Bikewagon's own Cole Chandler is back with another Maintenance Monday. This week, he teaches us how to remove a rear bike wheel and re-install it. Continue reading
Tag Archives: bike maintenance
Whether you are assembling a new bicycle or your chain has succumbed to chain stretch, changing out or installing a chain can be an intimidating, dirty job if you don't know what you are doing. Luckily, the process is very straightforward. Let's dive in!
First, we have to understand the basic nature of a bike chain. It consists of a repeating set of links connected by rivets (also known as pins). Over time, the holes through which the chain rivets pass can elongate due to the strain of powerful pedaling stokes. This is called "chain stretch" and can make your chain slip while shifting or when pedaling powerfully.
Keeping on top of regular bike maintenance is an important task for all riders. Paying proper attention to the wear and tear on your bicycle may seem like a chore at times, but the smooth riding and years of dependable service you will get from a well-tended bicycle is well worth it.
Knowing what bike maintenance tasks should be done when can be confusing to many riders. This tutorial will help to explain the basic procedures that you may want to do and the timing for them.
Be aware that these recommendations will vary depending on the rider; cyclists who ride in wet or muddy conditions should probably service their bikes more regularly, while casual cyclists who ride less frequently can scale back the frequency of basic maintenance. Many of these operations are simple and can be done by novice riders, while others are more complex. If you feel overwhelmed, your local bike shop will be able to provide all the maintenance services described here.
Most modern road bikes use caliper brakes. In the most common design -- dual-pivot, side-pull caliper brakes -- the braking cable enters the calipers from the top of one side of the mechanism. When the brakes are pulled, one arm pivots from the center and the other pivots from the side, forcing the brake pads into contact with the rim of the tire.
Caliper brakes provide good stopping power, light weight and simple operation. While they can be knocked out of alignment, adjustment is easy and straightforward. Let’s explore the adjust process now.
Many bikes, especially mountain bikes, use V-brakes (also called direct-pull or linear-pull brakes). In this powerful brake design, the cable enters the brake area from the side, rather than from the top as is common in other brake styles.
This brake cable attaches to each of the arms of the brake mount, which pivot on the frame of the bicycle. When the cable is pulled, the arms of the brake mount are pulled together and the brake pads are brought into contact with the rim of the tire. This design provides a good deal of stopping power and is common on mountain bikes for its usefulness during rapid trail rides.
V-brakes don't take much to get out of alignment or have other issues. Luckily, adjusting this design is easy and straightforward.
There are a hundred different things you can do to get your mountain bike back faster and stronger than ever, but here we focus on eight basic, relatively inexpensive upgrades that will show big improvements. This list is in no particular order, but is meant to give you some ideas on getting the most out of your rides.
New tires can dramatically change your riding experience instantly. As your bike sits in the corners of the garage or shed, cold temperatures crack and dry out the rubber tread and sidewalls. This leaves your tires with less-than-stellar grip, puncture protection and sidewall stability. Getting good tires can give you the grip needed to conquer any trail and terrain you encounter.
A bike pump is an essential tool for keeping your bike in good shape. Fully intact tires can lose 10 PSI a week, even in storage. Properly inflated tires not only provide a more comfortable ride, they also resist flats better, handle maneuvers more easily, extend the lifespan of your tires, and are safer to use.
For these reasons, we recommend that every rider keep a pump on hand. But bike pumps aren't as simple as you might believe. Before you purchase a pump, there are a few things you need to consider. This guide will go over the basics of pump designs and their various pros and cons.
You can't get around the fact that having a solid, dependable bike to ride depends on some periodic maintenance. While many riders get by for a few years neglecting their cycle while problems build up, the end result of this approach is usually an expensive trip to the repair shop.
Instead, we recommend that all riders get at least a basic set of tools and learn how to keep their bike in tip-top shape -- it's an investment that will pay off very quickly and will make your riding more enjoyable, as well.
Types of bike tools
Let's go over a list of some of the basic tools on the market and what they are used for. This information should allow you to make an informed decision about what tools to buy and what to hold off on for now.
If done correctly, patching can revive your tubes and save you tons of money!
Tools you'll need for this job:
- Bicycle Tube Patch Kit (includes: sand paper, glue and patches.)
- Tire Levers
Most punctures are small enough to be quickly patched without too much headache. After removing the tube, if you follow these steps, it will be simple!
- Find the hole. Pump up the tube to the point where it is fairly inflated. Move your hand around the tube feeling and listening for air leakage. If you can't feel the air with your hand, try bringing the tube close to your lips. This sounds weird, but your lips are very sensitive and can feel small amounts of air easier than your fingers. If you still can't find where the air is leaking, you can submerge the tube under water looking for bubbles. Don't forget to close the valve before you submerge!
- Rough up the tube. This is an important step! Use the sandpaper to rough up the rubber of the tube around the puncture. I like to scrape the tube in a few multiple directions to make sure that it is sufficiently scraped. It's not like sanding woo,d where you only go with the grain. Scrub it up pretty good! Also, make sure you scuff up a surface area that is quite a bit bigger than the size of the patch. If you try to stick the patch onto a spot that hasn't been roughed up, it won't adhere correctly.
- Apply glue. Apply a thin, even layer of glue. Apply it to an area that is bigger than the patch so that you get good adhesion on the entire patch. Let the glue dry completely! Many people try to stick the patch on when the glue is wet, but this in wrong! Let the glue dry completely. That is how it is designed and how it adheres best!
- Apply the patch. Usually patches will come in between a piece of foil and clear plastic. The side of the patch that is supposed to touch the tube is the smooth side, which is the foil side. I like to remove the foil but not the plastic piece. So, with the patch still stuck to the plastic, press it onto the tube with the puncture hole directly in the middle of the patch. Put the tube on a table or hard surface and push down to ensure that it adheres in the middle and around the edges of the patch. After 20 seconds of pushing, slowly peel back the plastic wrapper and inspect the patch. None of the edges should be peeling back around the whole patch.
- Check the patch. When you're all done patching -- and you think you did a good job -- do this last step before re-mounting the tube and tire. Pump up your tube a little and look, listen or feel if any air is escaping from around your patch.
When you're satisfied, re-install the tube and tire.
Trick of the Trade
I like to put a little bit of air in the tube right before I put the patch on. I put just enough air in the tube so that it gives it about the same amount of shape that the tube would have when inflated inside your tire. By doing this, your patch won't be stretched out when it is pumped up to full pressure.