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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

5
votes
2answers
2k views

How to make a lockable front suspension last longer?

Lockable suspension is very handy on every ride. But I have witnessed a few cases where they break way too soon, in comparison with other types of suspension. The locks fail to be effective, or the ...
5
votes
2answers
18k views

How do I measure a bottom bracket?

I need to replace the bottom bracket bearing on my fixie. I plan to get a Shimano UN26, but I note that there are a number of different sizes. The sizes seem to be expressed as 68-110, where 68 is the ...
5
votes
1answer
305 views

Maintaining an old bike properly

I have a 6 years old bike, I got it when I was 9. It's a great bike, however I've always had the problem of maintaining it properly. I have a few questions which I hope to get answered here. Before ...
5
votes
1answer
278 views

How tight should brakes and shifters be on the handlebars?

How tight should handlebar components be? Here it's said 6-8Nm. However, I don't own a torque wrench at that range. Should the brake levers and commands be tight, or should they be able to twist, ...
5
votes
2answers
857 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
224 views

There is a lip on my brake pad from bad positioning. Can I remove the lip?

One of my bikes had the brake pads positioned poorly and they developed a pretty pronounced lip where the pad hung off machined braking surface on one side. The bike is using cantilever brakes. These ...
5
votes
5answers
9k views

What should I use to lubricate a freehub?

I've noticed my freehub has gotten quite a bit louder over the last few months. Several people have recommended that I lubricate the freewheel by tipping the bike on its side and dripping lubricant ...
5
votes
1answer
320 views

does my degreaser hang around and destroy my new chain lube?

I generally clip on the Park chain cleaner, fill it with a cheap department store degreaser (Rubbermaid), run it through for a few seconds, then fill the chain cleaner with water once or twice or more ...
5
votes
1answer
922 views

How do I disassemble my headset? How do I know if I need to replace it

I just bought a cheap frame off craigslist because I want to build myself a fixed gear bike. When I turn the fork, it feels like there is sand in the bearings. How do I go about taking the headset ...
5
votes
2answers
740 views

Left pedal coming loose

On my bike, which I just built out of spare parts, the left pedal seems to constantly be coming loose. It seems to come out about 5m every time I ride ~10km. It's an old cotter pin crank, and the ...
5
votes
2answers
925 views

How should I prepare a carbon frame when I want to swap in a new bottom bracket?

My four-year-old, carbon-framed road bike has developed a case of creaky cranks. I only hear creaking when pedalling hard, when I pedal more softly it just sounds like it has always done. Given the ...
5
votes
5answers
371 views

When to lube a chain?

Should a chain be lubed each time after riding in the rain*? What about a 100km mudride (occasional water up to the hubs)? Should I stop in the middle of the ride to re-lube the chain? If so, is it ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

How long is the life cycle of a bicycle?

This may not be a particularly practical question, but I wonder how often do you find yourself looking for a new (or another) bike? There are, of course, two main aspects of it: Mechanical decay. If ...
4
votes
7answers
4k views

What to use to clean a derailleur?

I'm not sure what type of solvent to use to clean a derailleur.
4
votes
5answers
511 views

Cycling clothing care products

Given a "standard" cyclist's wardrobe (e.g. paddded shorts, jerseys, moisture-wicking t-shirts and socks--made of blends of lycra, spandex, wool, and other "specialty" fabrics) what special-care ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

Why does my gear slip when going uphill / standing?

I have a road bike that I use to commute ~6 miles to work every day. Some of the portions of the ride are at a steep incline, and I've noticed that when I get up to stand on some of these hills, my ...
4
votes
6answers
4k views

Securing sliding bar grips without hair spray?

I have some Bell anatomic handlebar grips that tend to slide (rotate) on the bar. I've read that using hair spray is useful, but tends to be rather permanent. I'd like to make the grip tackier but not ...
4
votes
1answer
231 views

Please help me identify my bike

I have recently bought a house and found this bike in the garage. I'm currently thinking of giving it a full service, but I'm not a super expert on it and therefore I'd maybe like to take it to a ...
4
votes
1answer
483 views

What to do about a stuck chain link on 10 speed chain

I put a new chain on my bike and after 3 rides or so, I developed a stiff link. I'm not sure what caused the issue, but now it barely bends at the pin at all, unless forced. It causes skipping ...
4
votes
2answers
218 views

When should the metal clips be replaced on a brompton folder?

I have a brompton which is about 7 years old. Do I need to think about replacing the aluminium clips that lock the frame in place when unfolded?
4
votes
2answers
494 views

Why does the chain tension vary as pedals are turned?

I have a new single-speed bike (after purchase this year, it was unused in a garage for a few months), but as I turn the pedals, the tension in the chain varies noticeably. What should I check, ...
4
votes
3answers
873 views

What tools are required to replace a spoke?

When out riding at the weekend, for the very first time, I managed to break a spoke on my wheel. Because I've not done it before, and I want to get back out on the bike soon, this time around I am ...
4
votes
2answers
571 views

Reusable gloves for bike repairs?

I'm looking to degrease/lube the chain, adjust disc brakes, clean, etc. at home, but don't want to get my hands dirty. (Zinger alert.) Are there any special re-usable gloves for this kind of bike ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Why don't frame manufacturers ream/face their frames?

Before building up a new frame, it's crucially important to ream/face the headtube and crown race seat (and the bottom bracket, if using press-fit cups). You should also ideally chase the threads of ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Bent Chainring causing chain to attempt changing gears

I was riding my road bike last night when something strange happened. I stopped at a stop sign. (I didn't have time to slow down so I was in my highest (fastest) gear. When I started I had to press ...
4
votes
2answers
593 views

How can I keep spiders and other bugs off my bicycle?

