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Bicycle Maintenance 101 With Professor Jim – A Series Dedicated to the New Cyclist

I began a new series about bicycle maintenance because a few friends and regular readers asked.  The resulting posts deserved deserve their own page, to keep everything easily accessible.  A bicycle, or if you’re like me, bicycles, are an investment.  Used often, they’re a source of much happiness and health.  When they act up, especially once we’ve grown to love the lifestyle, they can be a source of great consternation.

A bicycle is just like a car, with a few exceptions.  Bikes run on fat, not your wallet.  Bikes are actually designed to be easy to fix.  And riding a bike is healthy, while sitting in a car, well, isn’t.  That said, unless certain steps and sequences are followed when working on a bike, very bad things can happen.  This series will delve into how to maintain your bike so it runs well, all season long.  This isn’t to say you won’t have problems that require a bike shop fix you up from time to time, but without a doubt, if you take care of your bike it’ll spend much more time in use and less in the shop.

I tried to go easiest to hardest, in terms of items to care for, but it didn’t always work out well…  I had to look at flow, as well as ease, and sometimes that made for difficult choices now and again.  That said, here are the posts in order of appearance on my blog – and we’re going to start with road bikes then hit mountain bikes:

The first post in the series dealt with cleaning the bike.  This is probably the most important post I could have written, as a clean bike is a happy bike.

The second post in the series was an easy, obvious, second post…  How to center your road bike’s brakes.

The third in the series got a little tricky…  I was pressed for time and it occurred to me that cleaning the chain was vastly easier than the post I’d been planning, so I went out of order and did the chain first.

The fourth post picks up where the second left off.  In this post, we get into changing the brake cables and installing new brake pads.

The fifth post deals with seven (or eight, or nine, depending on your bike) bolts that should be checked and tightened a minimum of once a week.

In the sixth post, we look at tightening up a loose steering assembly.  It is a fairly common requirement and only takes about two minutes but getting it right is fairly important.  Too tight and you wear out the bearings, too loose and you end up with a “clunk” that you can feel in the handlebar when you hit a bump or apply the front brake.  Depending on how loose the steering assembly is, the “clunk” can almost be imperceptible.

Next up, we’ve got the installation of brand new rim brakes on the old mountain bike…  A photographical how to.

For the eight post I detailed how to fix a loose quill stem assembly on the 5200.

For the next installment in the series, I pulled out the Venge to go through the intricacies of the rear derailleur and how it works so that even the noobiest of noobs can adjust it so it shifts perfectly.

Now we start getting to the really important stuff!  A photographical how to for “slamming the stem” – a must to get the most out of aerodynamics.

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