Bicycle Repair Manual

August 5, 2017 | Author: razvancc | Category: Road Vehicles, Vehicle Parts, Wheeled Vehicles, Human Powered Vehicles, Sports Equipment
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Bicycle Repair Manual...








LONDON, NEW YORK, MUNICH, MELBOURNE, AND DELHI Senior Editor Richard Gilbert Senior Art Editor Susan St. Louis Managing Editor Stephanie Farrow Managing Art Editor Lee Griffiths Jacket Designer Lee Ellwood Senior Production Editor Vânia Cunha Production Controller Louise Daly Produced for Dorling Kindersley by Editor Pip Morgan Designer Peter Laws Original edition designed by Edward Kinsey Photographer Gerard Brown Technical Consultant Guy Andrews First American Edition 2004. Published with minor revisions in 2005, this edition fully revised and updated in 2008 in the United States by DK Publishing, 375 Hudson Street New York, New York 10014 08 09 10 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 BD588—06/08 Copyright © 2004, 2005, 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited Text copyright © 2004, 2005, 2008 Chris Sidwells All rights reserved Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. Published in Great Britain by Dorling Kindersley Limited. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN 978-0-75663-394-3 DK books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. For details, contact: DK Publishing Special Markets, 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 or [email protected]

Intr trrod trod o uc ction tiio on n


G TT GE T ING TO KNO KNOW W YOU UR BIK BIK KE 8 The eb ba asic bike e

10 0

Anatom An omy of tthe he eb bik ke

12 12

Bik ke forr ge kes enera al use

14 4

Spe Sp ecia alt ltyy bike es


Settin in ng up an ad a ult’ ult’ ul t s bike e

18 8

Sett tttin ing g up p a ch hiild’s ld bike




T olss To


W rk Wo kshop priinc nciple es


Clea Cl eaning you ea ourr bike ke e

28 8

Lu Lubr ub brric ric icat ating g yo your bik ke


Ma M aki king ng rou outtiine ne ssaf afet af ety checks et


M in Ma i te tena na anc nce e


T oublesh Tr hootin hoot i g


Sp pot otti ting ng gd dan an nge ger si sign sign gns

38 38

Prep Pr ep par arin in ng ffo or w we et w et we ea eat atthe her er

40 40


42 42

Ca abl be es s and nd shiftters

H w they wor Ho ok


Drrop handleb eb bar gear cabl ablles

46 46

Stra St raight handleb eb bar gea ar ca ables


Fron Fro ont and rear deraille eurs eu

Color reproduction by Colourscan in Singapore Printed and bound by Star Standard in Singapore

How Ho w th they ey work ey


Fron nt de d ra ailille l ur


Discover more at

Rear der erai a lllleu ai eurr eu


Hu H ub ge ub ear ars

H w th Ho they ey wor ork


Hub Hu b ge gear ar I

58 8

Hub gear II


Chaiin, n, ca c ss s ette e, and cra rank n set

ADJU AD ADJ JUST STING YOUR BRAKES 10 08 Riim b R brrak a es

How Ho w they th hey ey wor ok


Drrop p han nd dllebar eb e ba arr brake cable


How the Ho ey wor ork k


Stra St aight htt han h ndl dle eb bar ar b bra r ke cable 114

Chai aiins

64 4

Caliper br brak ak ke


Cassette and freewheel

66 66



Crran anks kset etss


C nt Ca ntililev ever brake ra ake k


Alternativ ive e brake de essiign ns


Bott tttom om brack cketts

H w th Ho hey y work


H bHu b mo mounte te ed brakes s

Ca artridge rtt bo b bott ottom ttom bracket tt ett

7 72

Ho ow th hey work k

12 24 4

Hollow-ax xle e bo bottom bra ra ack ket et

74 74

Replac ac cin i g di d sc s bra rake padss

126 26

B X bo BM ott t om om brackett


D sc bra Di ake k carre

128 28

Hyydr d aulic d diissc c bra r ke eI

130 13

Peda Pe da d als

How Ho w th t ey work k


Hyydrau Hydr drra lic diisc brra ake ke II

13 32 2

Peda Pe dal axle da

80 80

Ro r--b Roller brake ca ab ble

13 34

Clip ple ess ped edalls


Peda Pe dal cl cleats ts

8 84




Sus Su spen sp e siion n forrk ks s

How tth Ho hey y work k

138 13

He H ead adse etts s

Fron Fr ontt su ussp pen ensi s on

14 40

How th Ho they e work


Co oil/o /o oil fo orrk

142 42

Thre Th read dle ess headset

90 0

Aiir//o A oiil fo ork rk

144 14


Looking g af a te t r su susp sp pe en n n forks nsion

146 14

Thre Th re eaded headset

Rear sus u pe p ns sio on

Handle Ha nd dle eba bars r

Sttra r ig gh htt han ndl d eb e ar Drop op p han ndl dleb ebarr

94 4

How w it works orks k

148 14

96 6

Rear Re ar suspe ens nsio on

150 50

G os Gl ossa ssary sa s ary ry

152 15 52

In nde dex

15 54 4

Ackn kn now owledg le edg dg gme ment ntts


Hubs s

How th hey w work k Open-be ea earing hu ub ub

98 100

Wh W heels

Quickk re ele easse wh whee e ls ls

10 1 02

Puncture rep pai air

104 04

Spok okes ess and rims im ms

106 106 6

A cl clea eaan, wel e ll-ma main ma inta in tain ta ined ed b bike wi willll w rkk eff wo ffic icie ic ient ie ntly nt ly aand nd d saf afely, and add to you ur en e jo oym ymen entt o en off cyccling by giving yo ou peeac acee off min nd. Safe Sa f tyy and fe nd eeff fffic iciency are closely linked e . IIff your ed ou u ge gears arre no ot sh hif i ti ting ng co orrectl t y, for o iinstancce, they will not onlyy aff ffec e t yo yourr rid idiing efficiency, bu b t a so al o temptt you o tto o look down at them wh hililee ri ridi d ng tto see wh w at iiss ca caus usin ing g t e pr th pro oblem. m As a resu sultt, yo y u mi m gh ght taakee yyou our ey e es off what is happening n on the rroad on d ahead d and expose yourself to o thee posssibi siib lity t of a collision. The ty Bicy Bi cycl cy clee Re cl Repa p ir Man pa a ual will help you avoiid su av such h pro r blems by demonstratting how ho w to t mai aint ntain your bike regularly and an d co c rrrecctl tly. y.

Unders rstaand ndin i g te tech chnology Modeern Mo r bik ikes es may see eem complicated, an nd the teech c nolo logyy tha h t manufacturers usse mayy be b mor oree so s ph his isti tica cate ted d th than an everr. Ho ev owe w veer, cycle l components work rk, as they allwa as ways y hav ave, according to lo ogicaal pr p in nci c pl ples es, so s there is no reason for yo fo ou to be daaunted. Befo Be f re r you o beg e in to service a particcul ular ar com mponent of yo y ur bike, f rs fi rstt beeco come me fam a iliar with the part by tur u niin ng g to thee relevant seccti tion o . Know Kn ow win ing g ho how w a pa partt w works makkes it easi ea sier si er to ma main inta in tain in. Ab bov ovee al all,l be confident and patient with wi hw wha hatt yo ha ou are doing. Even if you do not thi h nkk of yourself as mech hanically ly minded d, you u ma may come me tto o en enjo joyy bi bike ke m in ma ntenaanc n e afteer a while and will cert ce rtai ainl nlyy en nl e jo j y th the trouble-free cyycl c in ing g th that at rew wards your efforts.

