Bike Repair for Triathletes

April 21, 2015 on 11:26 am | In Community, From the shop, Product Information, Random Musings, Tech Tips | No Comments

This blog brought to you by TriSports Team athlete Becky Bader. Let’s face it, as a whole, triathletes are pretty miserable at maintaining our own bikes. Becky gives us a few tips to help prevent the roadies from laughing at us. Check out Becky’s blog or follow her on Twitter – @becky_bader.

Before transitioning into iron distance triathlon, I spent many years racing bikes and occasionally working at bike shops in between jobs that some might consider to be more related to my Ph.D. When I quietly told my bike racing friends and fellow bike shop employees that I was moving to triathlon, I immediately prepared myself for the barrage of jokes related to poor bike handing skills and an inability to do something as simple as changing brake pads. I wish I could say that my years in triathlon have demonstrated to me that most triathletes are incredibly adept at maintaining their own bikes and that my bike racing friends were wrong in their perception. But no, I cannot say this, and I admit to being embarrassed for triathletes everywhere at some of the conversations about bikes I have overheard in the transition area before the start of a triathlon.

We, of course, all have to start somewhere. I was fortunate enough to be taught how to ride by a former professional cyclist who, on the day that I purchased my first road bike, suggested to me that I had better get to a bike shop and figure out how to change a flat.  I completely blew him off and then cursed his name as I took a slow walk of shame back to my car in my bike shoes after getting my first flat.  So I went to the shop, purchased a set of tire levers, had the mechanics show me the best way to get a tire on and off of a wheel in order to replace the tube, and then practiced until I could change a flat in minimal time. I always suggest to beginners or novice triathletes that they take the time to ask a bike mechanic for a quick how-to lesson on things they might need to know out on the road.

Don't be left walking home

Many years, many bikes, and many bike shops later, I have come a long way from just being able to change a flat, and I can now build and maintain my own road and triathlon bikes. Contrary to popular belief, a vast amount of expensive tools are not necessary to get this done, and a complete set of hex wrenches can go a long way. As a rule of thumb, everything should be overhauled at least once per year (chain, cables, housing, and tires).  If you are putting in some heavy mileage, I suggest investing in a quick chain checker, such as the Park Tool CC-2, to better gauge when you may need to replace the chain. This will save you from having to additionally invest in a new cassette more frequently. If you do need to change the chain, this is potentially the easiest do-it-yourself thing there is. You will need to invest in a chain tool; I use the Park Tool CT-3.2.  After this purchase, changing the chain becomes somewhat self-explanatory.  Simply press out one of the pins from the chain you are replacing with the tool, remove that chain, replace the chain, and insert a new pin using the tool again.  Bear in mind that when you purchase a new chain, you will most definitely need to remove several links before putting on the new chain (all you need to do is compare the length of the new chain to the existing chain).

Moving on to the internal routing of cables. Yes, I am willing to admit that this is a huge hassle, but still completely doable. I recommend ordering a complete set of cables and housing that is a little bit higher end rather than using what is available stock at the bike shops.  Shimano and Jag make great products that will keep you shifting cleanly for the entire year.  Although cable cutters are obviously available at Lowes and Home Depot, the ones that are bike specific (such as Park Tool CN-10) will serve you much better. The key to internal routing is to take a string or dental floss and attach it to the end of the cable. If you do this to the old cable, you are left with a string that can be used to pull the new cable through the frame. Alternatively, you can simply attach the string or dental floss to the end of the new cable and then pull that through the frame using a vacuum cleaner (be careful other holes in the bike are at least partially sealed). As for the housing, simply try to cut close to the length of the housing that is being replaced.

Attach string to your old cable before removal and have an instant guide for your new cable!

Once the cables and housing have been replaced, getting things to shift correctly can be a tad more complicated. To set the front cable, simply put the shifter in the little ring and pull the cable as tight as possible before tightening the anchor bolt with a hex wrench. For the back, do the same, but then try to slowly shift up to the next biggest cog. If this does not occur, you are going to need to turn the barrel adjustor 1/4th of a turn counterclockwise until shifting occurs (make sure the barrel adjustor is fully turned in before tightening the anchor bolt). Repeat this process for the next cog, and eventually you will be back to a smoothly shifting bike. Slap on some new bar tape, and you are ready to roll.

