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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41
votes
4answers
13k views

Can I use WD-40 on my bike?

Is WD-40 really bad to apply on bikes? I was told so but still see people doing that. Also I saw WD-40 launching their new products of bike lubricant and degreaser. Did anybody try those?
41
votes
5answers
2k views

Periodic Maintenance Task for Bike Commuters

What are the periodic maintenance tasks (weekly, monthly, annual, every X miles) that anyone who relies on a bike for transportation (typically in urban/semi-urban environments) should be performing? ...
28
votes
8answers
7k views

How long should a road tyre hold its pressure?

How long should a road tyre be able to maintain a pressure of around 100psi, and what factors are likely to reduce this time? Background: My tyre pressures are consistently dropping to around 60psi ...
28
votes
5answers
7k views

Perfectly setting up gears - how?

Every time I have my bike serviced, the bike shop sets up the gears on a stand in their workshop. The gears change perfectly on the stand, but when the bike is on the road, the rear derailleur doesn't ...
22
votes
6answers
2k views

Why do the front and rear brakes work independently?

Why do bicycles have two individual brake levers that work independently to brake each wheel? I've always used my right brake lever because it is more comfortable to do so and I haven't noticed any ...
22
votes
2answers
4k views

What's stopping you from pedalling backwards?

On the BMX bike I have, pedalling backwards moves the chain but doesn't drive the wheels of the bike backwards like you would expect it to. Why is this?
22
votes
4answers
680 views

Basic toolkit for bicycle maintenance

What should be in the basic toolkit for someone that wants to maintain their own bicycle? I'm looking for something for your average day to day maintenance and tools that I will get the most use out ...
22
votes
2answers
650 views

How to wash a bike properly?

I use my bicycle in a typical urban commute setting. No extreme MTB, but it still accumulates some dust and grime. How should I wash my bicycle?
22
votes
3answers
6k views

Does the chain direction make a difference?

Recently, I helped a friend install a new chain on her road bike, and for the first time read the instructions for installing one. It seems to claim that there's a forward direction, and that it ...
21
votes
2answers
5k views

How to know when to change a chain?

A bike shop employee used a tool he said would check the wear on the chain, and said that it should be changed. He said it took a measurement that meant the chain had expanded, but it is still hard ...
19
votes
7answers
6k views

Does the plastic cap on a Presta valve serve any purpose once fitted to a rim?

I can see the use of the valve cap on a Presta valve when the tube is still packaged (it obviously stops the valve puncturing the tube), but does it do anything except look pretty (or not) once you've ...
19
votes
3answers
10k views

How do self-adjusting hydraulic disc brakes work?

I have Avid Elixir brakes on my mountain bike. They are the only part of the bike that's a total black box to me. I understand the principle behind disc brakes, and I understand the principle behind ...
18
votes
6answers
4k views

What should I look for when buying a used bicycle?

I'm moving to a city where I can ride a bicycle to the grocery store, coffee shop etc. I want to purchase a decent used bicycle. I'm leaning towards a bike that's in between a "10-speed" or road-bike ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Practical cleaning routine for a commuter bike

I regularly (almost daily) ride my bike, often in bad weather. I mostly ride on roads, but sometimes through parks, forest etc. on unpaved surfaces. My bike is usually rather dirty, at least the lower ...
17
votes
10answers
3k views

How much does bike price correspond with maintenance needs?

In this question (with this answer) I asked about a commuter bike, which is to be ridden 40 km every weekday, in the city. And apparently for this scenario I can choose either of two possible kinds of ...
17
votes
8answers
900 views

Where to find good bicycle maintenance info?

If there is a good book what would it be? I'm pretty sure I can find stuff on YouTube (any particular user?). Any blogs out there?
16
votes
4answers
761 views

Optimal Maintenance Schedule

It is forecast to rain this weekend so I was thinking I would drop a tarp down over my living room floor and give my bikes a bit of a tune up. Question What maintenance needs to be done on your ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Winter maintenance before putting bike in winter storage?

What kind of maintenance should I do before putting my bike into storage for the winter? Are there any special considerations for storing it? Does temperature matter? If it's hanging on the wall ...
16
votes
3answers
6k views

What's the rubber tube in my puncture repair kit for?

I've got an old school puncture repair kit, the type with glue and patches. As well as the sandpaper, patches, 'vulcanizing fluid' and instructions, there is a 2.5cm long, 3mm wide, beige rubber ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I lubricate my chain?

I know I should lubricate my chain regularly. I got some lube at my LBS; how should I apply it? Do I just drip some on one spot, and turn the pedals around a few times to spread it out? Drip it all ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

I've had a bike in storage for over 10 years. What maintenance does it need?

I've had a bike in indoor storage (my garage) for over 10 years. I'd like to get it back into good condition to use for my commute to/from work each day. What things should I check/replace before I ...
15
votes
6answers
14k views

Does this chainring need to be replaced?

Here is a closeup of my triple: All three rings are Shimano Ultegra and have never been changed. They probably have at least 12000+ km on them. I've been pretty good about changing the chain ...
15
votes
4answers
7k views

Should I grease a carbon fiber seat post?

I was reading a recent question when I saw this answer: You should absolutely grease your seatpost (unless it is carbon fiber). Why should I NOT grease a carbon fiber seat post?
14
votes
6answers
8k views

Real measurable benefit to ceramic bearings?

