Tech Talk

Cartridge Bottom Bracket Checking And Maintenance

This week’s Tech Talk is based on my response to another excellent reader question. It came from an RBR reader named Jay who asked about modern bottom brackets, which employ sealed cartridge bearings. They’re a bit of a mystery to many roadies since there are no obvious adjustments to make. This week I’ll try to unravel the mystery so you know what you’re dealing with and how to care for them.

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Mike’s (Noisy) Bike

Almost with the dawn of the Internet, in 1998, I started a cycling website. I don’t get to work on it anywhere near as much as I should or would like to. Yet, it has still swelled to more than 200 pages of what I like to think is helpful and fun bike stuff. One of the most popular pages on my site is my Keep It Quiet resource, literally thousands upon thousands of words on finding and silencing the clicks, creaks, clunks and things that go bump on your rides from your bicycle – and drive you bonkers.

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Tips & Tricks for Taping Handlebars

I’ve taped thousands of handlebars since 1970 when I first went to work in bike shops. Even with so much practice with so many different materials, I am almost never 100% happy after taping. There’s always a wrap or two that’s not perfectly overlapped, or a hidden wrinkle, or a tiny spot where the bar’s exposed if you look real close. So, today I’m sharing a bunch of taping tips and tricks that can make the job easier and nicer – including a brand new finishing touch I think you’ll like. As always, please share your taping secrets in the Comments below.

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Converting Your Bike to a Hybrid Disc/Rim Brake Setup, Part 2

As you’ll recall, last week I let reader Bruce Ross grab hold of the Tech Talk handlebars to start the story of upgrading his beloved Colnago C59 to disc braking. This week, in the conclusion, he covers every detail involved, including getting the replacement fork refinished to match, and the complete costs. After reading the tale, if you have any questions or comments, Bruce is happy to answer. I’ll let Bruce take it from here. —Jim Langley 

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Converting Your Bike to a Hybrid Disc/Rim Brake Setup, Part 1

Today I’d like to introduce my friend and fellow bicycle nut, Bruce Ross. He has a Colnago he loves so much he wanted to upgrade it with disc braking – even if only on the front. He wrote up the whole project, from his decision to upgrade to everything involved in adding the brake, and ride impressions. I love a good upgrade and am sharing Bruce’s story with you in the next two Tech Talks. I’ll let Bruce take it from here. —Jim Langley 

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Choosing a Pump Head for Easy Inflation

This week, let’s go over something great to know when choosing bicycle pumps, both ones to take along on your bike for flats on the road, and home pumps (also known as “floor pumps” – because they stand up on the ground, making pumping fast and easy). This subject came up on a ride last week, when Tom – who, rain or shine, never misses one of our Wednesday night hill climbs workouts – showed us his new Lezyne pump as we were kicking back in the shade post-ride. Tom demonstrated how the pump uses a hose that hides in the hollow center of the pump when not in use.

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Crash-Avoidance Maintenance

We’ve been sharing crash stories in order to reduce the chances of going down. Mostly, we’ve covered biffs caused by rider errors, road conditions, drivers and other cyclists. Yet, another whole crash category is those caused by bike maintenance issues. Let’s look at some common ones, what fails and what checks and maintenance to do to help avoid hitting the deck.

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Sea Otter Classic 2017 Report

Last Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday was the 27th running of the Sea Otter Classic. It’s held in and around the Laguna Seca Raceway, located in Monterey County, California. The Otter has riding and racing for all cyclists, plus the largest consumer bike expo of the year with a couple hundred companies displaying their newest goodies. While I was actually helping man our Praxis Works Bicycle Components booth, I did take a couple of laps around the expo looking for items of interest. Here’s a quick look at some of the things that captured my fancy. 

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5 Basic Bike Repair Tips

Saturdays were always my favorite days when I worked in bicycle shops. I loved helping people with their bikes and especially solving problems quickly so they wouldn’t have to leave their bike with me for repairs and could ride it that weekend. But sometimes, that wasn’t possible. Like the time a guy brought his frame and wheels, and a box full of parts: the brakes, derailleurs, shifters, crankset and so on. He had completely disassembled them, too. Thinking of that guy with the box of parts, I thought I’d offer five basic bike repair tips to help novice mechanics avoid common mistakes like that.

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Be a Hero on Rides Follow-Up

There were a whopping 27 comments to last week’s Tech Talk, which I believe sets a new record. Thanks for the awesome feedback and additional tips to help your fellow roadies be heroes on rides. Here’s a wrap-up of your tips with a few side notes from me. 

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Be a Hero on Rides

One of my favorite things on rides with friends is coming to their rescue, fixing breakdowns and keeping everyone rolling – not standing by the side of the road waiting. All it takes to be a hero and repair most common breakdowns is a little bicycle mechanic know-how and carrying a bike mini-tool, plus a couple of small ride-savers that easily fit in a seat bag. In this Tech Talk, I describe what I carry, and how I handle two common issues I see over and over on group rides: large tire cuts and broken chains.

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