Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Old Moser: a 400 Mile Assessment

Moser 2.0 New Lens
Having now ridden Moser 2.0 for about 400 miles, I think it is time for a report. For those who do not feel like reading about the bike's entire history, this is a lugged steel racing frame circa 1978 fitted with nice Campagnolo components circa 1999. The Columbus "tretubi" frame is 52x53cm, with an 11cm stem, handlebars 1cm below saddle level (I would like to set them lower, but the stem won't go down any further), 700Cx23mm tires, and 175mm cranks. Gearing is 52/39t in the front and 12-26t (9-speed) in the rear. The complete bike weighs 22lb without the waterbottle. I have been riding it since the end of November, and the individual rides have ranged from 30 to 60 miles. Mostly these have been group and club types of rides, and mostly with riders stronger and faster than me.

I know that people are interested in whether building up an older steel racing frame is feasible for "serious" roadcycling, and based on my experience with the Moser I do not see why not. As far as weight, 22lb is not bad at all for a complete bike - I have picked up new bikes with aluminum frames and carbon forks and they felt heavier. If I want to shave even more weight off, it could be done with some strategic component upgrades, but honestly I did not feel that the weight was an issue for someone at my level of ability.

Francesco Moser 2.0
As far as speed, I was able to ride with strong cyclists the likes of which I did not think I'd be good enough to ride with, at what they call a social pace (15-18mph on average, depending on the ride), while also feeling some reserve. At no point did I feel "if only I had a faster bike!" while riding the Moser.

When climbing, the bike itself feels "eager" to ascend, and the only limitations I felt were my own and also the high gearing. I would need to get lower gearing in the long run, no question. But the bike itself was fine climbing. When I ran out of gears, I would simply "heave" us uphill. Sadly my legs no longer fit into my jeans as a result of this practice, but we can't have it all.

The ride quality on bad roads has no harshness to it despite the 23mm tires, I am very happy with this aspect. The frame's tubing feels wonderful and just right; perfect amount of flex and all that.

At slow speeds (and I mean very slow - like less than 10mph, when stalling in traffic) the Moser is a little twitchy (compared to my fond memories of the Seven at least, which remained stable even at a crawl), but I do not mind and can still easily control the bike.

The one and only inherent aspect of the handling that is a problem - and the more I ride, the more I realise it is a problem - is descending. I do not entirely understand what is going on and why. But basically at high speeds, the bike is extremely resistant to turning and this was rather scary to discover. At first I thought that I just needed to get used to being on a racy bike again, and that I was holding myself back because I was nervous. But nope, something odd is definitely happening with the high speed turns - not just 90° turns, but even following the curvature of a winding road on a descent. I cannot make the same turns that I know I had no trouble making on the Seven over the summer. So while the bike is capable of great speed, this handling issue ultimately makes me slower, since I hold myself back on descents when I do not feel in full control of the bike. I've been trying to understand what is causing this, and what I can do to counteract it, but my instincts are failing me. Naturally I try to take wider turns, but it isn't always possible, and I am just never at a point where I can let myself go on descents.

Moser 2.0 New Lens
Exacerbating the descent problem is that I am not entirely happy with the braking power. I did not have a brakeset that would fit this bike, so I bought some Campagnolo Veloce calipers. While I realise that Veloce is not top of the line, I still expected it to be fully functional. I guess with my weak hands, not so much. We have adjusted the brakes this way and that, but coming to a complete stop (like at a stoplight or traffic light at the bottom of a hill) after a high speed descent is problematic.

Moser 2.0 New Lens
There are other issues that have surfaced in the course of riding the bike. For instance, there are only braze-ons for one bottle cage, and during longer rides I needed more water. I could get a second bolt-on bottle cage, but it seems a shame to do that to this frame. As mentioned before, there is also quite a bit of rust on the frame that is not visible in pictures (like along the underside of the top tube). It might make sense to get the frame stripped, the rust cleaned up, a second set bottle cage bosses brazed on, and then the frame repainted.

