Fix It Tip: What’s That Noise?

Probably the most commonly asked question when it comes to bikes is “what’s that noise?”

Sometimes noises are just annoying but fairly harmless. But since bikes are (relatively) simple machines, a noise is usually the first indicator that something is not working as it should. Most common mechanical problems can be correctly identified by sound alone, making fixing the problem that much quicker and easier.

A quick note on carbon frames: due to the physical properties of carbon fiber, carbon frames are notorious for transmitting some noises through the frame, making hunting down a squeak a little more difficult, since something that sounds like it’s coming from the headset could actually be coming from the rear wheel. In this case, your best bet is to go through a process of elimination until the problem is solved.

A quick note on safety: Over tightening bolts, over greasing parts, or toying around with moving parts can make the problem worse instead of better. If you’re unsure what you’re doing, please take your bike to the nearest Performance Bicycle shop and have them take a look at it.

Need help finding something on your bike? Check out our Anatomy of a Bicycle.

 

Common Noises

Metallic skipping sound when pedaling

Cause: You rear derailleur is out of alignment, causing the chain to not sit properly on the cogs

Other Symptoms: Your bike may also not be shifting properly, either moving to the incorrect gear, or not moving the chain at all when you press the lever

Fix: Adjust your rear derailleur cable tension using the barrel adjuster

Complications: If the skipping is more pronounced in the smallest or biggest cogs, it may because your rear derailleur hanger is bent. Bring it to your nearest Performance shop to have the Spin Doctor do this quick fix.

CLICK HERE to learn how to fix it yourself

Skipping noises come from a poorly adjusted rear derailleur

Skipping noises come from a poorly adjusted rear derailleur

Metallic scraping noise when pedaling

Cause: Your front derailleur is out of alignment, causing the chain to rub against the derailleur cage

Other Symptoms: The chain may look like its vibrating as you pedal, chain may not stay in the big chainring

Fix: Reset your front derailleur cable tension by shifting the chain into the little ring, loosening the cable fixing bolt, pulling the cable until it is taut, and then tightening the cable fixing bolt

Complications: Your high or low limit screws may be improperly adjusted, restricting the derailleur from moving fully into position. If this is the case, adjust your limit screws to the proper setting.

CLICK HERE to learn how to fix it yourself

A metallic scraping noise usually comes from the chain rubbing against the front derailleur, as seen here

A metallic scraping noise usually comes from the chain rubbing against the front derailleur, as seen here

High Pitched “Singing” Sound

Cause: Loose wheel spoke

Other Symptoms: The offending wheel may also feel wobbly, or be rubbing against your brakes

Fix: Tighten the spoke. You can either do this at home with a spoke wrench, or bring it to your local Performance shop to have you Spin Doctor take a look.

Loose wheel spokes often cause a high pitched "singing" noise when riding

Loose wheel spokes often cause a high pitched “singing” noise when riding

Squeaks & Creaks

Oh boy, this is a tough one. If you can’t identify exactly where the noise is coming from, your best bet is to go through each potential cause one by one until the problem is eliminated.

Squeak When Sitting (independent of pedal stroke)

Possible Causes:

  1. Seatpost

Fix: Mark seatpost height with tape, remove post, regrease, reinstall and tighten to spec

CLICK HERE to learn how to fix it yourself

  1. Quick Release Skewers

Fix: Remove front and rear quick release skewers, grease the threads, reinstall and make sure they are nice and tight

CLICK HERE to learn how to fix it yourself

  1. Saddle

Fix: Mark saddle position with tape, remove saddle, lightly grease rails, reinstall and tighten to spec

CLICK HERE to learn how to fix it yourself

  1. Brake Rub (this can either sound like a squeak or a rubbing sound, depending on rim material)

Fix: Adjust brakes to ensure they are properly aligned. Ensure wheel is centered in dropouts. Check that wheel is true—if it’s wobbly bring to Performance store to have it trued.

CLICK HERE to learn how to fix it yourself

Squeak When Sitting (Only when pedaling)

Possible Causes:

  1. Pedals

Fix: Remove pedals, grease threads, reinstall and tighten to spec

  1. Cleats (for clipless pedals)

Fix: Make sure cleat bolts are tight, lightly grease pedal interface (where cleats lock into pedal)

CLICK HERE to learn how to fix it yourself

Loose pedals can cause a lot of noise

Loose pedals can cause a lot of noise

Squeak When Standing

Possible Causes:

  1. Loose Bottom Bracket

Fix: Remove bottom bracket, clean, regrease, reinstall and tighten to spec

Loose Crank

Fix: Check tightness of crank fixing bolt on non-drive side (SRAM/Shimano/Race Face/Travitiv) or in BB shell (Campagnolo)

Loose Headset

Fix: Loosen stem pinch bolts, tighten headset cap, retighten stem pinch bolts to spec. Also check to make sure you have enough headset spacers to headset cap to fully seat. Don’t over-tighten, it should still be able to turn smoothly.

