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Tech Tips


Maintenance 101

General/Regular: chain lube, tire pressure, checking the front and rear quick releases for tightness
Bi-Monthly: lubricating cables and housing, full frame cleaning/inspection, tune up, drive train cleaning
Bi-Annual: rear hub over haul, headset overhaul
Annual: Pull bottom bracket and service, pull seat post for cleaning and lubrication, change cables/housing, complete over haul (Winter down time Dec-Feb is when to bring it in for major service!)


Tires

Tire pressure check and top off before every ride. This is always stamped somewhere along the side wall of the tire. 90% of all road bikes are running 110–125psi. The tires will lose about 5-15psi in a 24 hr period. This 5-15psi missing puts the rider at a huge disadvantage. For example: flats, dents in the rims, etc. The most common mistakes are riding with too little pressure in road tires and too much pressure in off-road rubber. The former happens because road treads don't have a lot of air volume. Sure, road tires are pumped up to high pressures. But, because they're skinny tires, there's hardly any air inside. Consequently, even if only a little leaks out (most bicycle tubes are made of butyl rubber, which is porous and naturally seeps air), the pressure and volume are greatly reduced. To prevent this, check tire pressure on a road bike before every ride. If you don't, you'll be riding on soft tires, which is asking for trouble. More about this in a minute.



Chains

Chain lube – Wax is not a lubricant! The amount of maintenance required when running a wax based chain insulator is excessive. Synthetic oil is what we recommend. Ask next time you stop in and we'll explain the differences and show these differences with tangible examples.

Keeping a chain in tip-top condition will prevent premature wear. Lubricate the links before they get dry and squeak. And, use a lube that's appropriate for the riding conditions (we can recommend the best for our area). After applying lube, be sure to wipe off the excess because it'll attract grit and grime if you leave it on. If the chain gets grimy, you can clean it quickly by wiping it with a rag, a few links at a time until the entire chain is down almost to bare metal (there should be a thin layer of lube).



Comfort

Getting comfortable on the bike. Proper bike and proper size, relaying what "you the rider" are experiencing…. ("my right foot hurts, I get pins and needles in my finger tips, my left knee is bothering me"). There are many minor comfort issues which contribute to finding nirvana on a bike…You’ll know it when it happens too! When you visit our store to get sized to a bicycle, we have you straddle a few different ones so we can determine the correct size for your body dimensions. When we find a frame size that's right, we raise the seat to provide the proper leg reach for pedaling and then ensure that the reach to the handlebars is right for your arm and torso lengths. Our goal is to make you as comfortable and efficient on your new bicycle as possible.


Fittings

1. Masters of physical therapy (4yrs of under grad + 2-3yrs of grad school IE: 8-9mo of clinicals )
2. Their focus is on functional anatomy which is looking at how your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones all interact and work efficiently
3. Biomechanical evaluations look at how the riders anatomy best fits the bike, such techniques may include measurement of joint angles, aerodynamic positions on the bike, cleat positions etc.
4. These are the professionals who see and treat the problems when things aren't done right (it would be best to address these issues before they do damage)
5. Building a relationship w/ your fitter so a history can be established is also helpful
6. Flexibility screens (looking at range of motion around the joints - key tight area for riders is hip flexors, which can then affect pelvic alignment and be a cause of back discomfort and pain)
7. Manual muscle testing (Strength imbalances, key weak areas for many riders include, poor glutes recruitments, weak core and back muscles)


Lubrication and Cleaning

3 Things I use on all my bikes:
1. Medium to thick synthetic oil for my chain lubrication and cleaning
2. Drip bottle Tri-Flow for all my pivoting points and hardware (then everything stays smooth and never gets rusty!)
3. Pedro's Bike Lust for all my cleaning and polishing
Additional: I do use a foaming Simple Green product on my braking surface/rims and the occasional wipe down while "flossing out the cogs"


Pre Ride Check

1. Make sure the brakes are hitting equally and the wheels appear to be in the frame and fork symmetrically.
2. Make sure the wheels rotate... pick up the front and spin... pick up the rear and spin...
3. Make sure your tires don't have any major cuts or glass/debris still lodged in the tire.
4. Tire Pressure (lots of riders keep a floor pump in their trunk... a mini pump will only damage the valves IE: Emergency pump only!)


A Seat Pack Should Consist of

Tube (in the corresponding bikes wheel size and valve type)
Pump (CO2 or mini-hand pump so you can pump that tube up!)
Patch kit (glue which take forever but don't leak as much or glue less which are sensitive to set up)
Tire boot kit (once you locate the cause of the flat and it wound up being big slice through the tire and you've already blown your "spare tube" b/c you didn't realize the 1/4 hole on the face of the tire... you then can use the "tire boot kit" IE: big thick patches... dollar bills and power bar wrappers work too!)
Presta valve adaptor b/c either your pump or friends pump might not be functional, plus a gas station would then be able to be utilized)


Tech

Chain suck is a result of insufficient chain lube, excessive wear, excessive "stretch" in the chain, worn "sweet spot cogs" (b/c of not shifting through the 8,9,10 rear cogs you have), bent teeth on the front chain rings, stiff link(s) in the chain, loose cogs/cassette on the rear wheel, fresh tolerance mixed with old worn tolerance components. Don't waste your time using patched tubes.

