Tech letters for December 3, 2001

Edited by John Stevenson

Confounded by carbon fiber? Need to sound off about superlight stuff? Tech letters is the forum for your gear-related questions and opinions. We'll attempt to answer all questions that don't require a PhD in astrophysics or industrial espionage.

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A mixed bag today, starting with a sneak peek at a prototype carbon fiber cage from Italy. Also, some comments on Park's mechanics' gloves; responses to our piece on DIY chainstay protection, another happy Pegoretti owner; more on Speedplay pedals and a plea for help with Cinelli Contact end plugs.


Carbon cage
Park gloves
Inner tube tips
Chainstay protection
Pegoretti frames
Speedplay pedals
Cinelli Contact end plugs

Carbon cage

Click for larger image
Photo: © Don Marcopulos

Have you seen one of these? I acquired it this September from a friend in Italy who owns a rather large, fairly famous bike shop there. It's not yet marketed (I believe) and my friend assured me I have the only one in North America. Anyway, it's a carbon fiber bottle cage that weighs in at around 10 grams and functions quite nicely as well. A clever design suggesting a bit of infinity in its form. There are no logos, numbers, or letters on it so I suppose it's a marketing sample or other prototype. I'm trying to get another one but no luck yet!

Don Marcopulos
Virginia USA

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Neat, Don - can you get one for us too?

Park gloves

Working in the biomedical science industry and thus with easy access to disposable gloves, I have been using various kinds for years now for bike maintenance (and other dirty jobs).

The nitrile kind are indeed more resistant to some of the diesel crap you get on a bike (not to mention the stuff we touch in the lab) and are a bit thicker so do not rip so easily if snagged.

You mentioned the lack of powder for easy entry but the problem with powdered gloves is a lot of people have or develop allergic reactions to the powder and you still sweat in them, so you then get a slight gooey crap in which your hand slides around inside the glove. Also the powder on your hands afterwards seems to get everywhere... powdery hand prints on ones butt/crotch could be a bit embarrassing in a bike shop environment.

Also great to take on a ride. They weigh nothing (the latex ones weigh even less than nothing) and you don't have to try to find some big leaves or grass to clean your hands after a mechanical.

I just wonder how much Park charge for their gloves. I have exactly the same gloves so if this idea takes off I could possibly run a profitable side line!

John Sergeant

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Inner tube tips #1

A 5cm long piece of old inner tube, slipped over the fork makes an ideal mount for a speed sensor, like the Polar one, which requires it. Just ideal, and good looking if cut straight.

Sasha Antich

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Inner tube tips #2

Has Oyvind Aas ever heard of clear vinyl tape? You can buy it in the tape section of any well stocked hardware store. Protect your chainstay and see your paint.

Dave Barcus

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Buy… The whole point of Oyvind's 'reuse and recycle' philosophy is that it avoids buying things. This means that as our resident impecunious bike racer in full-time education he has money left over for important things like bike parts and food.

Chainstay protection #1

I've found the best chainstay protector is an old single. Cut it to the right length and then in half, keeping the tread part. Use zip ties to attach it to the chainstay. The rubber helps keep chainslap noise to a minimum.

Pete Savage

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Chainstay protection #2

I've found that using an old worn/unusable clincher with some zip ties (while not blocking derailleur cable line) will protect your stay even better.

Adam Szczepanski

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Pegoretti frames

As a very happy owner of a steel Pegoretti frame, I agree that they are wonderful. However, I shopped long and hard for a frame that fit me, and one of the bikes I looked at was a Serotta Legend. The Serotta has VERY different geometry. I barely got out of the parking lot on an otherwise correctly-sized Serotta before I turned back knowing that my knee couldn't take the angles. If you contact them early, Pegoretti may build up a true custom frame for some extra money (they used to do this, but they have expanded a lot). Otherwise, you might check out De Rosa, Carerra, or others – I didn't fit on any of those bikes, so maybe you will!

Darren Sherkat

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A good illustration of the pitfalls of reputation and recommendation. We have no doubt that Serotta makes great bikes, but a great bike that doesn't fit you properly is a great hallway wall ornament.

Speedplay pedals #1

Get the $9 cleat covers and use them whenever you're not riding your bike. Wipe your pedals and your cleats with a damp rag each time before you ride.

You should also inspect the springs often to see if they are bent or cracked. I replace the entire cleat every 5,000 miles. Small price to pay for a great system.

I watch my team mates and friends wrestle just to get out of their pedals that are all cobbed up with dirt and grind and feel great when I just slip out with ease. I wouldn't be riding (bad knee) if I hadn't stumbled on to these pedals.

Andy Luhn

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Speedplay pedals #2

I was having a lot of problems with my left hip and knee. I switched to Speedplay and what a difference they made. Whilst I still occasionally suffer with some aches overall they made a huge difference to my comfort on the bike.

Despite the high cost compared to some systems I would recommend them to anyone, I'm even buying a pair to put on my turbo bike.

Paul Bridgland
Kent, England

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Cinelli Contact end plugs

Help! I have been searching for Cinelli Contact handlebar end plugs. They are hard to find.

Can you help me? I have contacted Cinelli and the bar is not in current production.

Jeff Chow

Can anyone point Jeff to a source of these end plugs?

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