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What are the names for the parts on my bike ?
How do I know what size frame to buy? What frame size is best for me?
- Measure your inside leg measurement to the floor wearing normal biking shoes, subtract 3″ (for mountain bikes), or 1″ (for road bikes) then subtract 10″ (the average distance from the bottom bracket to the ground). This will give you the maximum frame size that you will need. But this isn’t written in stone….compact frames will measure smaller and give more standover height clearance. It is always a good idea to stand over the bike in question and check you have enough clearance ie 1″- 2″ for road bikes, up to 3″ for hybrids, between 3″ and 5″ for mountain bikes.
- Women’s bikes with an open frame – this is a bit different as there is no toptube as such! What we ensure here, is that the rider has a comfortable position, whereby they can reach the handlebars without stretching unduly
- Young children’s bikes have different frame and wheel size for each age band
- Folding bikes tend to be one-size-fit-all, but with extended/telescopic seat pillar options for riders over 6′ tall.
Will more gears mean I’ll go faster ?
More gears (and a wide enough range of gears) mean that you can pedal at your bodies most efficient speed (about 90 pedal revolutions per minute) – useful if you want to ride up and down hills, as well as on the flat. This may sometimes make you go faster – and help to preserve your knees for cycling into old age.
Other ‘go faster’ tips include:
- A fitter rider
- A lighter rider
- A well-nourished and especially well-hydrated rider (thus water bottles and hydration packs)
- A more aerodynamic rider (from clothing, headgear, shaved legs etc.)
- A stiffer-framed lighter bike, usually made with titanium/aluminium/carbon fibre/double-butted steel
- An efficient transmission system, clean, unworn and adequately lubricated (or maybe no gears at all for flat-terrain travel)
- Well-pumped tyres (pumped to the tyre manufacturers maximum recommended pressure)
- A more aerodynamic bike, with aero-tubes and wheels, or a fully-faired recumbent (good at high speeds, but not good at hill climbing, where overcoming air resistance is not an issue)
But as well as speed , you may want a bike that…
- is low maintenance (with hub gears, chain case or a belt drive)
- can carry heavy loads (with a stronger frame)
- can go up and down mountains, ride over cobbles or jump off pavements in a single leap (with ATB wheels/frame/suspension)
- is comfortable for touring (with a longer frame)
Why is my saddle so uncomfortable ?
There are a few reasons why this could be:
- The position and thickness of jean seams do not lend themselves to ideal cycling attire.
Invest in a pair of cycle shorts especially if you’re riding more than a few miles
- Your saddle may be too narrow for your body.
Women have wider “sitting bones” than men, therefore a saddle specifically designed for women should be more comfortable. Ask us about the different saddle options, especially when buying a new bike.
- Your riding position may be contributing to the discomfort.
If your handlebars are too far away, this may put extra pressure on genitals due to you stretching forwards
- Even if you havent bought a bike with suspension, you can get a suspension seat post that will give you a gentler ride.
Why do I keep getting punctures ?
Either you were very naughty in your former life, or the offending article is unfortunately still in the tyre. The most helpful thing to do is to list all the possible causes and then for you to rule them out one by one.
- Sharp penetrative object(s) still in tyre e.g. glass
- Inner tube is perishing
- Look for signs of chafe marks on tube
- Previous patch is leaking
- Rim tape is off-centre, damaged or twisted
- Valve is leaking; most common cause is a bent part of a presta valve
- There is a rip/tear in the actual tyre
- A spoke is protruding through the rim tape and piercing inner tube
- The tyre pressure is too low
- The tyre is too narrow (widthwise) for the width of the rim
- The tyre tread is worn
- In refitting the tyre, you have trapped the inner tube therefore causing a puncture
N.B. Try to avoid using tyre levers when refitting a tyre and try to avoid riding your bike in the gutter where the bulk of glass often ends up.
What should I do regularly to maintain my bike ?
A Good question! When you buy your bike from us you get 3 free services in the first year – please take advantage of this offer for your bike’s sake and your peace of mind. After that, we recommend a service every 6 months for regular commuters (once a year for occasional use). For frequent mountain biking, you probably need a service several times a year. Customers, who bought their bikes from us, get priority in our extremely busy workshop. Always ring to book your bike in in advance.
