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How much brake rub does it take?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

How much brake rub does it take?

Old 07-30-19, 05:25 PM
  #1  
tigat
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How much brake rub does it take?

I had a miserable commute this morning.


Although my office is 15 miles north of my house, I decided to head south for 15 miles into the prevailing, 10 mph headwind. In the drops, geared down, it was slower and harder than I would have expected. The trip up to the north was no better. The tailwind virtually disappeared, and I struggled to hold the 50/15 gear ratio that I use on calm days.


It wasn't in my head. A guy and girl passed me like I was standing still. I caught up to a guy on a cross bike with big tires, who, once he saw me, went off like a rocket and pretty quickly had and held a 50 yard gap for a bunch of miles.


When I arrived at the office drenched in sweat, I did a quick bike check. The front brake was softly touching the rim on one side, just enough to cut a light free spin down to half of what it should have been.


Would that be enough to account for the no good, very hard day, or should I look elsewhere?
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Old 07-30-19, 05:30 PM
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Always blame the equipment !!
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Old 07-30-19, 05:37 PM
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Maybe a watt
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Old 07-30-19, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Always blame the equipment !!
At this time of year(in Phoenix) I just blame the heat. When late September rolls around, my average speed seems to jump by 2-3mph.
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Old 07-30-19, 06:25 PM
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Didn't sleep well
Cold coming on
Not enough caffeine
Poor choice of breakfast
Crosswinds
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Old 07-30-19, 06:30 PM
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Dirty chain. It’s a killer.
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Old 07-30-19, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by DOS View Post
Didn't sleep well
Cold coming on
Not enough caffeine
Poor choice of breakfast
Crosswinds
I used all of those excuses last Saturday(except the cold). Luckily, I wasn't the only one that "not feeling it" that day.

We did 42 miles before calling it enough. No one wanted to be the first to throw in the towel.
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Old 07-30-19, 06:34 PM
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"I started the day with a hydration deficit" is my favorite.

Literally translated from bike-speak to English it means, "I have a nasty hangover."


-Tim-
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Old 07-30-19, 06:35 PM
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Unsatisfactory poop.
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Old 07-30-19, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Unsatisfactory poop.
that's everyday.

It takes me 3 hours to prep for a morning ride.
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Old 07-30-19, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
I used all of those excuses last Saturday(except the cold). Luckily, I wasn't the only one that "not feeling it" that day.

We did 42 miles before calling it enough. No one wanted to be the first to throw in the towel.
The cold one is an actual experience. Woke up and went out for my weekend ride feeling sluggish. Suffered the whole ride, rubber banding with the group for 40 miles. Got home and went about my day. Woke up next morning with low grade fever and a raging sore throat. I was so relieved.
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Old 07-30-19, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by DOS View Post
The cold one is an actual experience. Woke up and went out for my weekend ride feeling sluggish. Suffered the whole ride, rubber banding with the group for 40 miles. Got home and went about my day. Woke up next morning with low grade fever and a raging sore throat. I was so relieved.
+1

I've been there.

this past Saturday it was 90 degrees and humid(for Phoenix) at 6am. None of us really wanted to ride, but peer pressure is powerful.
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Old 07-30-19, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
that's everyday.
Man, I haven't done a good poop in months. Months!

Starting to think the good-poopin days are behind me.

sadfase.gif
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Old 07-30-19, 07:21 PM
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As long as we’re sharing, if I sleep normal hours in my own bed, pooping is urgent, complete, and a 3 minute operation, skin to skin. However, if those conditions do not obtain, anything can happen. I once went five days on a rough ocean race, after things went pear-shaped for a while and the toilet snapped off at deck level under the owner.
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Old 07-30-19, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
That covers it
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Old 07-30-19, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
Man, I haven't done a good poop in months. Months!

Starting to think the good-poopin days are behind me.

sadfase.gif
I was hit by a truck 5 years ago, and I've never been the same since then.

Luckily, that and the hernia issues, are the only medical problems from that wreck,
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Old 07-30-19, 08:09 PM
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How about that brake rub, huh?

Back on topic, I have no idea how much brake rub would account for the OP's experience but any rub is too much IMO.

As with 99.9% of all BF-road questions, the real answer is to get a power meter and then you will know for sure.

Either a power meter or a bike fit. Bike fits are the solution to almost anything. A good bike fit can easily overcome rubbing brakes and can even unstick a seized seatpost. The only real question is, "When is the last time you had a bike fit?"


-PAX-

Last edited by TimothyH; 07-30-19 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 07-30-19, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
"I started the day with a hydration deficit" is my favorite.

Literally translated from bike-speak to English it means, "I have a nasty hangover."


-Tim-
I started up a hiking trail about 6:30 am this past Saturday. Finally got to the other end of the trail, where my car was, at 5:30 Sunday morning. Didn't stop to camp, hiked through the night, got lost in the woods for a while around 1 am. 30 miles, 6 k feet of ascent, 10 or 11 k of descent.

I had a Monday mountain hangover.
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Old 07-31-19, 04:52 PM
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It doesn't take much brake rub to cause the aforementioned symptoms. I had a similar experience, never suspecting brake rub until I realized how slow and tired i was from that simple ride.
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Old 07-31-19, 07:31 PM
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Depends on the brake design. Some will nudge aside easily, others tend to drag more heavily. If your brakes have an adjustable opening (rather than simple open/closed quick release for wheel changes), you can experiment. Ride awhile with the brakes rubbing. Then open the calipers so there's no chance of brake rub (but still have at least some braking) and ride awhile longer. Switch back and forth, see if you notice any real difference.

But it may have just been a bad day, for all the reasons so colorfully described above.

In my experience, all things being otherwise equal, I can usually attribute riding slower to wind resistance. I don't have any aero kit or skin suits, but I do notice a significant difference between my snug fitting jerseys and t-shirt-fit casual jerseys, especially if there's any headwind -- even 5 mph is enough to make some difference. Or if my back, neck and shoulders are more stiff and achy than usual, I'm probably sitting more upright. And if that stuff is stiff and achy, my ergonomics are probably terrible and I'm just not able to put out the usual power and smooth cadence. My ortho doc, PT doc and chiropractor have all commented on my injuries, terrible skeletal alignment and cyclist posture, so I'm working on it. They're trying to make me "better." I'm just trying to get faster.
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Old 07-31-19, 07:35 PM
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BTW, y'all pooper troopers slogging through the GI trenches... assuming you haven't already done so, try the same simple breakfast every day for a week or so: oatmeal with bananas and yogurt (I prefer unsweetened Greek yogurt for the extra protein). Sure works for me. And as soon as I get bored with that combo or forget to restock the supplies, within a day or so the pooper troopers are losing discipline, late for muster, out of uniform, going AWOL at irregular hours or confined to quarters for days at a time.
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