Tech Talk

More Modern Wheel Tools, Part 1

Back in January, I reviewed Wheel Fanatyk's Tensiometer, a consistently accurate, easy-to-use and beautifully crafted digital spoke tension gauge. Just click the link to read all about it. At the time of that review, I was building wheels part-time for Praxis Works Bicycle Components. Today, I'm a full-time engineer at Praxis and in charge of our wheel department. As the company wheelmeister, I’m learning lots about modern wheel production and trying more new tools that improve wheel building and wheel quality. I'm sharing some of this knowledge today, and I'll finish up in our first issue after the Thanksgiving break.

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More Modern Wheel Tools, Part 2

Back in January, I reviewed Wheel Fanatyk's Tensiometer, a consistently accurate, easy-to-use and beautifully crafted digital spoke tension gauge. Just click the link to read all about it. At the time of that review, I was building wheels part-time for Praxis Works Bicycle Components. Today, I'm a full-time engineer at Praxis and in charge of our wheel department. As the company wheelmeister, I’m learning lots about modern wheel production and trying more new tools that improve wheel building and wheel quality. I started this 2-part column before Thanksgiving, and I'm finishing it up today.

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How to Fix Disc Brake Rubbing

I’ve been working on quite a few disc brake-equipped road bikes in our Praxis workshop lately. One of the problems that keeps coming up is a rubbing or dragging brake. The type of rubbing I’m seeing can be missed when riding because it’s slight. But if you lift the wheel that’s rubbing off the ground and give it a spin, you’ll realize straight away that the rotor (the metal disc attached to the wheel) is slightly rubbing, because the wheel will stop spinning much more quickly than the other wheel (unless it’s rubbing, too).

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Bicycle Storage with Bike Hooks

My friend John bought a new house recently and asked for bike storage advice. The new place has a two-car garage with a wall he can devote to bike-hanging. So it’s a relatively easy project. I get asked this question a lot, so I thought I’d share the basic plans. First, understand that there are as many ways to store bikes as there are home and garage floor plans. The important thing is to find a way to keep your nice road bikes inside and out of the weather or else they’ll age fast. I also recommend locking them even when they’re hanging in your garage or storage area. Bike theft is on the rise.

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DIY Rear Derailleur Adjustment

A couple of Tech Talks ago, we covered super cleaning a double crankset by removing the chainrings. It’s an excellent bike maintenance project because it doesn’t require special tools and it results in a like-new looking crank. It’s also something even beginning mechanics can tackle to hone their basic skills. This week’s topic, do-it-yourself rear derailleur adjustment, is another skill that even newbs can master. And once you’ve got it down, you’ll be able to keep your bikes shifting perfectly, plus fix your riding pals’ machines, too – making you a hero out on the road!

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Tips for Moving from Mid-Compact to Compact

RBR reader Andrew K. wrote us recently about a topic that rings true for many of us as we get older but still want to be able to do the "big rides" we've done for years. Andrew wrote: "As I age, I feel the need to go from a mid-compact to compact gearing to participate in some gran fondos. Would you consider discussing changing chain rings and implications for needing to adjust the derailleur, chain, etc? I specifically use a Shimano Ultegra Di2 11-speed groupset."

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Super Clean Your Chainrings

It’s important to clean your drivetrain regularly because chain lube picks up dirt and debris from riding. If you keep logging the miles and ignore it, the build-up of grime wears the chain and sprockets more quickly. It’s relatively easy to clean the chain, rear derailleur pulleys and even the cassette cogs on the rear wheel. The component that can be hard to clean is the crankset. But the way it can be done on most double road cranksets is unbolting and removing the chainrings to clean them and the crankarms. Here’s how to go about it.

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Bike Maintenance 101, Part 2

In Part 1 last week, I told you to round up the few basic tools and supplies needed to maintain your (new, if you’re new to the sport) road bike. But this advice serves as a good reminder to all of us, no matter how old our bikes or how much experience we have. Before we get started on the routine steps to take to keep it running like new, here’s something else important: When you’re not riding your iron horse, keep it inside. This might seem like a no-brainer. But I’m regularly surprised to hear from even somewhat experienced roadies that their bike lives outside.

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Bike Maintenance 101, Part 1

I got my first good 10-speed in the summer of 1971. I remember the feeling I had when I got it home. No, not the excitement and anticipation of riding, but the feeling of dread, as I slowly realized I didn’t know a blasted thing about how to take care of it. Sure, the nice shop guy showed me how to operate the brakes and shifting. I think he even showed me how to remove the front quick-release wheel so that I could stuff it in my grandmother’s Chevy and get it home (I didn’t have my license yet). But I didn’t learn any of the basics of caring for a road bike until I purchased Anybody’s Bike Book and read up on it.

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Tips for Using CO2 Pumps

Not long ago, when we were discussing frame pumps and CO2 cartridges, RBR Editor John Marsh shared this ride story with me. Perhaps something similar has happened to you: “I was with a buddy recently who seemed to have never used his CO2 system before (or I guess it had been so long he had totally forgotten how). When it came time to inflate his fixed flat, he actually still had an old, used CO2 canister attached to the chuck – and didn’t really know how to use the chuck, either. This is a very experienced rider, BTW."

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Tubeless Tires Q & A

Here’s a question and answer with a roadie from St. Louis named Robert. It concerns tubeless tires versus tubed ones, one of the more complicated choices cyclists have today. Since you might be trying to decide for yourself, our conversation could be helpful. Also, we have written a lot about tubeless tires since they first appeared on the scene. You can read numerous articles by using the term "tubeless" (no quotation marks necessary) in the Search field at the upper right of any page on the site.

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