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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    Is there something wrong with my bike - pedalling backwards

    So I picked up a 2010 Specialized Rockhopper. Seems like a great bike. But one thing that is bugging me is what it does when I pedal backwards. On my old 90's Giant Upland back pedaling is smooth, but on the RH it isn't check out these videos to see what I mean.

    Is this normal or is something wrong with it?

    Giant



    Rockhopper


  2. #2
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    my 2011 RH does same thing dont know why

  3. #3
    FKA Malibu412
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    You might wnat to take it to a shop for some adjustment work and ask them to show you the basics about what to look for and how to do it.
    "I love the bike. It's my meditation. I think I'm bike-sexual." -Robin Williams

  4. #4
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    Your freehub needs service. The bearings might be going bad, or there might be gunky build up, or something else; but the freehub isn't freely freewheeling like it should

  5. #5
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    Why would you pedal backward like that? Until it becomes an issue while you are riding then just run it. It becomes an issue when you are coasting and the chain starts to slack on the top part of the chain. Bikes aren't made to pedal backward like that, the Giant does it well because it probably doesn't have any grease left in the freehub/freewheel.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  6. #6
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    Why would you pedal backward like that? Until it becomes an issue while you are riding then just run it. It becomes an issue when you are coasting and the chain starts to slack on the top part of the chain. Bikes aren't made to pedal backward like that, the Giant does it well because it probably doesn't have any grease left in the freehub/freewheel.
    A properly maintained and properly functioning freehub should always look the like the Giant does in those videos

    For me, pedaling backwards to ratchet the cranks is a normal part of trail riding, though that doesn't move the cranks nearly as far as those example videos.

    Either way, why wait for a problem to become serious when there are already signs of trouble with the freehub? If/when it does fail or seize up he could be left walking home.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    For me, pedaling backwards to ratchet the cranks is a normal part of trail riding, though that doesn't move the cranks nearly as far as those example videos. A properly maintained and properly functioning freehub should always look the like the Giant does in those videos

    Either way, why wait for a problem to become serious when there are already signs of trouble with the freehub? If/when it does fail or seize up he could be left walking home
    Sure, a half or sometimes a full rotation at a time. Not extended backward pedaling, derallieur bikes are not made to be able to do that. The springs don't properly hold tension in that direction.

    And who says there is a problem with the freehub? My guess is that it works properly in the forward direction. If you're worried, have a shop check it out.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  8. #8
    FKA Malibu412
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    A shop can help you.
    Last edited by Glide the Clyde; 02-01-2011 at 02:04 PM.
    "I love the bike. It's my meditation. I think I'm bike-sexual." -Robin Williams

  9. #9
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    Sure, a half or sometimes a full rotation at a time. Not extended backward pedaling, derallieur bikes are not made to be able to do that. The springs don't properly hold tension in that direction.

    And who says there is a problem with the freehub? My guess is that it works properly in the forward direction. If you're worried, have a shop check it out.
    I can backpedal for hours on my bikes, be it my DT 240s hub, my generic Formula hub, or my 1970's freewheel, and I've never had a bike in good condition that couldn't. I have had a bike with a bad freehub before that didn't backpedal properly like this and, though it never stopped engaging in the forward direction, over time the bearings got worse and worse till I could no longer coast while riding because the freehub would try to keep moving with the wheel and would pull slack out of the bottom of the chain, leaving the top of the chain sagging below my chainstay, which often led to the chain coming off the front front ring before I started pedaling again.

    Sure backpedaling is not a primary function, but it is a sign of how well the freehub bearings are functioning and/or adjusted. Some hubs have really heavy duty seals to protect the bearings and these seals can add drag, and some bearings just never spin freely because they've overpacked or not made well or something other cause. For most cases though, it should be working much better than in that video.

    Mechanically there is probably nothing wrong with this hub, besides bearings with too much drag, but I agree that it's worth having the shop look at.

  10. #10
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    Could it be the grease in the freehub firming up because of the cold?

