Spin Doctor Tech Tip – 10 Speed MTB Drivetrain Compatibility

Spin DoctorIS TEN TOO MANY?

The 2 snarling dogs of mountain bike components (SRAM and Shimano) have decided that 9 are just not enough. Yep, they are telling us that our mountain bikes need 10 gears in the back.

The first whisperings came in 2008 when bike mags and blogs hinted at the change. Late in 2009 SRAM trotted out its high-zoot XX 2×10 drivetrain. Then in 2010 SRAM expanded their 2 x10 offerings to include their X0, X9 and X7 groups.

Then the cold war turned hot! Could or would Shimano stand pat? No way, and in 2010 out comes Shimano’s 10-speed Dyna-Sys drivetrain in their top shelf XTR and XT cross country groups and in their SLX all-mountain group.

According to the early reviews these groups work great but what about compatibility? We’ll try to answer those questions but first let us introduce the new…

SRAM 2×10. The 2×10 is so-called because it pairs a double chainring crankset with a 10 speed cassette. The surprising thing about SRAM’s 2×10 drivetrains is that they have pretty much the same range of easy and hard gears as traditional 3×9 systems.

How is that possible?  First, the 10-speed cassette has an extra cog and a wider range (11-36 vs. 11-34 for the old 9-speed). And second, the double cranks have a wide jump between small and large rings.  The double is available in either a higher 28-42 or a bit lower 26-39 tooth combinations.  Traditional triples are 22-32-44.

SRAM XX 10-speed Cassette - Item #50-7639

Here’s SRAM’s take: “2X10 gives you the same amount of useable gears of a 3X9 system but with lighter weight, faster front shifting and less complexity.”  According to SRAM the 2X10 would not be possible without their new X Glide chainrings (which use a unique 4-bolt 120/80mm bolt circle diameter). These specially mated rings are sized so every tooth on the small ring lines up perfectly with a tooth on the big ring. Plus the teeth are shaped to facilitate each shift, either up or down.

SRAM XX 39/26 BB30 Crankset - Item #50-7620

The good news is that 2×10 is lighter, simpler and its shifting is synapse-quick, but there are compatibility issues. SRAM’s 10-speed drivetrain components are all cross-compatible, with a few exceptions:

1. The 2×10 drivetrains require a double left hand shifter, double crank with the X-Glide rings, 10-speed chain and double front derailleur.

SRAM XX Low Clamp Top Pull Front Derailleur - Item #50-7635 (next to old X9 triple front derailleur)

2. Their 3×10 drivetrains require a triple left hand shifter, 10-speed triple crank, 10-speed chain and triple front derailleur.

3. In a switch, SRAM’s 10-speed mountain bike derailleurs (XX, X0, X9 & X7) are now compatible with their 10-speed road shifters (Red, Force, Rival & Apex). So you can use Rival shifters with a XX rear derailleur and wide range X7 10-speed cassette for mountain centuries.

SRAM XX Rear Derailleur - Item #50-7616

4. And the bummer, their 10-speed MTB derailleurs are not compatible with their 9-speed MTB drivetrains!

SHIMANO Dyna-Sys. Shimano revamped all the key parts of their 10-speed Dyna-Sys drivetrain. They have created cassettes, front and rear derailleurs, shifters, chains and cranks that are unique and essential to the operation of the system.

The rear derailleur got a more direct cable routing (like SRAM), their shifter actuation ratio got tighter (like SRAM), their cranks got redesigned chainrings (like SRAM), their cassette got a wider range (11-36 like SRAM) and their D-S cranks are available in both 2X10 (D-S XTR only) and 3X10 (like SRAM). They also redesigned their Dyna-Sys specific asymmetrical chain (not like SRAM). The D-S chain got 4 distinctly different outer plates to speed shifting. Their triple cranks got tighter ratios (24-32-42 vs. 22-32-44) and their brand new D-S XTR double is available in multiple combinations (28-40 & 26-38 are options, with 4-bolt 88mm BCD) with ranges like SRAM.

As far as compatibility, Shimano’s Dyna-Sys products are only compatible with components in the Dyna-Sys lineup, from XTR to SLX. They are not compatible with any other parts, such as using a Dyna-Sys derailleur with 9-speed shifters.  The only part that has not changed is the front/left shifter.  It has remained the same and does not include a Dyna-Sys logo.

1. The Shimano Dyna-Sys XTR 2×10 drivetrain requires a Shimano D-S XTR left hand shifter (that is convertible for double or triple), Dyna-Sys XTR double front derailleur, D-S 10-speed chain and Shimano XTR double crank.

