Tech Talk

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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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 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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Park Tool Torque Wrenches, Sockets & Drivers

Last week, I shared a warning about the dangers of incorrect torque wrench use from Park Tools' John Krawczyk and Calvin Jones. If you work on your bike and use torque wrenches, you don’t want to miss it, so click here to read that first. This week I’m looking at a full range of Park’s Torque tools. To determine which you need requires knowing what bicycle maintenance and repairs you perform. With that knowledge, choose the torque wrench(es) that provides the range of torque settings and also choose the specific torque sockets and drivers you need. 

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Proper Torque Wrench Use

With the mainstreaming of carbon frames and components – and at so many price points – you probably already know that the best way to safely tighten modern carbon parts is by owning and using a torque wrench. Torque wrenches allow you to tighten metal parts properly, too. But did you know that even some experienced mechanics use torque wrenches wrong? And that incorrect use can damage or break parts the same as not using a torque wrench?

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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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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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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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