain on an 11sp drivetrain – but using a narrower chain (11sp chain on 10sp cogs, 10sp on 9sp, etc., etc.) isn’t a problem.

    I just did this on Sunday!

    I climbed aboard my ERG Trainer mounted CAAD 10 with 11 speed Ultegra and heard the most horrible of noises coming from the BB as I turned the pedals – Rule #9 ride two days previous had filled the BB with sand apparently.

    Anyway, went and grabbed me other bike – 10 speed SRAM and threw that on the ERG Trainer. The trainer in question is a Tacx Neo – direct drive. I have an 11-25 Ultegra 11 speed cassette on the Tacx.

    So, for a two hour ride – in just one gear – I was rolling my 10 speed chain around on an 11 speed cassette.

    Everything seems fine – should I be worried? Oli?

  6. @Oli

    @Buck Rogers

    I’m perfectly cheerful, but just don’t like bullshit masquerading as fact! My comment will disappear in the queue but the article will remain telling people something that could affect choice and is plain wrong. Sorry if it comes across badly but I can’t not say anything.

    And really, if anyone happens by to scan just the headlines without taking in the merciless dissection that inevitably takes places below then they deserve to a good fucking over.

  7. I’ve a couple of experiences to share on this thread. I use a Park Tool CC 3.2 chain wear tool and use it about once a month. If the 0.75% wear indicator goes into the chain – change it and the cassette is fine. If the 1.0% indicator goes in – the cassette needs changed too as the chain is so worn it has affected the gears you use most. This has stood me in good stead for 10+ years and I can replace the chain 3 or sometimes 4 times before replacing the cassette. I mainly use Ultegra on the better bikes, 105 or Tiagra on others inc CX. SRAM on MTB. Chains looked after and cleaned now and again but I rarely completely degrease and strip the chain of everything as I see them as consumables to be bought in bulk and replaced as soon as necessary.

    On 10 speed fitting 11 speed, anyone who does neutral service at local races will know that a wheel fitted with a 10 speed cassette will work in an 11 speed drivetrain and vice versa, maybe not absolutely perfectly but good enough to get back in the race. No-one I know of has gone arse over tit, so to speak as a result!

  8. @wiscot

    Pop the item to be cleaned into a solvent filled container, pop that into the the High Quality Product Witchcraft Box (HQPWB) and then fill the HQPWB to the same level with deionised water then let the ultrasonics do their thing. I used one of the kids toothbrushes to get rid of any remaining residue.

    Apparently you can you use petrol and other more toxic solvents but unless you know what your doing and have Heisenberg style PPE then I’d suggest sticking to the usual degreaser.

    As well as the cheapo Chinese item pictured above there also an Official Donald Trump endorsed cleaner…

  9. @chris

    Oh well in that case I do disapprove, haha! I’m definitely in the never fully strip a chain camp, but it’s just a preference not a deal-breaker. *winky-face*

    @Ron

    Personally I’d only step down once, but I use 9sp chains on my 8sp drivetrains when/if I can’t get decent 8sp chains. I haven’t tried a 10sp chain so wouldn’t want to proffer a firm opinion.

    @MangoDave

    Thanks!

    @Gianni

    Thanks!

    @kixsand

    Nope, ride away.

    @JohnB

    I’m not disagreeing with you entirely, but even with scrupulous chain checking the cassette can/will eventually wear. Most times you’ll be fine but you can still get caught out.

  10. @Oli

    And too add insult to injury —- It’s “Crash Test Dummies” NOT “Test Drive Dummies”!!!!!

  11. @Oli

    Indeed. That’s why I stated I get 3 or 4 chain changes before the cassette must be renewed.

  12. @Major VVald

    @Kevin Smith

    Cobble taste test – yes that’s what I’m going to call it from now on. So much better than “endo.” Funniest thing I’ve read in a while. Almost choked on food.

    Cobble Taste Test, we must add this one to the Lexi. @Kevin was just as funny in person. Well played!

  13. @Gerhardt

    So this weekend was a big optimum race weekend here.

    So as I put on my race wheel I thought I’d throw on a new chain as well.

    The next morning I load my bike and went off to race the crit.

    I begin to warm up get out of my saddle to throw down a little power CRACK BANG.

    People were scared and thought my frame broke.