CLICK HERE to learn how to fix it yourself

  1. Loose Handlebars

Fix: Remove stem faceplate bolts, regrease, reinstall to spec

CLICK HERE to learn how to fix it yourself

  1. Cracked Frame or fork

Fix: This is a very serious, and dangerous, issue. Stop riding bike immediately, and bring to your local Performance shop to be evaluated.

 

Rattling:

Possible Causes:

  1. Loose Bottle Cages

Fix: Ensure bottle cage bolts are tight

Loose Seat Wedge

Fix: Tighten straps

  1. Cable Slap

Fix: Ensure all cables have appropriate tension. If problem persists add mid-cable bumpers to prevent cable from rattling against frame.

  1. Cable Housing Rub

Fix: Cable housing is bouncing against headtube. Ensure brake and shift cable housing is cut to the appropriate length

  1. Loose Headset

Fix: Loosen stem pinch bolts, tighten headset cap, retighten stem pinch bolts to spec. Also check to make sure you have enough headset spacers to headset cap to fully seat. Don’t overtighten, it should still be able to turn smoothly.

CLICK HERE to learn how to fix it yourself

 

Again, a quick note on safety: if you’re not quite sure what your doing or how to do something, bring your bike to the shop and let the Spin Doctor mechanic take a look.

Let us know in the comments: is there anything we missed? Do you have any suggestions for quick fixes for annoying bike noises?

4 Money Saving Bike Tips

1. Patch Your Tubes

When you get a flat, don’t just throw the tube away. Hang on to it and patch it when you get home. Patches are fairly inexpensive and can give your tube new life.

If you’re having trouble finding where the puncture is, inflate the tube and place it in a bathtub with water. The air will bubble out of the hole, allowing you to find the puncture.

We tend to pile up punctured tubes in a box, and save patching for a rainy day.

Shop here for tube patches

Click here to learn how to fix a flat

Saving and patching tubes is a good way to save money and reduce waste

Saving and patching tubes is a good way to save money and reduce waste

2. Clean Your Bike Regularly

Dirty bike parts will wear out faster, requiring more frequent replacements. It’s easier, and cheaper, to take a few minutes now and again to maintain your bike to slow part wear and improve performance.

-Never put away a dirty bike. Wipe down the frame, rims and tires after every ride

-Clean and relube your chain every 100 miles

-Do a full bike clean every other month

Click here to learn how to clean your bike

Regular cleaning can help prolong the life of components

Regular cleaning can help prolong the life of components

 

3. Learn To Do Your Own Maintenance

Full overhauls are still best done by the shop, but minor things like stem installations, brake and derailleur adjustments, and fixing a flat tire are easy to learn to do yourself.

Click here for maintenance how-to’s

Fixing small issues on your own bike is easier than you think

Fixing small issues on your own bike is easier than you think

4. Upgrade Wisely

Who doesn’t love new bike day? But sometimes you can get bigger performance gains by upgrading what you already have. New wheels or a stiffer crankset can vastly change how a bike rides and improve performance.

Click here to shop for components, click here for wheels

Click here for wheel buyer’s guide

Sometimes upgrading the bike you already have is a more cost-effective way to improve performance

Sometimes upgrading the bike you already have is a more cost-effective way to improve performance

Ready for Spring: 13 Point Safety Checklist

While we originally wrote this post for breaking out the bike after a winter hiatus, we think that this advice is great to follow year-round, even if you’ve been riding for months! You’ll be amazed at what you find if you give your bike a thorough once-over – so what do you look for?

Just follow our 13 Point Inspection checklist.

If you need some reference for where to look for parts on your bike, check out our handy Anatomy of a Bike guide.

 

1. Inspect frame & fork for damage.

Look for cracks or frame separation. Gently lift your front tire off of the ground and let it drop.  Listen for noise (beyond the sound of the chain bouncing).

