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

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

(swooshing sounds) – Right, welcome back
then to another episode of the GCN Tech Clinic where I try and solve your
bike-related problems. So if you’ve got one, make sure down there
in the comment section, you leave it for me and
I’ll do my very best to try and answer it
in an upcoming episode, or you could also leave them on all forms of social
media using the #askgcntech. Right. With no further ado, let’s crack on with the first question this week. Comes here from Andy Britton. “Jon, I need help. “I’m transforming my 26
inch hard tail into a, “hang on, bandwagon approaching,” just waiting for it, (whoosh) it’s gone past, but you’re not too late here. Jump on it. Anyway, they want to
make it to a gravel bike. “I have a mix of Shimano
105 and Tiagra components “that I can use, “but the problem lies with the front mech. “It was bottom pull on the
original road bike set up, “but the hard tail routing
for the cable is top pull. “Any ideas, ATB Andy Britton.” ATB, all terrain bike. No, no, no, no. All the best, right. Okay, so I’m just trying to
work what they say for you. Right, okay, so, original bike frame. Have a look on the seat tube of it on the rear side, so, where the rear wheel would
splash those and mud up against, may well be a little
pulley wheel down there so imagine something the
size of a one pound coin. Don’t know where you’re from. Maybe a dollar coin, a one euro coin, not sure. Anyway, that sort of size, you know, not very large, about
two centimeters in diameter, probably smaller. Anyway, these little plastic wheels used to bolt on to the rear of the seat tube and that allowed the top pull, you imagine this is the top tube, this is the seat tube. Cable go down there, go down the seat tube and wrap around it and then pull a standard
bottom pull rear derailleur, but mountain bikes often
came with top pull ones, too. So, you could either put a standard top pull front
derailleur on there. Try and have a look around on eBay, try and save yourself
a little bit of cash. Or this could be genius, right? If you’re into a little bit of hacking, a little bit of bodging, basically, just doing
something a bit different from the norm, you could use a standard,
underneath the bottom bracket, plastic cable guide that
you’d use for your rear back, put one of those on and use it for the front one, too, but you probably don’t
have a cable stop then on the down tube for the
front derailleur cable. So, you can even get a little clamp there with one of those built-in. I think it’s Problem Solvers
or something like that, they make them. Have a look on St. John
Street Cycles, little plug, I know they sell these
weird little gadgets and gizmos. Have a look on there,
they probably sell them, where you can have the cable go in tube, run it down and up through,
underneath the bottom bracket, and use standard bottom pull derailleur. It’s a problem, but certainly one that
I’ve just solved for you. All right, next up then is Simon Knowles. Simon says, “Is the time
trial world champion allowed “to have rainbow stripes on
his road bike, non-time trial “as well as his team
jersey in road races?” Right then, okay. A few things here. First up, I reckon the
world time trial champion probably wouldn’t want
them on his road bike because he, basically, the world
champ’s jersey, for me, is one of the few you just should not wear unless you are a world champion. I know it sounds really snobby and stuff like that, but basically it’s the
pinnacle of sport, for me. The world champs and the Olympics that sort of thing is the real, you literally cannot buy that. So, they wouldn’t want to do it because it would be showing
disrespect, I guess, to the road race champion. But, going back to your question
about wearing the stripes and everything. So, years ago, you used
to see loads of riders in the Peleton with world
champ stripes on their jerseys and the reason being is if you won a senior world championship in any discipline, you could then have those stripes on your jersey going forward. So, loads of track riders,
people like Stuart O’Grady, Chris Boardman, those types of guys, they rode for GAN at the time and GAN was one of the
teams I always remember, really vividly, GAN and Credit Agricole, those riders were having those stripes on, but the UCI changed those
rules so it only allowed, basically if you won the
World Road Race Championships, you were allowed, when you weren’t wearing
the rainbow striped jersey, to have those rainbow stripes as a sign that you were previous champion
on your normal team jersey. Not sure if it ever carried
forward or across disciplines. I’ve got a feeling it would
have done with time trials as it with track, but I don’t know if it came up from, say, under-23 into senior. So, if you’re under-23 world champion, if you could still wear
those on the senior jersey if you like, so I’ll probably have to go back to, I think it was Danny Nelissen of Rabobank, he was under-23 world champion,
or amateur world champion, I’m not sure if he ever had
them on his senior jersey. I should have looked this one up really. I was actually looking, though, at a rider who instant sprung to mind that was Bradley Wiggins, who
was junior world champion. I did find a picture of him, I think he was riding
for Francaise de Jeux or maybe Credit Agricole,
and he had some stripes on when he hadn’t been senior
