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DIY Gravel Bikes & Cleaning White Bar Tape? | GCN Tech Clinic #askGCNTech

Is it worth converting an old mountain bike into a gravel bike? What’s the best way to clean white bar tape? Can riders wear their World Champs stripes in other disciplines? Jon is in the clinic to answer these questions and more 🔧

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35 thoughts on “DIY Gravel Bikes & Cleaning White Bar Tape? | GCN Tech Clinic #askGCNTech

  1. Hi Jon!
    First of all i‘m a big fan of the tech channel!
    Inspired by your video I built up a gravel bike for myself but ended up having my rear canti-break screaming like hell! Wheels are new, break surface is clean, new kool stops and the break is sitting tight in place… :3 any ideas?

  2. problem solvers do also make the coin sized wheel for rerouting top pull cable routing to bottom pull derailleur:

  3. Using a shim to mitigate the difference between cranks definitely won't work. You'd have the effectively the same crank length in one position but after half a turn of the crankset you'd have doubled the difference. Hope that makes sense.

  4. You can only wear the world champion stripes in the category and in the discipline on the jersey arm and jersey collar, in which you have become world champion. Not overarching in disciplines or categories.

  5. Dear Mr. Cannings,
    my plan for the cold months is to build an adventure bike for 70% road, 20% gravel and 10% travel. I made a bargain on an old (80's) steel frame with enough tire clearance and Dura Ace 7400 hubs (36 spokes, 8 Speed freehub, good but not perfect condition). Now the question:
    Is it a bad idea to use the Dura Ace hubs with new rims in light gravel mode? The installed rims are 622x13c and i want to go bigger like 622x19c (for 622×33 tires). The frame can handle 100mm and 130mm so buying new wheels is an option, but i like the smooth and silent Dura Ace hubs.

    Thanks for helping and entertaining! #askGCNTech

  6. Hi John. I have warped my front chain ring while sprinting. Can you straighten them… Or should it just be binned? #askgcntech

  7. Hi Jon. Thanks for all the tip. Hope you can help me solving my problem too. I’ve got sram red etap, rim brakes version, which means that there is only one cable that enters the frame on the left hand side for the rear brake and it creates a bit of a pull on the handlebars so the front wheel is never pointing straight ahead in neutral position. Is there anything I could do to release the tension? Outer is the one that came with the group set and has been measured to just allow for the full range of motion. Thanks a lot in advance for any hints.

  8. Lemon pledge also cleans light colored bar tape. I have light colored cork tape on my gravel bike and it cleaned the tape pretty well. It didnt look new, but it was massively better.

  9. I converted my 26er hardtail into a gravel bike. Some ebay cheap RS505 shifters (yeah the big ugly ones), a 105 R7000 rear mech, and a 38t chainring. I connected MTB calipers with MTB hoses to the road levers and everything works great.

  10. @CyclingBeats – Check for an artist near you. I make clocks (see GCN Show, Hacks & Bodges February 2018), jewelry, and all types of art out of used bike parts. I am sure there is someone near you. If not, send it to me. I will make you something!

  11. WHITE BAR TAPE CLEANING! You have my attention. Researching "CIF" (aka "Jif", and several other names internationally). Hope I can find an equivalent in the USA. Will also try the "MagicErasers" (thanks, Stan Brock). Currently using: Japanese-market Joy W dish soap (washing-up liquid) on a clean dishrag. Cheers, all!

  12. I rode the last 10+ years with white bar tape. WD40 Bike wash and a CLEAN Scotchbrite sponge works great. I cleaned mine every couple weeks. You can also keep it clean by not using the palm of your glove to clean off your tires (glass, rocks etc).

  13. John…. this gonna sound either silly or a true mind blowing question.
    If I am doing long hard sessions on my smart trainer in a small room, with the window and door closed, the humidity condensate on the window glass. As the temp of the room is clearly higher… WHAY ABOUT OXYGEN LEVELS? 🤯 just a curiosity question, I know that the room is not sealed and so on… but would it affect the oxygen levels of the room? And the carbon dioxide exhaled? ? ? ? ? Physicians, HELP!

