How to maintain and how to fix your bike so as not to overpay at the bike workshop?

You can do a lot, or even almost everything, with your own hands, you just have to try: you will not get dirty, you will not screw up anything, and you will also save money - some advantages. I, of course, will help with practical advice: what can and should be done for our iron horse, and what tool we need.

Bicycle Chain: clean, lubricate or even replace

The chain is always the dirtiest, yet extremely important part of your bike that keeps everything moving. It consists of metal plates and pins connected to each other. No matter how many speeds your bike has, the chain always looks the same (wider or narrower - in this case, it does not matter). There are, of course, belt-driven bicycles: cool thing, but far from universal. The belt is easier to wash: what's true is true. But the chain will have to tinker with if you want to extend the life of your bike and enjoy the ride.

How do I clean my bike chain?

There is no point in servicing a new chain: it is still lubricated at the factory, well-lubricated, there is nothing to go in there. But the road does its job: the oiled chain literally attracts dust, dirt, sand from under the wheels. After kilometers of travel, the grease partially thickens, partially washed out, and ceases to perform its function normally. For you, this means two problems: first, your cool, beautiful, fast-moving bike suddenly starts to crunch, groan and creak, like an ancient old man; second, the wear of the drive components is rapidly increasing. Sand trapped in the chain interferes with its normal operation. You will be surprised to learn that strong metal is susceptible to unusual loads and can stretch and break. And the killed chain also kills the stars that untwist it. In general, the whole system is under attack.

We solve the problem. The easiest way to remove all dirt from the chain is to use a special cleaning device - Bicycle Chain Cleaner. This is a closed container with rollers and brushes: the chain is clamped and passes through these rollers, thereby cleaning itself. You can, of course, use a pair of shoe brushes, someone even does the same job with toothbrushes, but with such a machine, work is faster and cleaner, first of all for you.


Bicycle Chain Cleaner


In addition, a special liquid is poured into such a device - Bicycle Chain Oil, which separates oily dirt from the chain even where it is impossible to reach manually. Agree, it is difficult to wash greasy dishes without detergent - here is absolutely the same principle. Once upon a time in our childhood, the most desperate people used diesel fuel for these purposes. Today, there are less sophisticated and in many ways safer and more effective cleaning methods.

 Effective Bicycle Chain Cleaning Methods

After the chain has cleared and dried, you can proceed to the next stage. Agree, while everything is simple.

How to lubricate a bicycle chain?

Together with the dirt, we washed off the old grease from the chain. A dry chain looks clean, but it cannot and should not work normally in this state: the mechanisms need lubrication. For decades, there has been a debate about which lubricant is the best for a bicycle chain, and there is no winner in this field, and there cannot be. Everyone has different preferences, you need to try. It is enough to always adhere to only two principles: choose a lubricant for the weather conditions in which you plan to ride. If driving in the rain is a perfectly acceptable activity for you, then the lubrication should be appropriate. The fact is that dry weather grease is more easily washed off with rainwater, which is fraught with problems. The second principle is that no lubricant lasts forever. There are no ideal solutions: whichever lubricant you choose, sooner or later the whole procedure with the chain will need to be repeated over again. Don't worry: once you get used to it, it will take 20 minutes or so for you. Is it worth visiting a bike master for this?

When do you need to change the chain?

Unfortunately, this is the truth of life: the metal chain is consumable. It stretches due to loads, and the stretched chain begins to "eat up" the stars, which will inevitably lead to incorrect operation of the drive and transmission. How long your chain will last is a tricky question. It all depends on her, and your riding style, and working conditions, and on the moment when you decide to change the chain. But it is not difficult to check her condition. A fairly simple tool is inserted into the chain, allowing you to determine its stretch. Owners of not the cheapest bikes are trying to get one, realizing that replacing the stars will be much more expensive than replacing the chain on time.

Chain tension gauge

How do I replace my bike chain?

All you need is one tool: Bike Chain Repair Kit. It removes any of the pins, thereby undoing the chain. The new chain must match in length and width, that is, it must be created for the same number of speeds and consist of the same number of pins. We count the pins on the old chain, measure the same amount on the new one, unfasten the excess with a Bike Chain Repair Kit, after which we connect the chain already on the bike. It's simple, you just have to try. By the way, we have a video tutorial on this topic.

