Tech Tuesday

Ridley Orion Chain
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Tech Tuesday: Keeping Your Bike Out of the Shop

This is the time of year that all you want to do is ride your bike, not take it in for maintenance. One of my favorite things I would tell good clients was to ride the bike to the shop for a quick check over. Make it part of a monthly or quarterly event. As long as there isn’t anything rattling or falling off you’ll be able to ride there, tell them exactly what might be acting different since you JUST rode it, example “the rear is shifting slow going to easier gears” or “my crank clicks going up hill.” It also makes it so the shop understands you don’t want to leave your bike there. *Normally calling a head and making sure your favorite mechanic is okay with this would be recommended, along with bringing their favorite 6 pack.*

Fastest wearing items on a bike:

  • Chain
  • Cassette
  • Tires
  • Bar tape/grips
  • Chainrings
  • Seals on suspension (fork and shock)

Using Strava for Bike Maintenace

Strava Bike Details

While I am a data geek, and spend too much time on Strava I have found that it is also an easy way for you to keep track of your equipment. Depending on your riding style you are normally able to start gauging how quickly you wear your equipment. It is also a good reminder of getting check overs. I’m able to look back since the first of the year and figure out what bikes have the most milage, do a mental check of which bikes have gotten love and which haven’t. Even if it is as simple as checking chain lube, tire wear and chain stretch. It will help save you money and headache as the season rolls on.

 

2012 RockShox SID 29er
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Tech Tuesday: Why Would a Hydraulic Brake Lock Up?

One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

Question of the week from Facebook: Why would my rear hydraulic brake be locked up after sitting for a month?

In my many years of riding I’ve never had a hydraulic brake lock up on a personal bike, but have seen it happen on a few customers bikes that they drag in with the wheel stuck and not rolling!

The above can happen for many reasons, all of them are prevented with proper cleaning and servicing your brakes just like you would your car!

  • A blown seal can cause your fluid to not stay in the chamber it belongs in, and pushing the pistons to the “on position”
  • Dirt or surface rust can make your pistons also get stuck. This happens the least, but cleaning your bike every once in a while can prevent this
  • Dramatic change in temperature. If you have any air in your hose lines it can expand in heat, this can cause your pistons to also get stuck to the “on position.” This can be prevented with proper bleeding of the brakes.

Tech Tuesday

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Tech Tuesday: How to Adjust a Threadless Headset

Tech Tuesday

Make sure to visit the sponsors of this posts.. Problem Solvers!

One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

Today’s Tech Tuesday is based around adjusting your threadless headset. Threadless headsets are what 99% of new bikes come with these days, thanks to Cane Creek, and works with the bearings are pulled together by a nut placed inside of your fork steerer, then the stem is tightened down to hold everything in place.

Steps to Adjust your Threadless Headset

Step 1: Make sure that it is your headset that is loose. Often a loose headset is misdiagnosed by a loose quick release, brake caliper or front hub. We check the headset by grabbing the front brake only, rocking the bike front to back, if you feel movement you then turn the handlebars to the side and again rock the bike front to back.

Step 2: Once you are sure that it is your headset that is loose, or perhaps you have installed a new stem, loosen your stem steerer bolts so the stem can be moved side to side. You do not need to take the bolts out. Now tighten the top (stem) cap, you do not need to wrench down on it, but it should be snug. Rock the bike front to back to make sure the movement is gone.

Step 3: Tighten your stem down, making sure it is lined up with your wheel properly.

Step 4: Loosen the top cap a hair so not to cause the bearings to bind

Step 5: Move your handlebars side to side to make sure the headset is not too tight. If you feel binding repeat steps 2-4 but don’t tighten the top (stem) cap as much.

Step 6: Check over all the bolts and go enjoy and properly steering bike.

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Tech Tuesday: Check Your Suspension

While riding around in circles tonight at a local 3.5 mile mountain trail I realized something was off more than normal. My pedals were hitting things that I normal don’t and my turning felt slow. As I slowed to a stop I watched my fork spring back to life after I unweighted the front end. This meant only one thing, my air suspension fork didn’t have enough air in it or the air was equal between the top and the bottom chambers.

I finished out my lap and thankfully had thrown a shock pump in my car a few weeks prior, always forgetting to check my fork’s pressure before the ride!

Tech Tuesday

Make sure to visit the sponsors of this posts.. Problem Solvers!