    A hanious chain skip.after I messed with it the the super pro bike mechanic messed with it he said it must be the chain. Both ten speed one just older, but not that old.

    do I drove home grabbed the old chain put it on.

    Scared as hell I throw the hammer down.1300 watts. No skip. No more issues.

    older rings and cassette like orders chains

    looks like it’s time for and expensive drivetrain upgrade.

    $400 later, new chain and cassette arrived. As it turns out the chain should be fine but now I don’t trust it. Plus this one is lighter, supposedly. By several grams at least.

  14. @JohnB

    Apologies, I missed that bit somehow. Great stuff.

  15. @TheVid

    All this dialogue among Velominati, and not one has identified the rider in the lead photo? That must be a first. I honestly have no idea, but part of me thinks, “Saxo Bank rider, attempting to ride cobbles and failing horribly…must be a Schleck”.

    Ha! No, its Gustav Laarsen but I like your version better!

  16. Ok, the data is in, folks. Swapped out the cassette and left the 11s chain. Quick spin and an admittedly ginger but committed acceleration up a short 20% grade proves @Oli‘s point, it works perfectly fine although I do find the chain a bit noisy, but that could also be the new cassette.

    And then I brought the bike back in and chucked a new chain on as well, just because I don’t want to wonder about any of it.

    I get my drive train pretty damn clean, but there is nothing like a new chain/cassette for the clean bike look.

  17. @Duntov

    @Oli

    And too add insult to injury —- It’s “Crash Test Dummies” NOT “Test Drive Dummies”!!!!!

    We already used that one.

    http://www.velominati.com/the-hardmen/on-rule-81-crash-test-dummies/

  18. Frank – as the kids are saying these days, “forward along photographic evidence, lest we lose faith in your tales.” (Pics or it didn’t happen)

  19. I’m generally pretty easy on chains. I have 4000+ miles on the one I’m riding right now (Ultegra chain) and it’s not even stretched. But I did break a chain once. In this case, probably trying to ride it for too long. Winter ride. At least 20 miles from home. After powering up a hill … loud snap followed by cranks spinning out of control. I was actually lucky the chain didn’t get tangled up and cause me to crash. I stuffed my bike in a snow bank, called the wife, and waited to be rescued. One of my riding companions then proceeded to lecture me about needing to replace my chain.

  20. @frank

    And you conveyed it in a rather Woodhouse-ian fashion, too. Frank, you should take that with some satisfaction. It should help ease the pain if you are now contemplating some reconstructive dental work.

    I think that, often, the literary flair of this community goes unrecognized. Of course, often, there is no literary flair in this community. And that’s not a bad thing. But when there is…

    It is just that in this instance, I had the impression that Bertie Wooster is a Velominatus. Thank you, Frank, for giving me something funny to take into a likely-to-be-very-unfunny day.

  21. I stay away from chains that don’t have a connector link. Splitting and rejoining a chain back in the 6/7 speed days was ok because you had a bit og meat to the chain. These new skinnymalinky 10/11 speed chains are too fragile for that crap. Case in point, split and rejoined a Shimano chain a few years back. 5 kms into the ride the damn think broke. I was sitting down at the time and avoided any adverse effects, but the chain put a couple of lovely gouges in the paint work. I just feel more secure with connectors. You can’t have a good ride when you’re worried about the reliability of your machine.

  22. @wiscot

    How about a connector on a Shimano chain?

  23. @JohnB

    I use a Park Tool CC 3.2 chain wear tool and use it about once a month. If the 0.75% wear indicator goes into the chain – change it and the cassette is fine. If the 1.0% indicator goes in – the cassette needs changed too as the chain is so worn it has affected the gears you use most.

    Reminds me, I have that chain checker too, so should be checking it as well.

    Q: on my old 30+ year old steel bike, I never changed the small cog wheels in the derailleur. Still seem not worn to me. Any advice how to check these? I know that if the teeth become too sharp (cuz these are quite blunt) you should change.

  24. @Eli Curt

    I’ve used KMC connectors on Campag chains with no problems. As they should be to the same spec they should work for Shimano? Pointing out the obvious but you do need the correct speed link as a 11Sp will not fit a 10/9Sp chain and while a 10Sp might fit an 11Sp I’d imagine the slack might cause it to fail.

