Poor Road Surface and Frame Damage

pmorgan1
pmorgan1 Posts: 173
edited August 2010 in Road beginners
Hi all (particularly city-dwellers)

For the time being forced to do inner city laps where the road surface quality is probably one of the worst that can be found here in London - massive jolts where my bum detaches from the seat when going over the patch work - in practice can't go faster than 17mph when can do almost twice that on a flat surface.

Is there a pedalling technique, or perhaps different wheel config that can help? (Currently on 23c Armadillos @125psi.)

Also started noticing that after about every 40 miles my indexing adjustments on both derailleurs go completely out of sync - I assume due to the extreme vibration sustained by the bike. How damaging is it to the rest of the frame? The bike is fairly new (1 year), so far no signs (touch the wood).

Same goes for my back - surely this is not good for it?

Miss those windy country roads with rolling hills.....

Thanks,

Comments

  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    Up here, the roads urban and rural can also be atrocious.... but not on a constant scale as you describe.
    Maybe take the tyre pressure a little down.
    Maybe think of using 25's.
    A relaxed body will help in absorbing road hits, but they are never going to be pleasant.
    Sounds if you are riding a little tensed up 'cos you know whats going to hit you and perhaps that is affecting your ride position and hence back/ neck discomfort.
    Have can of fluorescent spraypaint with you to mark out the worst to avoid next time...maybe someone will take a hint and repair as it should be
    Gears going out of tune... well that is something down to what you have on your bike.
    My 6700 Ultegra has stood up well to some severe road use and has not needed any adjustment apart from a slight cable nip in or out at the adjuster and I take the wheels off very often as well as removing chain.

    Taking it easy over the worst bits is the only thing to do as no one in right mind wants to chuck abuse at your own bike... not having the glory of a pro team backup for those Roubaix moments.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Armadillos are reknowned for their 'solid' ride - running them at 125psi will just rattle your fillings out! Try dropping pressure e.g. 95 front, 100 rear. In terms of riding style, keep your weight well back and drive through from your quads - keep a big gear turning rather than spinning. Learn to 'unweight' your bike in advance of rough stuff - your bike will easily cope with the conditions BTW.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Christ! It's making my teeth rattle just reading 23c Armadillos @125psi.
    I'd fit some 25's if the bike will take them, and run as low a pressure as you can get away with, especially the front. Pedalling at a lower cadence / higher gear will make it easier to take more of your weight on the pedals to give your hands and backside a break over the worst stuff. You probably do this instinctively anyway.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    +1 on the PSI - knock it down to 95 or so !

    And dont sit in the saddle like a sack of spuds - use your legs as suspension - 'lift' your weight slightly over the rough stuff.

    And I'd go to 25mm or so just for a bigger airpocket.

    I cant see that you could damage a frame without crashing it though - so relax about that.
  • pmorgan1
    pmorgan1 Posts: 173
    keef66 wrote:
    Christ! It's making my teeth rattle just reading 23c Armadillos @125psi.
    I'd fit some 25's if the bike will take them, and run as low a pressure as you can get away with, especially the front. Pedalling at a lower cadence / higher gear will make it easier to take more of your weight on the pedals to give your hands and backside a break over the worst stuff. You probably do this instinctively anyway.

    That's exactly how I felt having switched to Armadillos - thought I'd get a concussion. A year later, still sane, still that crazy about the bike :)

    So I understand the frame will be OK, how bad is it for the back if I'm doing it on a regular basis (guess same as commuting, except sometimes I try to keep the speed up).

    The rims are 14s (I think? - no inside rating on the rim.....)
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    If you use your legs to 'unweight' by rising slightly out of the saddle you should take the sting out the bigger hits - after a while it should be instinctive, take the strain off your back and you'll get stronger too! Couldn't recommend fitting a bigger tyre enough - a 25mm tyre has 60% greater volume than a 23mm - will roll just as fast but is a lot less likely to puncture and will easily copy with lower pressure of 90-100psi.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,599
    Watch some clips from Paris Roubaix and see how they sit on their bikes on the Pave.

    Hands flat, resting on top of the bars with a little elbow bend. Nice solid cadence, nothing too high or too low.

    Let the bike move underneath you, rather than trying to wrestle it over.
  • Buckled_Rims
    Buckled_Rims Posts: 1,648
    I live in the middle of a large town, I feel your pain.

    The roads around here haven't been swept for ages and all grit and crap are near the kerb. Drains are unlooked at and are subsiding. Cheap tarmac repairs common. Potholes never repaired even with cheap repairs!

    Currently use 25mm on one bike (a cyclocross) and 23mm on the other (CAAD9) - guess what i use if I stay around the town?

    Learn to look well ahead for bad road parts, have a good look over your shoulder for traffic and, if safe, ride around the bad area. The indexing problems I have are usually the stretched cable type rather then the constant hammering.

    I'm more concerned with grit being flicked up and chipping the paint, I've had a few chips but not bad. I prefer the cyclocross for some roads as it feels indestructible, but I might put 28mm tyres when the 25mm wears out.
    CAAD9
    Kona Jake the Snake
    Merlin Malt 4
  • snailracer
    snailracer Posts: 968
    You could try a sprung saddle.