One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

With technology progressing it is easy to forget the bicycles we are riding today are very advanced and need some thought in maintaining them at the level they belong. It is often that people come in to the bike shop with 10% of the air they need in their suspension, wondering why their bike feels like they are riding a flat tire. Or even better is when they ride their bike for 2-3 years and never take the time to get it serviced, when the estimate of replacing that rear shock comes in they are sticker shocked. What they don’t know is that your suspension (especially air shocks) needs serviced based on hours of ride time. Your bushings between your shock and fork wear out, your fork needs new oil and so on. Technology brings more things to pay attention at and keep up with maintenance.

Our friends over at London Cyclist recently posted a great how to for checking sag in on a mountain bike fork.

Suspension on a mountain bike reduces rider fatigue and improves the bike wheels contact on rough terrain. When adjusting, your aim is to balance between a soft and a hard setup. Too soft will result in your bike wheels not travelling far enough in a dip and too hard will cause your bike to bounce off rough terrain.

The sag determines the amount that the mountain bike suspension compresses.

Andreas did a great job, so instead of rewriting what he has already covered please check him out. In the mean while I have a friend coming over where I will be putting together a video of the exact how to for a full suspension bike!

Tech Tuesday
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Tech Tuesday: Tools of the Trade

Make sure to visit the sponsors of this posts.. Problem Solvers!

One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

A few emails have come through since I started this series that interest of what tools I recommend to start their tool collection. While I have a large collection that is only missing a couple (very expensive and very unique) tools. Sometimes it is best to buy as you need, but if you find a good deal on a tool kit or a shop closing – jump on it!!! While most of the links below are affiliate links that I gain a very small commission, they are all products I use daily and recommend to all. If your local bike shop carries them, order it there!

Starter Kit

These are the tools and accessories I recommend to anyone that owns a bike.


Testing Out the Waters

You are learning how to work on your own bike, the multi-tool isn’t cutting it and you want tools with more leverage and use.
  • A Repair Stand - The first thing that will make you feel like you are working on a bike like placing your bike in a repair stand. Get up off the garage floor.
  • Full size allen wrenches – Don’t use the ball end to tighten as you’ll strip out the wrench or the bolt, but you won’t ever go back to using multi-tools for major servicing.
  • Gear Brush - Maintenance starts with keeping that drivetrain clean!
  • Lube - Make sure to lube your chain after cleaning it
  • Grease - Grease and lube are very different. This goes on bolts (that don’t screw in to titanium or around carbon)

The Kitchen Sink

Simply put go buy the Professional Kit from Park Tools.
Adjust Avid BB5 Brakes
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How To: Properly Setup and Adjusting Avid BB5 Brakes

Tech TuesdayOne concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

As you know I have beenrocking the Airborne Delta CX bike for this summer going into cyclocross season. Originally I was struggling to adjust the Avid BB5 road calipers that come stock on the cyclocross bike. (Yes, it is a disc brake cyclocross bike.) After several tries at adjusting the brakes as Avid outlines on their website I finally started from scratch using good ole common sense! Once I sorted out my disc brake issues I was getting messaged and questioned about what I did to get them to stop well and not rub!

There are tons of great resources out there showing you the basic ways to adjust the brakes, but they left out key details. Let’s forget about those other instruction and start from the top.

Tools You’ll Need

Tools for Brake Adjustment

Torx wrench, 5mm allen, business card and a computer to read this how to on.

Setup and Adjusting Avid BB5 MTB Brakes

Avid BB5 Brake Diagram

Click to Enlarge

Check brake pads for wear. If your brakes are used at all there is a great chance the pads were worn incorrectly and will never align right. Remedy by sanding or replacing the pads, normally sanding with a fine grit will fix this problem.

Loosen the mounting bolts for the caliper, some bikes have the caliper mount directly to the fork, loosen those bolts. This will allow the caliper to move side to side. Check if your washers are worn or if you can see any grooves out of the normal. If you do, file/sand down or replace.

Adjust Avid BB5 Brakes

Loosen brake cable fixing bolt, this will allow the fixed pad to pull all the way out.

Turn the adjustable brake pad (red knob with Torx in middle) counter clockwise to turn out.

Business card in Disc brakes

Place a business card between a the fixed pad and rotor. Fixed pad is on the outside (look at diagram above)

Adjust BB5 Torx Brake

Turn the adjustable brade pad (red knob with Torx in middle) clockwise, use a Torx wrench if need be to tighten down as tight as you can with out breaking it!

Tighten the mounting bolts to the caliper.

Pull the brake cable tight to the fixing bolt, make sure the barrel adjuster on the caliper and the barrel on the brake lever both are turned in all the way, then backed out a full turn and a half. Tighten down the fixing bolt on the brake cable.

Back out the adjustable brake pad one or two turns, counter clockwise so  it isn’t touching the rotor. On the back of the Delta I had to back out an extra 1/4 of a turn for out of the saddle movement of the rear end.

