Tools, parts, techniques, and procedures to keep your bike in working order. MAINTENANCE is not the same as REPAIR, a separate tag. Maintenance is what one does on a regular basis. Repair is what one does only when something is broken.

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12
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2answers
957 views

When to change disk brake pads

I was wondering how to tell when your disk brake pads need replacing. My front seems to be not stopping as quickly as it used to, or as I would like. I know this could be road grime build up, but I ...
12
votes
3answers
15k views

What are the benefits of external bottom brackets?

Pretty soon, I plan to replace the bottom bracket on my early 90's Sakae Litage road bike. It takes a standard, English-threaded bottom bracket. Right now I think it contains loose bearings--I was ...
12
votes
4answers
8k views

do DT Swiss 240 hubs need proprietary tools to maintain them?

the bearings in my DT Swiss 240 hub appear to be shot, I have the toolkit for and am used to maintaining Chris King hubs but I wonder if I have to get special proprietary tools for the DT hubs as ...
12
votes
4answers
6k views

Should or can I (car) wax my frame?

Having spent the whole summer taking a bike apart, painting it and now in the process of building it again, I was thinking about waxing it. I want the finish to last as long as possible, after all, ...
12
votes
3answers
932 views

Finding a rattle in my bike

I recently installed a rear luggage rack and washed my bike, and now I get a buzzing rattle when I ride over bumps in the road, independent of whether I happen to be pedaling at the time. It sounds ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Do brake cables become more elastic with time?

I bought a used bike a few months ago, and I've noticed a drastic reduction in brake power. At first, I was easily able to lock-up the rear wheel while squeezing the brake lever only half-way to the ...
11
votes
9answers
3k views

What are good ways to dry shoes?

I ride through the winter in the Pacific North West and get soaked about every other ride. What are the best way you've found to dry your shoes? I've found that stuffing them with wadded up ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Separate hex keys vs. combined multi-tool for bike adjustments?

Are separate hex (Allen) keys better than a multi-tool for adjusting and maintaining a bike at home? Some of the separated sets also have ball-ends for the 4/5/6mm keys: Apart from Torx T25 ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

How to avoid wearing out gears?

I have a Specialized Tricross which I bought new last year. In that time (approximately 1K miles), I wore out my chain and gears. At least two of my gears are still slipping, even with a new chain. ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Will a bicycle trailer damage my (steel) bicycle?

I have a rhode gear trailer with a 100 lb capacity, similar to the burley and other brands, that attaches to the left chainstay (see image of hitch below). I currently have it attached to my ...
11
votes
3answers
12k views

When should a wheel be replaced?

I an not talking about upgrading. How do you know when to buy new wheels because the other ones have worn out? How do you tell a wheel is worn out? I can always true a wheel back to true. And nothing ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it harmful for a hydraulic brakes bike to be put upside down

I heard somewhere that bikes with hydraulic brakes should not be put upside down. If they are, 15 minutes should be allowed, before the bike is used. Is there any truth in this? What process could be ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Problem with chain `skipping` (but not trying to shift)

I have two bicycles that suffer this problem, both pretty heavy frames (one a ladies, Hollander bike, and the other a man's commuter) - both have correctly adjusted Derailleurs which don't produce any ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Disc Brakes: Resurface your Pads?

Is resurfacing the brake pads in disc brakes (hydraulic or mechanical) necessary? If so, what would you use to do this - medium sandpaper? I spoke to one mechanic while shopping for a bike, who ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

How often should I strip my bike down?

How often should I give my bike a full service? Strip the bottom bracket, clean and grease it. Strip the groupset and freewheel. And what products (or type of) should be used for each process? It's ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I maintain a Brooks leather saddle?

