We like it when people want to learn more about their bikes However, sometimes the wisdom and tips that get passed down aren’t quite what we, the bike mechanic, ordered. So what are the most common bits of bad advice that we hear (as well as the most common mistakes ew see out in the wild)?
These are six bike maintenance and repair tips that cyclists might mistakenly believe, and what you should do instead.
You never need to use torque wrench
We'll start with a tricky one. But we will make it quick. Yes, use a torque wrench any time you need to tighten a bolt. While more important when working with carbon, over or under torqued bolts can be serious safety hazards to the rider. But what if your seat post slips on a ride? Well if it was torqued to begin with, it wouldn't have slipped. But it is okay to tighten it to get you by. What about brakes? Mechanics have been using standard wrenches for decades. When you're dealing with steel parts, you're good with a hex wrench. Just use common sense and don't over-tighten. Our advice: Get a reliable torque wrench and use it, but don't toss the hex wrenches either.Bikes ordered online are ready to ride
When you buy a bike online, it is ready to roll right out of the box.
When you purchase a bike online instead of from a bike shop, it won't arrive assembled, and you will likely will have to do some work. Wheels will need to be trued, shifting adjusted, brakes aligned, and the list goes on and on. And other harder-to-detect problems could have been created during factory assembly or shipping. So it's a good idea to have your bike looked over by a trusted mechanic before you hit the road (or pay to have it built by a professional. We think that a bike that works is probably a good idea, especially if you're barreling down a hill at 30mph with a stop sign at the end. At that point, we think brakes should probably work well.
You should wash your bike after every ride
Not only is this bad advice, it's largely impractical. You want to keep your bike, especially the moving parts free of dirt and grime, but that doesn't mean getting the hose out after every ride. Wipe downs can be your best friend. We have found Lysol wipes to work great for this type of cleaning. It is important not to get soap and water into hubs and bearings. We recommend cleaning and lubing a chain every 100 miles or so, and the whole bike maybe every 20 rides. Mountain and cyclocross bikes may need it more often.
Washing a bike with a power washer is perfectly safe.
Using a power washer is certainly one way to blast away dirt and grime, particularly after a snowy, dirty, Spring ride However, the intense pressure can do more harm than good: It can blast out lubricant from bearing seals and components, which will make things dry and creaky over time. However, they do have their use. Just be sure to spray from either above or below the bike, rather than directly from the side—this will minimize the chance that water will force itself into your bottom bracket or wheel hubs.
You need a cycling-specific degreaser
The market is literally filled with cycling degreasers. Some bad, and some good, but it's not your only option. We have found that some good old dawn dish soap and a wet rag can really help clean the grime for your chain and bike. We would advise that you avoid automotive degreasers. They can be a little harsh and possible damage parts on your bike
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
This age-old chestnut doesn't quite carry over to cycling. here's the deal. If you wait for something to go wrong with your bike, chances are it's too late. Routine cleaning and maintenance will help identify a problem before it becomes catastrophic, and will also help you extend the life of many of the components on your bike, saving you time and money in the long run. We like to see bikes at least twice a year. This helps us to advise the rider on potential issues that may arise in the future, and we can prevent them before they happen.