Maintenance & Repairs

The Touchup

April may be the cruelest month, but November is surely the dullest. It is dark and getting darker, cool and getting colder, frosty and getting snowier. Its one public occasion is sombre. I would lay odds that Shakespeare wrote his “winter of discontent” phrase in November. Grumble. However, that makes it a good time to […]

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Bracket racket: what's the bottom line?

I've been spending too much time lurking about on online cycling forums again. I must cut down – or cut it out completely. Maybe. I know that amongst the true gems of genuinely fascinating information there will be the inevitable verbal fisticuffs, misunderstandings and completely random tangents taken. Sometimes I think I post comments just […]

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Replacing Novatec Front Hub Bearings

For some time I'd been aware that my front hub bearings felt a little rough. I don't know anything about bearings. I knew that my hubs have cartridge bearings but that was the full extent of my knowledge, I had no idea what size bearings they were or how I should set about acquiring replacements. […]

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Fitting Hyperglide sprockets on a six-speed Uniglide freehub

A stack of used Hyperglide cassette sprockets and various spacers. The single 13T is the threaded locking sprocket from a Uniglide cassette. NB since I created this post I have seen that 7 speed Uniglide cassettes are availabe from SJS Cycles – not sure how I missed them. However, their cost including postage is almost […]

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Nasty noises from a forgotten component

Roberta returned from her emergency visit to Roberts with gleaming silver cranks and running oh so sweetly. Unfortunately this happy state of affairs only lasted a few days. Her cranks still gleamed but suddenly, without warning, she started to sound like a sack of spanners! One minute I was riding happily along, the next she […]

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My old bike project (not restoration)

French onion: Peugeot Black Mamba ATB frame I've no idea what I'm going to do with this bike. Actually, now, it's just a frame and fork as I've removed everything else and not much is fit to be re-used. The bike, a Peugeot Black Mamba ATB, is all I rode from the mid-1980s until 2008 […]

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Coventry Eagle Touristique: a restoration project

With the cycling in the Olympic velodrome over I have finally got round to (almost) completing a little summer project I had postponed from last year. The frame had been very rusty when I took it for renovation at a West Yorkshire cycle shop several months ago. As with my Raleigh Road Ace, another bike […]

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If it aint bust……….

The great thing about a custom bike is that you can get it built exactly as you want it. Or at least you can if the builder can get hold of all the bits that you want. My Roberts was always meant to be blue and silver but unfortunately T A cranks in the 165mm […]

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The Finishing Touch

When I recently described various upgrades that I had made to Why?Bike there seemed to be general agreement that my tatty, creaky, adjustable handlebar stem had to go next. I did think long and hard about going all modern and getting an Ahead converter but I like the looks of quill stems and had secretly […]

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Why? is much better without Hope!

Why?Bike's new wheels arrived earlier this week. After much deliberation I'd ordered Deore LX hubs built onto Rigida Snyper rims by Andrew at Spa Cycles. Why?Bike is meant as my expedition tourer, ready and waiting for my mythical round the world tour so I had considered going for the bombproof Sputnik rims but eventually decided […]

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What to do when it's wet outside – Rebuild the Hetchins

Well, its maintenance to the Hetchins Part Two – The Rebuild Up to this point, Hettie had had her worn out cassette, her old bar tape and bars removed, her ergo 9sp controls taken off, and her wonderful but uncomfy Brooks saddle removed. And thus, she lived in the cottage until a certain Easter rainy […]

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No hope for Hope hub

I've always been rather proud of the Hope hubs on Why?Bike, my 26" wheeled tourer that I bought second hand. Far more classy than common or garden Shimano ones I reckoned. Then this happened.