Collec Coll ecti ting ng iinf nfor orma mati t on If you buy u a new bike, e make sure that you ke k ep the accompanyin i g owner’s manuall, so that you can refer to it alongside this book. Do the same with anyy new eq an equipm pmentt th that at you ub buyy. If your bike is not new, obtain a manual fro ma r m a bike sho h p or the m nufacturer’s Web site. Manuals will ma help he lp yyou ou tto o be aawa ware re o off th thee pa part rtic icul ular ar main ma i tena nanc na n e requirem men e ts of all the components on your bike. If you want to learn more about bike mechanics, there are many magazines available that contain tips on specific components. However, the large ma majority of people who are simp si ply iint nter eres este ted d in lleaarn rnin ing ho how w to maintain their bike will find d everything they need to know in the pages of the Bicycle Repair Manual. Using Usin g th t is b boo ook k Th he different main ntenance requirements of the mosst common n types of bike kes are listed at the beginning of the book. These requirements are covered in the step-by-step pages that are specific to the components fitted to each type of bike—for example, suspension forks for mo moun untain in bikes.. You will also find a timettab a le for servicing the parts of your bike and a troubleshooting chart to help you identify and solve problems. The book helps yo ou to spot danger signs and to carr ca rryy ou ut ro rout utin inee sa safe fety ty cche heck cks. s. TThe hese se features detail what you need to do and refer you to the relevant step-bystep sequences to explain how w to do it.

Understanding your bike will make it easier to maintain. Identify all the different parts and components to help you see how they work together as a whole.



The basic bike Modern bikes, such as the hybrid bike (below), w are designed to be light and user-friendly. Each part performs a key function in the overall operation of the bike. The frame is the skeleton on to which all components are fitted. The fork holds the front wheel, and connects to the handlebars so the bike can be steered. Suspension forks improve comfort and control over rough surfaces. The drivetrain is the system that

transfers the rider’s energy, via the pedals and cranks, to the rear wheel. It also contains a number of cogs, known as chainrings and cogs, which carry the chain. The derailleurs change the bike’s gears by moving the chain onto different chainrings and cogs. Derailleurs are controlled by the gear-shift levers, which are mounted on the handlebar to allow quick and easy use by the rider. The brakes are controlled by brake

Hybrid bike  Advances in technology have refined the design and improved the performance of each category of bike part, producing a machine that is easy to ride and maintain. Wheel (see pp.98–9, 102–7) 7 The rim’s shape and high-tech aluminum increase the wheel’s strength. Wheels with disc brakes, shown here, can have lighter rims than bikes with rim brakes. brake

Frame me (see pp.12–13)

Derailleur (see pp.500–5) 5 Derailleurs are designed to cope with the wide rangee of sprocket sizes required to climb and descend de the steepest hills.

Impr mproved welding techniques allow thin-walled aluminum tubes to provide a relatively cheap, light and responsive frame. The thickness of the tube walls varies to cope with areas of increased stress.

Pedal (see pp.78–85) 5 Clipless pedals allow more power to be transferred to the wheels because the feet are fixed to the pedals. Flat pedals, and toe clips and straps, are simpler, but easier to use.

Drivetrain n (see pp.56–77) pp 5 Stiff materials maximize the amount of power the drivetrain transfers to the rear wheel. A triple crankset increases gear range and a flexible chain allows quick, easy gear-shifts.


levers that are also mounted on the handlebar, and use brake pads to press against the wheel’s rim, or discs attached to the hub, to stop the bike. High-tech machine  Many years of design refinement have produced an adaptable hybrid bike, which combines technology from road and mountain bikes for use in an urban environment.

Gear-shift levers (see pp.44–9) 9 Ergonomically designed d gear-shift levers were developed from mountain bikes, and give vee easy, precise gear-shifts.

Fork (se For see eee pp ppp.13 .138–4 138–4 47) Forks are designed with varying thickness in the tube wall. Tubes are thin in the middle and thick at both ends. This reduces weight and absorbs road shock. Some forks also act as suspension systems, further reducing shock and improving control. Brake (see pp.108–35) 5 Disc brakes offer sensitive, powerful braking that is not affected by weather conditions. Other bikes have rim brakes, O which are still very good, w aalthough they require earlier braking to slow in the wet. b

Tire (see pp.104–5) 5 Modern tires are made from rubber compounds that roll well on the road, while adhering to it when cornering. They often have puncture-resistant bands of material, such as Kevlar, beneath the tread.



Anatomy of the bike Understanding how the parts on your bike fit together will help you perform maintenance tasks successfully. Although your bike may differ from the modern mountain bike (right), t all bikes fit together in a similar way. For example, the quick-release levers on the wheels below perform the same function as axle nuts on a bike with hub gears. The main parts and their components, and where each part is attached to the bike, are shown on the mountain bike. Take the time to study the illustration, since it will act as a useful reference to help you follow the steps later in the book. Mountain bike  The mountain bike is a good example of how parts fit together—its frame, wheels, drivetrain, pedals, derailleurs, brakes, and gear-shift levers are similar to those of road and hybrid bikes.

Saddle Saddle cover Saddle rails

Seat post Saddle clamp

Rear brake Cable-guide tube Braking surface Brake pad Brake arm

Frame Seat tube Seat stay Chainstay Down tube

Rear hub Rear dropout Hub Quick-release

Bottom bracket


Rear derailleur

Cassette body

Jockey pulley


Derailleur plate


Barrel adjuster

Anatomy of the bike


Bike controls Gear-shift lever



Brake lever

Steering Handlebar stem

Bike parts are designed to bolt together in the same way to allow straightforward maintenance by following a few key workshop principles (see pp.26–7). 7 Most parts use Allen bolts, so for many tasks an Allen key multi-tool is all that is required.