  14. Hmm … shimming a pedal? Geometrically this would not alter the circumference of the pedal stroke, it would just displace the centre vertically upwards, and the differential with the mismatched crank arm would be the same. Unless maybe you are planting to shim it with that mysterious one dollar coin … ???

  15. Hello Jon! Love the channel. Thanks for all the work you do!
    I’ve got two questions and I hope I’m not asking any questions that you’ve already answered.

    1) I run an Ultegra 6800 Di2 group-set on my road bike and I’m currently set up with mid-compact chainrings on a 110BCD spider. For my hillier races, I would like to run a 52 tooth big ring and a 34 tooth little ring with an 11-30 or 11-32 in the rear (short-cage rear derailleur, so I suppose I could use a road link). Would this combo be a terrible idea/cause issues with my shifting? I do use a chain-catcher.

    2) I built up a TT carbon frame from the early 2000s with a Di2 group-set, currently set up externally. I’d have ideally liked to run the Di2 internally. Do you have thoughts on drilling the carbon frame to convert it to an internal Di2 frame? Assuming your thoughts are negative, any nifty tricks for keeping things tidy with so many cables/wires coming from the front end (5-port junction box… so messy)?


  16. Regarding suggesting possibly shimming the cleat on the viewer with the 172.5 and 175 crank arms… it would not work… while shimming the cleat on the 175 side would “even” the length of the stroke on the 6 o’clock position (both would be 172.5 from BB centre at 6 position)… it would actually increase the difference in crank length at the 12 o’clock position. (the 175 arm would actually end up being 180mm from BB centre at the 12 position)

  17. Hi Jon! I recently purchased a bike that has been exposed to smoke from a smouldering fire five years ago. It is covered in soot, quite blackened and a little sticky.

    I have testridden it, the shifting is really good, brakes work. I wonder how I should clean off the grime. I have tried dish soap, seems to take a lot of work. I am aware of specific bike cleaners, is there an effective solution with soot? Also, could the frame (7005 aluminium / carbon fork) be damaged? Anything I should check for besides the obvious cleaning and change of worn parts? Thank you in advance.

  18. Hi Jon, I sometimes find that when riding in colder weather, I have to change my barrel adjuster a quarter turn or two (mechanical Ultegra 8000 with hydraulic disc). I think it may be because the cable is shrinking in the cold. Could that be the reason? Is there any rule of thumb on how much to change the adjusters per 5 or 10 or so degrees temperature change? #AskGCNTech

  19. Jon, thank you for answering my question last week. I went ahead and changed that square taper bottom bracket (little thing put up quite a fight!), and changed it to a Deore Hollowtech II with no issues. That weight saving though! Many thanks again.

  20. Kinda tempted to turn my old 2011 29er hardtail with 80mm fork, into some sort gravel bike with 1-by gearset, much slimmer 28" tyres etc. for commute and road riding.

  21. Thanks for answering my question Jon. ❤️

    I'll try a mini V Brake then for my 700c, Yeah, I uploaded the pic of the 26" gravel bike, It feels twitchy so more like a cx bike, But I'll do 700c and look for 32-36c tires.

    Another question, What would be the tire limit for a regular rim brake, here's the specs:
    System: Dual Pivot design Caliper Brake
    Material: Forged aluminum arms
    Pads: Black Molded Pads(Included)
    Dimension: 39-47mm
    It's a promax rim brake.

  22. I have washed my Ergon cork egonomic grips (flat bar bike) with a mixture of soap, water, and I believe baking soda. Not sure, but it might have included some white vinegar though I think not as it would neutralize itself with the baking soda. In any case, the recipe I used I found online by Googling cleaning cork. Did a pretty good job revitalizing the grips. Use an old toothbrush to scrub for best results and don't forget to rinse with clean water.

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