Bike Repair Tips

Straightening a bike wheel

Hang up the bike and then turn the wheel until you find the bend. To indicate the location of the bend, hold a pencil next to where the bend is.

Then, to get the rim to bend back towards the center, shorten the spokes in the direction towards the bend or lengthen those on the side where the wheel is bent.

You can do this simply by squeezing the spokes together, and the rim will move in the direction of the brake.

Work with a group of four to five spokes across the bend and when you’re done tighten the spokes that are loose.

Adjusting the saddle

It’s important to be riding at a height that doesn’t put unnecessary strain on your legs.

If the saddle’s too low you might find the ride tough going. So dig into your toolbox to find an adjustable wrench and locate the nut on the side of the saddle.

Loosen the nut before simply sliding the seat upwards or down, according to the height you want to ride at.

It’s best to be able to touch the floor with your toes, but perhaps not with your entire foot.

When you’ve figured out the height and adjusted the saddle accordingly, tighten the nut as much as you can so that the saddle doesn’t slip down at all.

Bike brake pads

Bike brake pads should be toed-in to prevent ‘squeaking’. This means that the front edge of the pads needs to touch the bike rim when the brake is applied lightly.

Have a look for an adjusting barrel, through which the inner wire goes. This could be on the hand lever.

Loosen the barrel as much as possible then pull the inner cable tight while at the same time squeezing the brake pads together, then all you need do is re-tighten the bolt.

Now you have your brakes in optimum condition and this should give you peace of mind while you’re riding.

Disc brake service

Disc brakes function by using two pads that are held in place by magnets.

Once you feel it’s time to replace the pads and clean the mechanism, then remove the wheel and lift the assembly off the disc.

Grasping the handle of the pad, remove the old disc brake, then you’ll have access to the interior mechanism, from which you can then remove all dirt, sand, and oil.

Now all you need to do is to reassemble with care, which can be a tricky job as all the parts are intricate.

If you’ve got anything left over then you’ve made a mistake along the way!

Handlebars

If you’re feeling uncomfortable while you ride then it makes sense to vary the height of the handlebars.

The higher the handlebars the better it is for steep downhills, while lower handlebars give you the edge when climbing.

All you need to do to affect this is to strip the handlebars of everything on them.

Then detach the handlebars from the stem, make your adjustments and rig everything back together while making sure to give everything a good clean before you choose to reassemble, putting the gear shifts and brakes in your preferred position.

Quick lube to go

For a smooth, quiet ride you’re going to have to oil your machine regularly.

Try and do this quickly before you go out, then do a more thorough job every 15 hours of riding.

On the chain, use a waxy type lubricant and then something thinner for every other part.

Make sure you shift the gears, going up and down, and give your bike a good going over to make sure no part squeaks. Every moving part can be lubricated.

After you’re done, use a rag to wipe away every part where it’s not needed. And beware of oiling the brake discs – this should never be done.

Fixing a flat

Remove the wheel from the bike with the flat tire and search the tire for any obvious cause of puncture to prevent another one from happening soon afterward.

Tire levers will help you prize the tire away from the wheel and get to the inner tube.

After the inner tube out then searches the inside of the tire for anything that might have caused the burst.

To save buying a new inner tube, you’ll have to fix this one. Do that by locating the hole – inflating it to see there’s a hissing sound, then moving your hand around it for a leak.

One hint from the pros is to put the tube next to your cheek or eye, as these two parts of the body are particularly sensitive.

Then work your way around the tube searching for the leak.