Top cup and bearing Spacer Stem cap Head tube Top tube Steerer tube Bottom cup and bearing

Front wheel Hub Spoke Rim

Fork crown Fork blade Slider


Tires Tire bead Valve Tire


Inner tube

Right-hand crankarm



Pedal body

Front derailleur

Foot retention mechanism


Pedal axle




Bikes for general use You Yo ou ca can a buy a bike for almost any purpose, butt ev bu e en a simple utility, hybrid, or folding bikke will still increase your fitness, save you bi moneyy on train or bus tickets, and have no nega gattive impact on your environment. As long as the bike is of good quality, you willl o only need to keep it clean and checkk it rregularly for signs of wear. Hybrid bikes, utililitty b bikes, and folding bikes are all dependab blee machines that are suitable for commuting to work or school, day-to-day transportation, or simply a relaxing ride on a b ke trail or country road. bi TTh he hybrid bike Ligh igh ghtw twei tw eigh ght materials combined with roadbiike b ike p peerform mance and hardy mountain bike tech tech te chnolo nolo l gyy m make hybrid bikes perfect for bumpy urba bu b n roads. They are ideal for comm co mmut mut u in ing, g, familyy ri ride d s, fitness riding, tto tour ou urrrin i g, in g, aan nd car arrryin rying lugg gage. Thee ut Th util ilitty bik bike ke Util Ut tillit ity bi ity b kees arre ideal fo for loccal commuting and sho an sh hortt rid des. e They aree equ uipped with fat t res th ti hat at ab bsorb road bum bs ump ps but will drag on lon on ng jou urneys, making the hem tiring and uncomf mfforta or able to ride. TTh he folding g bike Id deall fo forr co com mm mmuters, and for people with lilittttlee sspa p ce c in which h to sto tore re a standard bike, folding g bi bikess ca ca go anyywhere, esp can pecially on pub blilicc trransp sp por orta t ti tio on. The fo old lded ed bike can be easiilyy reas assem mbled mble ed into a serviceable machin ne with houtt th thee us usee of tools.

U an commuting Urb W h its head-up, traffic-friendly riding position Wit and easy-to-operate gears, the lightweight hybrid is ideal for urban commuting.

Bikes for general use


• Regularly maintain and lubricate the derailleur gears (see pp.52–3, 54–5). 5 blees • Check the gear cab for signs of wear (see p.39, pp.48–9). 9 • Check the brake cables or hoses, and pads for signs of wear (see p.39, pp.114–15). 5 • Check the tires for signs of wear (see p.39 39). 39 9) he • Regularly change the chain (see pp.64–5). 5

Ti Tire

Gear cable

Rea Rear Re deraille dera illeur ille ur

Brake cable Front derailleur

C n Chai


icat ate • Regularly lubrric the hub gears (se seee pp.58–9, 60– –1). t e • Regularlyy checkk th gear cablees for sign gns of gn wear we ar ((ssee see p. p.39 39). 39 ularl rlyy ch rl cheeck eck the the • Regu brake conttro ol ca cabl bles bl e es forr si fo sign gn ns off w wea eaar (pp.1 114 4–1 –15 5). ) g larlyy ch heck th t e • Regu brakke pa pads ds ffor or ssig ig gns n of wear (see p.38) 8). g larly clean n an and d • Regu grease tthee ccha hain in ((se seee pp.28– 28–9, 9, 30– 0 1). ).

Handlebar basket Sp ung Spru ng sad addle

Brak ake e lever

Hu Hub u gears

Chaingua uard r


• Regularly check and lubricate the pivots and the locks that allow the bike to fold and unfold. • Regularly check hub gears, even thou o gh ou h they are shielded fro ro om th he elements and so need very little maintenance (see pp.58–9, 60–1) • Pay extra attention to t e outer control cables th (sseee p.39, pp.48–9). 9

Rear suspens pe ion pens o on Hub ub and derailleur ur gear gear syst stem st em

Folded bike

Frame hinge Large chainrings

Unfolded bike




Specialty bikes If you If u waan nt to t ttakke up cycling as a ssport or ho ob bbyy, rather th han simply as a meeans of transportaati tr t on,, look look for a more speccialized bikkee, ssu bi uch as a ra racee-level road bike, a mou mo untain bikke,, or a BMX bike. un As bikkes As es beeccom ome more sophisticated, they ome neeed ne d more caare r . Fo or example, lightw weight paart par rts wearr quickklyy, so they must be kept scru sc rupulo pu ousslyy cleean. Carbon wheel rim pu ms requirre ssp re pecia eciaal br brakke pads that do no ot work weell w elll on me meta tal. Hydraulic disc brakes and sussp sus pension on systtem tems te ms need regular attention. Do not ot leett tth hiss stop you from buyying your drea eam bikkee. Justt ass riding it will be a joy, maintaain ma nin ng it to exacting standardss will be paarrt be rt off th he who he ole cycling experieence. TThe he roaad d biikke Lig Li gh htweig ght m maateri r als and narrow tires make ro oad ad bik ikees es goo od fo or fitness riding, dayy touring, and comp an mpet etittio ions. Th T e aerodynamic position affo af ford rded db byy a dr drop handlebar offers great drop spee sp eed. d Road bikes are so light and haave such a range of gears that almost anyonee, with a liittle training, can tackle the great m mountain passes made famous by the Tour de France. The mountain bike The Fulll-suspension mountain bikes allow w you to break new ground and ride acrosss rugged terrai ain that was previously unthinkaable and at spe peed e s that were once unattainab ble. The BM BMX bike Thesee bikes are built for acceleration n and agilee bike handling. Like some of thee very firsst bikes, BMXs are made almost en ntirely from m steel because it transfers poweer in a way th hat no other material can.

Road ridiing R Ro TThi h s road road d bi bike k represents the ultimate in road-bike d ign des g , and gn nd iss the type of bike that proffessionals use u se s in in th the Tour ou u d de FFrance.

Specialty bikes


d • Regularlyy cleaan and lubr lu bric icate th thee bi bike ke (see Caliper brake pp.28–9, 30– –1). 20-speed d gear• Make routine safety shiftt ssystem shif m c ecks ((seee pp.3 ch 32–3 3). Chec eck th he braakes • Ch (see pp.1 116 16–1 17). • Make suree gears are working perfectl wo tlly (see pp.52– 2 3, 54– –5). me protector • Check fram paads d for wea earr in n th hee locati lo tio onss wh wher eree cable er oute ou ters to ouch carbo onfiiber fr frames (seee p.33 33). ).

Carb ar on-f arb -fiber be fram me

Aluminum Aluminum drop handlebar Road race tire

Clipless Clip l less pedall peda ped

Deep secttion De carbon fibe car ca ber rim ms


up thee susspensi pe ion pe • Set up system m (see pp.1 140-1 1, 150– –1). ) gu ula larrly cleaan and • Regu lubr lu b iccat a e th he su uspension sp n (see pp pp.1 .1 142–3, 42 144–5). 14 5 pec ectt al alll pivo vots and vo • Insp seals re reg gula gula larl rly. rl y. es or • Check brake cables hoses, and pads regu ularlly (see pp.38–9, pp.114 4–15 5).). • Replace the casssette every six months (see pp.66–7). 7 rvic i e the he ic heaadseet • Seerv regu gu ula larly (see pp.90 0–1, 92–3). 92

Straight handlebar

Rear arr sho h ck ho Rear deraill aill illeur eur

Carb bon-f on-fiber iber e frame fram e

Cross-country tire re

Su Susp uspensi ens on fork Disc brake


cheeckk th he • Regularly ch bottom brackket to o se seee that a it is runni at n ng g ffre reee, butt not loosse (se seee pp p.7 .76–7). 7 Repl p ace the pe peda dals lss • Re iff tthe heir axles are he re ben nt (se seee pp.80–1). ). djust the h b bra raake kess fo or • Ad mini nima m l travel before ef the br b akes es com o e on on, since th he sttee eell ri rim ms ms, thou ugh g vver e y st er stro rong ro ng, ng do not make go good od brakkin i g surf su facces ((seee pp.122 22–3 22 –3)). –3

Sing S n le geari ea ng

Gy Gyro headset head Stunt peg

Opposite site t transmis smis m sion sio




Setting up an adult’s bike

Adjusting your riding position

If the saddle’s height and angle are adjusted and the position of the brake levers on the handlebar is set so that they are within easy reach, then riding will be more efficient and comfortable. A novice cyclist should try setting the saddle height a little lower at first, and work toward the ideal once he or she is used to riding. STEP LOCATOR









• Set your crankarms so that the pedal farthest

Remove your shoes and sit on your bike, supporting yourself against a wall.

from the wall is at the low point of its revolution.

