Bike Repair And Maintenance 101

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This could be you.

Bikes… don’t we just love them? Well, if you’re like me then you’ve probably had yours rotting in a shed for most of the year. Sadly, the poor thing probably got dumped for a reason.

People often forget about their bike following a tyre puncture or some other fault thinking, “yeah, I’ll get that sorted eventually…”, but that day just never comes around.

Well it’s time for change! Here’s our guide to get your old spinner back on the road and to it’s full glory.

What we’ll cover:

  • Common faults and how to fix them
    • Punctured tyre
    • Slipped or broken chain
  • Tools required for repair and maintenance
  • How to maintain and care for your bike

 

Common faults and how to fix them

Punctured tyre

Replacing or patching up a punctured tyre is easy if you take the right steps and have the right tools. To make things easier, carefully flip your bike upside down so you have free access to the wheels, just make sure to keep the seat and handle bars protected from the floor by placing an old towel or something similar underneath.

Start by removing the wheel with the punctured tyre from the frame of the bike. Modern bikes will often have a quick release tool to make things, you know… quick. Next comes the dreaded part, removing the tyre and inner tube from the wheel. Starting from one side, insert a nylon tyre lever between the frame of the wheel and the tyre (not inner tube). Repeat this three times, a few inches apart, to get one side of the tyre out of the frame of the wheel.

This should allow you to slip the flat inner tube out and start checking for the cause of the puncture. Be careful when stroking the inside of the tyre as whatever caused the puncture could easily puncture YOU!

Here’s a picture of a 5 year old doing it…

Having cleared any cause for puncture from the tyre and inner tube, you can patch up the hole or get yourself a replacement tube. Before reinserting the new inner tube, pump in a bit of air to give it some shape which will make it easier to reinsert it. And finally repeat the process in reverse to get your wheel back on. Be sure to use a bike pump with pressure gauge to get optimal tyre pressure.

Slipped or broken chain

There’s a chance your chain may slip and fall off the gears. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to reattach the chain, you just need to know from which end and from where to reattach it. First locate the rear mech. This is found at the bottom of the rear gear assembly. With light force it can be pushed towards the front of the bike to give the bottom of the chain some slack. With this slack you can re-wrap the chain over the top of the front gears. Once that’s done you can release the rear mech and give the bike a slow pedal to get the chain rolling again.

If your chain has broken, you’ll need to disassemble the chain to replace or remove the problematic link. To do so will require a chain tool. Start by removing the pin that holds the broken link to the rest of the chain. Using the chain tool, simply place the chain with the pin that connects the broken link into the tool and turn the vice to push the pin out and release the broken link.

Here’s a chain tool in action

Next you can connect a replacement link by lining up the pin holes and using the chain tool to push in a new pin to hold them together. Once it’s in, and flush with the chain, use the chain tool to cut off any remaining overhang of the pin. repeat this on the other side to connect the chain together into a single loop. Give the new links a couple bends to eliminate any rigidity and you’re done!

 

Tools required for repair and maintenance

Soap, bucket sponge and brush or pressure washer– for cleaning

Check out Kärcher K2 Compact Pressure Washer
Buy here : https://goo.gl/HfxVCp

 

Bicycle pump with gauge – to keep tyre pressure in check

Check out Sealey BC110 Bicycle Workshop Pump
Buy here : https://goo.gl/cepIMi

 

Tyre levers – makes taking the tyre off a lot easier

Check out Sealey BC050 Bicycle Steel Tyre Lever Set
Buy here : https://goo.gl/IGaaf3

 

Chain tool – for repairing or replacing a chain

Check out TRIXES Bike Cycle Bicycle Chain Rivet Tool Breaker Splitter
Buy here : https://goo.gl/fxgp9Q

 

Torx wrench – for specific bolts and screws

Check out Cyclo Y Torx Wrench (T10, T15 and T20)
Buy here : https://goo.gl/qVtiAw

 

Hex wrench – for specific bolts and screws

Check out Dapetz ® 10 Pce T Handle Hex Allen Wrench Key Set & Stand Alan 323710
Buy here : https://goo.gl/1nupfU

 

Adjustable wrench – for specific bolts and screws

Check out Stanley 090947 150mm MaxSteel Adjustable Wrench
Buy here : https://goo.gl/DsMDHh

 

Pedal wrench – if you ever need to remove the pedals

Check out Cyclepro CPT108 Pedal Wrench – Silver
Buy here : https://goo.gl/cCCPbJ

 

Spoke wrench – used to true your bike wheel if it’s spinning with a wobble

Check out Cyclepro CPT304 Spoke Key – Green
Buy here : https://goo.gl/Rz5Ufx

 

Cable cutter – for cutting brake and gear cables

Check out Cyclepro CPT304 Spoke Key – Green
Buy here : https://goo.gl/Yq2yHW

 

How to maintain and care for your bike

Don’t let dirt get the better of your bike

How many times have you given your bike a thorough wash? Now before I call the bike abuse line on you, it’s best you scrap some pennies together for a bucket and sponge.

Chemicals and compounds picked up from the road and even your body will get into places you don’t want them and cause parts to degrade and eventually stop working. Depending on where and how often you use your bike, you should give it a regular clean to prevent damage. To clean your bike effectively without damaging it, start by loosening any debris by rinsing the bike with soapy water. Start by cleaning the drive-train and chain using a small brush. Use a bike degreaser to remove old grease and dirt. Make sure to re-grease once finished washing.

To clean the rest of the bike use soapy water and a sponge. Rinse and repeat like you would on a car. You may want to cover your seat with a plastic bag. A pressure washer makes the process much easier but careful not to damage delicate mechanisms.

Wax on… wax off… no wait that’s for cars.

 

Check your tyres regularly 

You’d be surprised how different a bike is to ride when your tyres are tip top. Using a bike pump with gauge, check both tyres to make sure they’re to the specified pressure. You can find these figures on the sidewall of your tyre. Too much pressure will result in a hard ride and damage the inner tube. Too little pressure will cause uneven wear of the tyre, slow you down and can even pinch and damage the tyre.

Depending on how frequently you ride, you’ll need to replace your tyres as they wear. So keep an eye on the tread and treat your bike to a new pair when you feel it’s time.

Get your pump on!

Plenty of lube

You’ll want to keep the bike moist in all the right places… A dry chain will make all kinds of noises and won’t allow gears to shift smoothly. Eventually it will rust and break when you least expect, so proper maintenance is required if you don’t want to shamefully walk your bike home.

Specialised sprays work well as lubricant

Start by degreasing the parts and cleaning away any debris and old oils. Start apply specialised lube with a clean cloth by dabbing a bit on each link and then back-peddling the chain through a clean cloth to spread it evenly on all sides. Use a clean side of the cloth to remove any excess grease to prevent things from getting messy. You may also use spray lubricant , just be sure to aim well as you don’t want oils to get in places such as your disc breaks.

Areas you should lube-up include the chain, pedals, cables, pivots points  and derailleur pulleys.

Follow these tips to keep your bike clean and maintained. And you never know… your bike might see your kid, or your kid’s kid or maybe even your kid’s kid’s kid. Good luck!

 

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