2. Their 3×10 drivetrains require a triple left hand shifter, 10-speed D-S triple crank, 10-speed D-S chain and Shimano D-S triple front derailleur.

3. In a switch, Shimano’s D-S 10 speed rear derailleurs (XTR, XT and SLX) are NOT compatible with Shimano road shifters nor with other non-D-S MTB shifters.

We hope that this clears up some of the questions you’ve got about these new 10-speed mountain bike components, but if you need more help be sure to give Spin Doctor Product Services a call; they’ll be happy to help!

You can find all of our 10-speed mountain bike components in one handy group here.

Spin Doctor Mechanic Profile – Ed Kajioka

Spin DoctorOur Oceanside, CA store’s Spin Doctor-certified lead mechanic, Ed Kajioka, has been a professional bike mechanic since 1992.  A native of the sunny shores of Hawaii, Ed is truly passionate about our sport and enjoys riding bikes as much as he enjoys wrenching on them as a Performance Spin Doctor.

He’s excited about turning people on to cycling, and helping them in any way he can: whether that means repairing or upgrading their bikes, or simply talking about the places he rides.  As an extremely experienced mechanic, Ed relishes the challenge of maximizing the performance of his customers’ bikes.

Ed’s top-notch mechanic skills include everything from performing basic tune-ups to custom wheel builds and fork overhauls. Ed will work on any type of bike without prejudice, from an $89 bike to an $8,900 bike purchased at another shop.

Of course Ed also loves to ride, and he participates in all cycling disciplines at a high level. His mountain bike handling skills are second to none, and you can often find him taming the singletrack on the trails around Lake Calaveras.  Ed has even been known to mix it up at the local BMX park or on a nighttime urban assault ride.  And as if that isn’t enough, he’s also super strong and fast on a road bike.

Ed’s passion is cycling, any type of cycling,so if you drop by our Oceanside store, be sure to head back to the Spin Doctor counter and say hello…  your bike will thank you! And if you ever get the chance to ride with Ed, you don’t want to pass it up!

Spin Doctor In-Store Clinic – Traveling with your bike and gear

Spin DoctorEvery month, your local Performance Bicycle store has a free in-store clinic about an array of cycling topics, from basic bike maintenance to more advanced subjects like adjusting your derailleur.  Having just returned from a trip to France, this author was interested by the latest clinic topic, “traveling with your bike and gear”.  Our Spin Doctor in-store clinics can vary a bit according to who attends and what specifics they want to learn, but in this post I wanted to cover the topic that caused me much trepidation before I headed overseas with my bike: packing up my bike in a bike case.

Bringing your own bike on a trip is always the best, since you will be comfortable with your bike right away and all you need to worry about is enjoying the ride at your destination.  But I, like many people, was worried about packing up my bike securely for my big trip.  It turns out that it’s really not that difficult a process, and only takes a little planning once you have seen it demonstrated.  With that in mind, I headed over to our Chapel Hill, NC store this past Thursday, the night of the latest Spin Doctor clinic, to enlist the help of one of our friendly store employees, Brian, in shooting a short video on how to pack up a bike in a travel case.

Before we get to the video, though, I wanted to go over a few lessons I learned while traveling with my bike (specifically if you are traveling by plane):

  1. Be vigilant of anything that can rub together in your case–friction is your enemy and your case will undoubtedly be tossed around a bit if you are checking your bike on an airplane.  I ended up with a some scuffed up spokes when I unpacked my bike in France, as I neglected to pack my wheels in wheel bags for protection.
  2. Be aware of weight and size restrictions for checked luggage, as these vary by airline.  It’s best to know what the listed rate is for a particular airline, to avoid being overcharged, but I also found that sometimes airline personnel will simply check in your bike as a second piece of checked luggage (which is much cheaper than the bike-specific fee) as long as you are below the over-weight limit, normally 50 lbs.
  3. Put a bunch of stickers or other identifying markers all over your bike case–odds are if you are traveling to a bike-friendly locale, someone else will be too, so having a distinctive mark on your own case helps alleviate any confusion upon arrival (since big black or gray bike cases tend to look the same!)

In terms of the actual process of packing up a bike in a case, it’s actually less intimidating than you might first think.  All you need to do the job is a little patience and a set of allen/hex wrenches (plus possibly a set of open-end wrenches and/or a pedal wrench).  To disassemble your bike for packing you will need to be able to remove your:

  • seat post (don’t forget to mark your post height)
  • wheels and skewers
  • pedals
  • stem (you can leave your handlebars attached to your stem & just remove the entire stem/handlebar assembly from the fork steerer tube–just remember to screw in the headset top cap after removing the stem)

For some cases you will also need to remove the rear derailleur to avoid any damage (to the derailleur or the derailleur hanger).  Then it’s just a matter of situating the bike in the case so everything fits comfortably (which can vary from case to case).

