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Bicycle Repair
A Quick-Fix Guide
25 solutions to vexing problems
ByBicycling Magazine
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EVERY TIME YOU FIX A PUNCTURE, THE NEW TUBE GOES FLAT
If the holes in the tube are on the bottom, the rim strip may be out of position, allowing the tube to get cut by the spokes. If they're on the top, there may be some small sharp object stuck in the tire. Find it by running your fingers lightly around the inside of the tire, then remove it.

 

FREQUENT PINCH FLATS
Put more air in your tires.

 

A REMOUNTED TIRE WON'T SIT RIGHT ON THE RIM
Let the air out, wiggle the bad spot around, reinflate to about 30 psi, and roll the bad spot into place with your hands. By pushing the tire in toward the middle of the rim you will be able to see if any of the tube is poking out. When the tube is fully inside the tire, inflate as normal.

 

A PATCH WON'T STICK TO THE GLUE ON THE TUBE
Apply more glue and let it dry completely--about five minutes. (Don't blow on the glue to try to make it dry faster--this can leave moisture from your breath on it, which hinders adhesion.) When you apply the patch, avoid touching its sticky side with your fingers.

 

CREAKING SOUND FROM THE WHEELS
A spoke may have loosened. If tension is uniform, the sound might be caused by a slight motion of the spokes against each other where they cross. Lightly lube this junction, wiping off the excess.

 

CREAKING SOUND WHEN YOU PEDAL
Tighten the crankarm bolts. If the arm still creaks, remove it, apply a trace of grease to the spindle, and reinstall the arm.

 

THE LARGE CHAINRING FLEXES, AND THE CHAIN RUBS AGAINST THE FRONT DERAILLEUR CAGE
Check for loose chainring bolts.

 

AMBITIOUS , YOU REMOVED THE CHAIN-RINGS TO CLEAN THE CRANKSET, BUT NOW THE FRONT DERAILLEUR DOESN'T SHIFT RIGHT
You may have installed a chainring backward. Remove the rings and put them on correctly. Usually, the crankarm bolts fit into indentations on the chainrings. Sight from above, too, to make sure there's even spacing between the rings.

 

YOU'RE TRYING TO REMOVE A CHAINRING BOLT, BUT IT JUST SPINS
Hold the backside of the chainring bolt with a wide, flathead screwdriver or a special chainring-bolt wrench built for this purpose.

 

WHILE TRYING TO REMOVE OR ADJUST A CRANKARM YOU STRIPPED THE THREADS--NOW YOU CAN'T REMOVE IT
Ride your bike around the block a few times. The crankarm will loosen and you'll be able to pull it off.

 

SHIFTER HOUSINGS RUB THE FRAME, WEARING A SPOT IN THE PAINT
Put clear tape beneath the housings where they rub.

 

NOISY, SLOPPY SHIFTING CAN'T BE REMEDIED BY REAR DERAILLEUR ADJUSTMENT
The cassette lockring might be loose, allowing the cogs to move slightly and rattle around on the hub. You need a special tool to tighten the lockring fully, but you can spin it tight enough with your fingers to ride safely home or to a shop.

 

THE COG CASSETTE IS GETTING RUSTY
A little rust won't damage the cogs quickly, so it's not a major concern. Usually, using a little more lube will prevent additional rust, and riding will cause the chain to wear away the rust while you're pedaling.

 

IN CERTAIN GEARS, PEDALING CAUSES LOUD SKIPPING
There may be debris between the cogs. If you can see mud, grass, leaves, twigs or any sort of foreign matter trapped between cogs, dig it out. It's probably keeping the chain from settling all the way down onto the cog to achieve a proper mesh. If there's no debris, a cog is probably worn out. Most often this is a sign that the chain and cassette will have to be replaced.

 



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Comments

Back Off also applies to BB cups, but with the wrench under the bike, turn them towards the back of the bike to losen and remove.
Help, Help, Help!!! You forgot the vexing issue I'm experiencing with my Navigator. The left bottom bracket spindle bolt wants to keep backing out after 20 miles. I tried thread-locking compound, but it still backed out after twenty miles. I am amazed that the left side of the spindle isn't reverse threaded like the pedal to keep the bolt from backing out. Any de-vexing thoughts on a remedy? Thanks, Mark
ditto Reid just checked cleats and they're tight so into the crank arms tomorrow. all good remedies afore mentioned thanx also JS. thought of 1 more thing, could be stem i sheared a bolt and replaced it with a longer one yet probably incorrect and possibly quite dangerous if ever breaks or shears again. whoa!
If you hear a creaking sound when you pedal, or a clicking sound, I suggest that you first check the tightness of your cleat bolts where they attach to your shoes. I nearly went insane trying to find the source of some wierd sounds (loud clicking and creaking), and thought it was coming from the bottom bracket but the bike shop said they couldn't replicate the noise. I replaced the bottom bracket - didn't help.I finally discovered that my cleat bolts weren't tight enough and I could not believe that such sounds could be coming out of the bottom of my shoes. Tightened them up and the problem was solved. So, when you hear sounds when you pedal that you should not be hearing, tighten the cleat bolts first and you may be saving yourself a lot of time, frustration, and money in addtion to quickly solving the problem
I actually lost a bolt out of one of my cleats and could not get the shoe out of the pedal. I got the opposite foot out and hopped that leg around the bike pulled my foot out of the shoe (it was still attached to the pedal) and after working around finally got the shoe out. I have learned since that episode to check my cleat bolts before I ride. Mark
Wow. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll check my cleats tomorrow before I go out again. Never thought of that.