• Put the heel of your foot on the pedal. Your leg Toolbox

 Allen key multi-tool  Wrenches  Screwdriver

should be straight when you do this. Ask someone to help you check.

The kn nee aligns ns w h the wit h ax axl xle

Place the widest part of your foot over the pedal axle. If your shoes have cleats, set them up so that your foot can easily adopt this position (see pp.84–5 ).


• Set your crankarms parallel to the floor. The depression on the side of your leading leg, just behind the kneecap, should be directly over the axle of the pedal. Ask your helper to check.

Move your saddle back if the depression M on your leg is in front of the axle. If it is behind, move it forward.


• Undo the saddle clamp under the saddle. On modern bikes, you will need an Allen key; on older bikes, use a wrench.

• Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until you are sure you have the position right.

Setting up an adult’s bike

Raise the saddle if your leg is not straight when your heel is on the pedal. Lower the saddle if your heel does not reach the pedal.


• Undo the seat pin clamp bolt. Raise or lower the saddle, tighten up the bolt, and try again. Ask your helper to see if your leg is straight. Do not lean on the foot that you are testing.

Make sure that the brake reach allows you to apply the brakes using the first joints of your first two fingers, while holding the handlebar securely with your thumb and remaining fingers. You should be able to hook your fingers over the brake levers. If you have to stretch too far, you will be unable to apply enough power.


To make absolutely sure the saddle height is right for you, go for a ride with your cycling shoes on and your feet in their normal position on the pedals.


• Ask your helper to ride behind you and make sure your hips are not rocking from side to side as you ride. If they are, the saddle is set too high and you need to repeat Steps 1 and 2.


Adjust the reach of the brake levers if you have to stretch too far.

9 and • Undo the brake cable (see pp.118–19) screw in the adjuster on the lever until you can reach it easily. Then reclamp the brake cables.

• Set the brake levers at an angle to the handlebar so that you can pull them in line with your arm.




Setting up a child’s bike

Adjusting the position of the saddle

Before a child starts riding a bike, adjust the saddle and handlebar to suit his or her body. Set the saddle at its lowest point, as in Step 1. Buy the biggest bike possible at first, then keep adjusting it as the child grows taller. Children’s bikes are usually measured by wheel size—from 12in (30cm) up to 24in (60cm). STEP LOCATOR







Set the saddle on your child’s bike at a height that allows him or her to sit on it and simultaneously to touch the ground with the front part of each foot. This is the ideal setup.



 Allen key multi-tool  Wrenches  Plastic mallet

Adjusting the height of the handlebar

Raise or lower the bike’s handlebar by loosening the expander bolt that holds the stem into the bike. This bolt is secured by either an Allen bolt or a hexagonal bolt, so use an Allen key or a wrench to loosen it.


• Knock the bolt down with a plastic mallet to free it up if you need to.

Grip the front wheel betweeen your legs to steady it and then pull the handlebar up or push it down. Do not pull the hand dlebar higher than the safety limit that is marked on the stem. Once the handlebar is at the right height, and the stem is lined up with the front wheeel, tighten the expander bolt.


Setting up a child’s bike

Loosen the seat pin clamp—it has either a quick-release lever or a nut-and-bolt fixing that requires a wrench. Either pull the saddle up or push it down to the required height.


Adjust the e sad add dd d dle e and han ndlleba ebarr stil eb tiill further if you ou nee nee eed d tto o, so o, so that your ur ch hild i d ccaan ssiit it in n the id deal e ri ridin ing in ng pos ossitio osi ositi tio ion— neith the herr too o upr up u prig pr ig igh gh ht ht, t, no nor or or too to oo o sttret rettch ch che heed. d.


Move the saddle forward or backward by loosening the nut that secures the seat clamp. Tighten the nut again, but be sure that the saddle is horizontal to the ground.



Your bike needs to be kept clean and well lubricated to avoid mechanical problems. Learning to make cleaning, lubricating, and checking a regular part of your bike routine will lengthen the life of your bike and its components.



Toolss Iff you are goi oing to regularly maintaain and repa repa re pair air i you ur bike, you will need to bu uy a t ol to o kkit it or as it assemble your own. The to ools sh sho how own oppo osite will enable you to caarry out aalll th the es e se sent n ial repairs and to maintaain your bikkee at pe bike p ak ak performance. Add other tools aass req e uired d when specific parts of you ur bike neeed n ed maintenance or replacement. Ho owever, try to fol tr ollo ow a few general principles w when usin ng th t e to tools. When e usi s ng tools on a bike, especiaally light gh htwei e gh ghtt bikes, you need a delicate ttouch. If you If ou are use sed d to w working on cars, then use less less le ss for orce ce whe h n de dealing with your bike. Nuts an nd bo bollts t only ly n nee e d to be tight; if you overee o tigh tigh ghte teen th them m, th they eyy w will shear. If in doub bt, buy to orq r u uee gau uge g s th hat a accurately measure tthe correc co ect le ec ect leve vel off tig ve ig ghtness on a bike’s nuts ts and d bo b lt lts. s.. See ee thee component manufactu urers’ in nst s ru ucttio onss ffor rec eco ommended torque s tttin se ingss. In I fac act, ct it is essential to keep all the in th nsttru ructtio i ns tha h t come with your bikee, tto ool o s,, and d anyy ccom omp po ponents you buy. Bu uy th thee be b st st-q -quaalility, precision-made -q tool to ols. s TThe h y wi he w ll last for many years if you ttaakkee care are off the ar hem. m. Cheap tools will bend and a beecome b com co mee cchi h pp hi p ed ed,, ma maki king ng it impossible to caarrrry out out so ou some m mai aint nten e ance jobs properly. They Th hey ey cou uld ld even da dam magee the components th hat at yyou ou wor ou oko on n.

Wor W o kin ing g witth tools to Whe W h hen usin using your tools to o mainta ma tain ta in or re rep ep pai air your biike, give your giv oursel s f plenty en of roo room m and aan nd allwayys wo ork in a neatt, weell-l wel we l- it it env en iro ronme nment. n nt. nt


Essential tools Start your toolbox with the two multi-tools, the wrenches to fit the cones, needle-nose pliers, cable cutters, a pump, and a workstand.

