Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pre-Ride Checklist

Part of my Bike Maintenance Made Easier series...


I was preparing for a ride the other day when it occurred to me: there's a lot of things that I just "do" before a ride without thinking about - however they can be rather crucial to the success and enjoyment of the endeavor. A lot of this ritual are things picked up along my journey as a cyclist from others and some of it is because of experiences I have had and developed a way to prevent disaster on subsequent rides. There's nothing magical about it; but it is actually a little bit of a ritual. That's good though as it keeps me from missing a step or forgetting to do something before I head out the door.

All told; while it might seem like a lot of steps - it really only takes probably 10 minutes total ( not sure really - I'm not analytic enough to time myself...). The trick to this or any checklist you might develop for yourself is to make it a routine and you'll soon find yourself accomplishing everything rather quickly and smoothly. So; here's the details with some description following so you know why I might do what I do - or when I do it.

You might also note that I allude to some post-ride rituals too...I'll post some on that that soon; but it's just as important and can be very quick and easy.

PLAN MY ROUTE: I do this for safety's sake: so I can tell my wife where I'm going since I ride by myself most of the time.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Get Road Rage Cycling on your Mobile Device

I just got around to putting the Android operating system on my HP Touchpad tablet (which is a different blog post for a different blog; but anyway); and while downloading new apps I stumbled upon Google Currents; a service that offers free subscriptions to many top publications in one place so you can easily get the news and content that is important to you. With less than 24 hours to play with the app; I have subscribed to way more content than I can ever hope to read!

But it also got me thinking: I wonder how I can use this to make Road Rage Cycling more accessible?
Turns out it is very simple and so I'm happy to introduce: Road Rage Cycling on Google Currents! Now you'll have access to the blog in a quick to access, mobile-specific format.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Road Bike Disc Brake Troubleshooting

Slow down, turbo...
As disc brakes become more common on road bikes (this current model year saw many models finally hitting bike shop inventories) there is myriad new issues for us to address. Some of them have been dealt with in the mountain bike world for years while others are new and unique.

Lennard Zinn; a tech writer for VeloNews and the author of many authoritative bicycle maintenance books (not to mention a framebuilder - where does he find the time?), wrote an excellent piece in answer to a reader's question and it appeared at velonews.com this morning.

Here's the exchange which I thought was too good not to share:

Dear Lennard,
Do you have tips for setting up disc brakes on road bikes? I’m using Avid BB-7 road calipers with XX 160F, 140R rotors with stock pads and standard cables/housing with Ultegra Di2 brake levers. They seem to be short on stopping power; the MTB versions I’ve tried have been much stronger.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Do I need a torque wrench?

Getting torqued off?
That sound...if you've heard it before; you already know what I'm talking about. The subtle crackle of a carbon handlebar or seatpost bowing to the pressure of an over-torqued bolt. Or perhaps you heard the sharp snap of an aluminum stem clamp or steel seat clamp bolt - either way they're all unpleasant but preventable.

One could argue that the Torque Wrench has become the most valuable tool in a bike mechanic’s toolbox.  Can you assemble or fix a bike without one?  Absolutely.  But, what other tool helps you complete that work with the confidence that you’ve got every bolt tightened to manufacturer’s specification, without being so tight you’re damaging the parts?  That’s where the value lies: A torque wrench is cheaper than replacing a $200 seat post or $350 carbon handlebar!
You see, today’s ever-lighter aluminum and carbon components are still strong, but less tolerant to improperly applied torque. Historically, our frames and parts were so strong that the bolt was the weak part.  More seasoned riders will remember having to regularly replace seat binder bolts (and I even carried a spare in my seat bag on my first road bike).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tubeless Cyclocross Tire Tips

Part of a series I'm calling Tires 101 with lots of great info to consider when looking for new tires.

There have been lots of comments back and forth between my readers about switching to tubeless for road and cyclocross. This is a guest post of sorts - an acquaintance was nice enough to write his thoughts down and share his info with us.
With cyclocross season right around the corner you might find this info helpful. There are tons of different combos of rims, tires, and tubeless products. We hope his insight into what worked for him last season for him will help with a few questions you may have. Here's what he had to say:
This year I have been racing cyclocross on road tubeless Shimano Dura Ace 7850sl wheels.  Just a quick search on Google will show that while Shimano is silent on using their road tubeless system wheels for cyclocross, there are plenty of others either talking it up, or talking it down.  What I will try to do here is describe the problem, tell you what has worked for me, and perhaps more importantly, tell you what hasn’t worked — and the lessons I learned from the experiments.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dura Ace PD-7900 Pedals - First Impressions

Less weight, same great pedal A quick update before the weekend. Shimano’s latest pedal offering arrived last season – the new Dura Ace PD-7900 in carbon composite.  Now that we've had our hands on them and they've seen some miles; here's our thoughts. Published weight is 248 grams per pair (124 g. each) which officially enters Shimano into the light-weight pedal game.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bike Mistakes - Part 2: Chain and gears

This is the second in a series on common mistakes on your bike...

One of the big ideas behind this series is to pass along solutions to the things that we commonly see in a shop; many of which can end up costing a lot of money to fix if left unattended. This time of year, as bikes are being brought back out of storage (many of which having been ridden hard and put away wet...) one of the things we see commonly is a worn out drivetrain.

So, the causes of worn drivetrains vary - but can all usually be traced back to a stretched chain. As you ride your bike; the chain stretches and the distance between the pins gets greater and often the bushings will wear as well. Over many miles of hard riding, the chain wears the gears to match this new spacing. Dirty, dry, or otherwise poorly maintained drivetrains only accelerate this effect.

Bike Maintenance Made Easier Series

Notice I said easier and not easy. 

However, for the most part the hardest thing about properly maintaining your bicycle for long life is just being diligent about doing it. It gets exponentially harder when you neglect it - only demanding more time for cleaning, lubrication, and adjustments. I hope the following posts will give you the guide and motivation you need to be on your way to a smoother, cleaner, longer-lasting bicycle and a more enjoyable ride.

Have a question? Want me to cover another topic or think I left something out? Leave a comment!


All content - except where otherwise noted - copyright 2006 - 2013 Matthew Magee. Do not use without permission.

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