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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Brake Levers

BRAKE LEVER TERMINOLOGY

Adjusting Barrel - A hollow screw used to change the length of the brake inner wire.

Barrel Locknut - A nut that holds the adjusting barrel in place.

Brake Caliper - A mechanism which when closed squeezes the rim of the wheel and stops forward/backward momentum.

Brake Lever - A lever that controls the brake calipers via the brake cable.

Cable Anchor - The part which holds the lever arm down, often a socket or a pivoting mechanism attached to the lever arm.

Cable Housing - The outer sheath of the brake cable, designed to be flexible and prevent rusting of cables.

Cast Clamp - A portion of the lever which bends around the handlebar and clamps in place with one or two bolts. See also Pull-Up Strap.

Ferrule (or End Cap) - Fittings that attach to the cable so it fits into the socket or adjusting barrel.

Inner Wire - The interior wire of brake cables, which travels from the lever arm to the brakes.

Lever Arm - The lever parallel to the handlebar which when pulled activates the brakes via the brake cable.

Lever Body - The surrounding exoskeleton of the brake levers that hold it in place and are attached to the handlebars via the cast clamp.

Lever Pivot & Bolt - A shaft-shaped pivot and bolt on which the lever arm rests.

Mounting Bolt - A bolt used to tighten the cast clamp.

Pivot Bushing - A plastic bushing between the lever arm and the pivot bolt.

Pivot Stud - An unthreaded pivot the slides/presses into the lever body.

Pull-Up Bolt - A bolt that holds the lever body to the pull-up strap.

Pull-Up Nut - Goes on the pull-up bolt.

Pull-Up Strap - A flexible steel strap affixed to the handlebar and lever body, an alternative to the cast clamp.

Strap Clamp - Similar to a Cast Clamp, but commonly found on BMX/freestyle bikes or classic 3-speeds and made of flexible metal.

WHEN TO REPLACE BRAKE LEVERS

#1. Bent brake levers.
#2. Cracked brake levers.
#3. Stripped threads on the mounting bolts.
#4. Excessive looseness that cannot be removed by adjusting or replacing the pivot bushings.

WHEN TO SERVICE BRAKE LEVERS / REPLACE PARTS

#1. Levers jerk or move slowly because of dirt build up/lack of lubrication.
#2. Brake cables/cable anchors squeak due to lack of lubrication.
#3. Bent adjusting barrels should be replaced.
#4. Sticky lever pivot may mean a bent pivot should be replaced.
#5. If the brake levers on a horizontal handlebar aren't at a 45 degree angle to the ground, readjust the brake levers to 45 degrees so they can be more easily reached without wrist contortion.

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR IN BRAKE LEVERS

Different sized handlebars - Record the size of your handlebars when looking to replace brake levers so you get a size that is compatible.

Derailleur controls too close - Sometimes manufacturers mount the derailleur controls really close to the brake levers, which depending on the type may interfere with your ability to quickly service/replace the brake levers.

Brake Caliper compatibility - Some brake levers don't work with different braking systems due to the distance between the pivot and the cable anchor. When replacing brake levers check to make sure the distance between the two is similar or identical. You will need to adjust the brakes to make sure the brake cables are taut enough.

Pull-Up Strap failure - If there is too much slack the pull-up nut will slip, and the brakes will become very loose or even fall off. The strap may be damaged and if so needs to be replaced. Straps that are bent or cracked may not be immediately seen until after you've taken the brake levers off the bike. The threads on the nut/bolt may also be stripped and will need to be re-cut using a Tap and Die set.

Insecure levers - This means the brake levers either don't fit the handlebars, or one of the parts is broken. A third possibility, less often, is when the lever body is made of cheap plastic and is just slipping constantly because it can't grip the chrome handlebars. In this latter case the plastic brake levers should be replaced with metal brake levers.

DROP-BAR BRAKE LEVERS

Because of their more unusual dimensions and shapes, drop bar brake levers come in a variety of sizes. To determine the proper size measure to the nearest mm at the end of the handlebars at its widest point using a caliper. DO NOT MEASURE A CURVED PART!

If you are using pull-up straps, don't measure them (because they are flexible anyway). Any reputable company will have them marked with a size in mm. If you bought cheap-up straps you will have to measure using trial and error.

REMEMBER TO LUBRICATE!!!

Oil both sides of the lever pivots, the cable anchor pivots and use bicycle grease on the adjusting barrel threads so they don't rust. DO NOT USE CHEAP OIL OR GREASE because they will wash out easily or collect dirt.

BMX BRAKE LEVERS

Should be placed at 25 to 30 degrees below horizontal (ignore the 45 degrees mentioned above). Torque the bolts to 25-35 in-lbs.

UPRIGHT-BAR BRAKE LEVERS

Install at a 15 to 30 degree angle below the grip. Torque the pull-up strap bolt 60-70 in-lbs. If using a clamp instead, torque the bolt to 25-35 in-lbs.

COMPATIBILITY OF BRAKE LEVERS

Depending on whether you are using cantilever brakes, U-brakes, side-pull brakes, dual pivot brakes, disc-brakes or MTB linear-pull brakes there will be different pull ratios for the levers. Measure the amount of movement required to determine whether it is a high or low ratio. Record it in mm.

25 mm or less is for cantilever brakes, U-brakes, side-pull brakes or dual pivot brakes.

30 mm or more is for disc brakes or MTB linear-pull brakes.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Adjustable Bottom Brackets

Performing maintenance/changing the grease and ball bearings on a bottom bracket is one of the most difficult things to do for a bicycle mechanic. You will need all the proper tools before attempting this, and its recommended you watch someone else with experience do it first.

TERMINOLOGY

Adjustable Cup - A cup containing ball bearings that screws into the left side of the bottom bracket shell.

Ball Bearings - Tiny metal balls used as rollers for the axle so it turns smoothly. Its recommended you use as many ball bearings as possibly, but leave a small gap the width of 1 or 2 ball bearings so they roll very smoothly.

Bottom Bracket (BB) - The bearings and bearing assembly which allows the bicycle's crankshaft to rotate.

Bottom Bracket Shell - The horizontal tube (1.5" x 3" long) at the bottom of the bicycle frame.

Cone - The piece which fits on top of where the ball bearings rest, along with grease. There are two cones and two sets of ball bearings in a bottom bracket.

Cup - The surface which holds the ball bearings, along with grease. The cup threads into the BB shell.

Fixed Cup - A ball bearing cup on the right side of the BB shell, in a fixed location (no adjustments). Fixed cups have built in pieces that fit right up against the surface of the BB shell.

Grease - You will want to fill the area with the ball bearings with bicycle grease to hold them in place and allow them to turn smoothly. Lack of grease will result in pitting the surfaces and end up ruining your bottom bracket. Use excess grease to keep the rust off.