But I find that it’s easier to actually see how the process works after reading a description, so we put together this short video that shows how to pack a Pro Bike Case for travel.  You may need to tweak these instructions for different case designs, but the basic concepts should remain the same no matter what case you use (although most cases don’t have a handy inner stabilizer frame).  And don’t worry, if you still have questions about packing up your bike, just head down to your local Performance store or give Spin Doctor Product Services a call; they’ll be happy to help!

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Spin Doctor Mechanic Profiles – Jason Randall

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For today’s Spin Doctor bicycle mechanic profile, allow us to introduce Jason Randall from the Tyson’s Corner, VA store. Jason has been wrenching for 15 years, and he’s ready for any job that comes his way, be it big or small.  So if you are in the Tyson’s Corner store, be sure to head back to the Spin Doctor area and say hello to Jason (sorry, we made a mistake with our original post when we said that Jason worked in the new Columbia, MD store).

When did you start with Performance?

2004.

How did you get started in cycling?

I hung around a local shop everyday, all day, taking out their trash and absorbing all of the info I could until they offered me a job. I was already into cycling and thought there was no better place to get more of it than in a local shop.

How long have you been cycling?

Since I was three years old. I really took it up as a hobby when I was 13.

What’s your favorite type of riding?

I started off only mountain biking, but the past few years have been mostly road.

Any racing experience?

I’ve done a few mountain bike races, mostly endurance events. Bike mechanics are normally working when everyone is racing, so one has to know that going in, and be willing to sacrifice his own racing glory and live vicariously through those bikes he prepares for the races.

Favorite places to ride?

Schaffer Farm for mountain biking, but on the road I like going out to the west from my house on some old country roads and portions of the W&OD trail. Downtown on the Mt. Vernon trail and Beech Drive are a lot of fun as well.

What’s your favorite aspect of working in a bicycle store?

Not having to wear a suit everyday! Discounts are nice, but I really like all of the people I’ve had the chance to meet. I’ve met a lot of friends working in bike shops, friends I’ll have for life.

Dream place to ride?

Italy.

Any cycling goals? Something you are working toward?

Working toward getting faster on the road, becoming a better climber, putting a hurting on my riding friends. I might also join a team and do some limited road racing this year.

Any hobbies outside of cycling?

Hanging outside with my Lab, Zoey.  Hiking, camping. I’m also into racing cars (drag and auto x) and building hot rods.

How long have you been a mechanic?

15 years, I started when I was 14 years old.

Have you wrenched for a pro team or pro cyclist?

Dave Fuentes of the Battley Harley Davidson Pro Cycling Team, plus lots of really good local guys.

Any specialties?

Attention to details and custom/pro builds. I like to think that there is no job on a bike I cant tackle. I’ve pretty much done it all, although every year the game changes, so I am always learning and adapting.

Any certifications?

I am certified Spin Doctor and I am also certified by Park Tools .

Any club affiliation?

None currently.

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Spin Doctor Mechanic Profile – Richard Richter

Spin DoctorOur Peoria, AZ retail store’s Spin Doctor, Richard Richter, is originally from Montreal, Canada. He has been riding for almost 30 years, and wrenching on bikes for nearly the same amount of time! Richard is Spin Doctor certified and has also received training from vendors such as Rock Shox, SRAM, and Mavic.  Richard is ready for any project, large or small, and he’s happy to share his vast bike knowledge.

His first bike was a Schwinn Apple Crate 5 speed, a true classic. Nowadays Richard’s most used ride is his GT Zaskar Expert, which is ridden often at Spur Cross Conservation Area near Cave Creek, AZ. This Sonoran Desert Preserve is full of multi use trails or jaunts into the wilderness if solitude is on the day’s menu. You can always expect to see plenty of wildlife such as birds, Javelina, and even the occasional bobcat. Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Assessing carbon fiber damage

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You just had your first wreck on your new carbon fiber bike. . .  is the frame ruined?

Top tube of 2010 Scattante CFR Race

There are many questions about assessing damage to carbon fiber components and frames.  Simple answers are not always possible, however Brent Downs of Advanced Sports has a good approach to finding obvious problems:

1. Check any chips or blemishes.

If only the clear coat is damaged, it can be sealed with clear nail polish.