I've got a Brooks leather saddle and i like it a lot, but i am entirely clueless on how to care for it. I know i am supposed to rub some sort of fat on it, but i have no idea what kind of fat, or how ...
11
votes
3answers
10k views

Annoying clicking sound from the bottom bracket

I just purchased a Fuji ACR 2.0 road bike from a guy who bought it three months back but didn't ride it at all. I brought it home and found that it is making a clicking sound when I pedal. The sound ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

How can I learn to take care of an old (70s era) road bike/get it back to working condition?

I found my mom's old road bike from the 70s tucked away in a corner of our attic. It's not in great condition and is pretty rusty. I don't know a lot about bikes from a mechanical or upkeep point of ...
10
votes
4answers
7k views

How often should I clean my bike?

How often should I clean my bike? I've used it several times over the summer, but only once in muddy conditions, should I clean it after every ride or once per quarter?
10
votes
3answers
44k views

What cleaner and oil should I use on my bike chain

Hope everyone is well. I need to clean and oil my chain as its getting a little clunky when I’m changing gears. I have no idea what I should be cleaning it with and then what I should oil with. Any ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the point of removing the excess oil after lubing the chain?

There is a very strong point in bike-mechanics culture, which I've seen in very competent answers here, too, to apply one drop of lube in every single roller of a clean chain, and then (!very ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Life expectancy of a rim?

I've erroneously bought a rim (hoping my technical English is right: the part of the wheel between the spokes and the tire). While I have no immediate use for it, shipping it back to the seller for ...
10
votes
5answers
9k views

How to measure the correct belt drive tension?

I own a 2010 Trek District with a belt drive. I'm fairly happy with the setup, since after months of standing outside I just picked up the bike again and started riding without the usual chain ...
10
votes
2answers
6k views

Hydraulic Disc Brakes Maintenance

I have Hayes Nine hydraulic disc brakes on my mountain bike. I have recently replaced the brake pads and after that it seems that the pads are almost touching the rotor. How can I adjust it? I have ...
10
votes
2answers
6k views

My brake lever is coming loose from my handle bars; how can I tighten it?

I have a road bike with drop bars, and the left brake lever is slightly loose - it can rotate a few degrees around the handle bar from side to side. How can I tighten it? Is it possible to do so ...
10
votes
2answers
571 views

How should I clean salt out during Winters?

Pretty simple question but I think some recommendations would make my chains a bit long-lasting. So when should you do something to your salted chains? When the chains already look rusty, can you use ...
10
votes
1answer
265 views

Bike pump: what is this lump?

What is this lump in the picture and how does it work? I have another pump, which physically is the same but minus the bulge. The one in the picture seems to perform better, ie less work to reach ...
10
votes
3answers
5k views

What should I expect from a bicycle service?

I'm thinking about getting my bicycle serviced for the first time to make sure it's entirely roadworthy. My question is what should I expect from a bike service from a professional? i.e. what ...
9
votes
3answers
8k views

Buying a used higher quality bike vs a lower quality new bike

I'm in the market for a new or used bike in the $1000 range and am trying to figure out whether it is worth it to buy a nicer bike with better components if they are already used and worn. For ...
9
votes
8answers
4k views

Can replacing my handlebar tape help reduce finger numbness?

Despite changing hand positions often and switching to more "cushiony" gel gloves, I'm still experiencing intermittent numbness when I ride (sometimes I get tingling and sometimes not). Are certain ...
9
votes
8answers
7k views

How long should a well maintained chain last and what can I do to prolong its life?

I commute on a fixie. I'm using KMC Z410 chains. Every evening if it's wet I wipe and re-lube my chain, using ProLink lube. Every weekend I remove the chain, soak it in kero, brush it with a citrus ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Should a link opened/closed by a chain-breaker be stiff afterwards?

