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16

I am a industrial chemist and manufacture commercial grade degreasers and other cleaners for a as my occupation... this is what i recommend for a home-made degreaser... Firstly there are three main parts to a degreaser... they are as follows: Alkaline booster (to increase the pH to allow the dirt and grease and grime to be effectively removed for faster ...


13

Sheldon Brown was a good man, a good cyclist, and he spent an inordinate amount of time writing answers for everybody to questions that every new cyclist has. In a lot of ways, his answers were pretty dead on. However, like any person with the energy and commitment that Mr. Brown showed with his site, he was very opinionated on a number of issues which are ...


10

Aesthetically, it's just a case of keeping it clean. Use a toothbrush to clear accumulated dirt out of the little nooks and crannies, like the joints between tubes (especially around the bottom bracket). Waxing the frame can help keep that brand-new lustre. The back of the chainring and spider, sprockets, rear hub, and dropouts, can get grotty pretty ...


10

Astra was the Beacon Cycle house brand, according to Sheldon. As @Blam and @Daniel R Hicks say, it's a mid-range 80s bike (that's a compliment)! The lugs, while nothing special, aren't drainpipe thick - this is a good thing. It was probably built well. Crankset may be Stronglight, and the derailleur and front mech are probably Sachs-Huret. Basic components ...


9

There are two risks to turning your hydraulic brakes upside-down. The brake system isn't filled to overflowing with hydraulic fluid: there's likely to be a small air bubble. Normally, this sits at the highest point of the system: the oil reservoir at the brake lever. There, it's not compressed by the piston when you brake, so it can't interfere with ...


9

One proven way to retain the "new" feeling of a bike is to keep adding new parts to it. It's a well known (I would say proven but can't find the article) fact that people experience a noticeable performance boost when riding a new bike or upgrading gear. This expectation of better performance actually does lead to a small performance increase. The same ...


8

You need to move the open end of the posts closer together so you can pop that plate into place. To do that, bend the chain sideways at that master link to get it to close. There's a bit of technique, but it's not too hard to close (opening it again often requires three hands - the extra one to lift the plate off. Sometimes the plate will pop off if you ...


8

This can be a fairly common occurrence with a fixed wheel bike. It may depend on a few different things, ie what sort of nuts you are using, how tight they are, what style of dropouts, and what the dropouts are made of. A different sort of nuts may help. eg something with serrated nuts or washers could grip better. Also you may be able to tighten the nuts ...


8

Square taper cranks are easily damaged if they a ridden loose. You may find that the only fix is to replace the crank. If after tightening to the correct torque they continue to loosen, they must be replaced. Over tightening, while tempting, is not the correct solution and will lead to maintenace problems down the track. (Essentially someone will have to ...


8

You can cut an aluminum soda can into a small strip and wrap that around and fold it like a tiny burrito into the end. Crimp with pliers. Picture lovingly misappropriated from http://billgrady.com/wp/2002/11/14/how-to-wrap-a-burrito/


7

It largely depends on the usage you want to make of them and the particular tire/rim combination you use. Plastic levers are usually small and lightweight, and if they are of good quality, they are enough for most tires that are properly fitted to the rim. I mention this because sometimes, rims and tires can physically differ from the nominal size they bear ...


6

When I was doing bike rehab for Christmas Anonymous I saw many bikes like this. It can be good or it can be bad, depending on how much weather it's seen. First thing is to do the obvious -- wash it (we used a power washer), clean & oil the chain, clean and oil the derailers. If it's been in the weather enough then the cables will rusted solid and will ...


6

There is actually a real gain from this strategy. By rotating 2 (or 3) chains you extend the life of rear cogs (cassette) and it will last all your chains. In case you use one chain, you may need to replace cassette together with chain. As of front cogs, they last longer, but you will get a more even wear. Speaking of drawbacks - regularly taking off your ...


6

You mention Strava: they do that for you. If you register components and parts of your bike like a chain it will show the mileage from the registering date. It might a bit problematic if you have two sets of wheels (like one for rain and another for sunny days)that you use alternatively.


6

Ultimately its going to be down to how zealous you want to be. When you think of cleaning a chain, you need to think of two things. First, there is the cleaning - getting off the dirt and lube that has caked itself onto the chain. Then, there is lubing the chain to make it run nicely, (As part of a lube you'd maybe give the chain a rub with a dry cloth to ...


