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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Slightly Oval Chainring - Look for better quality!


Hi Charles,

I own a good quality fixed gear bike. Nonetheless, is it normal for there to be tight and loose spots on the chain. When the crank side arm is facing front, the chain is at it's tightest. Turn 180 and it is loose. It is not so loose that it will come off the chain ring. For a Campagnolo crank I was expecting higher tolerances. I have read that tight and loose spots are to be expected on a fixed gear bike. I would like a second opinion. What is yours in this matter. Thank you



Hello Andre!

It is the result of lower quality chainrings and cranksets that are more oval shaped instead of perfect circles. It is only off by a mm or so, but its enough to be annoying. (With bicycles, being off by even 0.5 of a mm is often a big deal.)

If it bothers you then you can purchase higher quality parts that are more perfectly round.

Make sure you mounted the ring properly. Try removing the chain ring and remounting it slowly by tightening the bolts, every 2nd one in a star pattern, so they are evenly tightened. Tightening all the way on one side and going around can warp the aluminum ring. Let me know if this works and helps you. :)

The companies that are making such shoddy parts are the ones who like to spread the claim that such imperfections are "normal". Yes, imperfections do happen. Its the result of a faulty manufacturing process that results in a percentage of chainrings being slightly oval shaped.

Even better quality companies sometimes have this problem, but their quality control should be ensuring that the chainring is as close to perfectly circle as they can make it. And anything less than quality should be tossed and recycled.

But claiming that such imperfections should just be "accepted" as normal is misinformation on their part.

Charles Moffat
The Bicycle Mechanic

PS. I do agree, I would expect better quality from a Campagnolo chainring. If I was the manufacturer I would be apologizing and offering to send you a new one.


Hi Charles,
I just finished putting my bike back together. I followed your directions and found there to be much less play on the loose side. Much better!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sylvester and Arnold Bicycling

I just thought this photo of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger on bicycles amusing.


What is even more amusing is how they both chose black bicycles (trying to fit in and look badass eh?) and are wearing roughly the same things. White running shoes, blue shorts, watches, black sunglasses.

I wonder who would win in a bicycle race?

(Note: Robin Williams would probably beat them both in a bicycle race. Robin Williams is pretty serious about his cycling. See the photo further below.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bicycles and Bike Parts prices to go up

The Conservative government of Canada and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty are raising taxes (tariffs) on bicycles and bicycle parts being imported to Canada.

Canada annually imports $125 million in bicycles from the 72 countries covered by the increase.

The Conservatives are raising tariffs to 13 per cent from 8.5 per cent, which will result in a price increase of roughly 4.5%.

The tariff tax increase is part of a larger plan by the Conservatives whereby imports from 72 countries will be increased.

In 2012 Finance Minister Jim Flaherty trumpeted the benefits of his budget in October 2012 by announcing various budget measures in a bicycle shop, the Joe Mamma bike store in Ottawa. This year Jose Bray, owner of the Joe Mamma bike store, says he feels misled by Flaherty.

In October 2012 Flaherty declared that he would not raise taxes and would give small businesses a tax credit.

But instead Flaherty has increased taxes, by way of new tariffs that he says will increase prices for a number of consumer products, including bicycles.

Pensioners and Native Canadians are also getting the proverbial shaft with the new budget.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Atomic 22 Nuts

Atomic 22 Nuts is a solution for people who are worried about having their back or front wheels stolen off their bicycle.

What are they?

Basically, they are weirdest looking pair of nuts you've ever seen (pun intended).

The idea is simple. If the bicycle thief doesn't have a wrench that can take off the nut, he really can't steal your wheels on you. Thus you really don't need the extra D-lock for your bicycle.

However these nuts and other parts are pretty expensive and are usually sold in bundled sets. But hey, if its expensive then the bicycle thieves won't have them. See the prices at

Learn more by visiting


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About the Author

Charles Moffat is equal parts bicycle mechanic, cyclist, painter, sculptor, fantasy writer, poet, website designer and pun maker. For more details see



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