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Got a Mechanical Question?

by RL Policar

Do you want to learn how to fix certain things on your bike but you’re not quite sure how to do it?

Guess what, CommuteByBike has partnered up with RPM Cyclery and a few local mechanics to provide us some techinical help on how to work on your bike.

We’ve even created a new category called “fix tips.”

If you have a mechanical question about your bike. Send it over HERE or simply leave a comment. If we pick your question, not only will we get a professional mechanic to answer it, but we’ll also make arrangements on providing a tutorial complete with photos.

So don’t be shy, any question is a good question.

 
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8 Responses to “Got a Mechanical Question?”

  1. Nick says:

    I’d like to see a detailed walk-through on regreasing a threadless headset. Show me how to remove the fork and headset while you’re at it!

  2. This is a great idea! If I come up with a problem that stumps me I’ll definately go this route.

  3. Doug says:

    I’m looking for a walk throgh on the parts and procedures needed to convert an old road bike into a single speed, either free hub or fixie. Thanks.

  4. Nick says:

    Doug: That would be a good one. Though, for a singlespeed, all you really need, assuming your drop-outs have at least some horizontal play, is a chain tool to remove the extra length after you’ve taken off your derailleurs and run your chain around your cogs of choice. If you want to lose the cassette and extra chainrings, it’s slightly more complicated, and may mean a new hub. If your drop-outs have no horizontal play, you’ll need a chain tensioner. Converting to a proper fixed-gear will definitely require a new hub, and horizontal drop-outs are not optional.

    On that note, I’ll be converting the Xootr Swift to fixed-gear when I receive it, and will be replacing the hub. I do plan on documenting the process, and will post a walk-through.

  5. Nick says:

    I’m sure there are more people out there curious about Doug’s question, so I’ll be doing a write-up on the general process in addition to my work on the Xootr. I realize now that not everyone knows what horizontal play means or what a chain tensioner does, so I’ll keep that in mind.

  6. Warren T says:

    Since the weather has gotten colder I wonder if I’m just imagining that my shifters act a bit different. Under 3° my gears seem to slip a bit. I don’t get the smooth shift any more; it’s more like the rattle, rattle, clunk I’d expect on my ’77 Yama 10 speed. Any credence to this?

    Also, noticed that my tires needed some air this morning; after filling them up I swear it didn’t take as much effort to pedal. I’ve heard low tire presure kills gas milage in a car, does it make a bike harder to pedal?

  7. Nick says:

    Warren: I’m no expert on this sort of thing, but it’s possible that your chain grease is thickening and becoming more sticky in the cold, which happens sometimes with wax-based lubricants. That might account for slower shifting, but if you’re having more serious problems like slipping gears, make sure your rear wheel is aligned properly, and that your derailleur hasn’t come out of alignment.

    Try cleaning your chain and going with a thinner chain lube, maybe one that’s not wax-based.

    And, yes, upping the PSI on your tires decreases rolling resistance, but it is a game of averages, so don’t go pumping your tires up to the max psi. With more air in your tires, you lose grip and shock absorption. I ride my 700x23s somewhere between 90-110. Below 90, the ride feels sluggish and, more importantly, I risk pinch flats. Above 110 might be nice on a velodrome, but not screaming down Broadway at nine in the moring.

  8. Moe says:

    Converting a bike with a derailleur hanger to a single speed is rather easy. I converted the Ibex X-ray using a Gusset single speed conversion kit for $20 bucks from Jenson USA
    (http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product/CS611B00-Gusset Single Speed Conversion Kit.aspx) and a chain tensioner from ebay. In my case, I had to place the tensioner underneath the chain so it will push it and keep it tight. Check out the pictures of the X-ray at:

    http://commutebybike.com/2006/08/20/ibex-x-ray-review/

    As for converting it to a fixie, stay tuned for Nick’s post!

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