diy hub spanner

What should be in your toolbox to repair / maintain your bike?

I like breaking/fixing things since my childhood, so it’s no surprise I’m fixing, maintaining, or even building my bikes. This proved to be a good habit because if I can’t, I’d suffer a lot. I read a lot of romantic stuff about bikes these days, especially becoming more common with Covid-19 and e-bike frenzy, but let’s face it: bikes can be dangerous. Lots of people die when riding a bike. You may say, lots of people die, also when taking a shower, but it’s not the same thing: an unmaintained shower head cannot kill you. A loose pedal getting off the crankset when you’re pedaling downhill at 90 km/h is disastrous, and more common than you think. I learned to never trust a mechanic, even the manufacturer. There are lots of skillful, capable, well-mannered people in the business, but some… Continue Reading What should be in your toolbox to repair / maintain your bike?

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disc brakes

What’s wrong with disc brakes for bicycles ?

Cars borrow from planes, motorcycles borrow from cars and seems like, bicycles are getting from motorcycles… When I got my first hydraulic brake set, I immediately detest it. Yes; it was an entry-level Acera 355. Later upgraded to Deore 615’s. Guess what? Deore’s are even worse! Still, I miss my Deore V-brakes a lot. They were much more powerful, easy to adjust, lighter, and obviously, cheaper to run. When I got into hydraulic disc brakes, I did not choose to: the new frame I bought was meant for disc brakes only. Good luck finding an MTB frame, manufactured in the last 10 years, with brake bosses. You cannot. Now it’s becoming the norm for road bikes. Even pro road cyclists don’t like them, but they have to accept these because of sponsors. Hydraulic brakes on a bike seem like a… Continue Reading What’s wrong with disc brakes for bicycles ?

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bike tires

Truth about bike tires

I consider myself lucky, being a petrolhead when I was younger. That teached me a thing or two about tires… Bike tires are overrated; dismiss all the talk about it. They are simple to understand, choose, and manufacture despite all the marketing bullshit around it – because unlike motor vehicle tires, they do not have to endure big problems like weight, aquaplaning, even weather. I laugh at all “tire review” bullshit. Especially ones talking about “aquaplaning”; written by elementary school grade (or less) knowledge of physics. Aquaplaning is a serious threat to road cyclists. With 100 psi in your tires, you’ll have a risk of aquaplaning if you go over 160 km/h! Another new and popular bullshit is, “wider tires have less rolling resistance”. Really? If that’s the case, we should expect wider tires on road bikes, but never seen… Continue Reading Truth about bike tires

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deckas 1x red chainring shimano alivio

Pros and cons of 1x drivetrains

We all love the idea of a simplified bike. One of the promises of 1x drivetrains was “simplification”. Have you ever seen anything simplified in the last decade, regarding bikes? First, we had 130mm rear hubs for road, 135mm rear hubs for MTB’s. We have QR (quick release) working well for almost a half century, made first by Campagnolo. Now we have a “Boost” standard, and almost nobody can explain. 135×10, 142×12, 150×12, 157×12 and 165×12. Now we have 148x12mm Boost hubs. Which thru axle to get? That’s so complicated! Or, we have hydraulic brakes now. You can’t be sure if your new caliper will fit your disc. No universal pad area size… For tires, we have 26 inch for a long time. Then 27.5 is the king for a short period, lost it to 29, now 27.5 getting a… Continue Reading Pros and cons of 1x drivetrains

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shimano logo

Why Shimano is sooo common?

When I ride my first bike, many components of it were made by different companies. Nowadays, you can buy or build a bike that is built on Shimano or Sram components, minus the frame. Well, sort of – Shimano does not own a fork brand, yet. Shimano makes all drivetrains, plus under the “Pro” brand, they make saddles, seat posts, cockpit components, headsets. And you’ll look posh on your bike with Pearl Izumi clothing and shoes, which are also owned by Shimano. Sram owns Rock Shox to absorb bumps, Avid to stop you, Truvativ to pedal. Looks like Avid and Truvativ will cease to exist as discrete brand names as I do not see Avid branded components anymore, and its unique design already adopted by Sram brake components. Even Sram is big on MTB in the USA, where riders don’t… Continue Reading Why Shimano is sooo common?