Lockring - A round locking ring with outer notches which holds the bottom bracket in place. You will need a lockring wrench to properly loosen/tighten the lockring. (If you don't have a lockring wrench you will need to find a bicycle mechanic to do it for you.)

Race - The tiny surface inside the cone and cup which the ball bearings rest or rub against.

Retainer - A set of ball bearings held together with a round metal piece. Retainers are for amateurs. Professionals prefer to have loose ball bearings and lots of grease for extra smooth movement.

Seal Mechanism - A rubber piece that seals the spindle gap.

Spindle - Also called an axle or crankshaft, a metal rod which rotates inside a well-greased bottom bracket.

BOTTOM BRACKET MAINTENANCE

If you have good grease...

Depending on the weather conditions you should do maintenance every 2000 miles. If its really wet where you live (or you're leaving your bike out in the rain) you should do maintenance every 750 to 1000 miles. Remember parts rust even if you don't ride your bike.

If you're not keeping track of mileage, you will know its time for maintenance when your bottom bracket becomes sluggish, too loose, makes noticeable noises, is jerky, makes a constant clicking sound when rotated. Sometimes a part may just be loose, or it may be time for an overhaul.

If you have bad grease or if its a new bike...

You should clean it out ASAP (within the first 1000 miles) and replace the grease and ball bearings.

NOTE: Grease injection systems and water tight seals (they lessen the water, they never full protect it) do not prevent the need for maintenance.

WHAT TO DO TO MAINTAIN YOUR BICYCLE'S BOTTOM BRACKET

Once you know all the parts and have all the tools, you just need to remove the parts, place them in order, clean out the old grease, toss out the old ball bearings, check for pitting (you may need to replace your bottom bracket), add lots of new grease (pack it in there), add ball bearings (make sure the size is the same using a gauge) to the grease (almost fill it, replace the cone inside the cup, place the parts back inside the bottom bracket in the reverse order that you removed them... test and enjoy.

TIPS

Don't pay too much for your ball bearings. Some places overcharge you for ball bearings. A bag of 100+ ball bearings should cost you $2 to $5.

Don't worry about ball bearings that fall on the floor. They're cheap and cost less than a penny. You shouldn't use them either because they collect dirt off the floor easily, which will cause pitting inside your bottom bracket and wear it out faster.

Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty packing the grease in. The more grease the better.

To be continued...

Niagara's best kept cycling secrets

CANADA - Discovering a great bike path changes everything. Stunning scenery, history and nostalgia, silky smooth road surfaces, perfect turns and multiple gradients and even less traffic transform everyday rides into cycling bliss.

Finding a great bike path just seems to take the effort out of it.

According to my sources the undeniably best cycling road in Niagara is Ridge Road between Highway 3 and Bowen Road. It's a gentle, undulating five-kilometre downhill with an unbroken surface that flows effortlessly from turn to turn and rises and dips like a roller-coaster.

Ignoring the old farms and limestone buildings, fields of flowers, stables and split-rail fences will be difficult, but if you keep your feet focused you can try and enjoy both the scenery and the pure pleasure of the road.

Spring Creek Road west from Regional 24 through Tintern is enjoyable at any pace. It's a mix of century homesteads on working soy and corn farms, interposed with large suburban-style homes. You will be cycling among beautiful restorations and collapsing old relics, seeing charmless plastic barns replace classic gambrel beauties, creates time to reflect on authenticity versus efficiency and the lifestyle and values each embody.

DeCew Road, ridden westward from Merrittville Highway, will have you anticipating the sweetest downhill ride in Niagara and dreading its unavoidable uphill. Board-track smoothness edged with paved ditches ensure there's seldom hazardous gravel, a 10 per cent grade demands precise braking as the road twists and undulates into the final tight curve. Watch out as your eyes mist from the wind, descending quicker than the car behind would dare,and be careful not to cross the centre line.

For a ramble rather than a blitz, it's Four Mile Creek Road between East-West Line and Lakeshore Road, with a side trip on Hunter. This short section of Creek Road, as the locals call it, is off the tourist path and Hunter Road hurries to arrive nowhere, reflecting Niagara-on-the-Lake of 30 years ago. Small orchards, greenhouses and tiny vineyards envelop immaculate, modest bungalows from the 1950s and the evening traffic is primarily farm workers cycling about.

Locals tend to identify Niagara-on-the-Lake with weekend congestion and forget how beautiful and interesting it is. Meandering along Gage, Johnson, and Prideaux streets on a sultry summer evening is cycling at its best.

Then go west to Lowbanks. With the wind propelling you along treeless, arrow straight Feeder Road, where the soft tar has pooled smooth as ice from the hot summer sun, the riding is effortless. You'll register an average speed to brag about for years.

Fortunately, few out-of-Niagara cyclists have discovered the tranquil touring and training roads surrounding Shorthills. As a training exercise, blast north out of Fonthill down Pelham Street onto Hollow Road and try to hold your pace all the way to the old St. John's one-room schoolhouse. As a gentle tour, coast down the same road, then twist and turn past homes in gorgeous settings where daffodils and trilliums abound. Roland, Sulphur Springs, Hansler and Metler roads all offer more of the same. Taken slowly, they're perfect for peaceful exploration. Shift up a chain ring and hammer, and these quiet routes will burn your legs and scorch your lungs.

A toonie will get you the Niagara Region Bicycling Map at any bicycle dealer and the roads I've mentioned are easy to locate. There's also Nineteenth Street into Jordan, Regional Road 45 along the Welland River, Pelham Road through Rockway, Lakeshore Road west of Port Colborne.... So many roads, so little time.

Toronto's New Bike Sharing Program

CANADA - Toronto City Hall has taken another trek on the path to realizing a large-scale bike-sharing program. More than two years after the Community Bicycle Network–run BikeShare stopped operating and eight months after Councillor Adrian Heaps, chair of the Toronto Cycling Committee, first mused out loud that a new bike-sharing program would be launched this year, Toronto finally put out a Request for Expressions Of Interest (REOI) in the Toronto Public Bicycles Project late last week.

The REOI offers a peek into the potential bike sharing program that organizations will be bidding on when the Request for Proposals is released later this year. Slated to start in spring 2010 with three-thousand bikes, the project would initially see bike stations located 200–300 metres apart in the downtown area bounded by Parkside Drive, Dupont Avenue, Broadview Avenue, and Lake Ontario, with provisions for future expansion.

With stipulations both that "no advertising may be placed on sidewalks and boulevards" to support the program and that it must be provided without cost to the city, it's most likely to be funded by membership fees. Given the "no advertising" provision and that Councillor Heaps mistakenly believed that Astral Media had the right of first refusal on any bike-sharing program, it looks like Astral turned up its nose at the idea.

(For those who don't know, the last program BikeShare was an advertising fiasco and ultimately ended in most of the bicycles being stolen.)

