Doing it all the hard way...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The latest Chapter on Chatter................. The Mystery Mechanic

In an interesting turn of events, a pro Cyclocross mechanic responded to an email question I sent a week ago about brake chatter and my particular set up. To my amazement, he provided a prolific response and I have been putting his words into action. I updated him on my progress and once again I received a thorough reply.

The upshot is I am putting my canti Frogglegs back on and, here is the key, replacing my Chris King Headset. He (oops, I’ve just eliminated the hundreds of female pro Cyclocross mechanics who may have been under suspicion as the mystery mechanic) said the CK headset has a tendency to allow too much movement which translates into chatter. He shared some other ideas that are also coming into play. One of them pertains to load paths and braking and was something I had thought of in my abstract brain, but dismissed as too theoretical.

I double checked the wise words from Lennard Zinn on chatter and it seems there are a few forks that are less prone to chatter. The Alpha Q, Edge, Stevens, and Reynolds all appear to be pretty stout. My opinion is that other forks can be made not to chatter by either going to a V-brake, or (brace for the honest truth, and here is where I depart from Mr. Zinn) laming out the brakes. Cutting pads or raising straddle cables are just ways to decrease the brakes power (leverage) thereby decreasing chatter.

While I generally leave it to Betty the Beast to state the obvious; if you only get chatter when you really grab the brakes then when you need control the most, you have it the least. You don’t always need to stop quick, but when you do- not being able to stop can be the difference between being on a podium and being on a stretcher.

Look for more on this saga….

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