Lift the front wheel and let the front wheel drop to the floor. If the frame is damaged, you'll hear it

Lift the front wheel and let the front wheel drop to the floor. If the frame is damaged, you’ll hear it


2. Inspect racks, fenders, child seats & baskets.

Make sure all nuts and bolts are securely fastened.

3. Inspect rims and spokes for wear, damage and that the wheel is true

Look for loose or missing spokes (loose  spokes will rattle when moved with your fingers).
Spin the wheel to see if it rolls smoothly.  If not take it to a professional.

Squeeze the spokes together to see if any are loose

Squeeze the spokes together to see if any are loose


4. Inspect tires for cuts, wear & damage.

Check the tires for cracks, dry spots, visible tire threads, cuts, visible tire casing, or debris in the rubber.

Deflate the tire slightly so you can pull it from side to side to look for wear or cuts

Deflate the tire slightly so you can pull it from side to side to look for wear or cuts


5. Test brake levers and brakes are tight & secure.

Squeeze the brakes and move your bike.  If the brakes are working your bike wheels should not roll.

Squeeze the brake levers and try to push the bike forward

Squeeze the brake levers and try to push the bike forward


6. Test headset for correct adjustment.

Squeeze the brakes and move your bike back and forth.  Look to see if the fork rocks where it inserts into the frame.

Click here to see how to adjust your headset

Pull the brake levers, brace the front wheel between your legs, and pull on the handlebars. Check to see if the steerer tube rocks inside of the headtube

Pull the brake levers, brace the front wheel between your legs, and pull on the handlebars. Check to see if the steerer tube rocks inside of the headtube


7. Test seat and seatpost are tight & secure.

Try to twist the seat side to side.  It should not move.
Click here to see how to adjust your seatpost

Try to twist the saddle and see if it moves

Try to twist the saddle and see if it moves


8. Test handlebar, stem, and pedals are tight & secure.

Try to twist your handlebar, while holding the front wheel securely.  It should not move side to side or up and down.
Click here to see how to adjust your stem

Use an allen wrench to ensure all the bolts are properly tightened

Use an allen wrench to ensure all the bolts are properly tightened


 

Use a hex wrench or pedal wrench to ensure your pedals are tight

Use a hex wrench or pedal wrench to ensure your pedals are tight


9. Inspect cables & housing for cracks, kinks, rust or fraying.

Click here to see how to install new cables

Inspect the cables and housing for worn spots, rusting or fraying

Inspect the cables and housing for worn spots, rusting or fraying


10. Inspect brakes for correct adjustment.

Your brakes should squeeze the rim at the same time.  If not, go and visit your favorite mechanic.

11. Inspect brake pads for wear.

Use the wear indicator marks on the pad to determine if the pads are still in good use. If you don’t see any, you can pick up some replacements here.

Check the brake pads to see if they are past the wear point

Check the brake pads to see if they are past the wear point


12. Inspect derailleurs for correct adjustment.

Take your bike for a short test spin or put it in the workstand and try to shift gears. Look to see if your bike skips gears, won’t shift to the selected gear or makes a rattling, skipping sound.

Click here to see how to adjust your rear derailleur

If your derailleur isn't shifting correctly, adjust the cable tension using the barrel adjuster

If your derailleur isn’t shifting correctly, adjust the cable tension using the barrel adjuster


13. Inflate tires to sidewall pressure.

Tires have a range of tires pressures written on the side wall that is a useful guide.  You should pump up your tires before every ride.
Click here to see how to inflate your tires

Need some new tubes? Stock up here.

Most tire manufacturers stamp the recommended PSI on the sidewall

Most tire manufacturers stamp the recommended PSI on the sidewall

Everything check out okay? Go pedal! 

To find out what essentials you should bring on your next ride, check out our article here.

Quick Fix: An Easy Way To Deal With Chain Slap

Mountain bikers and cyclocross riders alike will understand the difficulty of discovering chain slap marks on your beautiful new bicycle. Chain slap just happens. Especially in a sport like cyclocross where you’re tearing around dirt roads and through fields with no suspension to absorb the trail chatter. Here’s a quick fix to deal with chain slap.

Follow this quick and easy guide to get your bike all-ready to go off-road.

Note the slight grease marks on the chainstay. This is an indicator that the chain has come in contact with the stay and will eventually chip the paint off and possibly even damage the frame given enough time.

Note the slight grease marks on the chainstay. This is an indicator that the chain has come in contact with the stay and will eventually chip the paint off and possibly even damage the frame given enough time.