According to the outline set forward in the REOI, bikes would be free for the first thirty minutes for users with monthly or annual membership cards, but occasional users would also be able to swipe credit cards at any of the bike stations. The system would run twenty-four hours per day year-round, allowing for unspecified off-season shrinkage. The City will also allow potential proponents to bid solely on providing the infrastructure, leaving the day-to-day operation to another organization to be selected later.

People can assume that the requirement for the operator to "share surplus benefits" from the program with the City means that whoever ends up running the program won't be able to hoard all of the healthy people, reduced car traffic, cleaner air, and general happiness of the city's inhabitants. Oh, and profits, too.

HOWEVER, just a warning from a mechanical perspective, shared bicycles are often badly in need of a tune up so if you're intending to take part in this program, its highly recommended you hone up on your mechanical skills so you can make small repairs on the bikes you use.

Canada's Bike Summit 2009

CANADA - The Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation and the Clean Air Partnership are once again once again hosting Canada's Bike Summit 2009.

Bike Summit 2009 will be held on Thursday, May 28th at the Novotel Toronto Centre.

You can join leading thinkers, practitioners and decision-makers who are on the fast track to creating bikeable communities. Enjoy innovative and forward thinking sessions that will:

*Share international and Canadian best practices and perspectives realizing the economic and public health benefits of cycling.
*Present new approaches to street design that improve conditions for active transportation.
*Engage key stakeholders on how to address barriers and implement bicycle-friendly policies.
*Showcase the most recent best practices in bike parking and bike stations.

Since the last summit in 2008, exciting momentum is growing in Toronto and the surrounding area:

*For the first time ever, the entire Toronto Bike Plan was fully funded within the five-year Capital Plan. With this $70 million investment, the city will create 410 km of bike lanes, 122 km of shared roadways and 83 km of off-road paths.
*2008 saw the most kilometres of new bike lanes ever put on the road in one year in Toronto.
*Metrolinx unanimously voted in favour of the Regional Transportation Plan. The 25-year plan commits $20 million per year to be invested in cycling and walking in the GTHA.

Register by April 24 to take advantage of our early-bird rates and to be entered into a draw for Mountain Equipment Co-Op bike gear valued at $500.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rubber Side Down

CANADA/HEALTH - Two Canadians in an effort to raise money for bowel diseases Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis have bicycled 8000 km from Victoria, BC to St.John's, Newfoundland.

The two filmed their misadventures in their trip across Canada and are now crossing Canada again to show their film, Rubber Side Down, in major Canadian cities.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bicycle Maintenance Important Safety Tip

If you aren't checking up on your bicycle's maintenance regularly, you are taking your life in your hands. The chance of having an accident goes up remarkably

Do basic bike maintenance every 4 - 6 months.

If you are using your bicycle daily you will want to have it checked once every 2 or 3 months, possibly by a professional bicycle mechanic who can check it properly.

OTHER CYCLING SAFETY TIPS

* Maneuver your bike effectively.

* Determine the best place on the road to ride.

* Communicate with other road users.

* Check your bike for safety.

* Adjust your bike to fit you.

* Choose equipment and clothing.

* Plan the best routes.

* Handle weather and riding at night.

* Don't tailgate other cyclists or cars.

* Be wary of potholes, bumps or crevices.

* Don't show off to your kids or wife by being a dumbass.

Extreme Bicycle Stunts by Danny MacAskill



Extreme stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill makes the impossible possible with some of the most amazing parkour-style bike riding you will ever see.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

1,000 cyclists gather in Subic

MANILA, Philippines – More than 1,000 cyclists and bike aficionados from 13 countries, including the Philippines, will flock to the Subic Bay Freeport today, in this year’s biggest and most challenging bicycle festival.

Dubbed the 2009 Terry Larrazabal Bike Festival (TLBF), the three-day cycling event, which started in 2002, will feature various bicycle races, demonstrations, and exhibits. The goal is to promote cycling as a way to be environmentally friendly.

The event will be attended by cyclists from Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, and the UK.

"Again, this puts Subic in the map of sports tourism because the TLBF has also made a name in other countries," said Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Administrator Armand Arreza in a statement.

Festival director Gregorio Larrazabal said the event includes activities like the Mountain Bikes X-Country, Downhill Competition, 4X/Mountain Cross Challenge, Dirt Jumping and Trials Competition.

Wheel Truing and Repair

When are wheels not true? No, its not when they're lying to you... its when they're not straight. A true wheel is rounder, centered, easier to pedal and they wobble less.

Thus knowing how to make a wheel perfectly round, replacing broken spokes and damaged nipples and fixing damaged rims can be quite important for keeping a bicycle in tip-top shape.

A lot of the tasks required to true a wheel require tools only found in a well-equipped bicycle shop (like a truing stand), so you will likely need to contact a local bicycle mechanic.

WHEEL TERMINOLOGY

Cross Pattern - The pattern created by spokes laid in opposite directions.

Dish - The centering of the rim to the hub locknuts. The flanges are sometimes different distances, so the goal is to make the wheel look like a dish when viewed from the side.

Eyelet - A metal reinforcement in the nipple hole.

Hub - The mechanism at the center of the wheel, that the axle rotates inside of.

Hub Flange - The metal discs on opposite sides of the wheel hub, to which the spokes attach.

Interlace - This is when the last spoke of a set goes under the spoke instead of over it.

Kgf - Kilograms of Force, a measurement of spoke tension.

Nipple - The long nut that attaches to the rim and holds a spoke in place with threads. Tightening the spoke nipples controls the spoke tension.

Truing Stand - A special stand specifically for truing wheels. Anyone who doesn't use one of these is an amateur.

Radial Bump - This is a bump in the rim, going outwards.

Radial Dip - This is a dent in the rim, going inwards.

Radial Error - An error in the roundness of the rim, either a dip or a bump.

Reading Unit - A number used to measure spoke tension, which is then converted to kgf.

Rim - The metal hoop attached to the spokes, on which the rubber tire is attached.

Rim Beads - The two edges of the rim on the outer sides.

Rim Sidewall - The sides of the rim, to which the brake pads press.

Spokes - The wires that go between the wheel hub and the rim.

Spoke Elbow - The 90 degree hooks that attach to the hub flange's holes and hold the spokes in place.

Spoke Head - The flattened end of a spoke that at the end of the spoke elbow, which holds the spokes inside the hub flange.

Spoke Nipple Holes - The holes in the rim to which the spoke nipples attach.

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOUR WHEEL IS CROOKED OR NOT TRUE?

If your wheels wobble from side to side (lateral error), your wheel might not be true.

If you have difficulty adjusting the brakes (its too high or too low), your wheel might not be true.

If you are experiencing brake pad rubbing, your wheel might not be true.

If your bike has a tendency to go to one side, your wheel might not be true.

If your wheel won't center between the fork, your wheel might not be true.

There might be other issues causing the problem, but this is also an easy one to check and fix.

