Random thoughts on bike maintenance

On bringing back gummed up trigger shifters from the dead. I used to apply Tri-flow liberally, let it sit, actuate the shifters and blow the Tri-flow out with an air compressor. MESSY! Usually had to repeat this process at least twice. Now using an ultrasonic cleaner with full strength Simple Green brings shifters back to life in less than 10 minutes. Blow the Simple Green out with and air compressor and then lubricate with Tri-flow or similar. Consumer grade ultrasonic cleaners can be had at discount tool stores for around $60. Most small bike parts will fit, including derailers, bottom brackets, cassettes and freewheels, chains, shifters, etc.

On valve stem placement. For the longest time I always aligned bike inner tube valve stems to achieve some sort of visual symmetry between the logos printed on the tire sidewall. I’ve since changed my thinking on this practice. Regularly filling bike tires now has me aligning the valve stem with the pressure rating on the tire. This is very useful, as one can easily find the tire’s pressure rating by simply looking at the sidewall right by the valve stem. Much easier than rubbing dirt and grime off the sidewall trying to find the pressure rating at some random location.

Happy trails!

Anti-seize, USE IT!

Tools you should never have to use on a bicycle: Mapp gas torches and chisels. I used both on Friday. The crank arms on this particular bike were seized onto the bottom bracket spindle. Seized on so well that using a crank arm extractor tool ended up stripping out the threads from the softer aluminum cranks. I had to soften the aluminum crank arms with the torch and go at them with a hammer and chisel to free them from the bottom bracket spindle. The fixed bottom bracket cup was another issue altogether that involved a trip to the bike shop to put the cup in the bench vise. I was able to turn the frame with significant leverage that I couldn’t get with a 12″ socket drive and a fixed cup removal tool.

When assembling the larger parts of a bike such as the bottom bracket, crank arms, pedals, seatpost, etc. Use anti-seize paste on threads and metal to metal surfaces. It will make the task of disassembling in the future much more pleasant.