Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Rotating your tires

Our Spin Doctor tech tip team has some advice for those looking to get a little more life out of your tires (and really, who doesn’t):

Rotating your tires front to rear is a great idea to increase the longevity of the pair but…..

If you like to ride on the edge (whether cornering with the pros or shredding technical singletrack), THINK TWICE.

Riding singletrack

Most steering control, both off-road and on, comes from the front tire while more tire wear happens with the drive forces on the rear.  So putting a road tire worn flat or a MTB tire with worn lugs on the front will lessen traction when cornering hard.

To prolong the life of your tires, save some money and keep high performance traction, ride your tires until the rear is worn out, move the front tire to the rear, and put a grippy new tire on the front.

Of course, that’s just our take.  What’s your experience with getting the most life out of your tires?  Please share your tips in the comments below.

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – 100 Causes of Bad Shifting

Shifting

Shimano has identified 100 Causes of Bad Shifting, and they just couldn’t help but make a list for your edification.

The causes run the gamut from the obvious, like frayed or splitting gear cables (#17) or cable clamped between kickstand and frame (#21); to the obscure, like freehub body mounting bolt loose (#42) or chainstay angle exceeds specifications of front derailleur (#79).  My favorite is sticky drink spilled on front derailleur (#38).  What can I say, they are thorough!

If you are having shifting issues and no amount of diddling, adjusting and noodling has helped, take a look at Shimano’s list for some ideas of what to check out (at the very least, it’s good for a laugh!)

And remember, if you still can’t figure out what’s wrong. . .

We’re here to help!

Use our Store Locator to find a Spin Doctor to take a look at your bike in person or contact one of the Spin Doctors on our Technical Support team Monday-Friday from 9AM-6PM  ET, by phone, email or live chat:

Phone: 1-800-553-8324

Email: productsupport@performanceinc.com

Chat: Click “Live Help” under Guest Services on our homepage

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Winter Commuting

This is our second installment about winter riding, The Commute.

Chris' commuter bike

So what’s happened to your New Years resolution, “No more winter blob and blahs for me”?  Yes, you promised yourself to start riding earlier this year… and you even rode on New Years day!

But then the excuses started:

It’s cold! It’s dark!

There’s snow and ice on the roads!

There isn’t enough daylight!

I’ve got too much work to do!

There’s an “I Dream of Jeannie” marathon on TV!

That extra 15lbs makes me look cuddly!

We have a simple solution to all of these laments: bicycle commute to work! Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Tire Sizing

Many new riders are confused by bike tire sizing.  Hopefully the following tutorial by our Spin Doctor Tech Tip team will clear up some of the confusion.

Tire Sizing:

Bike tires are sized by a simple combination of diameter and width.  Modern road tires are sized in millimeters.  The most common road tires are 700C’s, meaning they are about 700mm in outside diameter (O.D.).  If the tire is 700 x 23 then it is ~700mm in diameter and the inflated tire is 23mm wide.  MTB tires are sized in inches, so a mounted and inflated 26 x 1.95 tire is about 26” in O.D. and 1.95” wide.

Common road tire diameters:

700C is by far the most common modern size

650C is a smaller size used on some time trial and triathlon bikes

27 inch is a less common, older American size

27” & 700Cs are not interchangeable [see ISO Sizing below]

Common mountain bike tire diameters:

26″ is the most common size

29” is based on the 700C road size (see ISO Sizing below) and is essentially a wider and knobbier 700C tire fitted to a wider and stronger 700C rim Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Replacing Your Bicycle Chain

Spin DoctorAside from your tires, the most critical and commonly replaced part on your bike is the chain. A worn chain reduces shifting quality and can dramatically shorten the life of your drive train. A worn chain lengthens as the internal bushings in each link wear. The now longer chain puts more pressure on each tooth on your cassette cogs and each tooth on your chainrings, so the teeth wear more quickly. The problem is simple, but so is the solution. If you periodically replace your chain, your expensive drive train parts will last longer and, with a little care, a lot longer. You’ll save money and the gears will shift better – a new Shimano Dura-Ace 10 speed chain retails for $69.99, but a Dura-Ace cassette retails for $264.99 and a new 53 tooth chainring costs nearly as much! Clearly, timely replacement of your chain will save you in the long run.

But, when should you change your chain? If we are keeping it simple, then replace your road chain every 1,500 to 2,000 miles or your mountain chain every 5-6 months. But these are only general guidelines – you are probably not the average rider. For instance, if you meticulously maintain your chain – keep it clean and lightly lubricated – and never ride when the streets are wet, weigh 135 pounds, and always sit and smoothly spin a low gear, your chain will last a lot longer than your 250 pound buddy who grinds a massive gear, rides everyday in a typhoon and doesn’t even know how to spell maintenance.