Bike Chain Repair Kit
How to Fix a Broken Bicycle Chain

Wheels: glue, pump and drive

The wheel is such a simple and irreplaceable invention. The most honest kilometers are carried away from under the bicycle wheel: you always know how much energy you put into them. We want our wheels to be pumped up and flat at all times, and this is a task that can most often be done on our own.

How to inflate a bicycle wheel?

The average cyclist needs one pump, the advanced cyclist needs two. The average cyclist knows the wheel needs to be inflated and can inflate it if needed. Someone uses car pumps for this purpose, but there are enough ordinary bicycle pumps on the market. It's great when the model is equipped with a pressure gauge - a scale with an arrow or a digital display that displays the current tire pressure. You can, of course, thoughtfully squeeze the tire with your fingers, assessing whether it is firm enough, but guessing will be much more difficult than choosing a watermelon on the market. And a mistake is fraught with the fact that the rubber will not work out where it should: the grip on the road in any case will be worse, which can lead to a fall, and to a puncture, and to increased wear of the component. Do you need it? The pressure range is always indicated on the tire bead - stay within these limits.
Portable Electric Inflatable Pump
Portable Hand Pump
For those who travel a lot and far, always have a compact hand pump on hand - in case of a puncture on the road. They are inexpensive, but irreplaceable if such a nuisance happens. At the same time, it is not always convenient to use a hand pump as the main one: try to "drive" such a little 6-8 atmospheres into a road wheel - this is possible if there is no other way out, but you will not do this on an ongoing basis.
How to remove the tire and glue the camera?

How to remove the tire and glue the camera?

In the event of a puncture, one pump will not save you: you need to get to the camera, and for this, you need to remove the tire. The easiest way is to use bead blades: plastic, inexpensive, and absolutely irreplaceable in cycling life. It is undesirable to use something else for the same purposes: firstly, little will work, and secondly, you need not damage either the rubber or the rim.

The set usually includes three blades. Hook up the tire - and voila!
After reaching the camera, you need to find the puncture site. At home, you can resort to the old grandfather's method: take a little water into the bath and lower the previously inflated camera there. Where the bubbles come from - there is a puncture. On the road, the task becomes more difficult, but some tips can be given: pump the camera a little more so that the pressure increases (just don't overdo it), and rely on your hearing. Air comes out through a small hole with a characteristic whistle - this is usually audible.

When the puncture site is found, we proceed to stripping and gluing. Do not worry: patches are now made reliable, and their installation does not require special skills and efforts.

How to tighten a bicycle spoke?

This skill was once owned by all avid cyclists. Does everyone understand the meaning of the word "eight" in this context? Eights at the very least ruled at home - in the end, do you need a ruler or go?

Expensive wheel models are, of course, more resistant to stress. But the need to tighten a spoke or two may still arise, at least in order to get to the place of a complete repair. If you wish to have a solution to any potential problem, then a spoke wrench is the definitive must-have in your toolbox.
Bicycle Spoke Wrench
Bicycle wheels

Cogs-bolts: check, tighten, do not worry

Multitool - mini

From experience: the most unpleasant thing in any trip is when the steering wheel is loose, and there is nothing to tighten. You go and either hold on to the steering wheel or hold the steering wheel - a stupid situation.

This mistake can only be made once in a lifetime. Having received bitter experience, anyone will make the only correct conclusion and acquire at least the simplest tool to avoid this in the future.

Why are the screws on my bike loose? From constant vibrations on the road, because they were not clamped enough - but you never know the reasons. Experts give a very logical recommendation: check the tightness of all screws before starting the trip. But hardly anyone in good faith does this every time before a summer ride. A compact set of tools that fits in any pocket is a miracle cure for almost all cycling "diseases". Something unscrewed, you need to fix the brake shoe, rearrange the steering wheel, change the position of the saddle, and in the end, help someone not so prudent - that's what a multitool is for.
Bicycle repair tool kit