Category Archives: Bike Maintenance & Repair

Maintenance, repairs, and DIY hacks to keep your bike happy and healthy.

Getting Ready to Roll: Prepping a New Bike for the Road

The only way to know if your new bike is ready to ride is to check it out, and that’s one job it’s best not to leave to others.

by Tamia Nelson | April 21, 2018

Bicycling Article on

One of the many benefits of buying from a good bike shop is that your new bike will be ready to roll when you take delivery. This is why experienced riders usually advise new cyclists to shop at their local bike shop (or LBS, if you like acronyms). But not every local bike shop is good, and bike shops of any description are rare finds outside cities. Moreover, these small shops are low-volume businesses. They don’t have the buying power of the Big Box chains. Which is why Walmart can sell a serviceable derailleur-equipped bike for less than USD200 and your local bike shop can’t.

There is, of course, a catch. Whereas a bike bought from a good bike shop will probably have higher quality components and be assembled well, the bike you buy from Walmart may … Continue reading »

Heading Off Headset Problems in Your Bike … And What IS Indexed Steering, Anyway?

Your bike’s headset is a critical component, for without it, you wouldn’t be able to steer. And it’s what keeps your front fork attached to your bike. So unless you’re keen to ride a unicycle, you’ll want to head off any problems.

Bicycle Maintenance Article on

by Tamia Nelson | April 14, 2018

Whether you’re rolling out to ride the Paris-Robaix, or to do the weekly shopping, or for a circuit of the neighborhood, your bike’s headset better be in fine fettle. A lot rides on a bicycle’s headset. Most modern bikes are equipped with threadless headsets. This intricate assembly allows the front wheel to swing smoothly in its steering arc, and when paired with a suitable stem, it also keeps the fork securely attached to the frame, a matter of no little interest to the thoughtful cyclist.

So how does the headset accomplish its mission? Here’s an exploded view of a typical threadless headset, thanks to Keithonearth and Wikipedia:

Threadless Headset Schematic - Keithonearth -

The pictured headset uses cartridge bearings, but loose ball bearings in retainers are common, too. The upper and … Continue reading »

A Clean Bike is a Happy Bike

Bikes are versatile beasts and will carry you through fine weather and foul. But they’ll protest if they’re not kept clean. A dirty bike—specifically, a dirty drivetrain—will eventually wear and give up the ghost. So, cleaning your faithful steed after each filthy ride will be rewarded with improved functioning and reliability for the long haul.

by Tamia Nelson | March 18, 2018
Originally published in different form on May 5, 2016

Bike Maintenance Article on

Ideally, bikes should be completely cleaned, checked, and lubed after every dirty ride, but in reality this isn’t always possible. Cleaning a bike is a time-consuming and messy job. When you return tired and hungry from a dirty ride, it’s too easy to roll the bike into the garage and forget about it. The trouble with this is that you remember quickly enough the next time you turn to your bike, usually when it’s inconvenient to give it a well-deserved cleaning. Maybe you spray the drivetrain with WD-40 or drip some lube over the rusty, grubby chain and ride away to the sound … Continue reading »

Nashbar’s Stand By Me: Compact, Inexpensive, and Durable

A bike stand simplifies routine maintenance like chain lubing and adjustments to the drivetrain. But not every cyclist wants a costly full-sized shop stand that takes up a lot of floor room. Is there any other option? Sure there is, and it will cost less than topping up your car’s gas tank.

by Tamia Nelson | March 5, 2018

A bike stand is a handy addition to any cyclist’s home tool kit, even if the most involved task you perform on your bicycle is to clean it and lube the drivetrain after sloppy rides. More ambitious home mechanics will find a stand handy for brake and derailleur adjustments, bottom bracket work, or any other task where it helps to have the rear wheel off the ground. And while a full-sized shop stand makes many jobs a lot easier, not everyone can devote floor space to a large stand, or pay what it costs for a competent model. There is an alternative, though. It’s small, capable, and cheap. I bought one back in 2008, and amazingly, it’s still available. … Continue reading »