Whether you’ve set your bike aside for snow sports or rode it hard all winter, now is the perfect time to give your machine a thorough inspection to ensure it’s in tip-top shape for spring.
First and foremost, it is always good to settle on a system when inspecting your bicycle. You could divide the task by various categories — e.g., wheels, frame, suspension, brakes, drivetrain, etc. — or you could simply work from front to back. Either method works, so long as you cover all the bases.
Here are 10 things to check over.
Editor’s Note: This list is list is geared towards the beginner and intermediate home mechanic and is by no means exhaustive. Have some insight to share? Leave a comment below.
1. Inspect your tires
Determine how much tread your tires have left and check for knobs that are peeling off as well. Inspect the tire to make sure there are not small tears or thorns stuck in the tire that could become a problem on the trail.
It’s not uncommon for tire casings to give out before you’ve worn out the tread. Check for excessive sidewall wear: look for abrasions and threads protruding from the casings.
If you run your tires tubeless, now is a good time to top off your tires with a fresh scoop or two of your favorite sealant.
How to set up tubeless mountain bike tires
Spin your wheels to check for any side-to-side wobbles or vertical hops. This is also a good time to make sure the wheels are spinning freely and that the hubs are neither too loose nor too tight. Give the spokes a quick squeeze to make sure none are loose. Tension and true as needed. If you are not comfortable doing that, take the wheel to your favorite shop.
Take a close look at where the nipples meet the rim; hairline cracks could quickly turn into a major problem.
How to true bicycle wheels
While checking your wheels for trueness, you hopefully heard the sweet sound of silence as the disc brake rotors spun through the brake calipers. If you heard scraping it may be time to reposition the brake caliper.
Brake rotors can also become bent, so pay attention to any side-to-side wobble; this is an easy fix with an adjustable wrench, a quiet workspace, and gentle tweak of the rotor.
Check the brake pads for excessive wear and replace if needed.
How to align your disc brake calipers
How to straighten a bent disc brake rotor
How to remove and replace disc brake pads
Inspect the fork stanchions for any nicks or scratches. Use a clean rag to wipe off any dirt from the fork seals. Check the seals for cracks or excessive fluid build up; both are signs that your fork may need to be rebuilt.
Once everything seems to be in working order, cycle the fork and rear suspension several times before checking your sag settings and adjust your air pressure accordingly.
How to set suspension sag
The stem, handlebar and seatpost may be the three most thankless components on a mountain bike. While they need very little in the way of routine adjustments, it is still important to inspect them for signs of damage from time to time.
Remove your seatpost and regrease the seat tube, or use carbon paste if the post is carbon. Remove the handlebar and inspect it for signs of over-clamping; check for deep gouges that could lead to a potential failure down the line.
When it’s time to reinstall the handlebar, make sure the stem is straight, the headset properly adjusted (there should be no play or binding as the handlebar moves back and forth) and position the brakes and shifters to your liking. Be sure to tighten everything to its proper torque.
How to adjust handlebar height
How to service a headset
Are wider handlebars better?
6. Shift and brake lines
Check derailleur housing for signs of wear, paying special attention to where the cables stop on the frame, as it is not uncommon for the wires encased in the plastic derailleur housing to pull through the ferrules at the end of the casing. Replace worn cables and housing as needed.
Follow a similar system for the brake and dropper seatpost if applicable.
Follow the brakes from the levers to the calipers checking for signs of wear and scuff marks.
How to replace and adjust derailleur cables
How to replace a hydraulic brake hose
After inspecting the shift and brake lines for wear, it is also a good idea to check the frame. Brake and shifter housing that is allowed to rub excessively against a frame can and will chew through steel, carbon and aluminum frames. It’s easy enough to prevent this with a few small strips of protective tape.
Examine the frame for signs damage from rock strikes, pay particular attention to the down tube and chainstays.
If you ride a full suspension, be sure to check the suspension pivots and shock bushings for any signs of play.
Tips to protect your frame from wear and tear
Without a functional drivetrain you’ll be going nowhere fast.