6

Don't use poison. It will likely not work. Would you be able to remove a dead spider from your bike anyway? How would you know it was dead? Poison is bad for other insects and animals in general. It's bad for you. I believe it's against the spirit of biking too. I don't think a bike cover will work for you. You will give spiders another place to hide. Even ...


5

If you believe you have diagnosed the problem then a clean and a service should be all that is required. You don't have to remove the FD. WD-40 will not displace mud effectively. I would: use a hose with a decent amount of pressure to remove the gunk, wait for it to dry. (be careful not to spray around the bottom bracket) apply WD-40 to any moving parts ...


5

Typically, for an aluminum post you align the gaps. For a carbon post you turn the clamp 180 degrees from the gap in the seattube to minimize the chance of crimping the seatpost. Some manufacturers have their own recommendations, but they're typically in line with what the aforementioned guidelines.


5

As a bicycle mechanic in the Netherlands, I always advice not to use a waterhose. Rain doesn't get into your bearings and chain, while water from a waterhose sometimes does get in nasty places. I sometimes see chains or even a bearing which is rusted because the oil/grease is 'hosed away'. You can safely use water out of a bucket, with a sponge. But do not ...


5

This question leads to one of the great religious debates of the bicycle culture. Ask ten mechanics which chain lube is best, you'll get ten different answers. The honest answer is "it depends on your maintenance habits and the weather and your preferences, so you should try some different things until you develop an opinion of your own." That's tough to do ...


5

Since the actual tire has burst, I think the most likely cause is that over the course of the 4000km you have ridden, the tire has suffered a cut or other damage that you did not previously notice. While sitting in your room, the pressure of the tube has gradually stretched the damaged area, and then burst. Inspect the other tire to check for cuts or ...


5

It depends. On a road bike you'll want them fairly tight to be able to ride on the hoods without the brake levers turning away or moving downward on the bar. On a mountain bike, at least the brake levers should be able to rotate away in case of a crash. But they still should be relatively tight such that they don't turn away while braking or because of ...


5

Alignment is anything from trivial to impossible. Good lights have a cut-off beam pattern that is more rectangular than circular. That way you can point the light at the road in front of you and not have the central peak that's pointing up into the eyes of people coming towards you. Even expensive lights often don't do this, so you might be out of luck. The ...


5

Usually when you take a bike out of the box, it's disassembled. I'm guessing that this isn't what you are referring to :P. If you want your bike just like when you got it from the bike shop, there's a few easy things you can do. Keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure. If you get a decent pump, it should be easy to keep the tires inflated. ...


5

What type of chain - Shimano have chain connector pins for exactly this task for many of their chains. Note the pin must exactly match the chain. If you have a length of the same chain (I always keep the left overs when I put ion a new chain) break the chain again and remake the chain with the leftovers. I have (in desperation - bike shops 100km away, no ...


4

Strictly speaking the answer should be M4, M5 or M6. This specifies the threading as well* (M4x0.7, M5x0.8 and M6x1 is implied, where the thread is given in mm/turn). The hex key for turning them will also have a size in mm, always smaller than the diameter, by how much depends on the head shape. I would say M5 are the most common, based on a very small ...


4

Measure the chain. You can use a chain gauge, or just a metal ruler. Sheldon describes it in detail, but assuming you have a ruler with inches (and fractions of an inch), you can just measure 12 pins' worth of the chain (under tension). If it it's 1/16th past the inch mark, he recommends changing it. That linked page also has some information on checking ...


4

Lean the bike slightly against something with the derailer facing out. Slide a section of newspaper up behind the derailer and large cog and let it drape down over the tire and onto the ground. (This protects the tire and absorbs most of the solvent.) Get an old toothbrush and a spray can of (no shouting now!) WD40 or some other similar solvent. ...


4

For a complete clean and overhaul, which works wonders for shifting performance, the Park Tool dérailleur overhaul instructions cannot be beaten. See http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/rear-derailleur-overhaul


4

I've found the simplest way is to get it rinsed off outside if you can, buckets of warm/hot water work well, then bring it inside and wash in the tub. If you've got a garage or laundry room, this becomes even easier by basically sponge-bathing your bike with a rag. Another alternative, but sometimes less worth it, is to take the bike to a self-wash car wash ...



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