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What to do when its icy outside

Albert, views it all in disgust. Its happened twice now. Twice I have entered a 200km GPS Audax, and on both occasions I have had to cancel when I got up in the morning. For a 200km on a Sunday, I have to set off at 4am, otherwise Im not back in time to make […]

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Building bicycle wheels: the best builder is you

Fifty miles in, the bicycle wheels I built for myself a few days ago are as true as an arrow from Robin Hood's bow. They did not fly into pieces at the first bump in the road and there is no reason why they should. Bicycle wheel building is much easier than, say, knitting or […]

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DIY bicycle maintenance: time is money

Shimano Deore thumb shifter (jammed) How much of my time is worth spending fixing a broken thumb shifter? A week? That's how long it took Geoff Kuenning just to put his back together again. So let's see... £25 per hour x 7.5 hours x 5 days = £937.50. A new one is about £25 (my […]

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A curious creaking

A few months ago I paid a rare visit to my local bike shop. I had fitted a new chainring and chain and thought I'd better fit a new cassette as well. I'd already bought the cassette but although I have a chainwhip and lockring remover I can never generate enough brute force to undo […]

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Hollowtech II: chain line and Q-factor

Hollowtech II is a type of bicycle bottom bracket (BB) manufactured by Shimano. They are very easy to remove and replace, which meant it was also very easy to alter the chain line on my Ridgeback touring bike. It was simply a matter of fitting some spacers in different positions to those indicated in Shimano's […]

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Bike maintenance, by a total novice… Chain replacement…

When I arrived home from cycling Land's End to John O'Groats, I discovered that I had aged my poor ol Hettie by several decades. I only took up cycling in 2007, and it has been a real learning curve on how to maintain a bicycle. Up to now, I could repair a puncture, clean the […]

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F C Parkes goes for a picnic

The Sandown to Newport cycle track has a very pleasant picnic area at the old Merstone station. Every year members of the Wayfarer Cycle Touring Club and their families gather there for a picnic/BBQ and this year there was the added incentive of freshly cooked jacket potatoes on offer. This was the perfect opportunity to […]

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A short story of a bicycle chain…

I got my Ridley carbon fibre bike when I retired and have not used it a lot. I told, I think, in an earlier posting about how it had a 10speed chain with a 9-speed link, fitted by the factory which caused a lot of trouble until I diagnosed it and got a new chain […]

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A Fifties Revival – F C Parkes Cote d'Or

I think you know by now that I can't resist anything pertaining to cycling history. Books, magazines, maps are avidly collected. It could only be a matter of time until an old bike joined the collection. Well, time and getting the shed roof fixed so that I have somewhere to keep it. I'd been looking […]

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Magic Liquids

For a while now, I've wanted to raise Brown Bike's handlebars. I bought him brand-new in (I think) 1992, but the frame is dated 1987. He isn't a standard Raleigh model, but has a "Special Products" transfer. I don't know when he was built up, or by whom. When I bought him, I couldn't shift […]

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Bicycle road test report

I fitted new tyres, a new chain and a pair of new brakes, and this morning I rode out for a test ride. Everything was a total success and although my ride was only 18miles I came back with a broad smile on my face. The ride was a complete relief. I'll tell you a […]

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Bicycle building project – into the abyss with a Flying Scot

Been thinking of having a go at this for about a year now. A couple of things, pushed me nearer and nearer the edge of diving into my first bicycle building project.

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Roberts Cycles

Roberta has just returned from her annual visit to Roberts Cycles for a service and general tune up. I sometimes think I should do more of this myself but there's no denying that, although I might achieve a reasonable competence, I am never going to reach the level of expertise displayed by the guys at […]

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Bicycle cable rub

Peugeot Scorpion ATB circa 1987 When I loaded my Giant Escape Disc onto the car rack the evening before a Big Sky Bike Ride with Chris in March I noticed how the brake cable outers had rubbed together and worn through to the wire spirals. I went on my touring bike instead. I've also had […]

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DMR V8 pedals: replacement cones

The DMR V8 flat pedal, introduced some time before the Millenium, is apparently still a best-seller at MTB specialists Chain Reaction Cycles, along with the V12 and V12 Magnesium. I've used the V8 since 2008 and the lighter V12 Magnesium since 2009, but both on road bikes, not MTB. Next time I'm feeling extravagant I'll […]

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Skinned Knuckles and Sleepless Nights!

Roberta's middle chainring was worn and needed replacing. This seemed like the sort of basic job I should be able to do myself but when I phoned to order a new ring I was told that it wouldn't be possible without removing the crank as the middle ring bolts on from behind. I didn't want […]

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Minor maintenance

Brown Bike's odometer and speedometer have stopped working, although the cadence function is fine. I suspect a busted wire, but when I compare the two sensors and spot a tide-mark on the chain stay, I realise the wheel sensor has slipped backwards. Easily fixed.