Step 1: find an old tube. We tend to keep a flat road tube or two around for this reason. If you don’t have one, ask around. Surely one of your riding partners has recently flatted.

Step 1: find an old tube. We tend to keep a flat road tube or two around for this reason. If you don’t have one, ask around. Surely one of your riding partners has recently flatted.

quick_fix_chainstay_03

Starting next to the valve stem, cut the tube.

Measure a length of tube about twice the length of the area of the chainstay you’re looking to protect.

Measure a length of tube about twice the length of the area of the chainstay you’re looking to protect.

Cut the tube again so now you have a piece of tube twice the length of the stay.

Cut the tube again so now you have a piece of tube twice the length of the stay.

Start by holding the tube onto the chainstay about an inch behind where you think the chain slap will start.

Start by holding the tube onto the chainstay about an inch behind where you think the chain slap will start.

Next, pass the tube around the stay (just like wrapping a drop handlebar) keeping tension on the tube.

Next, pass the tube around the stay (just like wrapping a drop handlebar) keeping tension on the tube.

quick_fix_chainstay_08

Keep tension on the tube as you pass it around the stay over and over so the tube just overlaps itself.

Keep going until you’re just short of the front derailleur cage, or just beyond where you think the chain will be impacting the stay.

Keep going until you’re just short of the front derailleur cage, or just beyond where you think the chain will be impacting the stay.

Back up just a hair and cut the tube at an angle.

Back up just a hair and cut the tube at an angle.

Finish it off with a little black electrical tape for a nice clean look.

Finish it off with a little black electrical tape for a nice clean look.

Ta-da! Now your chain is protected and you can feel good about recycling that old flat tube.

Ta-da! Now your chain is protected and you can feel good about recycling that old flat tube.

If this is just too much work for you or you don’t have access to any flat tubes, Lizard Skins makes a great ready-to-go chainstay wrap.

Is there anything else you’d like to see a quick and easy fix for? Ask us in the comments section below and we’ll add it to the list. Thanks!

Real Advice: How To Properly Clean Your Water Bottle

We all use water bottles every day. Taking the time to really clean them is very important to your continued health. A dish washer will get them mostly clean, but every once in a while it’s a good idea to pull the bottle apart and really clean it. Here’s how we recommend cleaning your water bottle.

For this example, we’re using a Polar Insulated Water Bottle (one of our favorites).

how_to_clean_your_water_bottle_1

We’re starting with what looks like a clean bottle.

how_to_clean_your_water_bottle_2

It looks fairly clean at first, but there’s mold growing under that nipple.

how_to_clean_your_water_bottle_3

See the black notches? They’re the key to getting that nipple out in one piece.

how_to_clean_your_water_bottle_4

Firmly grasp the nipple and give it a good twist.

how_to_clean_your_water_bottle_5

The notches should slide behind the columns. This will allow the nipple to pull right out.

how_to_clean_your_water_bottle_6

It’s pretty easy to pull out, actually.

how_to_clean_your_water_bottle_7

See all of the nastiness? And this bottle has been through the dish washer!

how_to_clean_your_water_bottle_8

Thoroughly clean out the nipple.

how_to_clean_your_water_bottle_9

Carefully clean out the bottle lid as well.

how_to_clean_your_water_bottle_10

Don’t forget to scrub down inside that bottle!

For this example, I’m using scrub brushes from a Camelbak Cleaning System to get all of the gunk out. When you’re done cleaning, pop the nipple back in and enjoy your thoroughly cleaned water bottle!

Choosing the Right Chain Lube: Which Is Right For You?

DSC_0890-v2

Picking the right chain lubricant can be one of the more frustrating things you’ll do as a cyclist. There’s a million different types to pick: dry lubes, wet lubes, biolube, waxes, spray on, drip on, poly grease, cable lube, etc… The list goes on. And let’s not even start on all the manufacturer proprietary technology. So what’s the best kind of lube?

Well…that’s really going to depend on what kind of riding you do, and what conditions you ride in.

Different chain lubricants are designed for different environments—because what may protect a chain or drivetrain component in one climate may actually do harm in another.

Before we delve into the different types of lubricants, let’s get two things out of the way:

1. Most chains will come pre-lubricated from the factory. In the old days, this lubricant was merely a rust inhibitor, and cyclists were advised to first remove the grease before installing the chain. Modern chains, however, are a different story. The grease that comes on modern chains is a far superior lubricant to any that can be applied by the user. DO NOT remove the factory grease from a new bicycle chain (although it’s ok to wipe off any excess) until it’s time to really clean the chain. Most factory grease applications are good for several hundred miles.