time trial world champion, but he could well have been having them on because of course he had
won a title on the track. It’s a really, really good question though and one which, I’m quite sad in a way, that the UCI changed, because it’s great to see just how many world champions
there were at a Peleton, and sort of across
disciplines, if you like. Right, now we’ve got Brian Hankes, who says, “Hi John, love the show. “I’m a newish rider, about 18 months, “who has fallen in love with cycling “and the tech that comes with it.” That’s brilliant to hear, Brian. “I recently picked up a
used Stages left hand crank “that fits my Shimano
Ultegra 6770 group set. “The issue that I have is
that I mistakenly purchased “a 172.5 mil crank arm when
my current cranks are 170. “Now, I rode it yesterday
for the first time “and did not really notice any issue, “but I’m concerned about potential issues “the difference in
crank lengths may cause. “Do I have to search for
another 6770 right crank “or can I use something from 6800 or 8000? “If I got to the newer 11 speed versions “and they use chain rings, “can I use those with the 10 speed chain “and cassette I have? “Any input would be greatly appreciated. “Trying not to avoid,
trying not to get injured “and also trying not to break the bank “and making another noob mistake.” Right, Brian. Absolutely great question here, mate and it’s great to hear from newcomers. So first thing, I wouldn’t
use a different length crank, unless diagnosed by Physio or Bike Fit, and the reason being, it doesn’t sound like very much, two and a half mil in your case, but after hundreds or
thousands of kilometers it could well lead to
imbalance of some sort. So I just really wouldn’t advise it. Something you could, possibly, do. I mean, I’m not going to recommend it, but you could sort of use a
shim under one of the cranks to get it up and level, you know, underneath the shoe plate, sorry. Yes, that’s an option. Yeah, all those different cranks, Hollowtech II road cranks and chain sets are interchangeable with one another, as far as I’m aware they don’t change or alter the Q factor whatsoever. In 10 speed and 11 speed
chain rings they work fine cross-compatibility, too. Good luck with that one, mate. And while you’ve got a
bargain to start with, but just don’t go wrecking any limbs or anything like that
essentially by putting it on and just having that imbalance, it would be awful, believe me. Okay, now we’ve got poormans bicycles, who says, “My 2020 Contend
3 came with white ar tape “and I love it, but I went on two rides “before getting grease on them. “Does anyone have advice on
cleaning white bar tape?” Right, few things here. First of all, wash your
grubby little hands! Because that’s going to have caused it. But in seriousness what you could do is get something called Cif. It used to be called Jif and it’s like a cream
cleanser, cream cleaner. It’s like a white liquid, put it on a sponge, rub that away. It seems to work absolute wonders and then rinse it off really well before it turns all powdery and horrible. You could also try some
degreaser on there, too, it all depends on what type of
bar tape it is to start with. If it’s like a caulky type of tape, that is really difficult
to get the dirt out of it. Something which is also a possibility is these little sponges you could get, they’re called Magic Erasers, I think. And you dip them in water
and you just rub it, and it tends to get rid of
all those sorts of stains. And also, a scouring pad. So maybe you’re not very good at cooking and you burn a lot of food and you get these sort of fibrous pads and you get rid of all that burnt food in the bottom of your saucepan. You could try that as well, dip some washing up liquid
or detergent on there and then just rub that on
neat onto the affected area and just rinse it off. Let us know how you get
on with those methods. Right, now we’ve got
Bruno Braganca, who says, “Hello GCN crew. “I currently have a bike with
a full 105 5800 group set “with Osymetric-like chain rings. “I’m thinking to upgrade
to Sram Red Etap 11 speed, “but for now I can only afford
the levers and derailleurs. “I know group set mixing
is strictly forbidden “by the velominati, “but are there any chances
this setup would work? “What do you think? “Thanks in advance.” Right, yeah, it will work. 11 speed Sram, 11 speed
Shimano, totally interchangeable with one another. The only thing you’re not going to get is that perfectly smooth, crisp changing. I’ve got to say, using those chain rings. I’ve tried to set them
up many times over years and you kind of have to use
your legs like a clutch, if you like. You have to ease off
the power a little bit when you’re changing gear, but you’re going to know that anyway. And also, it probably be a
little easier to set up, too, with the Etap. Because you don’t have any wires or cables to play around with when
you’re trying to set it all up. As for the people who
don’t like the look of it, ignore them, it’s your bike,
do what you want with it, mate. Next up is Kip CC, who said, “I recently watched the trash bike “to gravel bike build of Jon, “and I’m now embarking on
my own gravel bike build.” Do you know what? I always really love it
when I read these questions or comments people say
they’ve seen a video I’ve done and they’ve taken some
inspiration from it. It’s really good. However, Kip CC is caught in a dilemma. “Would an eight speed
Claris ST1 shifter work “with an eight speed