You will also need to true your wheels whenever a spoke breaks. A broken spokes suggests there might be tension problems with the wheel spokes. If they keep breaking, its an indicator that spokes are just old and need to be replaced.

Minor rim damage can be easily repaired, but major damage should result in either replacing the rim or the whole wheel.

HOW DO I KNOW I SHOULD REPLACE MY WHEEL OR RIM?

Indicators include: Multiple broken spokes, multiple damaged or corroded nipples that won't turn, dents in the rim that can't be straightened out, cracks in the rim, severe sidewall wear or rust.

WHEEL TRUING MAINTENANCE

Spoke tension should be checked when the bicycle is first purchased, because manufacturers rarely check for true wheels.

Spoke nipples should also be lubricated so that they don't rust or corrode, once or twice a year. Put a drop of light oil at the top of each nipple so it can soak downwards. Alternatively you could treat it with Wheelsmith Spoke Prep (a lifetime corrosion preventative) which will last a lot longer.

BICYCLE SPOKE TENSION - WHAT TO WATCH FOR

#1. Make sure the wheel hub is tight and doesn't jiggle. If it jiggles you won't be able to true the wheels properly. Tighten the wheel hub so the axle still moves freely, but doesn't jiggle any more.

#2. Check for rounded/damaged nipples using a Park SW-10 nipple wrench. If one is found, check all the others. A wheel with many damaged nipples are not cost effective to repair and you'd be better off just replacing the entire wheel.

#3. Check for stuck or frozen nipples. If you can't move them using a Park SW-10 nipple wrench. If many frozen nipples are found the wheel should be replaced because it won't be cost effective trying to remove and replace them.

#4. Replace any broken or bent spokes, but calculate first how much it will cost and determine whether its cost effective to replace the wheel. If spokes break during the truing of the wheel, or if there are many signs of previously broken/replaced spokes, it may be time to replace the wheel. Depending on the wheel type it may be worth it to replace ALL the spokes and rebuild the wheel.

#5. Check for a loose chain. Spokes sometimes get damaged or bent by a chain bumping and catching the spokes. If the chain is really loose, it should be replaced.

#6. Check to see if you have replacements for spokes of unusual length. You can sometimes use a Hozan spoke threader tool (if you have one) to cut and replace spokes with weird lengths.

#7. Check for spokes that are too long and may puncture the tire tube or won't thread properly. Too long spokes should be ground down using a file or rotary tool (and possibly rethreaded if the nipples are running out of usable thread).

#8. Check for bent rims, either radial flat spots, lateral bends, bent rim beads, and collapsed rims.

Radial flat spots are usually caused by hitting curbs or landing too hard.

Lateral bends are caused by impact to the side of the rim.

Bent rim beads is usually a ding inwards or outwards. This is a minor problem that can be hammered out before truing the wheel.

Collapsed rims (aka Potato Chip syndrome) is when the wheel is bent so out of shape it looks like a potato chip. If so then its time to toss the rim in the recycling bin and get a new one.

#9. Cracked rims are useless. Toss it in the recycling bin and get a new rim or a new wheel.

#10. If the sidewalls of the rim are worn-out or have severe brinelling (caused by too tight brakes) its time to replace the rim/wheel.

#11. Cheap rims are very difficult to be made true because the sidewalls cannot be made true at the same time. Some of them can just be a waste of time and it would be cheaper to replace the rim or wheel.

#12. Check to see if the tire is glued to the rim. Removing and re-gluing a tubular tire is expensive and not recommended. Gluing a tire is also potentially bad because if an accident happens the bike shop can be sued for faulty work. The best solution is to deflate the tire and try to work around it. You may need to put fresh glue under any sections that has been lifted.

#13. Mislaced spokes can be spotted by looking for spokes that cross other spokes 3 or 4 times. Depending on how badly the spokes were laced onto the wheel you may need to pull them all out and start afresh by cross lacing the spokes, each one at least one hole off from where they should be in the flange.

TIPS WHEN TRUING WHEELS

#1. Don't turn the nipple the wrong way when you meant to go the other way. Pay attention to which way you're turning and whether it is tightening or loosening the nipple: Righty tighty, lefty loosey.

#2. Don't over-tighten the nipples. That could break the spokes or bend the rim.

#3. Set the truing stand so it just barely touches the wheel rim. After you tighten the nipple closest to the stand, the wheel rim will move a fraction away from the stand. If it doesn't you've turned it the wrong way.

#4. Don't turn the nipple a full turn when adjusting. Quarter turns are better. It is better to tighten everything slowly and one nipple at a time than doing full turns and overtightening sections of the wheel.

#5. Follow procedure, not instinct. Some people seem to think they have an innate ability to know when a wheel is true. WRONG! Often they worsen the situation by ignoring procedure.

#6. Double and triple check things. Once section is trued that doesn't mean it won't be made out of whack later. When you tighten one section of the wheel you have to go back and double check all the other sections because they've just been made looser in comparison.

#7. Always correct the lateral true before checking the dish or using a dish gauge.

#8. Keep track of both sides of the wheel, especially when making lateral and dish corrections. Mark the right side of the wheel axle with tape or a rubber band so you can remember which side is the right side.

#9. Try to do the right side first with everything, so you get in the habit of it and won't make mistakes by losing track of which sides you've already fixed. Its also because the ride side tends to be the side that naturally needs to be fixed more (don't ask why, it just is).

#10. The lateral alignment will not stay constant, especially when fixing radial dips and bumps. You will need to recheck for lateral errors constantly. (A good trick is to check after every 3 corrections.)

#11. Remember for every nipple you tighten there are 27 to 35 (depending on whether you have 28, 32 or 36 spokes) other nipples that have just been slightly loosened.

#12. If you don't backtrack while working on lateral errors you will end up creating more lateral errors and end up in vicious cycle (haha, cycling pun).

#13. When correcting a round error, remember to balance both left and right sides. Its better to tighten two spokes at the same time so you maintain lateral balance.

#14. Be very careful using math when dealing with spoke tension. Spoke tension meters can be confusing for amateurs so be careful about your measurements. Some people like to ignore measurements and pluck the spoke like you would a guitar string. If you get a sound then you are on the right track. If its so loose you don't get a sound then its really loose. DO NOT TRY TO MEASURE SPOKE TENSION BY SOUND. Some amateurs claim they can true a wheel by plucking the spokes, but that is a myth because the tension will be off by 20 kgf or more and would be dangerous if the wheel has catastrophic wheel failure. An amateur who does so also places themselves at risk for being sued if someone gets injured or killed because they didn't true the wheel properly.

#15. Measure the right side first, because if you measure the left side first and correct it you will over-tighten the right side.

#16. When measuring tension readings, keep track of every reading on paper and divide by the appropriate number to get the average. A common mistake is to divide by the wrong number and get a result that is horribly wrong. Another common mistake is adding the same number multiple times before dividing. Watch out for numbers that look suspiciously high or low.

