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81 votes

What is the difference between brake cables and derailleur cables?

Cables: The main difference that I am aware of is the diameter of the cable. Most brake cables are 1.5 or 1.6mm in diameter. Most shift cables are 1.1 or 1.2mm, galvanized shifter cables are 1.3mm. I'...
Nate W's user avatar
  • 9,302
42 votes

Rear tire gets flat every month for unknown reasons

First, learn to change your own tubes. It's not hard, and you really should be able to do it. Because, frankly, if you're taking this same bicycle to the same shop every few weeks for them to change ...
Andrew Henle's user avatar
  • 10.7k
27 votes
Accepted

Putting pin(s) back into chain

It's safer and way easier just to buy another MissingLink (KMC's name for their master link design) of the same type (pin length) the chain came with, leaving you with an inner link that has one on ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

Can’t seem to put the wheels back on the frame

That's not the correct skewer for the wheel. I think you likely are using the rear skewer in the font wheel. Front hubs are typically 100mm between the drop-outs, rear are 130 or 135mm (or even 145mm ...
Argenti Apparatus's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

What are the risks associated with truing wheels without the aid of a truing stand?

A truing stand is a tool to speed-up the process. Using one does not stop the operator from doing it wrong. A good technique can work well enough using a finger pressing lightly on the rim and ...
Criggie's user avatar
  • 128k
26 votes
Accepted

As an enthusiast, how can I make a bicycle more reliable/less maintenance-intensive for use by a casual cyclist?

I think you are probably worried about nothing, the bike probably needs much less maintenance than you think. Like you, i'm an enthusiast, i ride quite a lot of miles/km, however unlike you I dislike ...
Andy P's user avatar
  • 18.3k
23 votes

How to transport an unusable bike AND a set of wheels without a car?

"Ghost ride": Borrow a good bike (if needed). Ride on the good bike, while pulling the incomplete one alongside you by holding its stem. Your secondary hand sits on the second bike's stem ...
pateksan's user avatar
  • 2,364
23 votes

What do I do when I am unsure if damaged carbon fiber is safe to use or needs replacing or repairing?

Carbon fiber composites are made up of sheets of carbon fiber filaments. These are usually impregnated with resin. To make CF structures, manufacturers will cut up the sheets, then lay them up onto a ...
Weiwen Ng's user avatar
  • 33.9k
22 votes
Accepted

Should I replace my bicycle tires if they have not been inflated in multiple years

If the bike has been hanging rather than sitting with weight on the tyres (and hence damaging the sidewalls), there is a good chance the tyres are still ok. You can check the tyres by going around ...
Andy P's user avatar
  • 18.3k
21 votes

Does anyone patch inner tubes anymore?

Yes, some people still patch their tubes I've worked sales at a bike shop for three years, and patch kits are still one of the most common small items for us to sell. It still makes sense from an ...
Jasmine's user avatar
  • 410
21 votes
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How do I rebuild Shimano XTR hydraulic brake levers?

This answer must be prefaced with the obvious: brake-related work is high-consequence and could be genuinely injurious if performed incorrectly. Please exercise your own judgement regarding your ...
MaplePanda's user avatar
  • 16.5k
20 votes

Unable to get a tube replacement to last

There is a mark in the middle of the valve stem as if something has pressed against it: Given that it was a fresh new tube, it likely means that it had been installed with the valve protruding at a ...
Grigory Rechistov's user avatar
20 votes

Unable to get a tube replacement to last

Check that the rim tape (tape or liner that sits in rim bed) is not loose or spinning. I had an identical issue where a brand new tube would be ruined after a 10 minute ride. The rim tape spins on ...
Warren Burton's user avatar
20 votes

Worth repairing?

To start off, the crank arm isn't breaking, it's quite definitely already broken. As to repairs - this bike seems to be what would commonly be called a 'BSO' (Bicycle shaped object). I definitely ...
Andy P's user avatar
  • 18.3k
19 votes

Rear tire gets flat every month for unknown reasons

Additional to Andrew's excellent answer, there's a trick of aligning a label on the sidewall of the tyre to the valve hole. That way you can remove the tube, identify the hole, and lay the tube on the ...
Criggie's user avatar
  • 128k
18 votes

Did I pay too much for repairs on road bike? Should I have bought new?

