GCN Tech Clinic: Upgrades, travel cases and rubbing disc brakes

Ollie and Alex are teaming up to answer your questions this week

Clock11:00, Thursday 3rd August 2023

Since last week, a lot has happened in the world of cycling. The second edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift concluded with a 22.6km time trial that saw Demi Vollering secure the overall yellow jersey.

This week on the Tech channel, Si has taken it upon himself to dive into why two bikes that on the surface are the same can feel so different. He went out with both the CFR and SLX variants of Canyon’s Aeroad bike to dig into what makes these two bikes feel so different.

Why do my brakes rub when riding out of the saddle?

This is a very common issue to find on road bikes and it essentially boils down to some flex in the fork or wheel paired with the tight tolerance that disc brakes operate under. Although it can be frustrating on your ears a slight rubbing whilst out of the saddle will only be marginal in its performance loss.

Either swapping out to a smaller rotor size or ever so slightly offsetting the calliper away from the offending side are quick and simple fixes to have your bike running silently again.

How do I know I’m ready to upgrade?

The eternal question that every rider faces is deciding when to splash out on some new tech to improve their bike. We like to think that fortunately there is no rule to this and you should upgrade as and when you want to.

The bigger thing to work out when contemplating upgrades is what is going to improve your riding most. There are some upgrades that will have a distinct benefit such as new wheels or tyres and others that are more of an aesthetic upgrade like bar tape, seatpost or colour matching.

Why do I need to clean my chain of grease before waxing it?

Waxing your chain has become fairly commonplace recently with clear and defined performance gains to be made, but why is it important to remove every last bit of packing grease before starting the waxing process?

Chain wax can attribute a lot of its benefits to the tungsten disulfide additive that works by smoothing the surface of the chain on a microscopic level. This massively reduces the friction of the chain as the links rotate. If there is any packing grease left on the chain this will prevent the wax from smoothing that area so it is best to ensure the chain is completely grease free before waxing.

105 Di2 vs Ultegra Mechanical

When looking to upgrade your drivetrain you will be met by a tough decision, do you go for a lower-tier electronic groupset or a higher-level mechanical groupset? There is no right or wrong with this; ultimately, it comes down to preference.

Groupsets can vary in cost significantly and getting the best kit you can at the best price is the best route to take. There are some advantages to both depending on your riding style and the conditions you ride in. Therefore, look around for the best deal, and whether it's mechanical or electronic, go for it.

How do you travel with your bikes?

When planning to jet off for a foreign cycling trip you will face the dilemma of how to travel with your bike. There are a few main options depending on budget, hard case, soft case or cardboard box.

The general consensus is that if it is an option, travelling with a hard case is the best option for overall bike safety and protection over that of a soft fabric case.

What are the fuel economy benefits of an aero bike on a car?

The cost of fuel has skyrocketed in recent years making this question an increasing concern. When travelling with your bike on top of your car, an aero bike with aero wheels will have an efficiency benefit over a regular traditional bike but is it enough to worry about?

In our opinion, whilst this might be a good excuse to treat yourself to an aero upgrade, you're probably not going to save a meaningful amount of fuel by switching to an aero bike and aero wheels.

Have a question you need answering? Head over to this week’s Tech Clinic video over on the GCN Tech YouTube channel and add your question to the comments along with #ASKGCNTECH.

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