Wrenches and Allen Keys

Drivetrain Tools

Wrenches 13—18mm

Crankar m bolt wrench Chain whip Crank puller

Pumps and Workstand Chain tool Workstand

Cassette remover Allen keys 2—10mm

Bottom Bracket Tools Peg spanner

Wrench multi-tool Frame-mounted pump

Allen key multi-tool

Hollow ow-axle cup ttool


Wrench Shock pump

Plastic mallet

Hollow-axle crank cap tool Bottom-bracket remover

Pliers and Cable Cutters


Needlenose pliers (narrow)

Some S omee maintenan nce and rep epla laceme m nt tasks requ q ire specia ialtty to tool o s that a you o w will not usee verry oft ften e . Oth her tools, suc uch h as the cab blee puller e , arre no not essentiaal bu ut wi w ll makke ma ke som me jobs easier.

Cable cutters

Cable Cabl ep puller

Chain n measuringg m device

Needle -nose pliers (wide) Ben nch h vise

Track pump

Spok p e keys and spoke rule er




Workshop principles Four key principles govern the work you do on your bike. The first is neatness—find a place for each tool and return it there when you are finished with it. Second, do not use too much force to tighten components—the nuts and bolts of lightweight parts can easily

shear. Third, remember the order in which you take components apart. Finally, keep all of your tools clean and dry. The guidelines below provide you with general principles for some of the most common tools or operations in bike repair.

Using Allen keys

Using pliers

Put the long axis of an Allen key in the Allen bolt to make the key easier to use, both for repeated turns and in places where space is tight or restricted, such as putting a bottle cage on the down tube.

Use the short axis of an Allen key to make the final turn when tightening an Allen bolt—for example, on a chainring. You can also use this technique to start undoing an Allen bolt.

Use needle-nose pliers to hold cables and keep them under tension. Buy a small pair with pointed jaws for tight areas. Keep the jaws clean and grease-free. Lubricate the pivot with light oil occasionally.

Fix a cable crimp onto a brake cable to stop the ends from fraying. Push the cable crimp onto the end of the cable and squeeze it flat with your pliers. If you are gentle, you can use the inside jaws of your cable cutters.

Using a wrench

Cutting cable housings

Always use the correct size of wrench for the nut you are tightening or loosening. Hold the wrench firmly at the end to maximize leverage. Make sure that the jaws fully enclose the nut to prevent it from slipping.

Cut a brake cable housing between the spirals of the metal tube under the sheath. If the spirals become compressed, squeeze them with the inside of your cutter jaws until they are round.

Cut a gear cable housing through the wire under the sheath. If you need to, squeeze the wire with the inside of your cutter jaws until its crosssection is round again.

Org Or Org gan ani a n niizin zin zi ing a bi bik ke e wo wor w orrk o ksh ssh hop op Reg R gula ulllaarly u rly m maaiint nttai n aain inin ing ng yo yourr b biik ike and nd cca car arry ar ryyiin ryi ng g ou out o u utt es esssen seeen nti tiaal repa tia paairs rss me meaan ans nss tth n hat at yyo you ou u ccaan an keeep eee yo yyou ou o ur bike ike ik ke at at pe peaakk p per errfo fo for orrman maan m ance cce. e Iff yyo ou haave avve ve th thee sspa sp paace p ce tth ce, he bees est sstt p pllaac ace ccee to to do do th this is is is in in a wo worksho orrksho ork op tha that th hat is well ha weel ell ll o orrrg gaan g gan aniize zeed an nd d eequ eq qu q uip ipp ipp pped ed w wit wi iith all ll the he too oolss you oo yo ou o u ne neeed d ffo for o orr yyo our ur p paaarrttic par iiccu ulllaar bikkkeee.. Crea ula re te te a wor wo orksh k hop op ttha h haat is drryy wit wi h pllen leentyy o off lig li ht h —and a an fo fol o llow w tth hee fo ou our u urr kkey key work rkksho s p princip rin ri rin i cip ciplless.



Cleaning your bike Although a bike is a very efficient and durable machine, some of its more delicate parts are at the mercy of the elements. Grit and dirt, for example, stick to lubricants and act as a grinding agent. Clean the parts regularly to keep them running smoothly and prevent them from wearing out. While cleaning your bike, check all the parts and components for damage. With the wheels taken out, you can look at parts of the bike’s frame that are usually hidden and examine each component for signs of dangerous wear (see pp.32–3 and pp.38–9). 9 The process of cleaning is straightforward. First, remove old lubricants by applying a degreaser. Then wash the dirt off with water and detergent. Finally, rinse, dry, and lubricate the exposed moving parts. Cleaning equipment

 Plastic bucket  Sponges  Degreaser  Cloth  Hard-bristled brushes  Cassette scraper


Clean the rest of the wheel, including the tires, with a bigger brush and soapy water.

• Work the bristles in between the spokes and around the hub. Rinse with clean water and dry everything with a cloth.

Removing dirt and oil


Remove both wheels from the bike and put the frame in a workstand or hang it up.

• Place a chain holder in the rear dropout to keep the chain tight while the rear wheel is out of the bike. This allows the chain to run freely so that it can be cleaned thoroughly.

• Apply a degreaser to remove any old oil and grit. Spray onto the crankset, the front and rear derailleurs, and the chain, covering each link.

Spray the chainrings, crankset, and front derailleur with more degreaser if there is still stubborn oil and dirt (inset). t


• Dip the sponge in hot, soapy water and wrap it around the chain. Turn the pedals so the chain runs through the sponge.

• Use the same sponge to wash the rear derailleur, the front derailleur, and the chainrings.

Cleaning your bike

Use se a cas asse as sette e scrrap aper to gouge ape gee out g outt aan anyy dirt and di nd d deb bris th that at has ac accum cum mulated ulaated betwee ween the he cog gs.


Apply ple A pl nty of soapyy water ter er to the restt of o the bike bik wit iha differentt sponge. Staart at the top and work down.


fferent-sized, harrd• Use diff bristled bru ushes to work o tthe water intto the placess th that at are hard to reach. se with clea ean n water • Rinse and drry the bikke with ha clean cloth.. sponge g to w ge wo ork r rk • Use a sp soaap into o intr tricatee part tri rts, s, su uch ass betw ettween n thee brak rakke arms and nd the p pads. ds. lacce th he wh whe heels an nd • Repplac sp parin ng glyy ap gl pplyy a lightt oi oil to o the hee ch hain n and an the moviing part rtss of thee frrontt and d rear deerai ail illeu eu urs. rs.

Use a har hard-b d-b -bris -b bris ristle tled brush tled rush on th thee ccasse ssette tt tte s tha so th t the h deg egrea egrea reasser se reeach a es into the spaces spa ces b betwe betwe tween en n the the co ogs. Allow a few ew min inute utess forr the de degre grease gre aserr tto ase o workk, and a d w h iitt off wa was off with wit ith soap apyy wate ap ater. r.