Moser 2.0 New Lens
In addition, the rear wheel does not want to stay put in the chromed horizontal dropouts unless the skewer is tightened with a death grip. When initially the skewer was closed with reasonable force, it became misaligned and jammed against the chainstays the first time I rode the bike. It is now tightened as tighteningly as can be and this has not happened since. But it means that I cannot remove the wheels on my own despite them being quick-release; I am not strong enough to budge the skewers.

Moser 2.0 New Lens
On top of the too-high gearing, the pedal strike from the 175mm cranks, and the too-tall stem, all in all that adds up to a lot of stuff I would have to replace on the bike (the crankset, the cassette, the brakes, and the stem at least) even without the re-paint and second bottle cage question. I would be willing to make this investment for sure if I was 100% comfortable with the bicycle's handling, but this problem with descents now has me concerned.

And that is where I am right now with my assessment of the bike. More than anything, this experiment has convinced me that I do very much need a fast road bike. Despite the issues mentioned here, I just wanted to ride-ride-ride it all the time, even in the winter.  No time to ride? I found the time. Too cold? I got over it. Too early in the morning? Nonsense, the Moser beckons. Tamer, more sensible bikes are wonderful, but for whatever reason they do not have the same effect on me as this bicycle does and as the Seven did over the summer. I want a bicycle that is fast enough for club and paceline rides, comfortable over bad roads, and handles well for a ballance-challenged person like me. Is the Moser it? I love it and I hoped so, but I honestly don't know at this stage. Holding back on descents is a problem; I need to feel in full control of the bike if I am going to improve, not to mention for reasons of safety.

63 comments:

  1. I've had a similar experience with the Peugeot PX-10 of the same vintage I bought on eBay several years ago. It is just plain fast, handles well and is a joy to ride. I would make the improvements and get used to the descent issue. None of the upgrades change the fundamental nature of the machine.
    Affordable Luxury

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  2. The condition of the headset?
    badmother

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  3. The Moser is not it. I have to saw a pipe but shall return if all my fingers are intact.

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  4. Yes, as Anon implies, perhaps your headset is overly tight or pitted, and that is causing some steering problems? Or does either brifter cable pull more than the other, creating an unbalanced pull on the bars?

    Also, I believe you have a typo in your description of the 9-speed cassette: Perhaps 12-26, rather than 12-16?

    I love a good writer who is vocabularious, and you are both: "tightened as tighteningly as can be". Thanks for that.

    On a related note, do your skewers have internal or external cams? I have had many problems with the latter, from various brands, not staying tight enough in horizontal dropouts except when "tightened as tighteningly as can be." So if yours are external cams, I suggest some internal ones and I'd bet that will do the trick for you.

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  5. The headset is fine in every way; it is not the headset.

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  6. It sounds like the randonneur bike that you tested recently is what you really want/need: nearly as fast (subjectively) as the Moser, and much better in other respects. My next bike will almost certainly be a low-trail 650B randonneur, so I found your comments very useful.

    To open and close the quick release on the rear wheel, you might carry a short length of aluminum tubing that is wide enough to slip over the QR lever, to act as a lengthener. It's the same idea as using a length of steel pipe to give you more leverage on a wrench. Or switch to a skewer that uses a bolt. I have Pitlock skewers on my current bike because I sometimes have to park in a high-theft area; the pit plus a box-end wrench gives me plenty of leverage

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  7. Check the alignment of the rear dropouts. It's up on the stand, drop the rear wheel, insert H-tool, bend once (or not), done.

    The first misadventure with the QR coulda mighta thrown the dropouts out of kilter. Not really likely but it would explain the problem and is a really easy thing to adjust. QRs should operate easy.

    Do we know the head angle on the Moser or the Seven?
    Reluctance to turn could be due to a shallow head angle. Photos look that way but not possible to know much from a few pixels. Steep head angles of course mean greater likelihood of TCO. There's a reason many riders endure TCO.

    Head angle you don't change. You get a new bike. So let's not jump there yet and try a few things. Drag and muscle that bike through the turn. Forget what that sounds like and try it. Don't aim wide in a turn, you will keep going that way and it is hard to pull out of that. Try adjusting tire pressure. Cornering always improves with a bigger tire in front, give that a try.