2. CAUTION: Do not ever, ever, for any reason apply standard WD40, motor oil, or bike poly grease to your chain. Ever. Standard WD40 does contain a light lubricant, but unless it’s applied after every ride it will end up drying out and stripping your chain. Motor oils contain detergents that will corrode your chain and destroy your cassette. Bike polygrease is intended for parts like bolts, pedal spindles and seatposts. It is a high viscosity grease that will completely clog your drivetrain and ruin your nice, expensive bike.

So, now that we have that out of the way, let’s delve into the different types of lubricants.

Wet Lubricants:

Wet lubricants are ideal for wet, muddy conditions

Wet lubricants are ideal for wet, muddy or snowy conditions when rust is the main concern. Wet lube, as the name implies, will stay wet on the chain, instead of drying. It has a medium viscosity, so it’s thick enough to stay on the chain, but thin enough to really soak into all the nooks and crannies to coat all the moving parts. Wet lube forms a protective barrier that prevents moisture from penetrating into your chain and forming rust in between the rivets. Wet lubricant is not advised for dusty conditions, as dust will stick to it and turn your greased chain into a belt sander. Also be advised that wet lube tends to collect a lot of dirt and debris as you ride, so it’s important to A) only use it when conditions warrant, and B) clean your chain often when using wet lube.

Wet lube can also be used for other moving parts on the bike to keep them free of rust and improve performance. Places where it is commonly applied are the rear derailleur pivot points, front derailleur spring, and brake pivots.

For directions on application, click here.

Best for: cyclocross, urban riding, winter cycling, wet climates, long term bike storage

Dry Lubricants:

Dry lubricants are the way to go for everyday riding

Unlike wet lubricants, dry lubes usually consist of a wax-like substance suspended in an alcohol-based solvent. About 3-4 hours after you apply the lubricant, the solvent will evaporate, leaving your chain with a light waxy film. Always make sure you allow sufficient time for the lube to dry before riding. The biggest advantage of dry lubricant is that it won’t collect dirt or dust as you ride, but it doesn’t inhibit rust as well. But for dry, dusty, or otherwise pleasant conditions, dry lube is the way to go.

For directions on application, click here.

Best for: road cycling, mountain biking, dry environments, summer riding

Spray vs. Drip:

Chain lubes generally either come in a spray can or a drip bottle. Which you use is up to you, but they both have their advantages and disadvantages. Spray-on lubricants are very fast and easy to apply, but they can be messy and make it difficult to be thorough. If you’re using a spray-on lube, it can be difficult to keep your frame, wheels, and brake rotors clean.  Drip on bottles on the other hand, make it easy to ensure that each roller and rivet has been lubricated and they are virtually mess-free. The downside is that, compared to spray on lube, it can take longer. In the end though, it all comes down to personal preference. Around these parts, we generally use drip bottles when we’re at home or in the shop, and spray-on lube when we’re at races or on the road.

Hot Wax Bath:

Hot wax is usually considered to be the gold standard of chain lubricants, since it nearly recreates the original factory grease of the chain. To apply hot wax, the chain is usually removed from the bike, and then soaked in a tub of hot wax, which completely coats the entire chain in a completely protective coating. This type of lubrication, however, requires special equipment, a lot of know-how, and quite a bit of patience. If you’ve got the time and gear though, a hot wax dip is legendary for improving chain function and prolonging wear-life. NOTE: while an excellent way to lubricate your chain, hot wax doesn’t particularly last very long and may require frequent re-applications.

So Which One Is Right?

Wet lubes are best for winter riding conditions, both on and off road

Well, we’d have to say that for this time of year (winter in the Northern Hemisphere), if you live in 90% of the U.S., you should be using a wet lubricant on your chain to protect it from the wet roads and corrosive salts you’re likely to encounter. For those folks living in Arizona, Nevada and other desert states, you can probably get away with using a dry lubricant, but remember to apply it more often than you would in summer.

But no matter what type of lubricant you use, there is nothing that will protect your bike indefinitely. It’s important to clean your bike thoroughly, especially if you’ve been riding in bad weather or after roads have been salted, and do preventive maintenance and check chain wear. If you’re the type that doesn’t ride all year, or that hangs up the race bike until Spring, then remember that your bike should be cleaned and well oiled, greased and lubricated before being put up for storage.