    I always carry a spare link, and valve core in one of this little Topeak patch cases. I did have a link break the summer before last so having a spare prevented calling for the bailout ride back home.

    I now carry a pair of nitrile gloves too as replacing the link can be (was) a bit messy.

    (I use the Lezyne patches though as the Topeak ones didn’t see to stick very well when I have used them)

  25. @Eli Curt

    @wiscot

    How about a connector on a Shimano chain?

    I have Ultegra chains without connectors but if they break up, I have different connectors/magic links from KMC to get me home in the #31 sack.

  26. @KogaLover

    I just go by the shape, the teeth should have a flat top, if they are just spikes it’s knackered. Having said that if you go back further they were just wheels. I seem to remember my old Campag Gran Sport were just steel wheels with no teeth.

    The thing about 5/6 speed was that everything was beefier/thicker so tended to last longer. I’ve never managed to wear out a 5 speed block. The bearings always failed first.

  27. @chuckp

    I’m generally pretty easy on chains. I have 4000+ miles on the one I’m riding right now (Ultegra chain) and it’s not even stretched.

    I used to go really easy on chains too, but after Johan taught me to climb big gears out of the saddle and in the drops on steep climbs, I started wearing that stuff much more. Spinning appears to be much lighter on that stuff.

    But I did break a chain once. In this case, probably trying to ride it for too long. Winter ride. At least 20 miles from home. After powering up a hill … loud snap followed by cranks spinning out of control. I was actually lucky the chain didn’t get tangled up and cause me to crash. I stuffed my bike in a snow bank, called the wife, and waited to be rescued. One of my riding companions then proceeded to lecture me about needing to replace my chain.

    This happened on a commuter in winter once on me as well, in my case I dropped like a sack of potatoes (including a heavy pack) to the ground. Rather unpleasant, that.

    @wiscot

    If it doesn’t come with one, I just add one. I like the Connex quick links on Campa chains.

    @Eli Curt

    Just take out a link and throw a connector in there. No problem.

  28. @Teocalli

    When I started my last post, yours wasn’t there yet, but great minds think alike. Btw, the idea for the nitrilene gloves, did you get that from a prior article-post from me? I have 2 in the #31 sack because I do not want to ruin my white bar tape when I have a mechanical. Although I did read an interesting article on wrapping bar tape (Specialized vs fi'zi:k) from many years ago. @frank: did the bar-wrapping competition ever take place?

  29. @KogaLover

    @Teocalli

    When I started my last post, yours wasn’t there yet, but great minds think alike. Btw, the idea for the nitrilene gloves, did you get that from a prior article-post from me? I have 2 in the #31 sack because I do not want to ruin my white bar tape when I have a mechanical. Although I did read an interesting article on wrapping bar tape (Specialized vs fi’zi:k) from many years ago. @frank: did the bar-wrapping competition ever take place?

    I wouldn’t like to rob you of the seeded suggestion but as I have the things in my toolbox it seemed a sensible idea vs doing my best to clean my hands with grass from the verge. While I use black tape I do use white gloves so net effect/benefit is the same. Though The Butler has white tape – but breaking the wrought iron 5 Sp chain on that seems unlikely (that’s put the mockers on that now!).

  30. @KogaLover

    Ref the jockey wheels, I tend to go by the shape of them, if at all pointy then I replace.

  31. @frank

    @chuckp

    I’m generally pretty easy on chains. I have 4000+ miles on the one I’m riding right now (Ultegra chain) and it’s not even stretched.

    I used to go really easy on chains too, but after Johan taught me to climb big gears out of the saddle and in the drops on steep climbs, I started wearing that stuff much more. Spinning appears to be much lighter on that stuff.

    Ironically, I’m not really a spinner. I climb in bigger gears than most everyone else I ride with. Both in and out of the saddle. I’ll be replacing my chain and cassette either during or at the end of this riding season.

  32. @chuckp

    @frank

    @chuckp

    I’m generally pretty easy on chains. I have 4000+ miles on the one I’m riding right now (Ultegra chain) and it’s not even stretched.

    I used to go really easy on chains too, but after Johan taught me to climb big gears out of the saddle and in the drops on steep climbs, I started wearing that stuff much more. Spinning appears to be much lighter on that stuff.