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Servicing my Shimano Deore hub

Dismantling the hub for regreasing For the record: Shimano FH-M530 rear freehub. I'd been meaning to do this job for a while so this uncyclable weekend I bought a cone spanner and some ball bearings. I already had a chain whip, the special nut for removing a cassette, and some lithium grease. For me this […]

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1-2-3

One rim. Two tyres. Three flats, this morning's being the most recent. Time for a new rim, I think.

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Just a Five Minute Job…

I've had a couple of visits from the p*nct*re fairy recently. Looking back over my records I was surprised to discover I've actually done over 5000 miles on these same tyres – no wonder I've started to get punctures! I've been trying to make them last as long as possible as they've been discontinued (Michelin […]

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Not so much a missing link, as a fat link

I retired from work last year and got a new touring bike, a Thorn Raven, with which I am very pleased. At the same time, I got a carbon fibre Ridley Orion racing bike. My daughter Lizzie, who's the family tyrant and a triathlete, insisted on this so she had to be obeyed. This was […]

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Customising a Shimano HG50 Tiagra/Deore cassette

I've never been able to push a really big gear; anything much over 100" is not much use to me. There must be plenty of people who can as, for instance, most off-the-peg 'sportive' bikes – a growing market these days – come with 12T or even 11T as the smallest rear sprocket. But paired […]

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Bottom bracket creak hell

This is one of the great undiluted joys of being a bike mechanic, which I'm not by trade but am by about 28 years practice. My Thorn Raven developed clunkiness in Bottom Bracket so I deduced that it needed to be replaced. It is in an eccentric bottom bracket shell as it has Rohloff gears. […]

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Planned maintenance for bicycles

I can't seem to shake off the habits of my previous career as an architect and property manager, so I do planned maintenance on our bikes. Another term we used at work was preventive maintenance, or even preventative (as some would say). You inspect and replace components according to a planned cycle instead of waiting […]

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Cleaning a bicycle

If you ask ten different cyclists about the best way to clean a bicycle you'll get ten different answers. To some extent the cleaning regime depends on the type of bicycle and the type of dirt. My son rides a mountain bike with an alloy frame and it gets covered in mud and grass, whereas […]

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Puncturesville, Arizona

You shouldn't wish your life away, but Feb. was not the month of my cycling life. I had EIGHT punctures in February, Mick had about 4 and Donie had 4. All of the punctures were tiny things apart from one of Donie's which was caused by Alzheimer's Disease of a Tyre Casing (ADTC) which ruptured. […]

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Truing a bicycle wheel without a jig

This is a sequel to lacing a bicycle wheel. Truing the wheel turned out to be no more difficult than lacing it. Easy, in other words. The only tool required is a spoke key (illustrated). I'm truing a front wheel. The rear wheel is trickier because of the freewheel and unequal spoke lengths. I don't […]

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Tools I wish I had bought years ago … #1

I have never regretted buying good tools. I have regretted buying bad tools, and I have also regretted not buying tools. Perhaps I need to explain. Recently I have bought one or two tools that have turned out to be excellent for their purpose. They were quite ordinary, easy to find, not expensive, and I […]

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Lacing a bicycle wheel

I made this today. It took about 50 minutes. Doesn't look right, but it is, so far. It must be the angle of the photo, because I've checked it carefully and it's right. The wheel isn't quite true yet but it's at least correctly laced. On the basis that lacing and truing a cycle wheel […]

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The front derailleur adjustment trick, the tight tyre trick

The Front Derailleur was invented by Satan. Adjusting it is fiendishly difficult unless you have adjusters higher up along the cables. There is however a fiendish trick. Allowing for the fact that the limit screws are such that you can over-adjust, what you do is adjust the wire so that you over-change, i.e. you can […]

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A chain of events

I used to think that chain repairs were easy; all I needed to carry was a chain tool to extract the odd pin, and a 'quick link' to join the ends together. A few days ago step-daughter Charlotte 'phoned. "I'm half way round Bleasdale and the chain has broken .... " so into the car […]

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