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Painting your bike, the right way

If you ride long enough, you’ll want a custom bike, fits perfectly to your taste. Nothing beats a custom paint job. Painting your bike seems trivial, believe me, it’s not. A great looking paint job may flake off in a matter of weeks if you have an aluminium bike, or your steel frame can show up rusty dots in a surprisingly short period of time. I’ve quite a lot of experience with paint, as I used to paint almost everything, with every tool, and with every type of paint. I’m by no means a professional car painter, but I know it about quite a lot. Not just I paint things, but also seen a lot of cars getting painted, because I was a petrolhead. Preparation and choosing the right equipment is everything. What I’m going to tell you may look… Continue Reading Painting your bike, the right way

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shimano 105 di2 RD R7150

All you need to know about rear derailleur

Rear derailleurs have bling factor, and also dictates how your bike ride, along with gearing. A bad derailleur, either front or back, easily makes you detest your bike. Yet there is a lot of nomenclature, slang, love and hate, mechanical parts and legends involved, it works amazingly simple: In fact, it’s a movable chain guide, and that’s all about it. As the name suggests, what it does to “derail” the chain into another cog. It is generally operated by Bowden cable, in engineering speak, but electronic versions are getting more common, albeit with slow adoption due to huge price difference. Weirdly, it may even be operated by hydraulics, like some Rotor groupsets. What is long cage? short cage? When buying a new drivetrain, or even a new chainring for your crankset or new rear cassette, you should consider derailler capacity.… Continue Reading All you need to know about rear derailleur

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Bottom Bracket types and standards

Bottom bracket is simply what mates your frame and crankset together. Other then that, it’s far from being simple. There are millions of frame shells sizes that accepts bottom brackets, and also millions of bottom bracket types. You may come across many, many categorisation of bottom brackets. Like, press fit, outboard bearing, square taper, etc. Nomenclature is vast; yet it’s not really hard to determine what type of bottom bracket you have, or what you will need for replacement. I’ll follow a simpler categorization. Since a bottom bracket is fitted to your frame shell, it can be fitted in 3 ways: Either pressed (no threads on your frame shell) or, threaded inside, or threaded outside. What that means?  Modern bottom brackets like Shimano’s Hollowtech II, Sram’s GXP or DUB, have 2 exterior cups that is bolted outside your frame shell.… Continue Reading Bottom Bracket types and standards

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bike chain campagnolo

When and why to replace your bike chain?

Chains are generally the cheapest and the weakest part of the drivetrain, yet can do a lot of damage to your cassettes, chainrings, and derailleur pulleys if not maintained properly. They are exposed to all weather and terrain conditions, like water ingress, dust or mud, etc. You’re not driving a car: if you’re traveling long and remote distances, especially alone, you have to take care of your bike, and learn to maintain and repair it. Chains are fragile. At least, you have to know how to clean, lube and remove / install them. The most obvious sign the chain is giving up is elongation. Contrary to popular belief, chains doesn’t elongate because plates get stretched out: they get a bit longer, because rollers and bushings get worn. Personally, I lost few good chains to corrosion,too! I was shocked to see… Continue Reading When and why to replace your bike chain?

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shimano sm bb51 hollowtech bottom bracket

Why and how Hollowtech II bottom brackets fail

On paper, Hollowtech II is a step forward to old 3-piece cranks. It’s lightweight, bottom brackets are easy to remove / replace, cranks are easier to pull out. Getting the Hollowtech II bottom bracket cups is very easy and foolproof thanks to sturdy tool; while “inboard” bottom brackets like the first Hollowtech, ISIS, or the classic, conventional threaded ones are harder to remove; because they tend to “fuse” with aluminium frames, where these threaded type bottom bracket bodies are steel. Galvanic corrosion due to two different metals touching together can also damage these parts, especially aluminium, in the long run. You can use copper grease to slow it down; but thats not a permanent way to stop it forever. Hollowtech II (or similar) cranks are also lighter due to simpler bottom brackets. There is a common misunderstanding that Hollowtech II… Continue Reading Why and how Hollowtech II bottom brackets fail

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bike chain cleaner

Guide to bike chain cleaning

Sand, mud, dirt causes premature wear in drivetrain, especially chain, and of course, wasted precious effort. There are millions of methods to clean a chain, ranging from cleaning each roller with a cotton swab to dubious ones like jetting water. Funnily, most of the time, its the lube, or lack of it, that makes cleaning a pain. I’m an advocate of waxing chains, but also lazy enough to lube (some) chains. If you wax your chain periodically, a wipe with a soft, damp cloth is almost always adequate. Dry lubes that is meant to be used in dry weather does not make a huge mess, while wet lubes and other nasty stuff people use, like used motor oil (don’t!) can make your chain super hard to clean. Depending on condition, I use either “Quick” or “Deep” cleaning procedures: Quick bike… Continue Reading Guide to bike chain cleaning

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