I am an extreme arachnophobe, to the point that I've left dishes in the sink due to a dead spider the size of an M&M. My bike at work is right in the open, and because of the soft winter, there ...
4
votes
4answers
5k views

How to repair sticky Ultegra shifter

I have Ultegra 3x9 shifters and derailleurs that were installed just a couple months ago. I purchased them on eBay and although they were new, they had been sitting in inventory for a couple years so ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Chain drop under load

I have a problem. Today I was riding (flat-out) up hill, and went to shift up a gear on the rear, which caused the chain to drop off the front chain-ring (was in the big-ring, so dropped to the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Is torque relevant for steel/aluminium? Where do I find torque specs?

When you are not dealing with carbon, is torque relevant? I've never seen it mentioned on the hundreds of answers here, or the hundreds of how-tos I've read elsewhere. Should I just tighten ...
4
votes
1answer
282 views

Rotating 2 chains on one cassete

I clean my chain on the bicycle, mostly because taking it off for a bath, drying, etc seems to take more time than I have. But maybe I could use 2 chains in rotation, I would take one chain off, ...
4
votes
1answer
383 views

Should cassette “wiggle”

Recently My freehub broke and so I removed the cassette to replace the freehub and noticed, whilst off the bike, 4 of the remaining bolted together 8 sprockets wiggled (4 wiggled together but ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

What are common causes of premature chainring wear?

My bike mechanic told me today that my front chainrings are starting to wear out and I should consider replacing it soon (with my next chain replacement). The cassette is still in good condition and ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Tightening rear quick release stops rear wheel

I have a medium sized Trek Mountain Track/Antelope with a seven speed freewheel. When I tighten the rear quick release, I have to carefully back off on the tightness so that the wheel will actually ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

What's the performance difference between a front-load and top-load bike stem?

I recently bought a bmx and after doing a few tricks on it, the front-load stem became loose enough for the bars to slide forward (they rotated towards me about the point the bars were connecting at ...
4
votes
2answers
165 views

How to correctly align “be seen” lights

My "be seen" bicycle light is bar mounted and has to be reattached every time I jump on the bicycle, due to theft risk. How do I determine when it is correctly aligned? In particular how are "be ...
4
votes
4answers
332 views

How long should pedals last?

I use cheap flat pedals, aluminum or plastic. They lasts about a year (1K-2K kms) before dying (cracking noises at each stroke). I don't mind paying US$10 each year, but it hurts my eco-heart: I want ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

LBS said creaking under torque is normal?

on my last question i asked about a creaking/tick i was getting when i was stand pedalling on a climb. I took it to my LBS today and they said they had stripped all the crank and bb and re greased it ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

How do I stop my brake from sticking?

The rear brake (calliper) on my road bike sticks. When I pull the brake it pulls down but only half springs back and there's then slack in the leavers. This is causing rubbing on the rim. It's a ...
4
votes
2answers
514 views

Removing surface rust from my Eggbeater pedals?

So I did a couple of wet rides last month, and I guess I didn't dry the pedals as well as I should have. I have Crank Brothers Eggbeater pedals, and I noticed a bit of surface rust on them that I'd ...
4
votes
2answers
225 views

How do I know if there is water in my fork

I have a SunTour XCR fork. Not wanting to ruin it I am worried that a significant amount of water has penetrated beyond the seals. I have recently ridden the bike in rain, snow, and washed it in a ...
4
votes
2answers
230 views

Maintenance Schedule

There are many questions that deal with routine/ preventative maintenance (including this one which is probably the most comprehensive Optimal Maintenance Schedule) but none deal with issues related ...
4
votes
2answers
170 views

Seatpost maintenance : removing rust

I have an aluminum seat post in a steel frame. The post was really hard to extract and I don't want this thing corroding on me. You've discussed how to take care of the rust on a steel frame and on ...
4
votes
2answers
464 views

Rotate or replace tires

I ride a cross bike mostly on the road right now and my rear tire is wearing much faster than my front, which is to be expected. I found the following thread which I think is a similar question but ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Protecting steel bike from salty roads

There is still a lot of salt on the roads in Ottawa, Canada, but I am thinking about starting to use my road bike instead of my mountain bike because the snow is mostly gone. (At least temporarily). ...
4
votes
1answer
151 views

Will I have problems maintaining a bike from the UK in the US?

I'm moving to the US from the UK and am considering taking my fairly average hybrid road bike with me. It's nothing special but I quite like it and the cost of taking it on a plane doesn't seem to be ...
4
votes
2answers
199 views

Help with cassette, worn or not?

I have done exactly 2879 km on my cassette, and currently I got myself a new chain which is a third for this cassette. With first chain I made 1985km, but I already noticed a significant degradation ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

Which lubricant/grease to use for ball bearings?

A little mishap happened today during cleaning my bicycle. I tried to take off the sprocket wheel for easier access, but instead I opened the lock nut of the hub (cassette type) and the balls came ...
4
votes
1answer
122 views

Is there not enough shim on my suspension pivot?

I bought month ago new full suspension bike "Kellys Beast 2013". When I maintained it, I noticed that there seems to be a shim missing on one rear pivot: The most interesting that it is symmetrical ...
4
votes
3answers
889 views

Carbon Seatpost / Frame in Repair Stand

I've got a Park PCS-10 repair stand, and just acquired my first carbon bike. Is there anything I should know about clamping either the frame or seatpost in the stand? Being a few years old, the frame ...
4
votes
1answer
143 views

Fixing hydraulic disk brakes, what to check first?

I have a 10-year old bike, fitted with hydraulic disk brakes. The bike has been actively used for around 4 years only though. Recently, my brake levers started to have more and more "play" before the ...