    Getting a shorter lower stem could change cornering completely.

    I cornered like a dork for a lot of years and never figured it out. At first I blamed the bike but it became a series of bikes that didn't turn so I knew. Entered my first race, had nowhere to go in the corners with riders on each shoulder and suddenly the bike cornered. Has continued to do so ever since.

    The last shot before surrender would be to bend a few millimetres rake into the fork. There's clearance everywhere you need it and the fork looks a bit straight. No way to guess the effect. It could do nothing, you could go 1 millimetre past a threshold to a better place.

    Veloce brakes are darn good and should have the same geometry/leverage as Record. Cable drag or heavier springs in caliper or lever seem likely. Do you have the same brake pads the Seven had? Are the pads and rims clean? If the stem is really way too long you might have less muscle on the lever. And it may feel like braking is going to send you over the bars even when not much is happening. Yeah, the stem could be the key to a lot of the problems.

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  8. "Check the alignment of the rear dropouts"

    The alignment of the dropouts is fine.

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  9. Have you considered a seat mounted water bottle? might be a bit troublesome when carrying a little bag in the rear but they are rather handy.
    for example...
    http://www.amazon.com/Axiom-Slipstream-Under-Water-Bottle/dp/B004XMH50O/ref=pd_sim_sbs_sg_10

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    1. Another option would be an adjustable bottle cage for the big 1.5l PET bottles common in Europe. Topeak Modula Cage XL. It doesn't work for drinking while riding, but since you don't do that anyway it shouldn't matter too much.

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  10. The gyroscopic effect becomes noticible at higher speeds (say greater than 30 mph) and when you have a breeze coming from the side the wheel tries to precess. I've had this effect on high-speed descents where it feels like it is hard to turn the wheel or even as if the wheel was fighting me. But your other bike probably has a heavier rim/tire so the effect would be even more pronounced at the same speed.

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  11. This weak-hands thing that you've got sounds like a PITA. I think you should find a small, strong pipe that would fit over the end of the quick-release lever to give you the leverage that you need. It's a common trick for removing stuck lug nuts and undoing the nuts that hold car wheel hubs on their axles.

    Option number two, if you feeling spendy, is to go for pitlocks, and use a long-ish rod to tighten/loosen.

    Not sure what to do about getting tires on and off; a foot-long tire iron might do the job, but where would you find one? Careful choice of rim+tire can help; Marathon Racer on Velocity Dyad is very loose, but Nokian Hakka W106 on Sun Rhyno Lite is very tight (at least, this was my experience).

    Small Parts Inc is one source of fun stuff like stainless steel tubing and titanium rod. It is possible that a patient person could do some appropriate hammering/filing/finishing to convert one end of a stainless steel tube into an acceptable long tire iron.

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  12. If all else fails with the rear qr skewer, and if you can bear to bring one small extra box-end wrench (bring a bike-useful size), you can probably get around the problem of not being able to budge the qr lever: http://www.motoiq.com/magazine_articles/id/1410/wrench-tips-7--the-box-end-breaker-bar.aspx

    It's not a great photo, but you can insert the qr lever into the 'box' end of the wrench and then use the length of the wrench as a longer lever for opening the skewer.

    This is, of course, no help at all for tightening the skewer again...

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  13. "This is, of course, no help at all for tightening the skewer again..."

    Right. If I get a flat, even if someone else helps me and removes the wheel, I would not feel comfortable riding the bike after they put it back on. I know that the Co-Habitant can apply the death grip to it; it has not budged for 400 miles, but who knows about others' ability to do this.