Shift through the gears, there should be no popping or skipping from one cog to another without you moving the shift levers.
Inspect the derailleur hanger to ensure it’s not bent.
Examine the teeth on the chainrings and cassette cogs for signs of bent or broken teeth. Keep in mind that on most modern components the teeth have varying shapes to aid in moving the chain from one cog to another.
Inspect the chain for wear, ideally with a chain-checker tool. Over time the bushings that make up the chain’s rollers wear down and develop play, this play allows the chain to “stretch.”
How to adjust a front derailleur
How to adjust a rear derailleur
How to check for chain wear
How to fix a broken chain
9. Frame fasteners
While some of these nuts and bolts would have been covered while looking over your brakes, cockpit, frame and drivetrain, this is still worth its own mention.
If you don’t own a torque wrench and plan on doing your own bike maintenance, buy one. Keep a list of the manufacturer’s recommended torque values whenever possible. Pay special attention to those bolts that you rely on to keep your smile intact: stem, handlebar, brakes, shifters.
Why torque wrenches are invaluable
10. Prep your gear
Last but not least, take a few minutes to go over the gear that connects you to the bike.
Check to make sure the buckles on your shoes are in good shape and that your cleats are firming screwed in.
Examine your helmet for cracks and replace if needed.
If you ride with a hydration pack, take the time to clean it out and repack it. Have a bladder in need of cleaning? Never bothered to throw out any of the energy bar wrappers? Have several punctured tubes stuffed in the bottom of your bag? Now is the time to deal with all of this.
Inspect your tools, too. Make sure your shock pump and mini pump are both in working order. If you carry a first-aid kit, replace anything you used.
Telltale signs it’s time to replace your helmet
What to pack for long mountain bike rides
Have something to add to the list? Leave your comments below.
Last week, Copenhagenize Design Company moved from our old office in Frederiksberg, down to the harbour area of Copenhagen. Our new home is Papirøen, or ‘Paper Island,’?an artificial island just across the water from The Royal Danish Playhouse and Nyhavn. It was first used by the army as somewhere to put their weaponry, and then from 1958 the island was for many decades used for the storage of huge rolls of paper imported from Sweden, ready for use by Danish newspapers. Hence the name. (Interestingly almost the whole of Christianshavn was for a long time entirely used by the military, until the ‘Copenhagenization’?of the Danish military by the British in 1807 meant that suddenly the navy didn’t need so much space. So you could say we are re-Copenhagenizing Christianshavn)
Consuming bars, gels and drinks while on the bike is standard practice for most riders, but it can be a different story if you have special dietary requirements such as Coeliac disease or gluten intolerance.
Coeliac disease affects one in every 100 people, with nearly 75 percent of cases going undiagnosed according to Coeliac Australia.
BikeRadar recently spoke with endurance mountain bike athlete Andrew Blair of team Swell-Specialized about how he manages his Coeliac disease. The 2012 Australian mountain bike marathon champion said: “It took me many years, but I’ve learned that it’s not a hindrance to my performance. It doesn’t stop me from being my best.”
Blair told BikeRadar that it’s definitely easier than it used to be, as most gels and sports drinks are now gluten-free. “I don’t eat solid foods during races, but when training I prefer to eat real food,” he said. “I often make my own cake, which is tasty and full of appropriate energy.” (Blair’s cake is similar to Jo Hogan’s recipe below.)
Blair mentioned the importance of not self-diagnosing Coeliac disease or gluten intolerance and consulting your GP doctor before taking any action – cutting out gluten could mean that a proper diagnoses cannot be made.
Many grocery stores have nearly doubled their gluten-free selections in recent years, and more people have chosen to live gluten-free by preference, so there’s way more choice for Coeliac sufferers than there used to be.
BikeRadar has assembled a list of gluten-free energy bars and recipes that have proven to work well for those with food allergies – as well as those without.