Pull out the business card.

Use the adjustable brake pad to change the feel of the brake lever, use the barrel adjusters to adjust cable tension as well.

Check over all bolts and proceed to ride beautiful riding Avid brakes.

Tech Tuesday
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Tech Tuesday: MTB Bike Component Levels Explained

Make sure to visit the sponsors of this posts.. Problem Solvers!

One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

A common inquiry I receive is whether a certain component is worth the upgrade. To begin I’m going to simply touch on mountain bike parts, next week touching on road. I’m going to do my best to spell out the two main component brands, SRAM and Shimano, and their levels of parts. There are several other component manufactures out there and if you have specific questions please comment below.

SRAM

SRAM Logo

From Wikipedia:

SRAM Corporation is a privately held bicycle component manufacturer based in Chicago, Illinois, founded in 1987. SRAM is an acronym comprising the names of its founders, Scott, Ray, and Sam, (where Ray is the middle name of company head Stan Day).[2]

In 2008, the company received a strategic investment from Trilantic Capital Partners, formerly known as Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking, the buyout arm of Lehman Brothers. The firm invested $234.8 million in SRAM in a deal that closed Sept. 30, 2008.[3][4] On May 12, 2011, the company announced in a filing that it intended to raise up to $300 million in an IPO.

SRAM was first known for grip shifters, which are still used to date and are normally featured on internally geared hubs, children’s and hybrid bikes. Grip shifters can be found on the higher end bikes, but are not available in the new 10 speed components.

SRAM also owns RochShox, Zipp, Avid and Truvativ that make up a complete component line of shocks, wheels, brakes, handlebars, seatposts, pedals, cranks, etc.

SRAM Mountain Components

SRAM was the first to bring 10 speed drivetrains to the masses with XX, or 2×10. The 10 speeds in the rear is now available from both SRAM and Shimano. For me SRAM and Shimano don’t have even playing fields in mountain since the XX technology is far lighter than the XTR from Shimano.

Heirarchy of 2011 SRAM Mountain Components

XX - the best. If you have the money, or must have the lightest parts. This is the level
X0 – Traditional the best from SRAM, but was trumped by XX. 2×10 technology (Comparable to XTR)
X9 – Shifts amazing, a bit heavier and no carbon! Go with if you are worried about weight, but don’t want to break the bank. 2×10 technology (Comparable to XT)
X7 – The most affordable of the 2×10 technology, will last and give you the advantage. Not the lightest, but won’t break your wallet (Comparable to SLX)
X5 – Found on mid level, what I would consider the lowest end for off road worthy parts. 9 speed(Comparable to Deore)
X4An entry level, found normally on hybrids or mountain bikes not intended to be ridden off road. Perfectly fine if not abused or ridden off road.
X3 – Normally found on kids bikes or very entry level bikes. Will need more maintenance and parts will wear out more quickly.

Shimano

Shimano LogoFrom Wikipedia:

Shimano, Inc. (TYO: 7309) is a Japanese multinational manufacturer of cycling components, fishing tackle, and rowing equipment. Shimano product sales constitute 50% of the of the global bicycle component market. Its products include drivetrain, brake, wheel and pedal components for road, mountain, and hybrid bikes.

Shimano is the best known name within bicycle parts. The first to introduce mountain bike specific groups (Deore XT) and continue to push the envelope with electronic shifting to the masses, and innovation technology.

Shimano Mountain Components

XTR has been known over a decade as the bee’s knees of mountain bike parts. Still to this day, the clean and etched look of “XTR” on your rear derailleur or cranks will show folks you know your parts.

Shimano Mountain Heirarchy

(Much of this was borrowed from Wikipedia)

XTR [M980] – Top of the range for XC mountain bikes. 10 speed, comparable to SRAM X9
Deore XT [M770] – The longest running of a mtb component line. Amazing shifting, with a bit more weight than XTR. 9 and 10 speed, between SRAM X9 and X7
SLX [M660] – The best bang for the buck in the mtb line, still great shifting but more weight and won’t last as long as XT. 9 and 10 speed, comparable to SRAM X7
Deore [M590] -  Entry level, good place to start but will wear out after a couple years of hard use. 9 speed, comparable to SRAM X5

Trekking component

Deore XT
Deore LX
Deore

Downhill/Freeride component

Saint [M810] – Top of the range for downhill and freeride bikes, and many components are based on the XT groupset but more durable.

Recreational mountain bikes component

Alivio [M410 and M430] 8 and 9 speed
Acera [M360] 8 speed
Altus [M310] 8 speed
Tourney 6, 7, 8 speed – Includes several different levels of quality, and can be found on department-store bicycles

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