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  14. While no expert I believe the two issues on the bike that you could address to affect steering is the stem and the fork. I would try to borrow or in worst case buy an adjustable stem and try to different lengths and see if that has an effect on your steering. The other part is of course to try different forks with different rakes although that'd be pretty difficult unless some of your other bikes have suitable length and diameter forks. Some people may have old 1" (I guess thats the diameter) threadless forks lying around that you could try.
    What you also you could do is let a similar size friend with good technique try out the steering. If they don't think it is a problem it could very well be more of a technique issue, even if you had an easier time with the Seven. I guess you could find out the trail of the Seven and compare it with this bike.
    If it is a technique issue I'd start practicing turning with a greater degree of leaning, or whatever it could be, once the roads gets cleaner. It's not really something one wants to practice on sandy or slushy roads or with any traffic around.
    Another issue with turning could be if you have a higher point of gravity on this bike, if you have the stem higher, but that could easily be checked by comparing turning in the drops and on the hoods and I doubt it is the issue.
    The braking power I doubt have much to do with the Veloce calipers. Brake pad composition, road conditions (wet or dry), adjustment and cleanliness of the rim are bigger factors in my experience. Kool Stop and Swissstop tend to get good reviews. I wouldn't be suprised if some of your co-riders might have some you could try. If you have problems braking even with your hands at the bottom of the levers (thats quite abit of leverage) I don't think it is so much of a strength issue.
    To take care of the rear quick release I'd carry a pair of pliers. You could easily double or tripple the torque applied that way which should be sufficient. The right type of pliers should be able to handle both the nut and the lever. I know you know much or all of this stuff but for me at least it helps to get lists from other people of things to try to adjust.

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  15. Thighs don't fit - Keirin Cut Jeans!

    Just to keep it running - I know this falls under the Mechanical Aptitude moniker but someone should take of the threaded nut and sharpen the teeth with a file for more bite. Chomp. And clean or sand the dropout surface.

    As for braking I'm not a fan of Campy pads but am a fan of their brake design. I'm running Kool Stop Salmons on the front which are too grabby for some. Might try KS regular formulation. Ye can't send it if there ain't no postage stamp.

    As a tool that got you this farm, the bike has served its purpose. Twice.

    I think it's time to graduate and not piss any more money up a rope.

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    1. It was absolutely fantastic to read through Beth Bikes! just as I was bemoaning the thigh problem.

      Installing kool-stops is the plan. Though the seemingly similar Chorus brakes + levers on the Seven worked fine with the regular pads.

      I agree that the bike has served its purpose even if I end up getting a different one.

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  16. It's hard to know for sure without a profile shot but it looks very much like the fork has too little trail for the head angle. You'd expect better from a name such as Moser but the fact is he never was a frame builder, bike manufacturer or designer. Though he might have chosen the colours... Many bike companies make this and other stupid errors in this area. The most common in recent years being the fitting of short rigid forks to bikes designed for sus forks. I know of several models here in the UK, from respected brands which should know better. Bikes which handle like sh!t and catch a pedal in a corner.

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  17. I'm a little uncomfortable with your description of how tight you have to clamp the QR to hold the wheel. QR levers aren't really designed for massive force and they can break unexpectedly in a variety of places. I'll second one of the other commentor's suggestion to try another QR skewer.

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  18. It is hard for us to measure the head angle correctly, because the frame is so small that that are is very cramped. But yes, it looks slack. I had this bike with me when Rob (owner of Seven) was at the Ride Studio Cafe one time, and he did say the front end geometry was what was most likely causing the handling on descents I am describing.

    That said, you have to take all of this in context of the fact that I am actually riding the bike - it is not unridable, I just have to go somewhat slower on turns. I also think that a better cyclist could ride it fine. Again, this bike was raced for years and the guy did pretty well.

    So a part of me is hoping that I can get used to the handling and figure out how to accommodate it. But if not, I still think it is a good bike and certainly ridable. I am sure there are cyclists out there who prefer this quality even.

    Also, my Rivendell is not excellent at making turns at high speeds either. I just don't try to ride it in the same way as this bike usually, so don't encounter this issue as often.

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  19. Got curious and just checked the QR. It's not that tight. It's possible it was really loose when it shifted.

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  20. Ah hah! Just realized you have old Veloce brakes that are single pivot.

    Dual pivots FTW!