Bicycles cost money to maintain. Even if you do all your own mechanic work, you still need to purchase parts. That being said, more expensive bikes are generally more expensive to maintain at the ...
Deleted User's user avatar
18 votes
Accepted

Why using a puncture repair kit instead of a new inner tube?

You have to remove the wheel to replace the tube. A repair can be done in the frame. On older bikes without quick release, and with current gear hubs, electric hubs, Nuvinci hubs, belts etc, you need ...
Henry Crun's user avatar
  • 1,068
18 votes
Accepted

How to mount tires without tire levers?

That video is of a relatively supple tire going on easy. It's pretty blasé about the difficulties that can be encountered. He does end at the valve, which is good because advice to do the contrary is ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar
18 votes
Accepted

What tool should I be using on this bottom bracket?

The proper tool to interface with that bottom bracket is one like this: The pictured tool is a Park HCW-18 and runs about $15 USD. There should also be a large nut that threads on top of the bottom ...
Ted Hohl's user avatar
  • 6,437
18 votes

14 "Trashed" bikes acquired for free. Worth repairing and reselling? What do I look for?

From having maintained cheap bikes using other bikes as parts donors, even dismantling some to provide parts for others you're likely to need to buy some bits like chains and cables. They're cheap but ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 60.8k
17 votes

Is rubber cement in stationery stores the same as in tire patch kits?

A chemist on reddit answered this question fairly authoratively: Chemist here - natural rubber is a polymer (long chain-like molecules). Vulcanizing adds cross-links (through disulfide bonds) to the ...
RoboKaren's user avatar
  • 29.3k
17 votes
Accepted

Remove rounded nuts/bolts from wheel on old bike

If the nuts are rounded they're stuffed. You want to remove the nuts but not damage other things, like axles. I'll assume you're talking about axle nuts, but the same ideas apply to all nuts, bolts, ...
Criggie's user avatar
  • 128k
17 votes
Accepted

What is this blue mesh tube thing in the Rema TT 06 patch kit used for?

Looking at manufacturers site I found repair kit with 'mysterious' blue mesh listed as "Cartridge freeze protector". It is supposed to be put over the cartridge (like in this picture) to prevent ...
False Identity's user avatar
17 votes

Why is a derailleur guard present only on more affordable bicycles?

Derailleur guards are rarely found on more expensive bikes for several reasons: Protection: These guards only protect from minor contacts. Forces that would bend a typical derailleur would also bend ...
anderas's user avatar
  • 1,308
17 votes

How to transport an unusable bike AND a set of wheels without a car?

This is how I did it once: Needed three straps. Two of them where used to improvise shoulder straps so I carried the bike simulating a backpack. The third strap was to stabilize the handlebar so it ...
Jahaziel's user avatar
  • 12.6k
17 votes

two grooves in wheel rim

These are wear indicators. After years of braking, the surface of the rim will grind down to a point that these grooves will no longer be discernable. At that point, you should replace the rim.
Paul H's user avatar
  • 4,247
17 votes
Accepted

Is it safe to ride the carbon bike with a small crack on the bottom of the chain stay? Looks cosmetic but fails the tap test

Only the manufacturer or a competent frame repair person can tell you of it is safe. It does not look just cosmetic to me, but I have no qualification whatsoever. However, this small damage is very ...
Vladimir F Героям слава's user avatar
17 votes

As an enthusiast, how can I make a bicycle more reliable/less maintenance-intensive for use by a casual cyclist?

In addition to all the other good advice here, there is one change you can do that will turn the gearing into a virtually maintenance free, rock solidly durable solution: Replace the chain-shift with ...
cmaster - reinstate monica's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

How to adapt a spoke salvaged from a 26" wheel to a 24" one?

Answer: Buy new spokes. A spoke is threaded not with a die, but with rollers. The difference is that a die cuts away metal leaving a thread with an OD no-larger than the original. A roller will cold-...
Criggie's user avatar
  • 128k
16 votes
Accepted

How do I remove the wheels from my bike (not a typical nut)?

That's a pinhead security fastener. You should have got a key to match with the bike. Without the matching key number you can't get a replacement key either. Here's a picture of a pinhead key fom ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 60.8k

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