Lubricating your bike

Applying oil and grease

Regular lubrication helps a bike to run smoothly and prevents excessive wear and tear. Each time a part of the bike is lubricated, remember to remove the old oil and grease with degreaser first (see pp.28–9). 9 Applying new lubrication on top of old does not work because lubricants attract grit and dirt to the bike and form a grinding paste that can cause damage. The lubricants needed vary from light spray oil (dry lube) and heavier oil (wet lube) to light grease manufactured specifically for bikes and anti-seize compounds. Dribble some light oil inside the cable housings before you fit a new cable. This makes sure that the cable runs smoothly inside. Poor gear-shifts are often due to cables running dry inside their housings. The same is true of brakes that are hard to apply and slow to return to the ready-to-use position.




1 2




Dribble light oil on to the pivots in the front and rear derailleurs once a week. The jockey pulleys on the rear derailleur also need some light oil where they rotate around the jockey pulley bolts.

Oil the chain after riding in wet weather, and clean, dry, and lubricate when cleaning your bike (see pp.28–9). 9 Except in winter, or in bad conditions, use light oil from a spray can or bottle.

• Make sure you flush out any

• Hold a cloth underneath the

old oil with degreaser first.

chain to catch any excess oil.



Grease open bearings after regular cleaning with a light grease specifically made for bikes. Bottom brackets and hubs need most attention, but headsets need regreasing less often. Riding regularly in the rain shortens the interval between lubrications.


Lubricating your bike


Smear grease on all new cablles an nd, occasionally, on old on ones.

• Place a blob of grease on the nipple ennd of the cable, then pull the cable le throu ugh your our thum mb and index finger beforee fitting g it. Weear mechanic’s disposablee glovees.

Sprea S ead an nti ti-sei eizze com mpound nd on the seaat pi pin in and d st stem to preven nt the tw two wo co compo pon nents ts fro from m bin ndi ding with tth the sea eatt ttu ube b or be o st ste teerer ere rer tube.. Alt tub Altho hough you hou you ccaan us use gre grease in n pla place ce off an a i-s ant i-s -seeize eize, alw lways ays us ay usee a cop cop opper er-b -ba -bas b sed sed anti aantiti-sei se ze ccom ompo pound pou n nd for fo orr lu ubr bricating bricat bri ting g co comp mpo onents mad de with wit h carb bon n fib fiber. err





Making routine safety checks

Making frame checks

Every week or so, check the bike frame for signs of wear. Before going for a ride, run through a few checks to reduce the chances of a mechanical failure: brakes that cease to work, a loose handlebar, a tire blowout, or slipping gears. The checks will help to avoid many of the accidents caused by equipment failures. Safety checks help the management of a bike, allowing the timely replacement of parts or the completion of non-urgent maintenance work. STEP STE P LOC LOCATO ATOR R

Inspect the frame every week or so and look for metal fatigue. Run a finger under the down tube where it joins the head tube. A ripple in the tube’s surface could lead to a break.


1 2 1 2 3


• Check around the area where the chainstay bridge is brazed to the chainstays, particularly on a steel frame. Cracks may form in the metal here because of the heat of the brazing process.

5 4

Making pre-ride checks

Hold the front wheel firmly between your legs and try to turn the handlebar from one side to the other. If there is any movement, check the stem and steerer bolts and tighten them if necessary.

Apply each brake fully and push the bike forward. If the lever pulls to the bar before the brake stops a wheel from rotating, adjust the travel or replace the pads.

Lift the bike, slowly spin the wheels, and check the tires for cuts, splits, or bulges. If you find a bulge, or are in any doubt, replace the tire. Check the tire pressure.

• Apply the front brake. Tighten

• Remove anything stuck in

• Try twisting the bar upward

the headset if you feel any play in the steerer assembly.

the tire, as it may cause the tire to deflate (see pp.104–5). 5


to look for rotational movement.



Making routine safety checks

Monitor all the parts that are riveted to an aluminum frame, especially the cable guides or the front derailleur hangers. The rivets form potentially ntially weak areas where stresses in the metal may develop into cracks.


Checck that all quick-release levers are in the locked posiition, and wheel nutss are tight. Look for th he words “lock” and “unlock” on the leveers— “lock” is outermosst when the wheel is secure (see pp.102 2–3).


Run through the gears and make sure that they are properly adjusted. Gears that will not mesh properly after you change them can be distracting and, if you look down to see what is wrong, potentially dangerous. If the gears are correctly adjusted and the chain is still jumping, check for a stiff link.


Protect carbon-fiber frames in areas where the cable outers touch them. Buy a self-adhesive protective patch and peel off the back Place it on the frame, back. frame sticky side down, down under the cable outer—it is very important to prevent the cable from wearing down the carbon frame. Check the patches regularly and replace them when worn.






Chain for wear (see pp.6 64––55) Gear-shift performance (seee pp.46–9, 52–5) 5) Inner cables for fraying and d outer o cables for wear (see pp.46–9) 9 Crankarms and chainring g boltss for tightness (see pp.68–9) 9

Oil chain (see pp.3 pp 30–1) Oil jockey pulleyys (see pp.54 .54--55)



Headset forr loo osen nesss and d eaase of steering (see pp p.90–3 3) Action n of qu uick--releasee levvers (ssee pp.102–3) Wheelss for broken en spo po okes and tru ueness (see pp p.10 106–7 6–7 7) Handllebar and stem for craackks (see pp.94–7 –7 7)

Inner cab bless ffor fray ayying and an and outer cab cablles for weear (see pp p.1112–15) 5 Padss for wear and nd aliignmen nt (see pp.116– 6–3, 128– 28–9) 9 Hyd ydraaulic hose ses es forr wear, kinks, or leaks (se see pp.130–1 0 1) Brake leverss, arms,, discs, and n ca calipers ffor cracks (see pp.11 1122–23, 2– ppp.128–3 –33) Disc and d ca caliperr bolts for or tig ghtn h ess (see pp.130–11) Oil expossed cab bles byy wipin wip g with wet lu ube on a rag













Schedule the work you need to carry out on your bike by developing a maintenance timetable. The timetable on the right provides a good template, since it shows the tasks you should perform on your bike and suggests when you should do them. Your schedule depends on how much and where your bike is ridden. A heavily used off-road bike requires attention at much shorter intervals, while a bike used for infrequent, short road journeys will need less regular attention. However, work carried out as part of a maintenance schedule does not replace the safety checks that must be carried out before every ride (see pp.32–3), or regularly looking for danger signs (see pp.38–9). 9 You should also check your bike and lubricate the drivetrain every time you clean it.