#17. There will be lots of little errors. Don't stress it out, just be patient and you will correct it by following procedure.

PROCEDURAL STEPS WHEN TRUING A WHEEL

1. REMOVE THE WHEEL FROM THE BIKE.

2. REMOVE THE TIRE FROM THE WHEEL.

3. MARK THE RIGHT AXLE.

4. JERK AND JIGGLE AXLE TO MAKE SURE IT ISN'T LOOSE, TIGHTEN IF NECESSARY.

5. INSTALL WHEEL SECURELY TO TRUING STAND, RIGHT AXLE ON RIGHT SIDE.

6. CHECK THE DISHING USING AN ADJUSTABLE DISHING TOOL (see below).

7. PUT A DROP OF OIL ON THE TOP AND BASE OF EACH NIPPLE.

8. MEASURE SPOKE AT ITS MIDPOINT TO GAUGE SPOKE SIZES. WRITE DOWN RESULTS IN MM, INCLUDE FRACTIONS (common sizes: 2.0 mm, 1.8, 1.7, 1.6, 1.55, 1.5...). SOME TRUING SETS COME WITH A SPECIAL SPOKE GAUGE YOU CAN USE.

9. FIND YOUR SPOKE WRENCH FOR THE APPROPRIATE GAUGE SIZE.

10. USING A TENSION METER, CHECK THE TENSION OF THE SPOKES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE WHEEL AND COME UP WITH AN AVERAGE TO DETERMINE YOUR AVERAGE STARTING TENSION. YOU CAN CHECK JUST 10 SPOKES, OR YOU CAN CHECK'EM ALL DEPENDING ON HOW ANAL YOU WANT TO BE.

11. ADJUST THE TRUING STAND CALIPERS TO A POSITION WHERE THEY BARELY TOUCH THE SIDES OF THE RIM.

12. SPIN THE WHEEL WITH YOUR LEFT HAND AND WHEREVER A BUMP TOUCHES CALIPERS (USING YOUR EYES AND EARS) STOP THE WHEEL AT THAT SPOT OR SECTION AND ADJUST THE SPOKES USING A SPOKE WRENCH IN YOUR RIGHT HAND. IF YOU WANT THE LATERAL ALIGNMENT TO GO RIGHT, PUSH THE WRENCH FORWARD ON RIGHT SPOKES AND PULL LEFT SPOKES TOWARDS YOU (AND VICE VERSA). ALWAYS ADJUST THE SPOKES ON EACH SIDE EQUALLY, IN GROUPS OF 2 OR 3. (IF YOU ADJUST 2 RIGHT AND 1 LEFT, USE HALF FRACTIONS ON THE TWO RIGHT SPOKES.) ADJUST THE SPOKES WITH QUARTER, ONE-EIGHTH OR ONE-SIXTEENTH TURNS. DO not USE HALF OR FULL TURNS (THIS COULD OVER TENSION YOUR SPOKES AND BREAK THEM, AND IT COULD CREATE TENSION PROBLEMS THAT WILL WARP THE WHEEL IN OTHER SECTIONS.)

13. REPEAT STEP 12 AGAIN AND AGAIN UNTIL MOST OF THE LATERAL BUMPS ARE GONE, TIGHTENING THE CALIPERS EVERY TIME THE BUMPS BECOME TOO SMALL TO TOUCH THE CALIPERS.

14. YOUR END GOAL IS TO GET THE LATERAL ALIGNMENT WITHIN 0.5 mm OF TOLERANCE. PROFESSIONAL CYCLISTS LIKE TO HAVE IT WITHIN A RANGE OF 0.1 mm or 0.2 mm, BUT THIS IS NOT NECESSARY FOR MOST CYCLISTS.

15. ONCE THE LATERAL ALIGNMENT IS DONE, ADJUST THE CALIPERS AND CHECK THE RADIAL ALIGNMENT (THE OUTER EDGE OF THE RIM). LOOK FOR BUMPS AND DIPS. TIGHTEN BOTH LEFT AND RIGHT SPOKES WHERE YOU FIND BUMPS, OR IF THE BUMPS SEEM TO BE MANUFACTURING ERRORS, USE SANDPAPER & STEELWOOL TO SMOOTH DOWN THOSE BUMPS.

16. CHECK THE SPOKE TENSIONS. GENERALLY SPEAKING YOU WANT TO ADJUST FRONT WHEELS TO 80 - 100 kgf AND REAR WHEELS TO 100 - 120 kgf. THIS MAY VARY DEPENDING ON THE SPECIFIC WHEEL SPECIFICATIONS (ie. expensive titanium wheels). IF THE RIDER IS EXTRA HEAVY OR THE BICYCLE IS BEING USED FOR EXTREME RIDING YOU WILL WANT MORE kgf. A LIGHT RIDER OR AN OLDER WHEEL SHOULD BE ADJUSTED SO THE TENSION IS LIGHTER.

17. TAKE THE WHEEL OFF THE STAND, PLACE THE AXLE ON THE GROUND AND PLACE YOUR HANDS ON THE RIM AT 180 DEGREE ANGLES AND PRESS DOWN GENTLY BUT FIRMLY. YOU MAY HEAR TINY POPPING SOUNDS. REPEAT THIS ON BOTH SIDES AT DIFFERENT ANGLES.

19. RECHECK THE DISHING AND LATERAL ALIGNMENTS FOR ANY ERRORS. REPEAT STEPS 12-17 AGAIN IF NECESSARY.

20. RE-ATTACH YOUR TIRE TUBE AND TREADS, AND PUT YOUR WHEEL BACK ON YOUR BICYCLE.

USING A DISHING TOOL

When using a dishing tool you want to check to see how well the hub is centered compared to the rim. Start from the hub and push the tool into place so the sides are touching the rim. (If both sides of the rim don't touch then its a sign you have some major lateral errors.) Lock the center piece of the dishing pool in place and turn the wheel 90 degrees and check to see if both sides of the rim touch the tool. Some people like to spin the wheel a bit to see if there are any majors gaps.

Then take the tool (with the center piece locked in) and compare it to the other side. If the middle or rims don't all touch at the same time it means you have some lateral dishing errors that need to be fixed. Determine which side needs to be adjusted and remember that when you are fixing the laterals (see below).

USING THE TENSION METER

Squeeze the hand levers on the tension meter and place the three prongs around a spoke. Release your hand gently and that spring-loaded lever will indicate a degree on the side of the meter. Using that degree you can compare it on the kgf chart for the approx. tension value in kilograms of force (kgf). In the early stages of wheel truing you will want the spoke tension to be about 70 kgf, but as you get closer to the end of the process you will want to adjust all the spokes to the desired kgf range (approx. 80 - 100 kgf for front wheels and 100 - 120 kgf for rear wheels).

