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simple Bike Maintenance


On this page I have tried to give you basic and easy bike maintenance advice, please bear in mind that there are many types of bikes with lots of different fitments, if you feel unable to adjust the bike yourself there are many good bike shops who will do the work for you. Cycle Tutor can not be held responsible for any bike maintenance that you have carried out yourself with guidance from this web page.

To Alter Saddle height

The saddle height can be adjusted by undoing the saddle clamp until it is loose, then wiggle the saddle from side to side and adjust to required height. When doing the saddle clamp back up make sure your saddle is in line with the bike! Tighten so that it cannot move when riding.

Adjusting your brakes

Always make sure the pads are positioned to touch the rim not the tyre. If your leaver moves more than a third of the way towards the handle bar than you must remove some "slack" from the cable. A small amount of adjustment can be carried out at the leaver by unwinding the adjuster A and doing up locknut B.

Some side pull caliper brakes have similar adjustment (A) at the caliper (brake) end.

If this is does not remove enough slack, then you will have to undo the cable clamp nut C. Get an assistant to hold both sides of the brake closer to the rim and retighten.

Mechanical disc brakes have some small amount of adjustment on the pads - turn clockwise to move the pad closer to the disc. E

V type cantilever brakes have an additional adjustment to centralize the brake pads - screw IN to move this side away from the rim. D

Removing a wheel

To replace a tyre or fix a puncture you need to be able to remove your wheel from the bike. You will need a spanner, tyre levers and a puncture repair kit.

The easiest is the quick release wheel, where all you need to do is move the lever and slide your wheel out. However when replacing the wheel you must be sure to fully tighten the quick release as they can easily come loose and cause an accident.

Both the front and back wheel can be removed by undoing the hub nuts. Take careful note of how yours go together as you undo them. Different bikes have different systems, some have washers between the wheel and hub nuts and some have them IN the hub nut.

It is always a good idea to slightly deflate your tyre before removing the wheel.

Some tubes have presta valves, undo the brass valve nut to deflate the tyre, and push the side wall away from the rim. You should see the the ridge of the tyre bead on the side wall. Now push the rounded end of the tyre lever under the bead and pull down to lift the bead over the rim, now hook the other end of the tyre lever on to a spoke. Use the second tyre lever to now release the rest of the tyre.

Be careful not to "dig" the lever into your inner tube and give yourself another puncture!

Now you can replace your tyre or fix your puncture.

Once your tyre is removed from your wheel check it for any stones, glass or "spikes" that may have caused your puncture. Pump up your inner tube and listen for the escaping air. If it is not obvious place in water and a stream of bubbles should lead you to the hole. Mark the hole with crayon. (you don't want to loose it again!)

Slightly roughen the area round the puncture with abrasive paper (supplied with most puncture repair kits) This helps remove dirt from the surface and gives a better surface for the adhesive to stick to. Once the tube is dry and clean chose a suitable patch. If you are using standard rubber patches, apply a thin layer of rubber solution around the puncture, let it dry slightly before removing backing paper place patch into position pressing hard. (It is now possible to buy patches with the glue already on.) When completely dry reinflate tyre to test the patch, slightly deflate again before replacing in tyre.

Place one side of tyre bead wall in wheel, then position the valve in the hole at the top. Make sure the valve stays at a right angle from the rim. Work your way round the wheel easing the tube into the deepest part of the rim. ( It helps if the inner tube has a little air in it.) Once the tube is sitting inside the wheel rim, starting at the valve push the tyre bead into the wheel gently using your thumbs. Only use the tyre leaver at the end, make sure they are on the rim, not the tube, to avoid pinching it.

Check the tyre is fitted evenly and that the valve is still at a right angle to the rim.

Replace wheel on the bike in reverse order from when you took it off. Make sure all hub nuts are tight. Fully inflate your tyre and do up your presta valve tightly by hand.