AU$4.95 per bar / US$N/A / ?N/A
Em’s Power Cookie Bars are three-time multi-sport world champion and nutritionist Emily Miazga’s homemade cookies. Em wanted something closer to real food during her races and began using her power cookies as fuel. Of the five available flavours, chocolate cranberry craze is the only gluten-free option, however this is also BikeRadar’s favourite.
AU$4.50 per bar / US$3 per bar / ?43 for 12 (from UKhealthspot.co.uk)
With a fresh homemade taste, Bonk Breaker uses only the best ingredients in its bars. Now the official bars of the Ironman Series and the USA Cycling Team, all 11 flavours are certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization and are also dairy-free.
www.bonkbreaker.com / firstendurance.com.au
From AU $2.60 per bar / US$1.79 per bar / From ?23.99 for 16 (from astronutrition.com)
LARABARs are made from a mix of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices, and that’s it. There are no more than nine ingredients in any given bar, and every flavour – bar those with chocolate chips – are kosher, vegan, and gluten- and dairy-free.
AU$3.30 per bar / US$1.89 per bar / ?20.43 for 12 (from UKhealthspot.co.uk)
The ingredients in Raw Revolution bars are 80 to 100 percent raw; the company claims this eliminates any loss of nutrients through the cooking process. All products are vegan, gluten- and dairy-free, non-GMO and organic.
Australian professional cyclist Jo Hogan, aka the Healthy Cyclist, suffers from coeliac disease, as well lactose intolerance. This homemade energy bar is ideal for her riding nutrition needs.
Lim says: “I started making these rice cakes at training camps and races to give riders something savory and fresh to eat while on the bike. They became a huge hit, since almost everything the riders ate was pre-packaged and sweet. Not only are these rice cakes delicious, they also provide a consistent energy source that doesn’t upset the stomach.”
This makes about 10 rice cakes in 30 minutes.
Tip: Always use calrose rice, a strain of medium-grain rice common in Asian cooking. This variety cooks fast (in 20 minutes or less), retains a nutty flavor, and is just sticky enough to hold our cakes together. If you can’t find it, use another medium-grain rice or any kind marked ’sushi rice’.
This recipe was republished with permission of VeloPress from The Feed Zone Cookbook, by Chef Biju Thomas and Dr Allen Lim. The book features 150 athlete-friendly recipes that are simple, delicious and easy to prepare. Try more pre-ride, portable and post-ride recipes at FeedZoneCookbook.com.
Mikael led a portion of the course involving a massive Desire Lines analysis of two intersections at either end of the Dybbøls Bridge in the Vesterbro neighbourhood. The students’ final project was broader than that. They were given the task of rethinking the entire area. The wide swathe of unused railyards, access to the harbour and bicycle traffic through the area.?
Working with the students was brilliant and inspiring. Mikael was also an external examiner on the final projects at DIS. We thought it worthwhile to get the students to present their projects in short form. Showing off their abilities, ideas and visions. We’ll divide them up into two articles. Here’s the second one.?
Finally, the unused land adjacent to the S-Tog stop would be allowed to return to a natural habitat, with inlets from the harbor uniting the park to the new retail development and the waterfront.? Through these measures, the disjointed spaces of the Fisketorvet-Dybbølsbro zone would be refitted to form a cohesive, environmentally conscious, accessible, and livable neighborhood center.
Photes via:?Michel & Augustin
100 triporteurs dans Boulogne-B from Michel et Augustin on Vimeo.
Mavic couldn’t have got off to a better start with their first ever mountain bike tyre than they have with the jaw-droppingly controlled Crossmax Charge.
The mix of wide-spaced, siped tread with toothy buttressed shoulders and a super-sticky, slow damped rubber mix gives outrageously surefooted traction.?
It’s the ultra controlled compression and ride of the carcass that really stands out though. It’s so smooth and compliant over stutter roots or big drops that it made mid-level RockShox Sektor forks on test bikes feel like top-end Pikes in terms of succulent tracking and precision.
The smooth rollover and amount of speed you can carry through sketchy sections offsets their weight and rolling speed in a gravity context too. Just beware of the soap-slippery Roam back tyre.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.