Is there a real difference between riding on ceramic bearings and riding on stainless steel? How would you measure it? Does it require it to be every bearing in the drive train, or will each set of ...
14
votes
5answers
4k views

Post Rain Ride Wipedown

I've tried avoiding riding during the rain for years because I didn't want to hurt my bike. But, tomorrow I really want to ride, rain (most likely) or shine. What should I do after the ride to ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Dealing with rust on a steel frame

I have a small spot of rust on the bottom side of my steel frame's top tube (Columbus Niobium tubing). It's from abrasion during transport that I didn't notice until it was too late. The spot is ...
14
votes
4answers
267 views

Pre ride checks

What checks should you perform before setting off to ensure that your bike is safe to ride? I'm more interesting in mountain bikes rather ride road bikes but I guess that most checks are applicable ...
14
votes
2answers
4k views

Sequence for a complete road bike overhaul

I have a road bike that I plan to completely overhaul soon. Over the years, and with several bikes, I have overhauled most every component, but have never managed to do this for an entire bike, start ...
14
votes
3answers
338 views

How to prevent my hub body from freezing?

In the winter, as soon as its gets a little bit below 0°C, after 10-15 minutes the body of my rear hub gets frozen. This means the pedals/chain do not have any grip anymore on the rear wheel, the ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Why would I need a torque wrench for a bicycle?

I was rather surprised to find a question about choosing a torque wrench on this site. I haven't cycled for years, but many years ago when I actually cycled I would do with a set of ordinary wrenches ...
13
votes
6answers
20k views

How often should I grease and repack my hubs and bottom bracket?

I am commuting 7 miles a day (round trip) in all weather in New England (temperate, moderately wet climate, cold winters). Overall I am putting about 1000 miles per year on my commuter bike, a 2009 ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Preventing frozen brake cables

This response to another question provides a wealth of info on winter riding preparation, but doesn't mention any techniques for preventing cables, especially brake cables, from freezing. Is there a ...
13
votes
4answers
37k views

What is the “preload” setting on the front fork suspension?

I've made a photo of the actual "thing" as I find it very difficult to explain otherwise: I'm wondering what this "thing" sets and how it actually works. So, what is "preload" and what happens when ...
12
votes
7answers
5k views

Is there such a thing as frame failure?

Several general questions have been asked regarding how long a bike or bike frame will "last", and the gist of answers seems to be that a bike can last quite a while of the replaceable components are ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

What kinds of brake designs exist, and what are their general pros and cons?

Here are the ones I'm aware of: Center Pull Cantilever Slightly better braking than side pull brakes. No recentering problem. Relatively rare V-Brakes Cheap to produce. Similar in braking power ...
12
votes
4answers
574 views

How to choose the right Citi Bike?

It's 2013, and bike sharing has finally made it to New York City. Of course, the branded cruisers aren't the most speedy bikes on the road. They weigh a whopping 45 pounds, and their third gear - ...
12
votes
4answers
752 views

Minimal effort chain cleaning

One of the main reasons I eventually give up my bicycle commute in winter is that keeping my bike -mainly the drivetrain- clean despite all the rain/dirt/salt/hail/snow becomes too much of a time ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Bike tires need air every ride…is this normal?

I ride my bike maybe once a week at most. I need to add air to the tires every time to bring it up to the right pressure. (I ride a mountain bike and I put about 45 - 50 PSI's into the tires.) Is ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

How many miles and/or commuting seasons will a modern internal geared hub last?

I've been considering drive trains on a utility / commuter bike. What are expected or actual lifetime / maintenance needs of modern internal hubs? The Shimano Alfine internal 8-speed hub is on ...
12
votes
5answers
692 views

What are good sites/places to buy/sell bike parts for older bikes?

I've been wondering is there a marketplace to buy/sell/get original parts for bikes no longer made? I have a Bridgestone X0-1 Hybrid (the weird looking one with mustache handlebars) and I want to ...
12
votes
3answers
9k views

How do I know when to replace my bottom bracket?

With out completely removing the cranks and bottom bracket, how can I tell when it's time to replace my bottom bracket? The current symptom is a slightly 'rough' feeling when I pedal. It's not ...
11
votes
6answers
5k views

How do I bring an old bike up to speed?

I'm an adult that is new to biking due to a triple whammy of a childhood aversion to effort, my family moving to a town on the side of a mountain with steep roads, and my bike getting run over by a ...
11
votes
9answers
19k views

Homemade bicycle degreaser liquids

Does anyone have a recipe for a homemade bicycle degreaser solution? I'd like to make my own degreaser solution instead of buying one. I have read about using lemon juice and various types of alcohols ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

Should I oil my seat post?

In a previous question I asked how to remove rust from my seat tube/post. In the comments of one answer somebody said I should be oiling my seat post to prevent it from rusting into my seat tube, but ...
11
votes
3answers
2k 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
2answers
853 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
633 views

Truing stands, go big or stay home?

I'm looking to buy a truing stand. Is the Park TS-8 Home good enough? Or should I pay double the price and get the Park TS-2.2 Pro. I have some experience truing wheels, but never on a nice stand. I ...
11
votes
1answer
567 views

How do I wrap a road bike handlebar?

What is the best way to wrap a handlebar? Specifically: Should I start near the stem or at the bar ends? wrap clockwise or counter-clockwise? How to wrap (e.g. how many times) around where the ...
11
votes
3answers
602 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
8k views

What makes grease appropriate for bikes?

I'd like to grease my seatpost, and in front of me I've got a tube of "CMD Extreme Pressure Lube #3" that claims to be good for "ball bearings, roller bearings, deep drawing, rivet spinning" and a ...