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C/O Giant KendalThe Old Brewery, Wildman Street Kendal LA9 6EN

#MechanicMonday–most asked mechanic’s questions

   Words by ZAC Cycles

   on 04/11/2017 07:59:00

Puncture flat

Sometimes you are in the middle of nowhere riding on your own, most likely in a rush to get home and there isn’t a bike mechanic in sight! For those arrrrgggghhhhhhh bike failure moments we have put together a few Q&As of quick fixes and top tips if you can’t get to your local bike shop.

Q – I replaced the inner tube after a puncture but it went flat again straight away

A – Did you check the outside of the tyre, and the under-side, for any remains of the thing that caused the puncture in the first place; glass, thorn etc. Sharp and pointy things can sometimes get wedged and stuck in your tyre. Before you fully inflate the new inner tube make sure it is sat correctly within the wheel rim and inside of the tyre, otherwise it could get snagged when you blow it up resulting in another puncture.

Q – My gears are jumping

A – There are a few common reasons for this; new cables – cables will stretch initially which might make the chain skip when you change gear, the easiest temporary fix is to tighten the rear mech cable by screwing the barrel adjuster anti-clockwise. A very old cassette with worn teeth will also make your chain jump - time for a new cassette and don’t forget this might also mean a new chain, depending on its stretch.

Q - My chain is skipping and won’t shift properly

A – Chain might need a degrease or just a good old clean. Excess lube, or just general winter road stuff, can get clagged on and stuck in your chain which will stop it running smoothly. A cassette that is clogged with winter grime and grit could also cause your chain to jump about. Get that bike cleaned!

Chain skipping

Q – How do you put a chain back on

A – Changing into the big ring for that final sprint………and your chain falls off! Really easy to put back on, but you might have to give up on winning the sprint this time. Place the chain on the smallest ring on your cassette at the back, then drape it over the teeth on the top of your front chainring. Slowly turn the pedals forward which should pull the chain back into place.

If your chain keeps coming off if might be that it is too long so you will need to remove some to get the right length, or there is a damaged link so you will need to remove and replace the dodgy broken one. It’s also worth checking the rear or front mech limit adjustment screws to make sure they are set correctly. Possibly a job for the bike shop if you are confident doing any of this as if you get it wrong it can go really wrong.

Q – Everything feels a bit draggy and hard work

A – The wheel is probably catching on your brake blocks (or you have just eaten too many pies at the weekend??) Make sure your wheel is lined up in the drop-outs properly and your brake callipers haven’t been knocked out of alignment when you put the wheel back in.

Q – Which way to turn the pedals to get them off?

A – General rule is ‘righty-tighty’, ‘lefty-loosey’ (clockwise to tighten and counter-clockwise to loosen). This applies to the right side pedal but the left has reverse threads (stops it unscrewing when you pedal) so you need to do the opposite. Confused? We’ve all been there, realising half way through the pedals are now on even tighter!

Q – Creaking sound (that isn’t your knees)

A - Bottom brackets are often the first to get blamed for creaking noises but there are a few other things to check first which might be loose and causing the squeaks; chainring bolts, pedals, are cranks tensioned correctly, seat post and saddle and the one that nobody ever thinks to check, wheel skewers. If in doubt then it’s time to drop your bike off with us as some of these things require specialist tools to fix and can be tricky, especially if it is actually the bottom bracket.

Bottom bracket creaking

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