I disassembled my bike's drivetrain to degrease and regrease all the components. I used a chain-breaker for the first time (previous bikes had a master link) to open a chain link and remove the chain. ...
9
votes
3answers
9k views

Fixing noisy V brakes

My V brakes make a lot of noise when I brake!! I am annoyed by such noise not to mention the pedestrians. My Mechanic said that it will not make those noise after using for couple of days, but it is ...
9
votes
1answer
289 views

Setting light to a derailleur

At 3:30ish in this video, they set light to a front derailleur. Why? Degreasing it? Waxy lube that needs melting in? I can't think of a good reason. Any ideas?
9
votes
8answers
9k views

How to prevent my chain from breaking?

After my chain has broken what should I know about buying and maintaining a new chain (apart from lubing it and replacing when it 'stretches')? Do you keep a spare chain, or a spare link? I have a ...
9
votes
1answer
21k views

When to change derailleur pulleys?

A friend said me that if you have one part in a very bad condition like a cassette and then you put a new stuff like a new chain it will destroy the new stuff very quickly. A LBS said that I should ...
9
votes
1answer
975 views

Is there any advantage to removing rust?

I mean a functional, noncosmetic, advantage. If I left the rust that was already there, would it weaken the parts? If it would cause more damage to some parts, which ones?
9
votes
1answer
933 views

Setting chain length

My chain broke and in a moment of silliness (I was cold wet and slightly annoyed) I threw the broken one away before thinking about measuring the new one. Is there a guide to getting the chain ...
9
votes
2answers
6k views

Cannondale Lefty DLR Ti Fork Rebuild/Maintenance

I have a mountain bike with a 2003 Cannondale Lefty DLR Ti fork. As I've been riding the bike this season, I've noticed that the fork is behaving strangely. It doesn't seem to lockout fully and it is ...
9
votes
2answers
7k views

What size are the screws used for water bottle mounts etc?

There's one size of bolt that's used all over modern bikes: water bottle mounts and the braze-ons for racks leap to mind. Whenever I need a few, I take one to the hardware store and sift through the ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

How to maintain chains during touring?

I think requirements are reusable, simple, small-size and things-to-easily-to-carry. There are exotic answers with chain clearers and other things that do not qualify to me simple. Perhaps, the ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Do I need to plug internal cable routing ports?

I have just ordered a OneUp Components 42T sprocket and a Race Face 30T Narrow/Wide single ring so that I can convert my 3x10 drive train into a 1x10. This means that I'll be removing the front ...
8
votes
7answers
1k views

How do I keep a bike feeling “new”?

I think there is a subjective feeling of "newness" to a bike which is straight out of the box. What is it mechanically and aesthetically that creates that? What can I do to prolong, preserve or ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

Should I tune up or replace bike?

This question is about the economics of owning and maintaining a bike. I bought a brand new mountain bike for $250 some months ago. I ride about 30 miles a week on paved trails for occasional ...
8
votes
3answers
22k views

How do I adjust my rear derailleur (Shimano SIS) when it is only slightly out?

It has been a while since I had my bike serviced and the gears are sometimes slightly out of perfect alignment. This results in the occasional mis-shift. I also think the change in seasons have ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Friction in the free hub?

I have noticed there's some friction in my free hub on the TCR - when I pedal backwards slowly, I can get the rear wheel to roll backwards (while on the stand). This strikes me as a bad thing - means ...
8
votes
2answers
459 views

Tightening a nut too much

Often guidance will be given to tighten a nut to "20 ft. lbs. (27 Nm)" or something along those lines. What's the best way to ensure you tighten things up, but don't over-tighten? Is there any way ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Do narrow tires puncture more frequently?

Does a narrow bicycle tire puncture more often, or does it requires more attention regarding its maintenance and servicing?
8
votes
3answers
2k views

When is a good time to change tyres due to age?

When should I consider changing tyres due to age? The tyres in question are five/six years old Continentals.
8
votes
3answers
11k views

What parts of a bike could potentially be harmed by degreaser?

I'v been using citrus degreaser to clean my bikes for years. I usually get a gallon jug of it from the auto parts store, and it lasts a long time. I use it for cleaning the drivtrain, either using a ...