I will add a word of caution that if you continue down this path of maintaining your own bikes, you may someday end up with a dining room where the table has been turned into a mount for an axle vice for changing free hub bodies, and a living room where bike parts, tools, and bike part manuals cover every available surface. Good luck in keeping everything running smooth this season!

Kitchen table vice (make sure to use your place mats properly!)

Living room workshop

TriSports Introduces Patented Hybrid Shave Technology

April 1, 2012 on 10:13 am | In Announcements, Random Musings, Tech Tips | No Comments

Tucson, AZ  (April, 1, 2012):, the world’s premiere triathlon store, announces its patented new leg shaving technology known as Hybrid Shave Technology.  After 2-years of research and development using wind tunnel, CFD and real world data, the engineers at have released their findings.  Seton Claggett, who earned his Master’s in Hydrology from the College of Engineering at the University of Arizona, says “we have been using this proprietary shave method with our athletes for years but as we have grown as a company we know that for the betterment of the sport and in light of great customer service that we should reveal our research to the world.”

TriSports Hybrid Shave Technology ResultsThe final results comparing 1) Hairy leading edge, 2) Fully shaved leg, 3)’s Patented Hybrid Shave Technology

The Hybrid Shave Technology uses a scientific approach to removing leg hair on cyclists and triathletes to improve aerodynamics and speed.  “The experiment,” says Tom Demerly, one of the chief investigators on the project, “was performed over many conditions and using many different shave patterns and what we found was that using basic aerodynamic principals of laminar boundary conditions coupled with muscle formation resulted in the ideal real-world power conversion on the bike.”

The partial differential equations for the continuity and Navier–Stokes for a two-dimensional steady incompressible flow with Cartesian coordinates.

The final testing came down to analyzing the real world results of 1) Hairy Leading Edge Legs, 2) Full Shaved Legs, and 3) Short Stubble Leading Edge Legs (the Hybrid Shave Technology).  Full hairy legs performed exponentially worse than the three chosen tests.  The results are shown in the diagram above.  “It was amazing how superior the performance was using the Hybrid Shave Technology”, said Claggett, “the power savings were staggering. It is amazing how basic aerodynamic principles such as using the Navier-Stokes equation and Reynolds numbers  to estimate the boundary layer conditions of a hairy legs work in wind tunnel and real world testing.”

The results have shown an actual average power savings of 10 Watts over distances greater than 30k (compared to a full hairy leg and almost 6 Watts over a fully shaved leg).  Over a 112 mile relatively flat course with little wind the TriSports Hybrid Shave Technology will save you about 6 minutes.  “6 minutes”, says Claggett who used the Hybrid Shave Technology at the 2011 Ironman Arizona, “is a ton of free time, especially if you are trying to get to the finish line as fast as possible.”  Claggett consequently won his age-group by a mere 45 seconds.  “You can spend hundreds of dollars on an aero helmet, thousands of dollars on aero wheels and an aero bike, or you can use the TriSports Hybrid Shave Technology and get the same benefits – do everything and you are all-in.”

A video showing actual footage of the TriSports Hybrid Shave Technology

A full hairy legThe aerodynamics of a full hairy leg are so bad that we did not use this model in our final testing.

Careful muscle measurementCareful muscle measurement ensures proper shave pattern.

Marker Muscle MeasurementPrecise marking during the measurement process.

Clippers for the thick hairClippers are used to remove the Sasquatch hair.

Final Clipper ShaveFinal clipper shave.

Using the razor to clean up the hair.Using a new blade to clean up the remaining stubble on the back of the leg.

Hybrid Hariy LegThe final hairy leading edge leg.

Hybrid lLeg ShaveShaving down to the stubble for the Hybrid Shave Technology.

Final Hybrid Shave Technology LegThe final version of the Hybrid Shave Technology.

Conclusion: Hold off as long as you can during the season to get the training benefit of hairy legs and then shave them just before your “A” race. The results of the TirSports Hybrid Shave Technology speak for themselves, so when you do shave, use this method if you want to optimize aerodynamics.