Meanwhile, here are a few tips to help keep your bike running smoothly…
- Inflating the tyres
Keep the tyres inflated to the pressure specified on the side-wall of the tyre. If you run out of steam attempting this by hand, do not hesitate to ask us if you may borrow our track-pump or better still invest in your own track-pump as they are truly a boon and a blessing (!)
- Check your tyres
Look for cuts and/or worn tread pattern. Also check for any embedded glass, stones etc.
- Check your brake blocks for wear
Look closely to see whether the pads are worn out or unevenly worn. Make sure that when you apply the brakes, the brake blocks hit the wheel rim and effectively stop the bike
- Give your bike a bit of a shake.
Listen out for any rattling which could be loose nut and bolt somewhere
- Keep it Clean
Start by wiping the dirt off your bike with an old rag (a perfect opportunity to employ those old knickers which you never wear). Do not jet-wash your bike as the pressure will force water into places where you do not want to allow water to ingress and cause damage. Better to use an old washing-up brush and a bucket of hot water. If the dirt is oil-based, there are some very good biodegradable chain-cleaners on the market. These remove dirty and sticky old oil and are harmless to the environment.
- Keep the chain, cassette etc. lubricated
Use a ‘dry lubricant’ such as Super Spray Lube or Finish Line Professional Lube. These ‘lubes’ actually dry to a film and therefore attract less dirt
Is my chain supposed to be so oily ?
- Your chain should not be dripping with oil – the more oil there is on it , the more dirt it’ll collect and the faster it’ll wear out.
- Clean off dirty oil frequently
- Make sure that the moving parts inside the chain are ‘lubed’ and that there is a thin surface layer of lube on the outer plates of the chain. If you have applied too much lube, simply wipe off the excess with a clean rag
Where should I actually apply the oil ?
Dry lubricants usually come in cans with a little ‘straw’. This makes lubrication much easier and more economic. Here are some tips. If you’re not sure, just ask us.
- Hold the can upright and spray only the moving parts of the gear changing mechanisms. These are the front and rear derailleurs, or the front and rear mechs, or the ‘S’ thing.
- Apply the oil / lube to the chain by pointing the straw at the chain and spraying whilst rotating the chain backwards
Keep the can still and move the chain.
How do I protect my bike from theft ? (or help get it back)
- If you aren’t sitting on the saddle, then lock the bike with a good quality D-lock, the best you can afford. As a rule of thumb, the lock should cost at least 10% of the bike’s value.
- Park it somewhere public and well-lit.
- Make sure the street furniture, that you’re locking it to, is realy immovable. Don’t lock your bike to a gate, if the whole gate can be lifted off it’s hinges. Tall poles are no good as fixing points, if the bike can be lifted over the top of them. Fill as much of the shackle as possible – this makes it more difficult for thieves to force it open.
- Remove the manufacturers’ stickers from the frame & forks and then paint the frame (badly) – it isn’t pretty, but it should deter thieves.
- When your bike is at home, consider fitting a ground or wall anchor to lock your bike to – and always keep it locked up, even when it’s in a locked garage/shed.
Parts & Accessories
- If you have quick release levers on your wheels and saddle, then consider replacing these with allen key skewers (or better still, lockable security skewers). Another option is to use a cable to secure the wheels and use the D-lock as a padlock through the frame and cable.
- When the bike is parked, remove lights, pump, saddle and water bottles and take them with you.
- While cycling, a small carabina (from a climbing shop) will ensure that your panniers stay attached to your bike.
- Alternative Bikes
- If you are buying a new bike and haven’t got a secure place to lock it, then consider getting a folding bike, that you can take with you. Folding bikes also go by plane, car, rail or bus, but note that the Manchester Metro requires you to bag a folding bike. Can be stored bagged-up next to your desk or under your bed…
In case it does get stolen…
- Record the bike’s frame number and keep a description and a photo somewhere safe and consider tagging and/or registering it here to help the police return it to you if it’s found.
- The cheapest way to insure your bike may be through your home contents insurance. Or a specialist insurer.
- Tell the police, email local bike shops and look for it on ebay and gumtree
If you are offered a stolen bike
- Inform crimestoppers