    Ironically, I’m not really a spinner. I climb in bigger gears than most everyone else I ride with. Both in and out of the saddle. I’ll be replacing my chain and cassette either during or at the end of this riding season.

    But you are also the size of a unicorn turd. I am the size of an Orc. Might also matter.

  33. Along the same lines as fitting new equipment for a cogal, what’s the ruling on the appropriate level of equipment.

    Is it Sunday-best to honour the spirit of the Velominati and look as fantastic as possible at all times… or is it training standard because well, it isn’t a race and even our second-best stuff should still look fantastic?

    Inquiring minds would like to know ahead of the London cogal on Saturday.

    It comes down to, do I take my Hed Stinger 6s with tubs or my alloy Eurus with clinchers? Given that it’s a long ride and I have to get across London first I’m inclining towards the clinchers for the repairability potential.

  34. @ChrisO

    Your call but I always go with the Sunday Best, riding the #1 even when it’s raining – despite the #2 looking as Fantastic as the #1 at all (well, most) times.

  35. Ha Ha – so on the same lines is it permitted to wear a Club Gilet with a V-Jersey or should I wear Club Jersey and Gilet?

    Ooh the quandary.

  36. @Teocalli

    Ha Ha – so on the same lines is it permitted to wear a Club Gilet with a V-Jersey or should I wear Club Jersey and Gilet?

    Ooh the quandary.

    I think Rule #17 is your guide here. No Mapei jersey with Kelme shorts applies to V kit and Club gilet.

    If it’s cold I’ll be wearing Dulwich kit because I have more warm bits than my RBS-Giant kit from Dubai.

  37. @ChrisO

    @Teocalli

    Ha Ha – so on the same lines is it permitted to wear a Club Gilet with a V-Jersey or should I wear Club Jersey and Gilet?

    Ooh the quandary.

    I think Rule #17 is your guide here. No Mapei jersey with Kelme shorts applies to V kit and Club gilet.

    If it’s cold I’ll be wearing Dulwich kit because I have more warm bits than my RBS-Giant kit from Dubai.

    True enough – unless the new gear turns up tomorrow. Unlikely though.

  38. @ChrisO

    Along the same lines as fitting new equipment for a cogal, what’s the ruling on the appropriate level of equipment.

    Is it Sunday-best to honour the spirit of the Velominati and look as fantastic as possible at all times… or is it training standard because well, it isn’t a race and even our second-best stuff should still look fantastic?

    Inquiring minds would like to know ahead of the London cogal on Saturday.

    It comes down to, do I take my Hed Stinger 6s with tubs or my alloy Eurus with clinchers? Given that it’s a long ride and I have to get across London first I’m inclining towards the clinchers for the repairability potential.

    For me it’s going to be #1 sans its carbon tubulars. There’s a new set of tubs on order, some of Vittoria’s latest gen tan walls but the useless twats I ordered them from emailed me at the weekend to blithely inform me that they wouldn’t actually have them in stock until May.

    #1 will either be shod in its Flandeien beat of Vittoria Pave, Nemesis and ’90s Dura Ace or mismatched clinchers (a spoke broke a couple of weeks ago on my preferred rear) and Open Pave. It largely dependent so on whether I get round to checking whether the emergency tub holds air or not. If @frank hadn’t written this post I probably wouldn’t have thought to check.

  39. @Teocalli

    Ha Ha – so on the same lines is it permitted to wear a Club Gilet with a V-Jersey or should I wear Club Jersey and Gilet?

    Ooh the quandary.

    Oh for fucks sake that would only work if they go together. Jesus, man.

    @ChrisO

    @Teocalli

    Ha Ha – so on the same lines is it permitted to wear a Club Gilet with a V-Jersey or should I wear Club Jersey and Gilet?

    Ooh the quandary.

    I think Rule #17 is your guide here. No Mapei jersey with Kelme shorts applies to V kit and Club gilet.

    If it’s cold I’ll be wearing Dulwich kit because I have more warm bits than my RBS-Giant kit from Dubai.

    Exactly, but if it’s plain it might work. For example, a black gabba jersey with v-gilet is no issue.

    @chris

    You’re welcome.

  40. @frank

    But you are also the size of a unicorn turd. I am the size of an Orc. Might also matter.

    Maybe you need to go on a diet?

  41. @frank

    Yeah but which watch should I wear?

