If you’re new to cycling you will want to read through these common mistakes beginners make when maintaining their two-wheelers.
Not using the right lube
We’ve all heard of the all powerful WD-40 and while it works great for some things, like cleaning glue residue from stickers, lubing a bicycle chain just isn’t its forte. To make things more clear, WD-40 actually started producing a bike chain lube, which you will only be able to find in bicycle stores.
When you lube your chain, any excess lube on the outside of the links and rollers is just collecting dirt, which over time leads to wear and damage. Always make sure that after lubing your chain you let it settle and then wipe off any excess with a rag. Never lube on top of a dirty lube, you will damage your gear. In fact, it’s worth considering wiping your chain with a rag after every ride, whether you add more lube or not. While you’re at it, you could also wipe the rear derailleur pulley.
Inadequately inflated tires
This is one of the most common errors with cyclists. To determine the levels, look at the sidewall of your tire and inflate it to a medium level. Check the pressure before you leave home by using a proper floor pump.
Be careful when pumping the Presta valves. They are very delicate, and you don’t want to put too much force on them. When connecting the pump to the square, do it as straight as possible to avoid any damage.
Lubing brakes because they squeal
Lube and brakes don’t go togetherer. With the classic rim brakes, squealing probably has to do with brakes’ set up. If your pads have dried out, there’s no other way than to buy new brake pads.
Screwing the headset too tight
Modern threadless headset systems function by preloading the bearings with the cap on top and then torquing the stem in position with the pinch bolt.
Most people think they need to screw in tight the top preload bolt. This often results in a stripped star nut or jammed headset bearing. Instead, the top bolt should be just tight enough to prevent any headset bearing play. If you’re feeling resistance in your steering, then it’s likely too tight.
The exception to this rule are bikes with the older quill stems. You can recognize them by a single bolt on top and no pinch bolts on the stem’s side. With this type of stem, screwing it to the maximum is OK.
Screwing in derailleur screws to the limit
Those crews sticking out of your derailleur might look like they’re not screwed in all the way, but there is a reason for that. They’re loose because their purpose is to set the limits for which derailleur can move. Chances are bicycle mechanic already set those for you, in which case you never have to touch them again. If you start feeling that something is wrong with your shifting gear, don’t reach for the screwdriver just yet. Most likely the problem has something to do with a bent derailleur hanger or cable tension (dirty cables).
Quick releases too loose
To determine how tight the release needs to be, look if it leaves an imprint on your hand when you close it up. Another way to test it is to see if you can open it with your fingers tip alone, in which case it’s too loose.
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