For the love of Saucony

February 10, 2012 on 11:18 am | In Employee Adventures, Product Information, Random Musings, Tech Tips | 2 Comments

There aren’t many products that I gush about, but I have found myself more than once in the past few months on the sales floor gushing to a customer about the Saucony Kinvara. I had been a long time Mizuno Wave Rider wearer, but after my last 70.3, the first thing I did was take off my shoes. My heels were once again blistered, my feet ached, my shoes were soaking wet and seemed 5 pounds heavier. It was time to find a new pair of running shoes.

The TriSports Shoe Wall

I headed to the TriSports shoe wall and consulted with one of our expert shoe fitters. I wanted a light weight shoe with good drainage, enough cushion to run an Ironman marathon, and a lower heel-to-toe drop (around 4-6mm). I tried on the Brooks T7, the K-Swiss Blade Light, and the Saucony Kinvara. Right away the Saucony’s were noticeably different. The shoe’s upper was soft and flexible, free of unnecessary decorations, and allowed for good ventilation. The heel cup was also very pliable and securely wrapped around my narrow heel. With 4 mm of drop between the heel and toe it was the perfect shoe for transitioning to a more minimalist style of shoe.

Saucony Kinvara

Fast forward 5 months and I still love my Kinvaras. I am well over the “300 mile limit” and the shoes still feel like they did when they came out of the box.  If you are in the market for a light weight trainer/racer with a low profile, try out the Saucony Kinvaras, and if you need a stability shoe, try the Fastwitch. Happy running!

Learn more about Saucony shoes at TriSports University!

The Joy of the Quintana Roo Illicito Triathlon Frameset

November 18, 2011 on 6:00 am | In Product Information, Tech Tips | No Comments

What is joy?  Merriam-Webster defines joy as “the expression or exhibition of such emotion” and “a state of happiness” – perfect emotional descriptions of the new Quintana Roo Illicito Triathlon Frameset. Triathletes will be riding for joy once they experience the QR Illicito.

Quintana Roo 2012 Illicito

Quintana Roo has always been a leader in the design of tri bikes and the Illicito takes their proven shift technology – when riding a surge of air is created from behind the front wheel and the unprecedented aerodynamics of the CDO.01 frame style enables suction to draw the wind off to the ‘clean’ side (non-drive side) of the bike – and ups the ante by removing the left seat stay and creating an even more ‘clean’ side.  QR constructed a Leading Edge Absent (LEA) surface on the non drive chain-stay which results in a ‘sail’ effect.  This ‘sail’ effect creates less resistance and makes for a sleeker and faster frame. president Seton Claggett clocks the fastest bike split at the 2011 Tinfoilman Triathlon in Tucson, AZ.

The Illicito offers more high modulus carbon fiber than any previous QR frame.  A newly redesign rear brake improves braking performance plus offers increased clearance for the latest generation of wider race wheels.

The QR Illicito comes with a fork, headset, seat post and brakes.

Illicito:’s definition of joy!

TYR Freak of Nature

November 11, 2011 on 12:19 pm | In Announcements, Product Information, Tech Tips | No Comments

Introducing the new TYR Freak of Nature

The Hurricane Freak of Nature is made of 100% Yamamoto 40 Cell Neoprene. 7x Static Stretch: Defying comparison to any other wetsuit material, 40 Cell Nano SCS Yamamoto stretches to over 7x its static state.

ROM Zones: The gold bands on the back and shoulders of the Hurricane Freak of Nature delineate the expanded Range-of-Motion zones, calculated, calibrated, and repeatedly revised until we reached the absolute limit of positive range of motion.

V-GCP: The Hurricane Freak of Nature is armed with our new V-GCP (V-Shaped Graded Force Catch Panel), which flattens the forearm for the most advantageous engagement, maximizing your effort.

7x Static Stretch: Defying comparison to any other wetsuit material, 40 Cell Nano SCS Yamamoto stretches to over 7x its static state.

Elevation Panels: The Elevation Panels on the Hurricane Freak of Nature are a game-changer. They instantly help the athlete establish perfect body position relative to the surface of the water.

Speed Wrap Paneling: Deploys the lightest Yamamoto Nano SCS coated 5mm neoprene panels throughout the entire leg, chest and core to raise the swimmer in the water to reduce form drag. Extraordinarily buoyant Nano SCS coated rubber confers an exceptional friction coefficient of 0.026 – far lower than any other wetsuit rubber.