decore LX derailleur?” Or should Kip run the eight speed Claris
rear derailleur instead? “Plus will a V Brake work on a 700c rim “or would I be better off
with a mechanical brake “with a 26 inch wheel for a gravel bike? “Thanks.” Right then, Captain Kip, yeah, eight speed Shimano road
MTB, totally interchangeable, go ahead and do that, buddy. As for the brakes, so you
could try to find some of those Problem Solvers travel agents, but I’m led to believe
they’re now discontinued. So, fit some mini V
brakes on there instead, go ahead, still use those 700c wheels because if you’re going
to use 26 inch wheels, it’s all right, but it’s
just a mountain bike then, with dropped bars, but you want to be on a gravel bike, so yeah, go ahead with
the 700 ones instead. And yeah, as ever, send
in some pictures to us so we can rate it either
nice or super nice! Right, now we’ve got Cycling Beats. “Hey Jon, perhaps you have covered this “in a previous video and I missed it. “Is there a company that you know of “that recycles old chains
or any bicycle parts? “Seems like a waste to
send all that material “to sit in a landfill.” Right, not any cycling companies as such that come to mind, but there are various
charities and groups really that make bikes out of old parts, so ask around, maybe local cycling buddies or clubs, something like that. Maybe they’ll be an
option for you locally. Alternatively, I know you don’t want to put it in a landfill, but your local refuse
site is likely to have a metal only container that, of course, does recycle those materials. I’ve seen people making
bracelets out of old chains, they’ve got earrings, too, so if you’ve got your ears
pierced maybe you could do that. Tires is a good one, there are companies out
there that make belts, so belts for your trousers, out of old tires. So they slice them down, they put some ends on them and then yeah, they make them
in some fancy little belts. I used to have one many years ago. Right, and the final question this week comes here from Harry Saunderson-Warner. “Does anyone make heated foot covers? “Hate having cold tootsies.” Ho, yes, Harry, they do! Heated overshoes, for years
I dreamt of having those, luckily these days I’ve got pair of Fizik Artica winter shoes, they’re absolutely fine with what I need, but heated overshoes, if you live somewhere absolutely freezing, could well save your
feet, quite literally. Two companies, both from
one country, France. EKOI and Racer. They both make battery
chargeable heated overshoes. Brilliant invention. I’ve never seen them, I’d love to get my feet inside of a pair and see how they warm up and everything and how well they work. Let me know if you get some, down there in the comment section. I’m keen to find out. Right, there we are. Another tech clinic done and dusted. Remember if you’ve got a tech problem that’s giving you an absolute
nightmare or headache, leave it for me down there
in the comment section below. Remember to like and share this video with your friends, too. Don’t forget, subscribe
to the GCN tech channel. Click the notification icon, so you get alerted each and
every time we put a video live. Don’t forget, check out the GCN shop at and for two more
absolutely cracking videos, click just down here and just down here.

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

  1. The "Speen Umlenker", is the best solution for using a bottom pull road front mech. on a top pull frame. I have one on my DIY gravel, usiing Sram rival22 front (yaw).

  2. As for the U23 WC, none of Lutsenko, Mohoric, Démare or Cosnefroy wear stripes on their sleeves as an elite as far as I remember.

  3. Cleaning white bar tape?
    A real pro replaces white bar tape once a week.
    A real real pro has their mechanic replace the white bar tape every day
    A real pro mechanic gets their flunky to replace all the white bar tape on all the team's bikes

  4. It'd be useful to include index links to the start of each question in the video's description, so one could easily skip forward to the next question.

  5. Hi Jon, loving the show. Recently I had a little accident where I damaged the rims on both wheels. The company sells the rims separately. As I'm still learning maintenance, I'd rather have a go at building the wheels back up again then take them to the LBS to see what I did wrong (they would charge about the same price). My spokes and hubs were all luckily undamaged. What equipment would I need to dismantle the wheels to re-use the spokes (if it's at all possible) and how would I start taking the spokes off the rim and hubs?

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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)

  13. 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)?


  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. 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!

  16. 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).

  17. 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!

  18. @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!

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

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

  23. 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

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

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

  27. 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?

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