The Most Common DIY Bicycle Repairs You Should Know

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Introduction

Before you take your bike along a biking trail, it s important to ensure that every bit of the bike is functioning properly. Regular maintenance and tune-up makes your bike trouble free, steady and safe. The good news is that you can do some of these tune-ups by yourself without spending money at the repair shop. In this article, we are going to look at the most common DIY bicycle repairs that you can do at home.

What do you need for DIY bicycle repairs?

Before you can begin trying out your DIY knowledge on your bicycle, it is absolutely necessary that you have all the tools needed for the job. Without them, it would be impossible to work on most parts of the bike. You need tools such as torque and regular wrenches, tire pump fitted with a gauge, tire patch kit, spare tire tube, chain tool and extra links, lubricant and tire levers. Although these tools may sound too many, things can become easier when you for the miniature versions of the tools.

However, when something breaks down on your bike, it is advisable to do a clean up first before loosening nuts and bolts on your bike. By cleaning and scrubbing off the area, you will be able to see different parts of your bike with ease. For a start up biker, working on different parts of the bike can particularly be very challenging. Luckily, it is very easy to learn the ways so that you can be bale to work on your bike at home or by the side of the road. Remember, practice makes it perfect and with time, you will find that it is very easy to work on your bike.

The following tips can greatly help you when working on your bike. They are DIY tips and therefore, can help you a lot.

Most common DIY bicycle repairs

1. Fixing a flat tire

One of the problems that you will constantly face throughout the ownership of your bicycle is flattened out tires.  Bike tires lose pressure because of a puncture, damaged valve or just a peeled puncture sealing patch. When you find that your tire is droopy, you need to test them out by filling the tires with pressure. You can use a bike pump that is fitted with a pressure gauge so that you can reach the intended pressure of the pump. The ideal pressure is normally printed out on the sidewall of the tire and this can guide you into finding the ideal inflation point.

Flat tire is a most common issue

Flat tire is a most common problem

If you fill the tire up and find that it is loosing air, just know that you are dealing with a flat. It is important to know that some flats are almost impossible to cure and thus, you need to install a new inner tube instead. Therefore, you should always have a spare tube when going for a long biking trip. Here are steps to follow when fixing a flat tire:

  • Today, most road bikes have a quick release lever that lets you pop out a bike tire without needing any tools. This makes it easy for people to work on the wheels even when stranded on the middle of the woods. You can first open the valve to release air before pulling the wheel off the frame. However, you should remember to press the valve so that the tube does not get lodged in the rim.
  • Next, use levers to remove the tire from the rim. About 3 lever points are enough to get the tire coming out of the rim. However, if you do not have the levers, you can use your thumb to remove the tire.
  • At this point, lift the tube and look around for items that could have pricked the tube. Thorns, broken pieces of glass as well as wires can cause a puncture. Be careful not to get injured in the process. Find the hole on the tube and patch it up. Alternatively, you can put in the new tube at this point.
  • Return the tube into the wheel while remembering to align the valve.
  • Put back the tire on the rim and re-inflate the tire.

2. Re-attaching a slipped chain

Slipping chain is troublesome!

A slipping chain is one of the most common problems in biking. This is because a slipping chain can make riding very unpleasant. The process can become worse when moving uphill. However, this can be rectified by hands but still; you need to have the right tools to solve the problem.  

  • When a chain falls, it comes out of the rear cogset and the front chainring.
  • To correct the problem, you need to connect the chain on bottom of the rear cogset first. This will help you make it easy to return the chain back on the bike. When the chain is set on the rear cogset, drape it on the top teeth of the front chainring. When done, turn the pedal forward and this will force the chain around the center chain ring as well as the rear cogset.
  • But usually, the main reason of the slipping chain issue are:
  1. The rear heel not being attached right at the center, when the bike moving, the wheel will shake and so, the cogset shake also, making the chain fall out easily; in this case, we need to adjust the rear wheel right to the center.
  2. The teeth of the chain ring and the cogset was worn after long time using, and the chain also was stretched; in this case, the best way is change all to the new chain ring, cogset and the chain, it will completely solve the issue.
  3. Chain broken or too long. You need to follow the steps below:

-The first step is to remove the broken chain part on the bike. This is done by using a chain cutter to remove the broken one.

-If you have a spare chain link, you can attach it onto the chain. If not, just attach the two ends of the remaining chain together. The chains normally have‘male’ and ‘female’ points on the ends. Unfortunately, this process can shorten the links while putting stress on both the derailleur and other parts of the bike. This can slightly affect the way the bike rides.

-Put the chain over the crank set and use a chain tool to attach both ends of the chain back together.

- If you chain only longer than expected. Just need to cut one or two links out. You can refer the way to cut the bike chain here.

3. Tighten up loose bolts

Tighten up the bolts

Check and tighten up the bolts usually

It is important to realize that bikes are held together by nuts and bolts and therefore, it is important to ensure that they are all tight and secure.  The main areas to look at are the stem, the handlebar and the seat post. These are areas where friction works most and can loosen the bolts.  Unfortunately, it is important to ensure that the bolts are not too tight as this can damage the threads and cause huge repair bills. Luckily, you can use a torque wrench to tighten these bolts and avid guessing.

A torque wrench has measurements that control the amount of force that is applied on each bolt. This is important for it can enable you to get the right amount or torque.  When you set the bolts correctly, there is no need to retighten them but just be using the bike in the normal ways. However, be keeping an eye on rattles on the bike as well as loose parts. This will ensure that the bike runs smoothly.

4. Loosen a stuck seat

Adjusting a bike seat

Adjusting a bike seat

If you ever bought a used bike with a stuck seat, you probably know how uncomfortable it can be to ride the bike. The first step is to remove loosen the nut completely; remove the binder, collar and nut before soaking the whole problem area with WD-40. If the seat cannot come out as yet, try to twist it until it breaks free.

If you ever bought a used bike with a stuck seat, you probably know how uncomfortable it can be to ride the bike. The first step is to remove loosen the nut completely; remove the binder, collar and nut before soaking the whole problem area with WD-40. If the seat cannot come out as yet, try to twist it until it breaks free.

5. Wrapping drop handlebars

Wrapping handlebars

Wrapping handlebars

After a long season of cycling, handlebars can become stinky, dirty, gummy and wet. This can make cycling hard as you will feel uncomfortable on the road. The situation happens especially since the handlebar has lost most of its original tape. Therefore, it is advisable to have this tape replaced with a fresh layer of tape.

You can begin by peeling off the old layer of the tape with a par of scissors.  Old and dirty tape can be very hard to remove on a bike. Therefore, it is important to learn the right procedure so that you can o things correctly. F you bought a tape kit, you can use the extra tapes to cover the brake apparatus. From there, begin working on the whole system by taping the bottom end of the handlebar first. To secure the tape, you should ensure that the tip is well covered to prevent the tape from coming off. Wrap the handlebar in a clockwise direction and ensure to overlap the edges of the tape to prevent it from coming off. When your reach the plastic covers, ensure to cover the entire surface completely so as to avoid spaces between the tapes.

When you are done with one side of the handlebar, you can move to the other side.  Be thorough and careful on that side as well.  

Conclusion

Bikes are one of the simplest machines to work on. If you have the right tools and knowledge, you can do simple repairs and maintenance procedures on your bicycle. This will not only save you time and money but also, bring convenience when the bike develops problem at the middle of a session. The problems that you can solve include repairing a puncture, correcting a broken chain, wrapping the handlebar and setting the seat.

If you have something to add on the topic, you can make a comment immediately below the article.

Lauren Anderson
 

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