FINAL NOTES

Truing a wheel, especially if you've never done it before, is a difficult task. If you're still unsure I recommend reading BARNETT'S MANUAL, chapter 17. It is the ultimate guide to bicycle mechanics (he's very anal and scientific about it). Truing a wheel is NOT an art form, no matter what amateur mechanics may tell you. Its a science that requires a lot of measuring, careful tracking and adjustments, the proper tools and patience in order to get a perfectly round and safely tightened wheel.

If you decide to hire a professional, ask the bicycle mechanic if they have a tension meter, a truing stand and a dishing tool. If they are missing ANY of these three, they're not a professional. Don't trust your wheels (or your life) with an amateur.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Seats and Seat Posts

BICYCLE SEAT TERMINOLOGY

Integral Seat Clamp - A seat clamp that is built into the seat post.

Non-Integral Seat Clamp - A seat clamp that is separate from the seat post.

Seat Lug - The part of the bicycle frame where the seat post is inserted.

Seat Rails - The rods/wires under the seat, for attaching to the seat clamp.

Seat Post - A metal shaft that the seat is mounted on and inserts into the seat tube.

Seat Post Binder - A clamp or device that secures the seat post inside the seat tube.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH BICYCLE SEATS/SEAT POSTS

1. The seat post is bent.
2. The seat post is the wrong size (too small), not secure and needs to be replaced with a thicker seat post.
3. The seat post is old or needs to be upgraded.
4. The seat post is corroded due to lack of grease and needs to be greased up as preventive maintenance.
5. The seat rails are bent.
6. The seat is torn or worn out.
7. The seat is just plain old, smells funny, has a bird shit stain on it and needs to be replaced.
8. The seat is uncomfortable and needs to be realigned or replaced.
9. The seat post is stuck, possibly permanently if its rusted right to the interior of the seat lug.
10. The seat post is deformed or dented (and possibly stuck).
11. The seat post keeps sliding down too easily and/or is the wrong size.
12. The seat post rattles because its the wrong size.

You could use a caliper to measure a seat lug, but if its deformed the hole won't be round and it won't be very accurate. The proper way to size a seat post or seat lug is using a Stein SZ-1 sizing rod (simply insert the rod into the seat lug and read off the dimension once fully inserted). If not available, use a caliper but take several measurements and find the average.

Seat posts are always undersized compared to the inside of the seat lug, so that it fits smoothly. HOWEVER, sometimes the manufacturer or person doing maintenance on the bicycle uses a seatpost which is too small which can cause it to become loose or even break while trying to clamp it.

ADJUSTING THE BICYCLE SEAT

Depending on the type of seat clamps, it can be very difficult or very easy to adjust the angle of the seat. Some seats require that you unclamp it before you can change the angle, or they may not be adjustable at all.

Always check the seat angle and direction before and after clamping it. You want the seat to be facing straight forwards and not leaning too much backwards or forwards. If there is a limited number of settings, its better to have the setting which has a slight upwards tilt on the nose of the seat.

REMOVING A SEAT POST

1. Mark the seat post with tape or washable marker where the height needs to be restored to.
2. Loosen the binder bolt on the seat post. Don't completely remove it.
3. Using a gentle twisting and pulling motion, remove the seat post.
4. Inspect for scratches or dents.

In the event of a stuck bicycle seat post, follow these steps:

1. Remove the seat post binder bolt completely.
2. Spread the compression slot so its wider at the top.
3. Drip penetrating oil between seat post and seat tube.
4. Wait 5 minutes for the oil to penetrate.
5. Place one foot in the crotch between the seat tube and the down tube for leverage.
6. Using your hands twist the seat back and forth and pull upwards for 45 seconds.
7. If its still stuck, add more oil, wait 15 minutes, repeat steps 5-6 multiple times.
8. If no progress is made, disable the seat clamp and remove the seat.
9. Place bicycle upside down in a stand, fasten it firmly and hit the bottom of the integral clamp (if any) with your plastic mallet repeatedly. (DO NOT USE A HAMMER!)
10. If failure, remove the bicycle from the stand, clamp the seat post to a vice and get a friend/coworker to help you pull on the bicycle frame (you may want to remove the wheels so they're not in the way).
11. If this has all failed, take a hacksaw and cut off the seat post approx. 1 inch above the seat lug.
12. Take a Jabsaw and cut 3-4 vertical slots in the sides of the seat post, without scratching the seat lug.
13. Crush the seat post in a vice and remove using the Twist-and-Pull method.

INSTALLING A NEW SEAT POST

1. Check to see if the seat post is corroded and hone/ream it if necessary to remove any corrosion. Clean it afterwards with emery cloth.
2. Grease the section of the seat post that is to be inserted.
3. Grease the seatpost binder threads.
4. Oil the quick-release (if any).
5. Insert the seat post past the minimum mark (for safety reasons). If there is no minimum mark on the seat pos, insert it at least 2.5" or 7 cm.
6. If the rider needs a lower height, insert the seat post to the desired height.
7. Gently secure the post using the clamps.
8. Align the nose to the center.
9. Secure the clamps more firmly using a torque wrench to 60in-lbs, but don't use excessive force. It doesn't have to be perfectly immobile (which could make the seat post stuck).
10. If there is a quick release, use that instead and adjust it so it releases/locks into place at approx. the 45 degree angle.
11a. Test the seats security by pushing on the nose of the seat with approx. 50 lbs of force. If this fails repeat step 9 using additional 5in-lb increments until the test passes.
11b. If the test fails when using a quick release, adjust it so the clamping force begins 15 degrees earlier, until test is passed.

REMOVING THE SEAT

If you're removing a seat for a customer or friend you should measure and record the angle and its fore-and-aft positions first. Use of a protractor is recommended. This way you can restore it to its original angle later (no matter how unorthodox the position is, because otherwise they WILL complain).

If you're setting up a bicycle for sale, adjust the seat to the mid-range so the average person can get on easily. Tall or short people can still reach the pedals with some effort and they're used to adjusting things to their height anyway.

When removing and reattaching bolts on Non-Integral Seat Clamps, remember to grease the threads and tighten the nuts equally to approx. 130-170in-lbs using a torque wrench.

When using a single bolt integral clamp, grease the threads and tighten to approx. 120-145in-lbs.

Re-check the angle of the seat after setting the clamps.

Double-bolt integral clamps have two bolts that work in unison, but when one is loosened the other becomes tightened, thus changing the seat angle. To deal with this you need to grease the threads and alternate tightening the bolts to reach the desired seat angle. Once that is done, tighten both bolts equally to approx. 85-95in-lbs using a torque wrench. Re-check the seat angle, loosen and repeat the last steps if necessary.

Some seats have angle-adjustment screws, often a second smaller bolt or screw at the front or back of the seat, which when loosened allows you to adjust the angle of the seat. Loosen both the main bolt and adjustment screw. Find the desired angle and then tighten the main bolt to 120-145in-lbs in torque and then secure the adjustment screw.