Fork and shock exterior surrfac faces es for f cracks (ssee pp p.142–4 142–4 45, 1500–51 551) Sttanchions un nder shoc shock bo oots, s, if fitted t d, ffor or cracks (ssee pp p.14 1 0–1 1) To op caps p crow ps, wn bollts, and sha haft ft bol olts ts for tig ghtnes esss (see pp.13 388–9 – , 142–3,, 144–5) 5

Teflo on oil oi on fork rkk stanc nchions and sh shock o body, ock and on alll seals (see pp p.140–4 –47, 7, 150 1 –1)




Bottom bracket for sm moot ooth h running, play, and bent axle (see pp.72–7) 7 Pedals for play, and clipless ped dals for play and release action (see pp.80–3) Rearr dera Rea der illeur pivots for play (see pp.54 54–5) 5 Co and chai Cog hainring teeth for wear (see pp.66 66–9) 9

Freehub body and freew wheel for play (see pp.66–7) 7 Rear derailleur frame fi fixxing bolt for play (see pp.54–5) 5 Cleats for wear (see pp pp.84–5) 5 Jockey pulleys for weaar (see pp.54–5) 5

Oil deraiilleeurr pivots (see pp.30–1) Oil and d grea reasse inner and outer cable bles es (see (see pp.30 30–1) 1) Oil clipl pless pl ess pedal releaase mechanisms (see pp.40–1)

Oil in hub gear, if equi quipped with oil port (see pp.58–9) 9 G ase bearings Gre be in ped dals (see pp.80–1)

Chaain on n a heav avily ily used d bike (seee pp pp.40 .40––1, 64–5) 5

Chain (see pp.64 Chain pp 4–5 –5) 5) Inner Inn er and ou outer ter ca cable b s (see pp p .46–9) 9 Cogs on a he heavi avily ly use u d bike bike ((see ee pp pp.66 6–7) –7

H s for play on axles, roughness, or tight spots Hub (see pp.100–3) Rubber seals on hubs for splits (seee pp pp.100–3) Covers, iff fitted, Cov f on headsets (se see pp pp.40 . –1)

B ringss in open-beearing hubs Bea hub forr wear (see pp pp.10 p.10 .1000–1) Bea ngs and bearin Bearin ng surfac fa es in headsets for weear (see see pp.9 .90–3)

Oil th t e seals on hubs (see pp.100–3 –3))

Grease op Gr pene bea bearin r g hubs (see pp.100–1) Greaase headsets (see pp.90–3) Gr

Handlebar tape and grips (see pp.94–7 –7) 7)

Discs for we w ar and caalipers ers for f allignme nm nt (see pp.130–11)

Grease inner cablees and oil iinside o oute uterr ccabl abl b es (see pp p .30 30–1, – 114–17) 7

Grease Gre ase br brake ake bosses (see pp.120–1)

Brake pads of heavily us used ed m mou unta nt in bikes es (see pp.120–2 pp –223)

Inn Inner ne and outer cables (see pp.112–1 2–155)

Fork and shock ck for playy (see see pp pp.14 .14 140–5 0–5,, 150– 0 1) Fo ork stanchions to o se seee if if oil oil lin l e visi is ble ((see see pp p..14 140–5 0 5) Fo ork and sho hock sealss for crrack ac s and d sla slackn ck es ckn ess (see seee pp p .14 .140–5 0–5, –5, 150–1). 15 (Play, y absen nce of oil liines n , and d cracke cked d seal seal ealss are are all ev evide ide dence ncce off worrn seals, whi which shou uld be replaced re ed by a traine tra rained n d teech hnician nic i ian.)) Fork and shock sag (see ee pp.14 140–11, 15 150–1)

For orkk stee steerer rer fo forr crac cracks, ks, b by removing thee head headset set (se see pp.90–3)

Turn bike upside down an and d store ove vernight so oilil caan redistribute in fork

Fork oil (see pp pp.142–5) 5 Seals on forks and a shocks, as a parrt of biannual service by trained technician






The chain will not shift onto a smaller cog or chainring.

The chain will not shift onto a larger cog or it sh shift hift iftss butt does not run smoothly on it. The chain shifts cleanly, but jumps on the cogs when pressure is applied to the pedals.


The chain rubs on the inner then the outer side of the front derailleur cage. On a bike with a single chainring, the chain persistently falls off.

When you apply the front brake and push the bike forward, the headset moves forwar ard d rela rela elativ tivee to tiv to the head tube. You hear a sudden snappi ppi p ng noi noise com no co e from m a wheeel el while riding and/or the he whe h el goes out of tru ue. There is side-to-side de pl p ay a off a hub on its ts axle, e o or wh hen en turning the axle in the thee hub you you feel eithe th r a rrough ghnes gh neess or tight and loose see sp spo ots. When pedalling ng g for forw ward, thee casse ssette spins inss, but but theere is no drive to the biike. kee Alternatively, th he cassset ett t e spins befo e ree the drive is en ngag gaged ed or there iss muc much side de-to -to-side de playy in n the cassette. The brakes aree haard to apply,, an nd/or nd/o /o sl slugg uggish ish s to o relea relea eaase se.


The symptoms of some of the things that can go wrong with your bike are listed in this troubleshooting chart. It explains why a bike may be showing these symptoms and then suggests a solution, referring you to the pages where you will find a detailed sequence of steps to guide you. If you still find the problem difficult to solve, consult the How They Work pages for the specific part you are working on, so th hat you can understand it better. However, so ometi metime mes the symptoms confronting you c n be ca be d due ue to a malfunction other than the one th one su sug ggested in this charrt. If, aft f er cco ons nsul ulti t ng the relevant pagees in tthe he b book, you st yo stiliilll cann caan nn not o solve ve tthe problem em,, ask th he expe ex perrtts att a goo ood bike ke sho hop p fo forr he help p.


You have to pu p l thee bra pul b kee lev lever er a long wa way befo e re r the he brakes engag ge. e.

The two brake pads do not cont ontact act th the brak aking ing surf rface ce at the same time. The brake pads con ontac on tacct the h brakin king g sur surf urface ac wi ace witho t ut pul p ling pu the lever too far, bu b t are are ineffe fecti tive att slo s win wing g th hee bik bike. e.

The fork regularly reachess the t lil mit m of its travell (botto tt ms out ut).).)



On steep, smooth descents, the reear a whe h ell lif lifts ts und nder er braking. The front wheel judders up and down when cornering.

A rear air/oil shock regularly reaches the limit of its travel (bottoms out).




Either grit has become lodged inside the cable housing or the cable lub ubric ricati ric ation ati on has h dried up.

Strip down the cables, flush the housings with degreaser, clean the inners with degreaser, lubricate, and reassemble. (See pp.30–1, 46–9) 9

The cable has stretched or the relev evant antt derailleur is poorly adjustted. ted

Unc U nclam lamp lam p the the h cab able le at the derailleur, pull through any sla slack, ck, and re igh ret g ten gh t . Then h sseet up up the the der derail aililleu le r.r. (See leu ee pp pp.52 52–5) 5

Either thee chain has a stiff link; or the cha hain in n orr cogs, or bo oth, h, are wo worn; or a chainring may may be bent

Che h ck the ch chain for a stiff link and remove it it iiff found. d.. If no stiff link iss fou o nd ou nd, reeplace the chain. If the problem perssist istss, s, rep e lacee the he cogs. Iff the t ch th chain ai ring is bent, replace it. (See pp.62–9 ai 9)

The bottom m brac brac acket ket is wo worn or itss ax axle le may b be bent.

Iff tthe h bottom b bo o bracket is a cartriidge ty typ pe, replace it. t IIf it is a hol hollow l axl axle x e bo otttom bracket, replace thee cup and bea ott earing ing u unitts. If it iiss a BMX bottom bot to bracket, it may be possiblee to replace acce th he bearings if they th are worn, wor n or to replace the axle if it is bent nt.. (See S pp.72–7 7 7)

The he h adset d is loosee or wor orn n.