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  21. some thins:

    wheels slipping -
    your problem probably isn't the dropouts; it's more likely your choice of qr's. those vento wheels, i'd wager, have a newfangled aluminum exposed cam lever.

    those look pretty, but don't develop enough clamping force to secure a wheel in a horizontal dropout. see http://sheldonbrown.com/skewers.html

    handling -
    "sluggish" steering can be either a function of the frame or the rider or both. slack head angles and little trail lead to "heavy" steering at speed which can actually be a desirable characteristic if you're going *really* fast.

    the rider can also cause the same problem by improper weight distribution. lack of weight on the front wheel tends to make the bike track wide through a turn. move yo' bod forward to turn.

    bottle bosses (or lack thereof)-
    my $.02 is to just enjoy the frame as it is, as it's obviously second hand. you'd be better off ordering another mercian than going through the hassle of modifying the moser.

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  22. As a diagnostic try a different QR from the stable and see if it's any better. If there's a big difference don't use the Campy unless you can diagnose and correct the problem. I can tell you the QR is the same calendar age as the wheel but has not been used that much, I didn't care for the grey finish.

    Big guys with big hands can't feel little problems with QRs.

    If you keep on riding your hands will get stronger, Racers always end up with meat hooks.

    If you get lower gears and use them your legs will get smaller. Or at least they'll stop getting bigger. Going up a hill in a too big gear is the same as doing a weightlifter's workout. Cyclists don't want to have to lift the bulk over the next hill. Spinning really does peel off bulk.

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  23. Are you sure the matter of the handling on the descents isn't just a matter of you having gotten used to the handling of the low trail bike you were riding? More trail = more resistance to turning at high speeds.

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  24. would wider handlebars get you greater leverage for your turns?

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  25. did you ask any friends to ride this bike on descents and get their opinions about it's unwillingness to turn?

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  26. I was going to mention the headset thing, but I see that has already been addressed. Those seem like very long cranks for somebody your size. Do they work OK for you? I'm 6-2 and most of my bikes have 170mm cranks, except for the fixed gear,which has 165.

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  27. If the axle is threaded too far offset from center in the wheel, it can obstruct the function of the skewer because one end of the axle may approach being flush with the face of the dropout. The skewer relies on the axle ending before reaching the outer edge of each dropout.

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  28. In spite of the issues you noted, the bike, as you said, does still beckon you to ride-ride-ride. So if you do decide to hang onto it and make some mods, I wouldn't be in a rush to repaint it; that bike has got character.

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  29. I have a similar go-fast bike, built around a '84 Trek 560 frame but with modern wheels and drive train. I love it. The bike never holds me back (though I sometimes hear it whining at me to pick up the pace).

    Sounds like you have the braking issue figured out. KoolStop Salmon pads will make all the difference.

    As for the too-high stem, a good hacksaw can solve that problem. I've done it successfully a couple of times. You just have to make sure you don't cut it too short for the threads on the stem bolt.

    And the bottle cage issue is also a pretty easy one. Do some research on Rivnuts. They are a quick easy way to mount a water bottle without ugly clamps, or needing to repaint after braising on proper bosses. Some will say you shouldn't do that to a good vintage frame but if you're willing to braise on new bosses and repaint then you shouldn't shy away from drilling a couple holes and putting in rivnuts.

    Of course all that said, if the handling doesn't work for you, you should really get yourself a new frame that handles they way you like.

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  30. Sell the Moser and get a titanium racer toot sweet! You deserve it. Life is short.

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  31. Re. handling: be aware that with horizontal drop-outs, in effect you also have a bike with adjustable wheel-base. Moving the rear wheel fore or aft could have a major impact on handling, just as you describe. Even as little as two or three millimeters!

    My own go-fast bike (Richard Sachs) rides like a dream with the wheel mounted in the sweet-spot, but the handling turns to crap with the wheel not perfectly set up.

    Jan

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  32. Just as an extra, beyond the mechanical stuff, I picked up a rubber and velcro connected bottle cage at the trek store a couple years ago for my mixte and have been using it on my old steel frame that has only one set of bosses. I don't love the way it looks, but i did not want to put a metal clamp on the newly painted frame. it is unfortunate i noticed it after the repaint.

