IntroductionAfter reading the amusing and interesting article of Andy "Top Ten Tips for MTBers" it came to my mind to make my own page of this kind, to make a sort of continuation of it.
My experience in bike maintaining is not very big and quite recent, more exactly since I started to cycle to work. Cycling daily increase significantly the bike usure and oblige one to have some basic knowledge, to avoid spending time taking it every time to the shop...
I hope you will find some of these tips useful !
Note: I had to use a lot the french-english Google translations for some technical terms, so if you see any word to correct, don't hesitate !
1 - The 6mm Allen key
Always have this item in your rucksack ! If your saddle betrays you half way during the ride, for example after a bumpy descent, it's quite annoying to have to pedal out of the saddle the rest of the way ! It once happened to me and I had to ask the driver of some autobus parked on the side of the road to open his toolbox, which he kindly accepted...
2 - Anti-rust spray
Rust accelerates the usure of your chain. After a wet cycling day, when your bike is in a dry place, apply anti-rust to the chain. Wait for the bike to be dry but early enough before rust starts to form (ideally some 2-3 hours after)
3 - Two thin screwdrivers
If the chain-splitter is a compulsory item in your bag, always mind to have 2 thin screwdrivers nearby too. A chain splitter always repairs the chain, but sometimes hardly helps when a hard segment results from the repair. When the chainrings or sprockets are not brand new, a hard segment can cause peridic chain-jumping when you force, especially with gears which combine a small chainring with a small sprocket.
And, as a disease never appears alone, if you leave it like this, the usure of all chainrings and sprockets increases dramatically...
With the 2 shafts of the thin screwdrivers, twist very delicately the chain until it bends normally. The chain will work as smooth as before.
4 - The spoke-key
This is not a mandatory item in your bag, but the spoke-key is definitely something must have in the boot of the car if you go several days. Spoke-breaking is something which rarely occurs, but sometimes do, on rough trails. Generally you can finish the ride but better fix it as soon as you can.
When you destroy for good a wheel (for example torn rim, or axis out of order), always keep the rest, especialy a little collection of spokes and their nuts.
Building/repairing a wheel is not very hard if you respect the sprocket-scheme with another wheel as example (ex: your bike's other wheel).
The longest is to set the tightness of every spoke to make the wheel turn circularly and in the same plan. Each spoke pulls both the rim towards the center, but also towards the side of the rim where it is attached.
- To correct the roundness of the rotation, always screw equally pairs of spokes next to each other (one for the left one for the right)
- To correct the flatness of the rotation, always unscrew equally the associated spoke in the same pair as you screw the other, to conserve the roundness as you correct the flatness
- Never screw or unscrew pairs alone, if you want to give a general tendency to one part of the rim you should always consider modifying the 2 or 3 pairs together linked to the side to correct.
5 - The sprockets tools
The sprockets-dismounter is also a useful item you should have in your toolbox, if you often use your bike and want to avoid the cost of the sprockets-changing, additioned to the sprockets-set itself.
Furthermore, it is not true, contrary to what is often said, that you should throw used sprockets when you change the chain. Chains generally get old quicker than sprockets, and having few spare sets can always come useful when one or several speeds turns out to be too new or too old for a certain chain.
Since the sprockets blocker is to be screwn clockwise, it is always easy to block them, even by hand only. But unblocking is something else, and considering the anti return system of the axis (holding the rest of the wheel is helpless), you'll probably not want to seize the greasy sprockets-set in your hand.
That's why another item is almost as useful : the sprockets-key, made of a shaft and piece of chain, to block the sprockets like if a real chain was around it.
6 - Map carrier
Nothing is more annoying than riding a new area and a new trail having to unfold the map at every doubtful junction.
Yes, it looks less sexy, but map-carriers can be so useful sometimes ! When used to it you'll manage to read the map even without stopping cycling :)
7 - Camera-case
At least as annoying is when you feel like taking a picture every time a new fine panorama appears at each turn of some new trail. Having a camera-case under the neck is so practical ! Your bag must have a strap at the level of breasts in order to attach it in a convenient position, make sure it doesn't disturb your cycling movement.
8 - Pedals spanner
Especially after cycling in sandy areas, it can happen that the bearings of your pedals catch some dirt, and stop turning round. If you clean them in time, you can save them, but otherwise this is the beginning of the end. Both for pedal-cleaning or pedal-chainging, a pedal-key is quite useful. You can manage sometimes with a standard spanner, but it can also turn out to be too large. Then, You'd better have a pedal-specific spanner, 13mm, narrow enough but with a long shaft, to ease the unscrewing.
Note: the thread of the left pedal is anti-clockwise, to avoid unscrewing it
while cycling !
9 - Bike-support
Difficult bike-mainaining makes one sometimes even more nervous when the bike doesn't want to stand in place ! That's why this kind of bike-support can come useful...
10 - Bike-loader
Save space ! These bike-loaders can be installed in the standard way, to lift the bike horizontally, but also more narrow, to lift it vertically. Ideal for a balcony. No need to stand on a chair, list/unlift them with the rope !
Find the instructions and brand informations here : Kompernass