TUSTIN, CA (BRAIN) — Despite deep discounts and sales that started earlier than ever, Thanksgiving weekend sales were down for the first time in seven years, according to the National Retail Federation. The Wall Street Journal reported that consumers spent $57.4 billion on Black Friday and the following Saturday, down 2.8 percent from $59.1 billion last year. An online poll conducted by Bicycle Retailer shows that sales over the weekend were down this year for most bike and specialty retailers, with 48 percent of participants reporting that holiday sales are so far slower than expected. Just 13 percent reported better-than-expected sales.
Over at Cykelrepublikken – our Danish cycling and liveable cities NGO – we’ve been asking a long line of candidates in the municipal election five questions about their politics regarding cycling in Copenhagen and Frederiksberg. We’ve been posting their responses for the past couple of weeks on Cykelrepublikken’s Facebook page and on the website.
The posts are in Danish (sorry about that) but after looking at so many responses from so many canidates from the different parties, it is easy to figure out where they stand. Cykelrepublikken has produced the graphic, above, to present a simple visualisation about where the parties stand on the issue of traffic, urban cycling and a liveable city.
The graphic, above, is a Political Traffic Thermometer. The text on the left column reads, from top left:
Reduced Car Parking
Against Harbour Tunnel
For Harbour Tunnel
More Car Parking
Protecting/Subsidising Private Car Ownership
The party that comes out on top is the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), with Morten Kabell as the mayoral contender, closely followed by the Socialist People’s Party (SF). The latter is the party of Ayfer Baykal, the current mayor in charge of Traffic and Environment.
The Danish Social-Liberal Party (Radikale) also finishes above the line.
The left-of-centre Social Democrats have occupied the Lord Mayor post in Copenhagen for over a century but the current Lord Mayor Frank Jensen has outed himself as a supporter of ridiculous harbour tunnels, car parking and all manner of politics that support a reversal of the work Copenhagen has done for the past 20 odd years to become one of the world’s most liveable cities. This is, of course, not a very modern approach compared to other cities.
They appear beneath the line in the graphic, followed by the usual suspects.
With that said, Frank Jensen is not every candidate in the Social Democrat party. There are other, more sensible politicians in the running.
Like Erik Willumsgaard, above. Like many politicians in Copenhagen, a bicycle or cargo bike is the preferred campaign vehicle.
On Tuesday, the people of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg get to choose which century they want to live in.
I ride through this area on a regular basis, and I can attest that this sort of improvement is much needed. Highways don’t belong in neighborhoods.
From Livable Streets:
Thanks to your support over the past three years, we could see much needed improvements to the McGrath corridor from Somerville Ave to Washington Street around the McCarthy Overpass by next summer.
Now, as part of the State’s repair project, MassDOT is planning to make additional surface improvements for people to make it safer and easier to walk, bike, take the bus, and drive, when originally the only plan was to repair the structure.
LivableStreets urged the State to reconsider howthey are investing money in this project. Taking our feedback, the State hired consultants to analyze the possibilities. Last week, data and conceptual drawings were presented to LivableStreets and other stakeholders. The drawings showed new and improved intersections, buffered bicycle lanes, designated areas for buses, improved traffic signals, and the closing of ramps and tunnels.
The new ideas presented are because you wrote letters, volunteered, signed postcards, and attended meetings and spoke up. Now we are closer to seeing these much needed improvements.
Thank you Massachusetts Department of Transportation and City of Somerville!
|Today (top); A vision (bottom)|
We are also now one step closer to realizing the ultimate vision of taking down the outdated overpass to make our communities more connected and livable, and pave the way for more businesses and jobs.
The work is not complete though… We must continue to weigh in on the plans and there will be public meetings this spring.
Together, we can make these changes happen! Join LivableStreets today. Bybecoming a member now, you will contribute to helping make these changes actually happen.
Sometimes you find awesome bikes out on the street. Such as this gem. Just look how classy that ride is! So much to like about this, from the fenders to the chain-ring, to the front fork. I actually stopped and stared at this machine for a good couple minutes.