1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    newb with some questions

    I'm pretty new and have a specialized hardrock sport w/out disc brakes. I cleaned my bike with just water and the brakes make a loud goose honking sound when I hit the brakes.. very annoying!!

    Secondly, I usually take off my front wheel when putting my bike into the truck by just squeezing the brakes in and unhooking the top of the brakes and they pop open, but now I adjusted my brakes so there is no play while pulling the brakes but I cannot open the brakes now, there is no real play between the pades and rim to give me the slack to open them. Is there another way, or do I have to use an allen wrench each time to open the brake cable.

    I know that sounds kinda wierd it's hard to explain.

  2. #2
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    Do a few fast & firm stops with the brakes, they will probably stop honking on their own.

    You can use the adjustment on the brake lever to give the cable some more slack, screw that all the way in. If that's not enough, adjust the cables at the pads to give you more room, then once you put your wheel on, you can tighten them up via the lever adjustment.

    -james
    [SIZE="1"]2000 Trek 6500 HT
    2008 Ibex Asta Comp X7 FS[/SIZE]

  3. #3
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    If you get the blocks set up at the right distance you shouldn't need to take an allen key to them often if ever. I'm assuming you mean that you loosened the cable and moved it through where it's attached and then tightened it again. Note that its generally not thought to be a good idea to do this much in case it damages the cable (causing it to snap sometime inconvenient).

    There's an adjuster (almost certainly) where the cable meets the brake lever assembly. You'll find that turning this makes the brakes move closer or further from the rim. With new blocks on you have it set so it is screwed completely in to the brake lever assembly. As the blocks wear down you can use this adjuster to take up the slack (by moving the blocks closer). Perhaps in your case set the brakes so this adjuster is almost but not completely in when the blocks are new so that perhaps you can use this adjuster to help gain a few extra millimetres when removing the wheel.

    As an aside note that one of the best bits of kit you can get if you hate doing brake block adjustments is a 'block' from which you can remove the 'rubber' bit - so a new one can be slotted into place. You then don't need to be doing any major adjustment of the blocks themselves if you are lucky (other than with the adjuster I described already). When the block wears out (which may be faster because it's thinner) you just slide a new one in - although that in itself is a pretty fiddly job requiring a bit of practice and some good technique with a pair of pliers (and probably a good bit of swearing).

    BUT there's maybe another solution to taking your wheel off. There will be a bit of outer cable casing (can't remember its proper name) which takes the cable from the levers to some kind of a stop on the frame (after which you'll see the bare cable continuing on to the brakes themselves). If you can dismount the cable casing from the stop where it meets the frame you'll probably gain a good bit of extra space between the brake blocks. What i mean is that you try to pull the cable casing away from the frame stop, and then out past the stop (most stops on the frame have a slot in them I think). To make this easy you may need to hold the brake blocks together to make the cable go slack (use the lever to help at first). This is what I'd try first if unhooking the bit you describe isn't enough on its own.

    Check also just in case there might be a button on the brake lever which would allow it to open further away from the handlebar. I have this on one old bike I own - although i haven't seen it anywhere else I'm sure I don't have the only one which exists.

    Lastly, if the other ideas don't work, investigate whether there is an easy way to detach the end of the cable which is attached to the brake lever. This may be much easier than it sounds. At the lever end of the cable it (the cable) will have a metal blob of some kind. On many brakes there's a simple way to dismount this blob, removing the cable from the brake lever assembly completely - again giving you an extra bit of an opening on the brake blocks.

    Or buy a narrower tyre.

    Hope that's helpful - sorry the explanations seem complicated. It's one of those things that would be better done with a short video or some photos or something. Actually it would take me a matter of seconds to show you. Good luck.

    Oh - and note that it's really bad if the brake block touches the tyre when you brake. Lots of people don't know that at first - but the result is eventually a very loud 'bang', a long walk home, and a new inner tube and tyre.

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