Clearly the rules do not work for every rider. The good news is that you can easily measure chain wear, and only replace your chain when it is necessary- when it’s worn. The easiest way is to use a chain wear gauge like the Spin Doctor Chain Wear Indicator. To use this tool, put pressure on a pedal so that the top of the chain is drawn taut, then drop the tool in place and read the results.

Spin Doctor Universal Chain Tool & Chain Wear Indicator

Don’t have a chain wear indicator handy? There is another way and all it takes is a 12 inch ruler. All modern chains have rivets every ½” and you are going to measure from one rivet to another one 12” away. Once again draw the top of the chain taut then align the end of the ruler (the zero inch mark) with the center of a rivet. Now note where the ruler’s 12 inch mark aligns.

  • If it is dead center on a rivet, the chain is as good as new.
  • If the rivet is less than a 1/16″ ahead of the 12” mark, then the chain is showing some wear but is still serviceable (this is equal to 1.58mm or .5% wear).
  • If the rivet is 3/32” ahead, start thinking about a replacement. Replacing it now prolongs the usable life of the cassette and chain rings (this is equal to 2.38mm or approximately: .75% or 2.29mm of wear).
  • If the rivet is 1/8″ ahead, replace the chain immediately and you may need to replace the cassette (this is equal to 3.175mm or approximately: 1% or 3.05mm of wear).

If you measure your chain and determine that’s it is time to replace your chain, it’s actually a relatively easy task to take care of on your own. The only tool that you need is a chain tool, like our Spin Doctor Universal Chain Tool, and your brand new chain. But instead of writing out the steps to replace a bicycle chain, we’re going to show you in one of our handy Spin Doctor How-To Videos:

If you need more help with your bicycle repair needs, head to your local Performance Bicycle store and set up a visit with your local Spin Doctor.  Don’t live near one of our stores and need some technical advice? Get in touch with our Spin Doctor Tech Support team by email or phone – they are always ready to help with your technical questions.

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Replacing Mountain Bike Grips

At some point you are going to have fix those slipping, floating, sliding grips on your mountain bike (or hybrid or cruiser or comfort bike). Here are a few tips:

Use Alcohol- And no it’s not just for post-ride relaxing and story telling.
Equipment needed: Thin screw driver, flexible bottle of rubbing alcohol & super hold hair spray

Removing Grips
To remove your old grips, slip the screw driver under the inside edge of the grip. If you plan to use the grips again, do not pry up the grips- they’ll stretch and never be tight again. In the small gap opened by the screw driver, spray a stream of rubbing alcohol. You can make a handy sprayer by piercing the cap of the flexible plastic alcohol bottle. Now work the grip around. Still stuck? Try the screw driver and alcohol on the other side. The grips should slip right off. If not, more alcohol and no we are talking about Fat Tire Ale. Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Sizing and Cutting a Carbon Steerer Tube Fork

Jazzed about your new all carbon fork? Can’t wait to install it? You’re really gonna like it, but slow down and read this first.

Here are 13 lucky DOs and DON’Ts to help you do it right:

  1. Do carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions
  2. Do NOT use more than 25mm of spacers between the stem and the top of the headset unless the manufacturer says otherwise.
  3. Do size the steerer so that it extends above the stem. This will lessen the possibility of cracking and splintering the steerer end when tightening the stem. Use spacer(s) to gain the necessary 3mm needed for preload adjustment. Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – The Cold, Hard Truth About the Cold

Face it. Summer is gone. The colder temperatures of fall are moving in, daylight savings is lurking just around the corner, and, if you’re like me, stepping out of a warm bed and into the cold morning is not the ideal way to wake up. All drama aside, riding my bike is simply too much fun to have to give it up for months at a time. So, what’s the best way to keep riding? Personally, it comes down to simply making the time to get on the bike, even if it’s only for a quick 45 minutes on the trail. Sure, I’d love to spend 2-3 hours out there, but I find that a little time on the bike beats no time on the bike, hands down.

Here at the Performance Bike office, we have an ideal situation for cyclists where riding during the lunch hour is encouraged and supported. We’ve got lockers, showers, tools, and even bike stands in the office.  It’s a great culture, but, sadly, one that does not really exist outside of the bike industry. Finding the time to ride is half the battle, and that’s ultimately going to depend on your schedule. Read more of this post

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