360 Degree Core Stabilization: Five precision-targeted performance muscle groups, oriented to sustain core strength for long swims.

The specific gravity of the Hurricane Freak of Nature is a staggering 0.17 (over 5x lighter than the specific gravity of the average human - .974).

Stay tuned to TriSports University for an in depth review!

TYR Orion Triathlon Goggle

November 4, 2011 on 6:00 am | In Product Information, Tech Tips | No Comments

The TYR Orion Triathlon Goggle is specifically designed for triathletes and open water swimmers.   Triathletes are always searching for gear that will help improve their times and the new TYR Orion will do just that!

The lenses are larger and distortion free which allow for a better field of view and the dark tint will help with sunny days and glare.  The gasket is soft and very comfortable to wear.

Pick up your TYR Orion Triathlon Goggles today!

PowerTap G3 Enve Carbon Wheelset

October 21, 2011 on 10:05 am | In Announcements, Tech Tips | No Comments

The new PowerTap G3 Enve Carbon Wheelset is perfect for triathletes who want to bring their training to a whole new level.   The exclusive PowerTap Enve Composite hand built wheels provides strength and speed and utilizes a patented spoke hole molding which allows tension to be maximized while avoiding weaknesses caused by drilling.

At the center of the rear Enve Carbon wheel is the all new PowerTap Gs Powermeter hub.  This is one of the lightest power meters available and features the highest grade bearings for the price.  Featuring a smaller overall hub profile with wider flanges provide for a stiffer wheel.  ANT + compatible and weighs a scantly 325grams.

The all new PowerTap G3 Enve Carbon Wheelset is now available at

Chain Maintenance

October 12, 2011 on 6:00 am | In From the shop, Tech Tips | 1 Comment

By Mark Lee

The modern bicycle chain is a marvel of technology.  Each link is comprised of two outer plates, two inner plates, two rollers and two pins.  Each plate is chamfered and beveled to optimize shifting.  The forces exerted on a chain during hard efforts are enormous and yet they last for thousands of miles IF properly maintained.  Here are some basics principles of chain wear and maintenance.

A chain is designed to roll precisely between the teeth of the chainrings and sprockets.  In order for this to happen, the distance between each link must be exact.  When a chain comes out of the box, the distance between each pin is ½”.  As the chain wears or “stretches”, the distance between the links increases and shifting deteriorates.

In this first picture we see a partially extracted pin in pristine condition.  The mirror polish is what makes a new chain feel so smooth.  (You can also see the specially shaped edges that improve shifting.)

This is the chain pin of a worn chain.   Many things cause chain wear.  As the chain pivots at every link, the metal erodes a tiny bit.  Metal upon metal friction causes faster wear.  A good chain lube will get in between the different chain parts and act as a friction barrier.  Less friction = less chain wear.  This chain was poorly maintained and there was no lube on the inside of the links.

Dust and dirt will also increase friction in a chain and rapidly accelerate chain wear.  The problem many people have is that too much chain lube will attract dust and dirt.  So the benefits of the chain lube are offset by the increased crud on their chain.

Some points about chain maintenance:

1)  Some people will use a degreaser to remove the factory lubrication from a new chain and replace it with what they think is a “better” lube.  What they don’t realize is that these chain parts are actually coated in a special grease before being assembled into a chain.  Here is a picture of the guts of a new chain.  You can see that there is grease even in the innermost parts of the chain.  This original lubricant is the best for breaking in a new chain.  If you want to take the excess grease off the outside of the chain, just take a rag soaked in degreaser and run the chain through it.  But there is no need to degrease a brand new chain.

2)  We often see bikes come in with black chain lube specks all over the rear of the bike.  The chain is wet to the touch and jet black.  If you run your fingers through the sludge on the chain it will be slippery but it will also feel gritty.  Too much lube!  The oil slick on the chain attracts dirt and the dirt gets sucked into the chain parts and your chain wears out much sooner than it should.  Its like pouring sand into your car engine.