11 Essential Tools For The Home Mechanic

There’s a million bike tools out there, some obscure and are only used in the rarest of circumstances, but some are daily or weekly necessities for anyone who wants to do their own bike maintenance.

Here’s our list of the 11 Must-Have Tools for every home mechanic. With the tools on this list and a little know how, 90% of repairs on any bike can be accomplished.

Using the Spin Doctor Pro G3 work stand and Spin Doctor Team 33 Tool Kit makes this repair job easier

Using the Spin Doctor Pro G3 work stand and Spin Doctor Team 33 Tool Kit makes this repair job easier

1.    Work Stand: A work stand is simply a stand that gets the bike off the floor and holds it in position, making it much easier to work on the bike—especially when servicing the drivetrain or giving your bike a thorough cleaning. Most stands will fold up for easy storage.

2.   Hex Wrench Set: Almost every  bolt on a bike uses a hex wrench. Having a full set of hex wrenches—including a long handled 10mm wrench—will mean that there’s almost nothing you can’t adjust on your bike (*note to Campagnolo and SRAM riders: for home maintenance you’ll also need a Torx T25 wrench). And make repairs easier on yourself by using a set of full-sized wrenches. Leave the mutlitool in the saddlebag.

3.   Torque Wrench: If you have a carbon fiber frame, fork, or seatpost, you’ll need a torque wrench. All carbon parts have a maximum torque allowance (how tight the bolts can be tightened). Exceeding the torque recommendation on a seatbolt clamp, stem or derailleur clamp risks damaging the parts or crushing the carbon, while under-tightening can cause the stem, handlebars or seatpost to slip or move while riding. Using a torque wrench will help you safely install the parts. Click here to learn more about installing a seatpost, or here to learn how to install a stem.

4.   10/11-Speed Chain Tool: A chain tool is essential for installing or removing a chain. With the industry move to 11-speed drivetrains, we recommend buying an 11-speed chain tool. 11-speed tools can be used on 8/9/10-speed chains, but not the other way around. This will save you from having to buy a new tool if you upgrade or get a new bike in the future. Click here to learn more about replacing a bike chain.

5.   Cable Cutters: Because of how they are made, bike cables and housing shouldn’t be cut with just any old wire cutters. Bike-specific cable cutters can cut cable without fraying the ends, and cut housing without crushing it. Frayed cables and crushed housing are a recipe for poor performance and will mean you need to replace your cables more often. Click here to learn more about replacing and installing cables.

6.   Pedal Wrench: Some pedal types require a 15mm pedal wrench to install, while others only need an 8mm hex wrench. If your pedals do not have a hex-socket on the end of the spindle, you’ll need a pedal wrench to install and remove pedals.

7.   Cassette Tool: Cassette tools let you loosen and tighten the lock ring on your cassette. You’ll need one of these to install, remove, or clean your cassette. Shimano and SRAM share the same lock ring spline pattern, while Campagnolo uses a different pattern—so make sure you buy the right one for your drivetrain. Click here to learn more about installing a cassette.

8.   Chain Whip: To remove a cassette you’ll need a chain whip. It simply wraps around the cassette, and stops the freehub from spinning while you loosen the lockring.

9.   Tire Levers: Tire levers are an essential tool for installing or removing a clincher tire. We recommend having two sets: one that goes with you on a ride and stays with your gear, and one that you keep at home. That way you’ll never forget to bring them along. Click here to learn how to change a bike tube.

10. Pump: A floor pump is a must have for every cyclist. Tires should be re-inflated roughly once every 3-4 days to avoid damaging the tires and wheels. Investing in a quality pump will help you get more enjoyment out of your ride and prolong the life of your equipment. Click on one of the links learn more about finding the right tire pressure for your road bike or mountain bike.

11.  Grease and Chain Lube: Grease is your bicycle’s best friend. No matter what kind of bolt, no matter where it’s going, it will be greased before being installed. That goes for stem bolts, derailleur fixing bolts, pedal spindles, cleat screws, etc… Failing to grease a bolt before installation will result in stuck bolts with rounded out bolt heads– and then you’re really in a bind. After every week of regular riding or after pulling your bike out of storage, lubricate your chain to keep your bike running smoothly and happily. And don’t cross the streams. Grease is for bolts and alloy seatposts, lube is for chains. Don’t try to mix and match, the results will be messy and poor. Click here to learn more about cleaning your bike chain.

What else do you think our list is missing? What are the tools you find yourself using on a regular basis?

A few of the essential tools for any home mechanic

A few of the essential tools for any home mechanic

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