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  33. Good point Somervillain@5:!0 I've seen this happen many times and can be easily fixed with a washer.

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  34. GRJ: they are dual pivot. She also has another set of Campy dual pivot brakes (different group, forgot which) on a different bike and also considers them weak. I am not sure why the Seven's brakes felt perfect/stronger and why these two feel weaker. All the rims have machined surfaces.

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    1. The other brakes I have are also Veloce, but an older model. They are on my Mercian and work similarly to the Moser's brakes - but on the Mercian it doesn't matter as it's fixed and I don't descend nearly as fast.

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  35. I didn't see this suggestion as I skimmed the prior comments, so I'll offer up a way to steepen the head tube angle a little bit: run a larger tire in the rear. I'm building a vintage Lambert that may get a 28/25 combo. It's also a nice bit of extra cushioning if the pavement is sub-par.

    I've had great results chopping down a tall stem. To be safe, measure and mark a new minimum insertion line above the old one, raising the mark by the measurement of the piece you removed. Find a shorter stem bolt if needed, and you are good to go.

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  36. Hmm, could the braking issue be b/c the Seven had shorter reach brakes? The ones on your Moser look long in comparison.

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  37. "did you ask any friends to ride this bike on descents and get their opinions about it's unwillingness to turn?"

    Yes, one. He thought it was a fine bike, but racy and he generally does not care for racing bikes.

    I want to stress again that the handling characteristic I've described is within the range of normal handling, otherwise I simply would not ride the bike.

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  38. This is a bit of a long shot, but have you tried countersteering to setup the bike when cornering at speed? A little push on the side of the bar on the inside of the turn should help lean the bike over.

    Sheldon Brown's glossary has a pretty good summary:
    http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_cn-z.html

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    1. Yes, countersteering is a standard technique on (much heavier) motorcycles. Actualy, one countersteer on a bicycle oo, but it's mostly instinctive
      It may helps to overcome that sluggishness.

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  39. Sounds like you're on the fence with this one :) Wonderful bike....fun ride....but enough little things you know could be better which will keep you pining for another Seven!

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  40. MDI/V, got it. I noticed, like another commenter, this set looks med or long reach, which makes a big dif. Short reach is much more positive feeling in general. Less flex.

    Could also be the newer arms are stiffer, irrespective of reach.

    Have found different machine alu rims to behave differently w/the same brakes/pads.

    Lots of variables.

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  41. Oh, one other thing about descending - if you can comfortably be in the drops while being able to reach the brakes you've got enough weight on the front wheel for it to handle properly.

    But do descend in the drops if possible, as your drop isn't extreme.

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  42. I'm blaming this piss poor laptop for that and numerous typos. Fine. And blogger.

    Oh, one more thing: iffin you clean the rims/pads w/Simple Green or isopropyl/water it's gonna stop betterer. Franny needs some lurve.

    I have nothing more to say on the subject.

    I really

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  43. Check out your photos...

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lovely_bicycle/6456309543/in/set-72157628282227287

    and

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lovely_bicycle/6721273999/in/photostream/

    there's a difference in brake reach and couldn't find an example from the seven, but as GRJ says there are differences in stiffness. just saying.

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  44. Another thing (easily fixed) that can affect braking is if you have sharp bends in brake cables or cable housings. It doesn't look like that's the case on the front but you could check the back.
    It does sound as if you like the bike. Personally I have found that getting really used to a bike or a major change in it (like going to fat studded winter tires from slicks) can take quite a bit of time. I can ride my cx commuter bike much more aggressively now than when I first got it.
    If you worry about rust give it some zinc spray on the inside of the frame. The zinc will oxidize instead of the iron. You could also apply some sort of water repellant coating on top of the zinc.

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  45. Take the Moser to Ride Studio and park it next to your old Seven. Compare reach, saddle to bars.

    If you sit more compactly you will have more control.