3)  We are often asked, “How many miles should I go before I lube my chain?”  Well, that’s an impossible question to answer.  Different riding styles, riding conditions, types of lube, and cleaning are all factors in how long a chain lube will last before needing to be refreshed.  The best solution is to listen to your chain as you’re pedaling.  A new chain or newly lubed chain should be fairly silent.  As soon as chain noise becomes apparent its time for some lube.

4)  The other most often asked question regarding chains is “What is the best chain lube?”  The short answer is that which lube you use isn’t as important as how you use it.  At the moment, our service shop is using Dumande Original, Dumande Bio, and I’ve just begun testing Dumande Lite.  My previous favorite was TriFlow, another good all around lube.  There are many more out there and each particular lube has pluses and minuses based on the  type of use, climate, and degree of maintenance you are willing to put up with.  We may consider a review of different chain lubes in the future but for this article we’ll focus on maintenance.

How to lube a chain:

So you’ve had a new chain installed by the professionals at 😉 and you’ve put some miles on it.  Things don’t seem as smooth and quiet as when it was new.  Its time for some lube.

1)  The first step is to clean your chain of the old lube(Remember, this is not a “new” chain but one that has been broken in already).  Lubes work best when they are not mixed with different formulas.  Pick one and stick with it for the life of the chain.  You can either remove your chain and clean it in degreaser (Citrus based or something like Clean Streak) or use an on-the-bike cleaning tool like the Finish Line or Park Tool offerings.  Be sure the chain has had a chance to dry off before going to step 2.  Wipe the chain through a dry rag until the residual degreaser is gone.

2) With the chain on the bike, apply ONE drop of lube on each roller of the chain.  I like to do this on the lower section of the chain as it sits on the bike.  This way, the lube is already where it needs to go and won’t get flung off the outside of the chain as it spins around the first time.

3)  Turn the cranks for a minute or so (or ride the bike).  Is the chain quiet now?  Can you hear yourself think again?  Now run your finger along the top edge of the chain.  You should see a slight wetting from the fresh lube working its way through the chain parts.  If its still totally dry, repeat step 2.

4)  Take a rag and wipe off the excess lube from the length of the chain.  This is VERY important!  Repeat this until a clean rag comes away mostly clean.

5) Go ride!

So how about you?  How do you clean or lube your chain?  Any chain lubes that you think we should try?  What problems do you have with chain maintenance?

NiteRider 2012 Lineup

September 30, 2011 on 9:07 am | In Product Information, Tech Tips | No Comments

NiteRider’s 2012 lineup continues to push the envelope for technical bicycle lighting systems for triathletes and cyclists.  From the night blasting front lights like the MiNewt Pro 750 to the Cherry Bomb rear light, NiteRider sets the standard for technical bicycling lighting.

The all new MiNewt 600 Cordless is compact and produces 600 lumens with a full hour and a half run time at max lumens or up to 10 hours in the new ‘Walk’ mode!

MiNewt 600

The MiNewt 350 Cordless replaces the previous year models with an additional 100 lumens and reduces the price tag by twenty bucks!

Need more compactness and power?  NiteRider redesigned MiNewt Pro 750 is the first compact LED lighting system to produce 750 lumens of night piercing light.  Featuring a completely redesigned headlamp, the Pro 750 comes in at 230g and has all the controls on the headlamp instead of on the battery.

MiNewt Pro 750

New Product Friday: On Running Shoes

September 23, 2011 on 11:13 am | In Announcements, Product Information, Tech Tips | No Comments now sells On Running Shoes! Triathletes and runners who are seeking a light weight, neutral high mileage training or racing shoes now have On Running and their Cloudtech 3D Cushioning System.

On Running Shoes

On Running shoes have 13 Cloudtech 3D cushions on the bottom of the shoe to absorb both vertical and horizontal forces and helps to transfer heavy impact into a light and natural motion. On Running Shoes have been proven to lower heart rate by 2 beats per minute and reduce lactic acid on average of 5.4%!

Cloudtech 3D Cushioning System

The On Running Cloudrunner shoe is a neutral high mileage trainer that weighs in at 11.11 oz. The On Running Cloudsurfer is a neutral light weight training/racing shoe that weights 10.4 oz. The Cloudsurfer is available in both men’s and women’s models.

Check out TriSports University for an in-depth review!

The Story from On running on Vimeo.

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