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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

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

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 ...


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

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 ...


7

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

Probably your best bet if you want to park them is to meet someone with a large shed who'll put the bikes up for you. If you make the finance/convenience tradeoff I think selling the bikes after your stay and getting new ones when you return might be a better option, but I understand the convenience of having the same bike. I can think of several options ...


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 ...


6

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 ...


6

I bike all winter long, down to -30°C, there are some definite tolls to your bike at colder temperatures. Unlike a vehicle that warms up after the engine has been running for a while, bikes stay cold when you ride them cold. There are two things I notice the most, air pressure is definitely one of them; cold air shrinks, and low tires drag, so if you're ...


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

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

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

With "be seen" lights good ones have a very wide beam pattern so they can be seen from all angles, which makes precise orientation less relevant. If you look at Nathan's bike light database most of those lights are about 180° horizontal beam spread and 90° or more vertically. Again, the better ones have a more even beam spread so there's really no "hot axis" ...


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

Why would you need chains and cassettes that cost in excess of 300 dollars? Several reasons: You're a professionally sponsored racer, money is no object and you want to cut every gram of weight possible. You have way too much money (generally, people who buy top end equipment fall into this group). It looks cool among a certain crowd. In picking your ...


4

I had first hand experience with what a full immersion can do. Racing through 3-foot deep muddy water and diluted mud isn't as great as it sounds! The biggest problem comes from your bearings, no matter what type they are. At the time I had a sealed square taper bottom bracket which is more or less impervious to getting grit and fluid and inside. However, ...


4

Different brakes use different designs and different fluids, and as such have slightly different bleed kits and procedures. I've answered what I can below. The avid instruction stresses removing any air from the liquid prior to the bleed (they clamp the hose of the syringe and pull on the piston). Why is this not done in the Shimano video? I suspect ...


4

Go to a bike store and buy purpose-made chain oil. It will generally come in 2-3 grades from "dry" to "wet". "Dry" you'd use in dry, dusty conditions. "Wet" you'd (obviously) use in conditions where it's frequently wet. You can read the blurb on each bottle to see what sounds best for you. At the very least, wipe the chain with a rag before oiling. ...


4

As long as you use a ten speed chain it shouldn't matter which group you take it from. Normally the higher priced ones are bit lighter but the additional price often does by far not match the lower weight. Also the higher priced ones might last not that long due to the lighter material. Therefore if it's for a bike where you know that it will see some dirt ...


4

The mainstay tools are really wrenches and allen keys, certainly these will be all you need for something trivial like fitting a rack. But the more you get into things, there are a myriad of different tools around, often which can be used for one and only one task. For example if you want to get the cranks off you need a crank puller, of which there are a ...


4

It sounds like you need to adjust your rear derailleur - the cable may have slipped a bit and have insufficient cable tension, or if you recently had a crash, you may have bent your derailleur. I'd recommend reading this to learn how to adjust your derailleur.


4

I usually use an old spoke nipple. Slide it over the end and crimp with an electrical (stake-on/solderless connector) crimper.


4

Generally, it will go away if you apply the brakes a bit (it will be a bit noisy at first, but after a few applications it will look as good as new), since the rust is likely only on the surface (this is one way to tell if a car has been not driven for a few days - rust spots appear on the brake discs, but they'll go away after a short trip around town). ...



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