AJA 27: The Hour Record...On the Moon?


It's always fun to find out what questions are going to really catch Josh's attention. In this episode, we talk about tiny marginal gains, postulate why mountain bikes are not particularly aero, follow up on the best gases to fill your tires (and why), and much more. But the question that really grabbed Josh has to do with a crazy hypothetical: how would you optimize your bike and track for an hour record attempt...on the moon? It's an intriguing question and one we're far from done with. We think you'll love this episode of Ask Josh Anything!

Got a question you’d like to ask? Text or leave a voicemail at the Marginal Gains Hotline: +1-317-343-4506 or just leave a comment in this post!

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  • Ron

    We are all marginal gains nerds… but from Josh’s extensive knowledge base what is the hierarchy of marginal gains from most to least??? or foundational to the pointy tip of the pyramid?

  • Steve

    Subject: Winter Wax Problems — Extremely stiff chain after pulling bike out of the car

    Hi Josh, Fattie, and Hottie,

    Selene Yeager’s story about having to pee on her frozen bicycle chain is what inspired these questions about my own chain-freezing problem! Unlike Selene, I’ve been extremely meticulous in my chain lubrication methods.

    Here’s what happened on my last gravel ride:
    - I pulled my bike out of my warm car on a cold winter day (temperatures in the mid-20’s at the ride start). No amount of riding would make my recently-waxed chain articulate easily and run quietly.
    - The night before, I took great pains to loosen this freshly waxed chain over a broom handle and to ensure it shifted completely smoothly on the bike. I did this in my cold garage.
    - During the ride, I stopped after about 10 miles to articulate every link by hand. After this, the truly stuck links were somewhat freed, but still had a ton of stiction. Running the chain backwards resulted in many links sitting at angles, rather than running straight.
    - For about 30 miles, the rear derailleur would maddeningly bounce between gears whenever I used the smallest three cassette cogs.
    - Even after 62 miles and 7000 ft of climbing, the chain was fairly stiff in many places. I could feel the stiffness when working the chain links by hand after the ride.

    Here’s my theory:
    - Some combination of the car heater, plus the sun shining through the car windows, caused the wax to soften slightly.
    - Upon hitting the cold air (temperatures in the 20’s) the wax stiffened again.
    - The wax layer on the chain was thick, since it was a freshly waxed chain. Thick enough that riding the bike, alone, would not result in fully freeing the chain’s movement. I don’t wipe the outside of the chains after removing them from the wax. I leave the excess wax on the outside of the chain as an extra layer of protection from the elements.

    1) Does my theory sound plausible?
    2) What can I do to prevent this from happening?
    3) How bad is this for efficiency? And how bad is this for my drivetrain?
    4) Do I need to give up on immersive waxing in the winter? This is the third time I’ve had this problem in two winters of riding waxed chains.

    Thanks guys! I’m generally a wax convert, but these incidents make me nervous about using recently-waxed chains on winter rides.

    [NOTE: I didn’t see a link to the January 14 (Selene Yeager) Marginal Gains Podcast episode on the Silca website, so I’m putting my question here. I was listening to that podcast as I drove back from this ride.]

  • David Bendon

    I’m curious to hear Josh’s views on tyre pressures for tandems.
    The pressure recommendations from the Silca tyre pressure calculator are lower than I would expect. Comparing my solo set up (88kg system weight) to the tandem (145kg system weight), the calculator recommends only a 10% increase in tyre pressure.

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