Lastly, test the security of the seat by exerting at least 75 lbs of downward force to the nose of the bicycle seat, and at least 50 lbs of sideways force to the nose from either side. If it doesn't budge, good work.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bicycle Tools

If you're intending to do serious repairs or maintenance its best to have quite a few tools easily at hand. Unfortunately a lot of these tools aren't cheap.

I recommend building your collection slowly, buying new tools until you complete your collection. Without some of these tools, its best to see a professional bicycle mechanic to fix your bicycle for you.

You could get-by without these tools... but you also risk damaging your bicycle doing something risky. You will need:

Box-end wrenches
Open-end wrenches
Hex and Torx wrenches
Ratchet drives and sockets
Torque wrenches
Adjustable wrenches
Pliers
Vice grips
Screwdrivers, a variety
A ball peen hammer
A mallet
A hacksaw
Files
Electric grinder
Electric drill
Tap and Die set
A bicycle repair stand

Familiarizing yourself with these tools through practice will teach you what they can and cannot do, and it will teach you how to use your tools properly without hurting yourself.

TIP: A well-organized tool rack can both speed up your ability to repair your bicycle, but also means you don't lose your tools. Draw lines around your tools to reference where each tool belongs.

Bicycle Grease, Oils, Cleansers and Polishes

Some greases and oils aren't meant for bicycles. Indeed, they can even damage your bicycle. Proper maintenance, cleaning and polishing your bicycle are trickier than you'd think.

BICYCLE GREASE

Bicycle grease is used for the bottom bracket and the head set (see Bicycle Parts Terminology).

Bicycle grease is meant to be used in low temperatures. With few moving parts bicycles don't have a lot of heat friction, and thus automotive grease (which is meant to be used on hot engines/etc) is not suitable for bicycles. Its too thick and can jam up or damage your bicycle.

If you have suspensions or shocks on your bicycle, there is also a specific kind of grease for use on those.

For cyclists its best to pick a grease that is made for bicycles, because it will last longer and won't damage it.

New bicycles aren't greased very well usually, so don't expect it to be perfect from the start. Especially cheap bicycles. Its up to the new owner to add grease and perform regular maintenance every 2 or 3 years.

Don't use open tubs of grease. Squeeze tubes or grease guns are best so contaminants don't get in the grease.

Use an ample amount. Remember to wipe away excess grease after you are done.

Avoid using your bare hands (grease is harmful to your health) and clean your hands immediately after. DO NOT PRETEND TO BE ALL MANLY AND USE YOUR GREASE-COVERED-HANDS TO EAT A FOOT-LONG SUB.

Think of grease as a dirty prostitute. Wear protection and keep it away from your orifices. Grease can be absorbed through the skin... its best to avoid contact with your skin and clean up immediately afterwards.

BICYCLE OILS

Oils are essential for threads, derailleurs, brakes, levers, the bicycle chain, the freewheel and internal gear hubs... but like grease, not all oils are suitable for bicycles.

Bicycle oil is resistant to dirt, the elements and is light enough in viscosity to penetrate between the moving bicycle parts.

Do not use... WD40, 3-in-1 oil, motor oil, sewing machine oil or gun oil.

Avoid using aerosol cans (they spray too much on) unless they are designed to 'dry' within minutes. Drip applicators are best.

Its best to drip small amounts of bicycle oil, sparingly to avoid dripping, and wipe away excess amounts. A little amount does a lot.

Internal gear hubs often have specific oils they require. I recommend sticking to the oil recommended by the manufacturer or researching/finding the closest facsimile.

Like grease, avoid extended contact with oil. Oil can be absorbed through the skin and causes a variety of health problems.

BICYCLE CLEANSERS

When cleaning your bicycle try ammonia and water or a household cleaner like Fantastik or Windex. Avoid ones that leave soap on the surface unless you're prepared to rinse it off.

Mineral spirits is best for cleaning ball bearings and anything that is greased or oily. There is also gasoline, kerosene or citrus-based solvents you can use. Remember to use rubber gloves, eye protection and work in a ventilated area with some of these chemicals.

Acetone or cleaning alcohol may be needed for more heavy duty jobs. Beware of open flames.

If you're concerned about the environment, avoid washing away the excess chemicals into the storm sewer. That water goes into lakes and rivers, the oils float on the surface and children swim in them... if its not safe for your skin, its definitely not safe for children to swim in.

Dispose of dirty rags/etc in a firesafe bucket.

BICYCLE POLISHES

Waxes and polishes can give your bicycle a nice look, improving its sale value and just plain looks nice. Apply wax to clean surfaces only, rub lightly, wait to dry and then wipe off with a Kleanex or soft cloth.

Check the label on the wax or polish to make sure its safe to use on your bicycle. I recommend testing products you're not sure about on an older (crappier) bicycle before trying it on your favourite.

Bicycle Thread Gauges

Since bicycles have been around since the 19th century there are many different thread standards that have been used. Standards also vary from country to country.

Bicycle rear axles alone use 8 different kinds of threads, making bolt and nut threads an important part of a bicycle mechanic's knowledge. Identifying and measuring threads thus becomes the first step to dealing with problematic nuts and bolts (especially rusted one).

Threads are either measured in Imperial or Metric. ie. 3/8" x 26 tpi (threads per inch) or 10 mm x 1 mm.

The first number refers to the diameter of a bolt (or the interior diameter of a nut).

The second number refers to the pitch or size of the threads, the spacing between them.

THREAD PITCH

With metric pitch its measured in the distance between threads, whereas Imperial pitch is measured by threads per inch (tpi). The tpi method is also known as British Standard Cycle (BSC) or Whitworth Gauge (G). (Confused yet?)

So if you see markings that say 24 tpi or 24 G, you will know its referring to 24 threads per inch.

All this becomes easier to understand when you try matching up the bolt using a thread pitch gauge (a tool for measuring threads). If the size seems a bit off, round to the nearest full number, either the closest 1/16th of an inch for Imperial gauges or the closest half number in the case of Metric gauges (Metric bicycle threads come in 0.5 mm increments).

So if its 4.9 mm, its 5 mm. If its 23/64ths", use 3/8".

A tiny bit of space is left between bolt and nut so it winds on easier.

BOLT DIAMETER

Use a caliper to measure a bolt's diameter and measure from the side (perpendicular) of the bolt or sideways inside a nut's internal diameter. If you measure the bolt and you know the nut fits (but may be tough to turn because of rusted pits) its not necessary to measure the nut too (the size will always be a little off so the nut turns smoothly).

THREAD DIRECTION

Equally important is whether the thread turns clockwise or anti-clockwise. You can determine this by holding the bolt up vertical and look at it from the side. If the threads point to the top right, its a right-hand thread. If it points to the top left, its a left-hand thread. (The result will be the same regardless of whether you hold the bolt vertically upright or downwards.)