Truing wheels is better left to someone who builds wheels not "works on wheels". Wheels are like brakes... you wouldn't want someone unqualified working on them! I see this too often and the rider is usually injured in the process because of miss adjustment whether it be a tension issue, wheel dish, or general integrity.

Listen to your bike. You are 100-300lbs and the bike is usually sub 25lbs! Think about it... You tear up your car on a regular basis and it weighs 3K lbs. Loose spokes will "ping or creak", loose headsets will knock when going over small, slow speed bumps. Spent bottom brackets will grind and knock through the pedals... pedals will do the same thing as will a loose set of crank arms.


Nutrition

1. Hydration Balance - What is the right balance of water, electrolyte, protein and carbohydrate mixes and when is the right time to use different products.

  • How long is your ride or race - generally anything lasting 1hr or shorter you are good to use just water or an electrolyte
  • Longer than an hour you may want to use either an electrolyte or protein/carb mix or you can use water and take in carbs via gels and bars.
  • Using recovery products, protein is a valuable nutrient to repair muscle damage.

2. Choose correct fuel from liquid and solid sources.
3. Know what a high quality sports nutrition product is and what is best for your body and performance (Gatorade versus Hammer Nutrition and/or Fluid Brand Nutrition)


Keep Your Bike Clean

The hardest thing for most cyclists to keep clean is the chain. It gets gunked up over time and the black goo has a way of getting on your hands, bike clothes and elsewhere (especially if you make the mistake of carrying the bike in your vehicle).

Go Easy On The Lube And Use The Right Lube. To keep the drivetrain clean, try to use the least amount of lube that will adequately lubricate your chain and derailleurs. Also, use a lube appropriate for your riding and conditions. We're happy to recommend lubes if you're not sure which brands or types are best for your needs.

When lubing the chain, let the oil soak in and then wipe off the excess. This helps prevent a buildup from developing. As soon as you notice grime, spend a few moments wiping the chain clean with a rag. It only takes minutes to give the links the once over like this and it can go a long ways towards maintaining a lubricated-but-tidy chain.

Cleaning Muddy Bikes. Another challenge is mud. The best approach is to deal with it immediately upon returning from your ride. Why? Because, if you let the mud dry, it's more difficult to remove without scratching your frame. When you wash it off before it dries, it rinses right off saving you scrubbing and possible paint-job damage. Be sure to apply lube to the chain, brakes and derailleurs after rinsing so that the water doesn't cause squeaking and corrosion.

The easiest way to keep your bike(s) clean is to assemble a simple cleaning kit consisting of a bucket, some brushes and sponges and some detergent (illustration). With this handy, when your bike's dirty, you can fill the bucket with warm soapy water and gently clean off the mud and dirt. Then rinse the suds off with a hose trickling the water over the bike from the top. Never blast high-pressure water at the bike because it can wash the lubricant off parts and out of the bearings, which will cause serious problems later.

Proper Bike Storage How you store your bike can affect how clean it stays, too. It's best to keep it inside away from the aging effects of the weather. It takes a while, but even if the bike is under an overhang, if it's stored outside, dampness in the air will rust the steel parts, ozone will attack the tires and sunshine will fade the paint. If you live near the ocean, it's especially important to keep the bike indoors because the salt in the air will corrode things extremely quickly.

An easy way to store a bicycle indoors is to purchase bike hooks from us. These question-mark-shaped hooks screw into a stud in the wall and hold the bike by a wheel. Or, you can install two hooks, one for each wheel so the bike can hang horizontally (upside-down). With a few of these hooks, it's possible to hang many bikes in the garage or house.

A higher-tech storage solution is a stand that displays the bike. If you've got a beautiful bike (aren't they all?), one of these racks holds the machine proudly (usually the stand supports two bikes, one low and one high) showing off your prize possession for all to see.


If you love your bike... Lock it up! Bike thieves are sneaky and resourceful so you've got to be diligent when locking your machine. When shackling your ride, it helps to examine how you've secured it while thinking like a thief. Ask yourself how you'd violate the lock and escape with the bike if you were a crook, and take pains to eliminate any risks.

Always secure your components and accessories, too, especially quick-release wheels and seat posts, with a secondary cable lock.


Everything listed is subjective too... (rain rides eat bikes alive, hoses penetrate bearings and cables, hanging it off the back of your car in the rain at 70mph, low tire pressure eats tires, causes flats, dents rims, knocks them out of true, etc). There are so many bogus products out there and too much bad information being preached on the World Wide Web. A good mechanic is your best asset. The bike doesn't really much matter if it doesn't run and perform well.


Our processes and techniques when addressing bicycle maintenance and mechanical issues are developed from decades of hands-on experience and multiple manufacturer classes. Our network of industry contacts and bike aficionados provide deep resources for whatever type of bike you ride.

Come in and ask questions.... That is the only way you learn without tearing something up!