2. Thoroughly examine the damaged area.

Are fibers exposed or is the area soft to the touch? If the fibers are damaged, then the frame or component should be replaced.

3. Tap on the frame/component at the damaged area. Then tap on a similar non-damaged area.

If the two areas sound different, there likely is damage to the carbon fiber and replacement is probably necessary.

4. Finally, if you are in any way uncertain, have the manufacturer inspect the suspect part.

That last step is probably the most important.  If you have any doubts, it’s always best to check with the experts!

Spin Doctor Mechanic Profiles – Jae Honda

Spin Doctor

For today’s mechanic profile, we’re heading out to the west coast to meet Jae Honda, a Certified Spin Doctor bicycle mechanic (and avid surfer, if you can’t catch that from the photo below).  Jae currently wrenches in our Ventura, CA store, although soon he’ll be moving, along with the rest of the store, down the coast a bit to our new Oxnard, CA location:

How long have you been a mechanic and how did you get started?

5 years. I started just working on my own bikes, then my friend’s bikes, and it just kept going.

How long have you worked for Performance?

1 year 4 months.

Where are you from?

Los Angeles, Ca. and grew up on Maui. Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Breaking In Disc Brakes

Spin Doctor

You just got new disc brakes or new pads for your old disc brakes.  But now that you’ve started riding, the brakes don’t stop like they used to. What do you do?

Well, you need to start by breaking in your new disc brakes, or, as the process is sometimes called, burnishing, burning in or bedding in. Whatever you call it, it will make your disc brakes work better by doing 3 things:

1) It will rid the pads and rotor of superficial oil, grime and contaminants that inhibit friction.

2) It will reshape the pads so that they conform more accurately to the rotors. After breaking in more of the pads will contact more of the rotor.

3) It will increase stickiness (coefficient of friction) of the system by transferring a thin, even layer of brake pad compound to the rotor. Read more of this post

Google Maps Bicycling Directions

As you may have heard, Google just announced the exciting news that bicycling is now an option on Google Maps!  Just select “Bicycling” when getting directions in Google Maps, or  just choose the “Bicycling” layer under the “More” tab when you are viewing a map (if you simply want to peruse the biking options in an area).

Basically Google has worked with many different sources to include as much data as possible about bike-friendly routes across the country.  When you select biking directions, a route is calculated based on an algorithm that attempts to factor in the specific needs of a cyclist, from utilizing bike trails and lanes to avoiding big hills.  They even give you an estimate of the time the route will take, with a fatigue factor built in!  When you are looking at a map with the biking layer turned on, use this key to decipher the bike-specific features:

  • Dark green indicates a dedicated bike-only trail;
  • Light green indicates a dedicated bike lane along a road;
  • Dashed green indicates roads that are designated as preferred for bicycling, but without dedicated lanes

Of course this feature is only in beta testing right now, so take any information with a grain of salt.  But we’ve been playing around with this feature this morning, and so far we’re pretty impressed.  Below is a map of the area around our headquarters here in Chapel Hill; the bicycling layer does a very good job of capturing bike-only trails and also includes many roads that have bike lanes or are more “bike-friendly” (at least in larger towns):

But there’s still a long way to go with this project, and Google is looking for your support.  Go online and play with the Google biking feature; try out some directions or just browse the map.

Cyclists that you are, you have the information that Google is looking for to refine this service and make it even better and more accurate (when you get biking directions, you’ll also get a prompt to report any problems or suggestions with the route). Let your voice be heard and we can make this feature better for everyone.

As the service improves, we’ll look for ways to incorporate this feature into our website, but let us know what you find while checking out your area.  Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new route to ride this afternoon!

Spin Doctor Mechanic Profiles – Dee Saunders

Spin DoctorNot that we’re at all bored with our normal Employee Profiles, but we’ve decided to add a new twist.  Starting today, we’re going to begin integrating interviews with our certified Spin Doctor mechanics into our normal routine.  Without further delay, allow us to introduce Dee Saunders, a Certified Spin Doctor bicycle mechanic from our new Downtown Portland location:

Dee Saunders

  1. How long have you been a mechanic and how did you get started? …Since I took apart my first Schwinn.  I have been taking things apart for as long as I can remember.  Fortunately, over the years, I got a lot better at putting things back together.  I can attribute my aptitude for working with my hands to my father who allowed me to tag along, and as I grew older, take the reins.
  2. How long have you worked for Performance? I have been at Performance for about 3 years! I work with the best team and have some of the best customers around! Read more of this post
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