    As a trivial demonstration hold your arm fully stretched in front of you and pull. Now bring your hand back a few inches and pull again. More power, more muscles engaged. Or try painting a canvas at arms length with a foot long brush. Not so good. You need to be closer for fine control.

    Nitto stems stamped 11 usually measure 11.7. This applies to most Japanese quill stems.

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  46. "I am not sure why the Seven's brakes felt perfect/stronger and why these two feel weaker."

    Long shot, but it could be lower quality cables and housing. Some housing will compress quite a bit under breaking and this soaks up a fair bit of the force of your hands so less ends up at the caliper. Good quality housing/cables will give a much crisper and responsive feel. Also making sure that there are good ferrules where needed.

    I'm also going to second other's impression from the photos that these are longer reach calipers (and the pads are way down at the end of the arms as well.) But of course, photos can be deceiving.

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  47. Could also be simply that the Seven is, what, 3-4 lbs lighter and thus easier to slow or stop?? Who knows!

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    1. Noooo could that really play a role? What about my weight on the bike?

      I did notice though that the braking power on my Rivendell diminished considerably when the bike is loaded, so it may not be that far fetched.

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    2. Weight should have some effect but I believe the relationship to stopping distance should be linear with respect to the weight so the difference in stopping distance due to weight would be (3 to 4 lbs)/(bike + rider weight)=just a few percent.

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    3. Oh I forgot to add, the above case is assuming that the amount of friction is constant even with the added weight. If you account for the added friction (that is the brakes or tires have not reached their limit in stopping power) due to weight I believe that implies braking distance is constant as long as the coefficient of friction is constant between the two weights.

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  48. To save some money, you could cut the stem quill a little shorter with a hacksaw. Depending on how much you cut, you may need to get a new stem bolt. Surely Harris Cyclery would have one in a used part bin.
    My guess is that lowering your stem will improve the bike's handling.

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  49. How safe do you suppose is hacksawing a stem? It has all sorts of rounded surfaces at the end to reduce and distribute stress.

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  50. I was a past owner of a bike with Campy Veloce components, and I felt aftermarket brake pads were far superior to the stock models. Kool Stops were my favorite.

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  51. "Noooo could that really play a role? What about my weight on the bike?

    I did notice though that the braking power on my Rivendell diminished considerably when the bike is loaded, so it may not be that far fetched."

    Do you think the difference between a 170mm and a 175mm crank matters? How about one tire vs. another? One kind of tubing vs. another? Bottom bracket drop? Tube angles? Seems everything comes into play to some extent making one set-up/bike feel 'odd' in relation to another.

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  52. What sort of stem tightening wedge does your stem have, cylinder shape like Cinelli or ITM (see: http://www.benscycle.net/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=188_263_1332_892&zenid=118396b816ac92e8f6c... ) or the angular wedge like Nitto (see http://www.benscycle.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1362&zenid=118396b816ac92e8f6c...)? If I remember correctly the Nitto had a longer insertion with the wedge than the Cinelli with the barrel wedge. Maybe the ITM Moser pantographed stem at Ben's is also shorter.

    A track style stem with a steep drop could also be an answer to your desire to lower your bar in such a short headtube.

    If you do decide to cut the stem (which I've successfully done before) and you have the Cinelli-style then you should make sure to drill an analgous hole further up along the stem like there is along the stem to ensure that the added cut along the slits that the wedge spreads apart prevents a crack from forming. I used a friend's machine shop with a drill press and metal saws to do the deed. A frame builder should have the equipment. Don't forget to file the burs down after your cuts.

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  53. Hi. I've not read all the comments as I'm just catching up for the week.

    Just wanted to mention that one of my regular riders has a similar "turn in" problem on higher speed curves. I found soon found that putting pressure on the side of the bar facing the inside of the curve helped turn in significantly. I now regularly descend confidently on this bike in the mountains at 35-50 mph without fear of drifting to the outside of the curve and off the road. Worth giving technique a try versus altering the bike.
    Best,
    Bill in Roswell, GA

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  54. Maybe a bit late to the party, but chrome on the dropouts causes, more often than not, slippage of the QR axle. Therefore, sand it off.

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