A helpful guide to Brakes, Gears, Punctures and Safety Checks.
Effective brakes are essential. It’s easy to let them become less responsive, so check their function every time you go for a ride.
CHANGING BRAKE PADS
CENTRING BRAKE CALIPERS
Some brakes allow you to make the brake even so that when you pull the brake lever the arms move simultaneously.
With ‘’V’’ brakes you can adjust the screws near where they bolt on.
Brake sticking on the right side? Either screw the right side in or unscrew the left side. Brake sticking on the left side? Either screw the left side in or unscrew the right side
Don’t worry if you don’t get it right straight away - just remember what you did and try the other way.
Dual pivot brakes have a little adjuster on the top - either a small crosshead or a 2-2.5mm allen key.
If right pad appears closer to rim, tighten setscrew. If left pad appears closer, loosen setscrew.
CHANGING BRAKE CABLES ON FLAT BAR LEVERS
NB other brakes have a much less precise tightness. It’s up to you how tight you have them so have a play around and see what suits.
Gears are great although it can be frustrating if they don’t work well. Here are some hints & tips to help you solve common problems.
The easiest way to sort out derailleur gears (pictured) is to work through them logically.
If possible use a workstand so you can see what’s going on when you move the pedals forward and move the gear levers. It’s sometimes difficult to tell exactly what the problem is when you’re riding.
SOME COMMON PROBLEMS...
It’s difficult to deal with every gear issue on paper. Most problems are to do with the cable tension. You can’t just check the tension by feeling the cable as it varies from bike to bike, so you need to run through the gears and check that they’re indexing properly.
USING THE CABLE ADJUSTMENT BARREL
Turn the barrel adjuster anticlockwise (as if you were unscrewing a jar lid) to tighten the cable and help the derailleur move to a bigger cog.
Turn the barrel adjuster clockwise (as if you were screwing the lid back on the jar) to loosen the cable if the derailleur is jumping two cogs or struggling to go into as higher gear.
We all dread them, we all get them. The secret to sorting out a puncture is to relax, think positive and look forward to jumping back on the saddle!
Here’s our step-by-step guide to sorting out your puncture...
*How to use your repair kit
CLEANING YOUR BIKE
Bikes ride more smoothly and parts last longer with regular cleaning. Clean the frame and wheels with a dedicated bike cleaner or diluted washing up liquid. The dirty bits - chain, derailleurs, chain rings and freewheel/cassette need a deeper clean - try a stronger solution of washing up liquid or a bike degreaser.
Rinse your bike with water and leave it to dry - or help the process along with a squirt of water dispersal spray or light lubricant. Once the bike is dry you can lubricate the chain and the pivots on the derailleurs. Use a good quality PTFE based lubricate – nothing too heavy or the dirt will stick to it and the whole cleaning process will have to be repeated! Let it soak in for at least 20 minutes and then wipe off the excess.
Inner tubes inside tyres lose air over time - it happens slowly so you may not be aware that air is lost. Squeezing your tyre by hand can help indicate whether you need more air - but a pressure gauge allows you to be more accurate.
Pressure gauges come on good quality track pumps and some hand pumps. The correct pressure is written on the side of the tyre and will vary depending on the size, quality and design.