Our first ever Mechanical Monday column, re-run in case you recently jumped on the cyclocross bandwagon. Enjoy!
This is the first in a weekly series of from-the-crew-pits tips. Some will be straight-forward, others more involved, but they’ll all help you to keep your cyclocross bike humming smoothly along. Dave Drumm is the Webcor chief mechanic during the road season and wrenches on a freelance basis during cyclocross season for the likes of Amy Dombroski, Adam Myerson, Dee Dee Winfield, Will Duggan and many more.
As you can read in our coverage of the Krueger’s Crossing race, this past weekend in Portland was the perfect testing ground for improvised techniques to seal out the weather. Shifting problems in muddy conditions are ubiquitous in cyclocross and finding a solution is akin to a ‘cross mechanic’s holy grail. Drumm actually had two different cable-protection prototypes out on the course, the “Myerson Method” on his own steed, which he raced in the Master’s B event, and a top-secret trick on an Elite Woman’s race rig which also looks very promising. We’ll focus on the Myerson Method here but will be reporting on the other trick in this column within the next few weeks.
“It got its name from [pro bike racer] Adam Myerson, who was sick of junk accumulating at the junction between the cable and housing on his seat stays,” said Drumm. “Myerson was just going on and on about it, so I had to give it a try.”
Any bike that features a top tube-routed rear derailleur cable will typically have two housing stops on the seat tube, with exposed cable running in between before the cable re-enters housing at the bottom and finishes its journey into the rear derailleur. That second junction is a famous collecting spot for mud, water and grit, which will quickly wreak havoc on shifting performance. The Myerson Method is quite simple: just run housing all the way for sealed-in performance.
“It takes about two seconds with a five millimeter drill bit. You just notch out the two cable stops enough to allow the housing to run straight through,” said Drumm. “Any monkey with a drill bit can easily do it.” (We still recommend a shop – and don’t blame us when you drill right through your carbon seatstay!)
“I have to admit, it works great,” Drumm continued. “It worked great yesterday, I had no shifting problems and had access to the full range of gears.”
Anyone who raced at Krueger’s yesterday – myself included – will be incredulous at that last statement. I was at the point where I could occasionally shift and he had no shifting problems? What gives?
“The housing made a big difference and I just sprayed a little Pam on the cassette to help keep it clean,” said Drumm.
Adam Myerson runs this setup on his team Van Dessels; Drumm runs full-length Gore cable housing with traditional steel cables on his Blue CX 6.5 and says that a similar setup is ideal for Redlines and many other similarly-cabled bikes that see inclement weather.
Although Drumm’s setup will slightly add to overall shifting friction in pristine conditions and the 11 grams-per-foot penalty of housing may be an issue for true weight weenies, any negatives are more than offset compared to the performance breakdowns that happen when a shift cable gets gummed up.
Norco and Redline bikes provide fittings for full-length housing on their ‘cross bikes. Norco’s bike comes with full rear housing as pictured below. Other options include Gore’s fully-sealed cable system or Gore’s professional semi-sealed system that comes with the SRAM Red gruppo, but Drumm swears by this Do-It-Yourself technique.
Stay tuned for more weekly wrenching tips.