  42. @frank

    Ok, the data is in, folks. Swapped out the cassette and left the 11s chain. Quick spin and an admittedly ginger but committed acceleration up a short 20% grade proves @Oli‘s point, it works perfectly fine although I do find the chain a bit noisy, but that could also be the new cassette.

    And then I brought the bike back in and chucked a new chain on as well, just because I don’t want to wonder about any of it.

    I get my drive train pretty damn clean, but there is nothing like a new chain/cassette for the clean bike look.

    I’m surprised no-one has asked about this until now – but Frank: the BIKE; what about the bike? Is the bike OK? No scuffed hoods, I hope? No ominous bends in the handlebars or weird new angles on the brake levers? Please confirm that that beautiful machine of yours came through this unharmed!?

    (Oh; and I hope that you, yourself, are OK as well, of course…)

  43. Thanks for the confirmation, Oli!

    I use KMC connectors on Campa chains. (I also use KMC connectors on KMC chains, but that is kinda a given.)

    With four road bikes, I swap chains rather infrequently. My riding is spread across them all. Ha, did some quick calculations the other week. Not riding as much as I did in my younger less responsibles age, but with my daily work commute, I’m well over 10,000 kms for the year. Not staggering, but made me feel a lot better about not doing road rides five days a week, as I used to.

  44. @ErikdR

    Bike suffered some mysterious damage that I attributed to scuffing from my shoes or the cobbles. Until I washed it. At which point it turned out to be energy drink and dust. Bike remains in the blemished state it was in. (A bike that’s been through Roubaix is never quite blemish free, but those are the best kinds of blemishes.)

  45. @frank

    Cheers; that’s good to know. And that particular photograph illustrates your point very well, I must say.

  46. @frank

    @chuckp

    But you are also the size of a unicorn turd. I am the size of an Orc. Might also matter.

    Very good! I’m ascribing my destruction of chains and stuff to my enormous bulk and astounding leg strength.

  47. @RobSandy

    @frank

    @chuckp

    But you are also the size of a unicorn turd. I am the size of an Orc. Might also matter.

    Very good! I’m ascribing my destruction of chains and stuff to my enormous bulk and astounding leg strength.

    I think the terms you are after is “built like a brick shit house”.

  48. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @frank

    @chuckp

    But you are also the size of a unicorn turd. I am the size of an Orc. Might also matter.

    Very good! I’m ascribing my destruction of chains and stuff to my enormous bulk and astounding leg strength.

    I think the terms you are after is “built like a brick shit house”.

    I’m going to take that as a compliment.

    Ian Stannard is my hero.

    I’ve got much bigger arms then him though. Got some new club race kit on the weekend. It’s nice and snug, and makes me look like the incredible hulk. It’s made by Castelli, and I needed Size M jersey and Size XL bibs. That’s every cyclist’s dream, isn’t it?

  49. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @frank

    @chuckp

    But you are also the size of a unicorn turd. I am the size of an Orc. Might also matter.

    Very good! I’m ascribing my destruction of chains and stuff to my enormous bulk and astounding leg strength.

    I think the terms you are after is “built like a brick shit house”.

    I’m going to take that as a compliment.

    Ian Stannard is my hero.

    I’ve got much bigger arms then him though. Got some new club race kit on the weekend. It’s nice and snug, and makes me look like the incredible hulk. It’s made by Castelli, and I needed Size M jersey and Size XL bibs. That’s every cyclist’s dream, isn’t it?

    The dream indeed. One of our members asked if our club kit supplier could do him a skin suit with a Size M upper and Size L lower. I’ve asked if I can have one with Size L upper, XL midrift and S lower. Oddly enough the answer was no.

    Stannard was awesome yesterday. It was a great finish my Hayman but Yogi’s ride had guts and class.

    He does look like he’d be at home on a rugby pitch.

    Ian Stannard bagged an impressive podium, and reflected on the race with Rowe in the velodrome

  50. @frank

    @ErikdR

    Bike suffered some mysterious damage that I attributed to scuffing from my shoes or the cobbles. Until I washed it. At which point it turned out to be energy drink and dust. Bike remains in the blemished state it was in. (A bike that’s been through Roubaix is never quite blemish free, but those are the best kinds of blemishes.)

    As of last Saturday the sign was (and remains) stolen…

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