Hot answers tagged road-bike
Your technology is up to date. 53x12 is basically still the standard for road bikes today. If you want to increase the gearing, your best bet would be to install an 11x cassette, if not a Sram 10x. That said... If you are regularly finding your 53x12 too low it means one of three things: You are mashing (standing up in a heavy gear) instead of spinning (...
I had the same issue and ended up taking a piece of very hardened plastic and melting a thin channel out of it the same width as the thin side of the spokes. In this manner, I could hold the blade in place while I was truing the wheel. I never had problems with them twisting when I wasn't cranking on the nipples, however.
An 11 speed rear cassette gives you more linear gaps between gears. It doesn't necessarily give you higher or lower gears. There are bigger chainrings than 53 tooth, but they're rare, expensive, and tend to be single-speed track bikes. There are smaller cassettes than 12 tooth, 11 is the lowest you can get normally, and some folding bikes can go down to 9 ...
You may have damaged your spokes. To be sure... you'd need to know how the wheel was built, but I'd bet dimes to dollars that the spoke was not properly supported while the nipple was adjusted and that is where your twist came from (e.g. they are damaged). Were the spokes held to keep them from turning/twisting while the nipples were being tightened? If ...
No there is no good seaonal time for a big cut on prices for a bike. That said, there are sporadic sales and Trek hacked the prices on the ALR Emonda by $300 bucks. That was Trek's, not the LBS, doing. What you can do to compensate is go in with a list of things you would like a discount on alongside the bike. The margins on the bike itself are very low. ...
Changing to an 11 cog on the rear will certainly give you a higher gear. I found 9 speed Shimanos in 11/21 and 11/23 easily. I didn't find any road cassettes that had a lower low gear. I also found mountain bike versions with much larger low gears, but you probably need a new derailleur for them.
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