Tuesday, January 15, 2008

whips and chains

Winter? It's time for annual bike maintenance.

I just bought two chains and will replace this critical drive train item on my two main city bikes, Rusty the rain bike and Old Blue, my first generation rockhopper hacked into a fast city bike.

The chain is still the most efficient method to transfer pedaling energy to the back wheel.

The winter is a time to overhaul and upgrade your bike. Check the tires for wear. The wheels should not wobble. The wheel rotation should be smooth. If any of these thing need maintenance or replacement then do it NOW.

I might sound like a ranting kook, but I have had spring rides where I had flats, brake failures (Aieee!) , and even broken axles. None of these makes the ride better.

Check that everything that turns or rotates do so smoothly. That's the wheels, the cranks, the pedals and headset.

Last, and you should check this every time you ride: check that the brakes are working properly, and that the brake pads are not worn thin. Check that they are not bent or poorly aligned with the wheel's surface.

A bike will run forever, but there's still the fact that little things need to be checked and occasionally replaced.

If you don't do it yourself, take it to the bike shop for the "complete" overhaul. Your bike will thank you.

Rremember the mantra: always buy a better quality part when you have to replace something. Old bike plus performance and/or aesthetic upgrades = cool.

Old Blue and Rusty are ancient, but they run great. I mean, ride great. And they regularly whip cars at green light changes!


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