Left-hand threads are commonly used on the left pedal of the bicycle, so that it remains tight and doesn't accidentally become loose due to use.

To determine thread direction on a nut, place a thread gauge inside the bolt, note the number of gauge teeth showing and then turn it clockwise. If more gauge teeth appear, its a left-hand thread. If less teeth, a right-hand thread. (The results will be the opposite if you go counter-clockwise.)

LUBRICANT

Proper lubrication makes a big difference. It becomes easier to tighten bolts/nuts and reduces corrosion.

With lubricants you have two basic choices: Oil or grease.

Grease = Larger/coarser threads

Oil = Smaller threads.

Don't use cheap oils like WD40 or 3in1. They repel grease and other oils, attracts dirt and can even damage your bicycle. You should get to know your oils so you know which ones will damage your bicycle.

For nuts and bolts an oil like Loctite is preferable. Loctite hardens/expands after use, but is not glue-like or sticky. Don't bother using Loctite if the nut has a Nylon insert (which prevents bolt slippage).

Oils are measured in viscosity (thickness). The higher the number the thicker the viscosity. Loctite 277 or 290 for example is for heavy duty applications, whereas Loctite 222 or 242 are used in more regular use. 242 is the most common one you should use.

REPAIRING DAMAGED THREADS

Repairing a bolt or nut is a last ditch move when it becomes rusty or pitted. Replacing them is usually best, but if the bicycle is a classic Raleigh for example (which has Rs on all the bolt heads), its better to keep the original bolts/etc.

You will need a thread cutting tool known as a Tap for internal nut threads, or a Die for external bolt threads.

After determining the size, gauge and direction of your bolt or nut, take your Die or Tap and turn it onto/into your bolt/nut. Use a little bit of Cutting Oil to help the process be more smooth. It will start cutting metal filings out and you will encounter resistance turning the tool. When that happens, turn the tool back half of a rotation to let the loose metal filing out and then resume. Repeat this process until the whole bolt or nut has been cut to the ends of the threading.

A Tap and Die set is very expensive however and this will not be a good choice for many people. Consulting a professional bicycle mechanic may be your best choice.

There are also cheaper tools such as thread chasers and thread files, but these are for minor repairs only. Thread chasers don't actually cut threads, it just fixes existing threads that have been shredded a little. A thread file will only fix a little dent or hole.

DAMN F*CKING BOLT IS BEING DIFFICULT

We've all encountered this problem.

Removing a stubborn bolt or nut isn't easy and requires the proper tools. This task will be almost impossible without the necessary equipment.

#1. Use a very slippery, penetrating oil to loosen the bolt in the nut.

#2. Find the tool that best fits and can grip the bolt. If the head of the bolt is deformed, you may have to use vice grips instead of a wrench or screwdriver.

#3. If the vice grips fails, use a small saw (like a coping saw or Dremel) or a hammer & chisel to make a slot in the end of the bolt large enough for a screwdriver to fit snugly.

#4. Alternative you could file the bolt down so it has flat edges and try a wrench or vice grip again.

#5. The last ditch move (often the only thing you can do if the bolt head has been sheered off): Determine the direction of the bolt's threads, drill out the inside of the bolt, put a screw inside the hole and tighten it in the direction of the bolts threads. Once it has been tightened, further movement will be moving the whole bolt in the proper loosening direction.

#5b. Drill out the whole bolt using an electric drill, repair the threads of the nut using a Tap and Die set and replace the drilled bolt with a new one.

#5c. Drill out the bolt USING a Tap and Die set, but this will wear down the sharpness of the tool. Replace the bolt.

#5d. If possible cut off the damn f*cking bolt using a hacksaw or cutting torch, then repair or replace the damaged parts. This will likely be your choice if the bolt has become bent.

Bicycle Parts Terminology & Jargon

Bottom Bracket - The assembly between the pedals that allows the Crankset to rotate.

Bottom Bracket Shell - Part of the bicycle frame that contains the Bottom Bracket.

Brake Calipers & Brake Pads - The rubber/steel mechanism which rubs against the rim or brake discs to slow/stop the bicycle.

Brake Levers - Hand levers that allow the rider to use the brakes.

Cables - Attached to the Brake Levers and Gear Levers and the front and rear gear Derailleurs / Brake Calipers, for controlling the speed of the bike and stopping it.

Chain - A loop of links that connect the front gears and rear gears.

Chain Stay - Part of the bicycle frame that runs alongside the chain.

Crankset - Includes the crank arms attached to the pedals, one to three front gears (chainrings) and a ball bearing assembly that rotates around the bottom bracket.

Derailleur (Front and Rear) - The contraption that controls the front and rear speed settings, responsible for moving the chain from one gear to another. Comes from the French word to mean 'derailer'.

Down Tube - The lower half of the forward frame.

Dropouts (Front and Rear) - Fittings that attach to the wheels with nuts and bolts, so the wheels don't fall off.

Fork - A detachable part of the bicycle frame which holds the front wheel, with two dropouts.

Frame - The structural frame which holds the bicycle together.

Frame Set - The frame plus the fork.

Freehub - A hub and freewheel (see below) that are attached as a single unit.

Freewheel - The set of rear gears.

Gear Levers - For controlling the front and rear Derailleurs, for changing a bicycle's speed for going up hills.

Handlebars - For steering the bicycle.

Headset - The ball bearing assembly which attached to the fork and the handlebars and rotates inside the head tube.

Head Tube - The front part of the bike which contains the headset and fork.

Hub - The center of the wheel, to which the axle and spokes are attached to.

Pedals - For pushing down with your feet.

Rim - The steel part of the bicycle wheel which holds the tire.

Seat or Saddle - For supporting your buttocks.

Seat Post - The (metal) pillar which attaches to the seat, goes inside the Seat Tube and can be raised and lowered to adjust to the rider's height.

Seat Stay - Two poles that attach from the top of the Seat Tube to the Chain Stays near the rear wheel.

Seat Tube - The (vertical) tube directly beneath the seat, which contains the Seat Post.

Shift Lever - The levers which control the brake derailleurs, for shifting gears.

Spokes - Tensioned wires which join the wheel hub to the wheel's rim. Usually there is 28 spokes, but they also come in 32 or 36 spoke varieties (but are harder to find).

Spoke Nipples - The bits which attach the Spokes to the Rim.

Stem - Part of the Handlebar set which attaches to the Head Set inside the Head Tube.

Tires - Those rubber bouncey things that fit over the wheel rims to give you a smooth ride. Keep them inflated, but don't overdo it.

Top Tube (or Crossbar) - The upper part of the Frame that extends between the rider's legs, between the Seat Tube and Head Tube.

Valve & Valve Stem - For putting air in the tires.

Wheels - Those wonderful round things, including the hub, spokes, rim, tire, tube, that make your bicycle roll.

NOTE

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