  11. #11
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    Why would you pedal backward like that? ...
    To unwind the leg muscles from pedaling FWD all the time.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    To unwind the leg muscles from pedaling FWD all the time.
    That sounds stupid, but I do it sometimes during a longer rider just to shake out my legs and make the muscles stretch in a different direction for a change

    Or maybe I do it to be ironic while I race past all those other hipsters on the trail so I can win

  13. #13
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    Is it worth the hassle and labor costs to have a shop service it? Or are you better off just getting a new one?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by timk125
    Is it worth the hassle and labor costs to have a shop service it? Or are you better off just getting a new one?
    the bike is brand new, so hopefully the shop would cover the cost of whichever option they deemed necessary

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    the bike is brand new, so hopefully the shop would cover the cost of whichever option they deemed necessary
    It was more of a general question. I'm kind of having the same problem, but it's an 08 Rockhopper.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by timk125
    It was more of a general question. I'm kind of having the same problem, but it's an 08 Rockhopper.
    ahh, I see. That might depend on the cost of the replacement freehub. Some are cheap, some can be $100 (probably not yours though).

    Some freehubs are easier to service than others too. For example, there is a tool for Shimano hubs that allows you to easily flush the freehub with fresh lube, whereas other loose-ball freehubs might require tricky dissasembly. If it's a cartridge bearing freehub you could pull the existing ones and press in new bearings, that can be trickier than it sounds

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    ahh, I see. That might depend on the cost of the replacement freehub. Some are cheap, some can be $100 (probably not yours though)
    Right. That would make sense huh?

    Thanks for your help.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by timk125
    Right. That would make sense huh?

    Thanks for your help.
    glad to help. I've edited my post to add some (vague) info on the repair option too

  19. #19
    psycho cyclo addict
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    Why would you pedal backward like that? Until it becomes an issue while you are riding then just run it. It becomes an issue when you are coasting and the chain starts to slack on the top part of the chain. Bikes aren't made to pedal backward like that, the Giant does it well because it probably doesn't have any grease left in the freehub/freewheel.
    I disagree completely. While the videos are an extreme example, there are definitely times where it is necessary to back pedal 1/4 to 1/2 rotation in order to clear logs, rocks and other obstacles that would otherwise cause a pedal strike.

    Every bicycle I have ever owned (other than coaster brake bikes back in the '70's) is capable of at least 1/2 rotation in reverse (if I put one foot on a pedal and spin backward) without the chain dipping significantly.

  20. #20
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    So how many of you have a bike that spins backwards as easy as the Giant? Seems everyone who has an RH says theirs does the same thing.

    I bought the bike used. There were several to choose from and they all did the same thing. They were all lightly used. I know the guy I bought it from. He tuned the bike up for me and wasn't concerned about it. I trust him, he wouldn't sell me something that wasn't in great shape.

    It does a rotation or two backwards pretty easy, it just gets rough when you do it rapidly over and over.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin54
    It does a rotation or two backwards pretty easy, it just gets rough when you do it rapidly over and over.
    Certainly not ideal, but it might be ok if that's the case. Just keep an eye on it for any change for the worse, and definitely for any slack while coasting

  22. #22
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    wait, wait, wait... is it me or is the chain in a higher gear in the beginning of the vid and then dropped to a lower gear towards the end. looks like it to me. if that is the case, it could be that the RD was down shifted before you started pedaling backwards. when you start pedaling backwards, the chain will get hung up on the top egde of the RD cage above the top pully. the chain will not move smoothly into higher/lower gears when you are back pedaling. what happens is that instead of the derrailleur feeding the chain into the cassette the opposite is happening.

    go check it again and also get us some better video of the RD while pedaling backwards. could even be a stiff link in the chain.

  23. #23
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    That sounds stupid, ...
    yeah, your face sounds stoopid!
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  24. #24
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    LOL glad to see your still cracking jokes man

    My mavics used to do this a good bit after not being cleaned after a good cleaning and service no more issues.
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  25. #25
    KC Weekend Warrior
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    I had the same issue, solved it by... cleaning the chain. the lube had gotten gunky and was impeding the free motion. At least try it before you spend $ at the shop. I am curious how this all turns out.
    '12 Giant Trance X1, Mavic Crossride Wheels, StansTubeless, SPD Pedals

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