Strip and inspect the headset. Repla St place ce bea be rings if worn, regrease, and reasse rea sssembl m e. e. Ins Inspec In pect the cups and races; if they are worn you should let a goo od bik bik ike sh shop hop rep replac lac acee the the whole headset. (See pp.90–3)

A spoke may have brok okken. en

Re ace the Replac he spokke and d tr true u the ue he wh wheel eel ee e . (See S pp.106–7) 7

The hub bearings are wor worn or,r,r in the he caase off tig tigh ht and loose spots, the axle is be bent.

Replac Rep acce thee bearing gs or thee ax a le. (Seee ppp.10 .100–1 0–1)) 0–

T freehub body is wo The orn rn.

Re llac Rep ace the freehub b body body.. (See (See pp p .10 .100–1 0–1 1)

Gri Gr ritt and and dir dirtt is insi nside de th t cablee ho the h usi using or the lub bricati tio on on the in on inner cablees hass dried up.

Strip i dow down n the ca cables,, flus flush the housings, g an and d clea c ean n the the inn nner er cables with h degr eg eas aser, lub bricat atte both, and reassemble. e. (See pp.30 30––1, 30 –11, 11112–15) 5

Th The h pads are he re wearing down or the t e cable has h slipped thrrough the cla cl mp bolt.

If the he pads aree not to oo o worn, tak t e up the ext extra raa tra ravel vel by u un ncla l mp ping the br brake akes, pulliling g thee cab able lee thr h ough h the t cla clamp, mp, an a d tighte t ing ten n . If the pa th pads ds are a wo worn, n, re repla plaace the th m. (See pp.11 110––23, 126–35) 5)

Yo r bra You rak a es are not centered d.

Fol ollow low th he proc ro edu dures res for centering the type pe off brakes kes on your bike. (See See pp p.11 .1 1 0–2 0 3, 128 1 –35) 5

There is grease on the pads Th ds,, foreeign gn ob objec jects ts are ar em edded in them, or they are emb ree wea wearring unev nevenly. You may even need a different comp mp pound ound of brak r e pad. d

Rub the the pads dss wi w th eme m ryy cloth. Remove fore me reign ign bo b dies wiitth h needle nee dle--nose pl plieers. Fitt new n pads iff theyy are worn unev evenl enly. y See y. eekk advice from m a bike b shop o reg op r arding diiffe f rent pad compoun nds. nds (See pp.110–2 0–223, 126–35 35) 35 5)

With air/oil forks, not enough airr is in the h system. With coil/oil forks, too light a spring ing ng is i fi fitted.

Pump in more re air. Rep R lac lacee springs ngs wi w th heavie vi r-duty sp vie prin ri gs. gs (See pp.1 140–3 0–33)

The front of the bike is diving underr bra raking rak ng because the fork is not stiff enough.

Pump iin Pump n air air, or o incre reease s preload, acccordin ding to the typ y e of of ffork o on your bike. (See ( pp.14 14 40–3)

The fork’s rebound is set too fast.

Use the th rele elevan antt adjusster to redu duce c the speed ed d off tthe for ork’s rebound. (See pp pp.14 .1 1 0–33)

Insufficient air in the shock, or too much dampi ping, ng ng, means that the shock is not returning from each compression quickly enough.

Set u up tthe sag g on the sshock ag again.. If the pro p oble bleem continues, use the da dampi mpi p ng g adj ad ustmen nt to spee peed d up thee act action ion of the shock. io (See ee pp.15 .150–1 1 0–1 0 )




Spotting danger signs The more you ride your bike, the quicker the various moving parts, particularly tires and brake pads, will wear away. Replacing the parts as soon as they become worn not only keeps the bike running smoothly but also reduces the chances of an accident. You will save money, too, since worn parts have the effect of wearing out other parts.

As you run through your safety checks (see pp.32–3), look for worn teeth on cogs and chainrings, worn brake pads, split or frayed cables, worn wheel rims, bulging or split tires, and worn tire treads. If you spot any danger signs, take action as soon as you can. You must replace a damaged part before you next ride your bike.

Checking for danger Regularly check the tires, rims, brakes, chainrings, cables, and cogs so that you can spot signs of wear as early as possible.

Cables Rims and tires


Cogs Chainrings

Cogs and chainrings


Worn teeth

Worn brake pads

Regularly check for worn or missing teeth on a chainring or cog. The chain can jump when you apply pressure to the pedals, especially if you are out of the saddle, and you may be pitched forward and crash. Replace the chainring or cog as soon as you see this sign (see pp.66–9). 9

Regularly check all the brake pads for uneven wear. This is a sign that they are not contacting the braking surface evenly. The effectiveness of your brakes is compromised because not all the pad’s surface is in use. Install new pads and adjust your brakes correctly (see pp.118–23).

Spotting danger signs


Cables Split or frayed cables Check all cables and cable housings for signs of splitting and fraying. Frayed inner cables can snap, leaving you without gears, which is inconvenient, or without brakes, which is dangerous. Change the cable before you ride again (see pp.46–9, 112–15). 5 Worn or split housings reduce the effectiveness of your brakes and allow dirt to get in and clog the cables. Change the housing as soon as you can.

Split brake housing

Frayed gear housing

Rims and tires Worn rim

Bulging tire

Look for evidence of deep scoring on the rims of each of your bike’s wheels. Rim brakes will gradually wear out the rims, especially if you ride off-road or in winter. Eventually, the rims will fail and you could crash. Cracks around the nipples of the spokes where they join the rim are a danger sign, too. Replace the rim if you see these signs.

Check the whole circumference of both tires for bulges in the tread or the walls. Tires with bulges or distortions are very likely to blow out if you ride on them. If you see any of these signs, replace the tire (see pp.104–5). 5

Split tire

Worn tread

Check each tire for splits or cuts in the tread or side walls. A large split means that the internal fabric of the tire is damaged, so the tire is likely to blow out. Smaller splits and cuts will let sharp objects penetrate the tire, causing at least a puncture and possibly a rapid blowout. Replace the tire if you see any splits or cuts (see pp.104–5). 5

Look closely at the tread of both tires for signs of wear. If the tread is worn, the tire has lost structural strength and can break down and distort or bulge. The result can be a blowout during the course of a single ride. A tire that has been skidded and lost enough rubber to develop a flat spot can also be dangerous. Replace the tire if you see either sign (see pp.104–5). 5



Preparing for wet weather These steps will help you to prepare a bike for a rainy winter, a particularly wet climate, or if most of your riding is done off-road. The mud, sand, and water that your wheels spray up into every part of the bike combine to form a damaging, grinding paste. Salt, if used to treat roads where ice is likely to occur, will quickly corrode your bike. Regular Protecting a bike Fit mudguards, insert seals, and lubricate the exposed parts to protect a bike from wet conditions.

cleaning and lubricating helps with protection, but try to stop the mud and salt from reaching the delicate parts of the bike in the first place. The overall aim when protecting a bike in wet weather is to prevent water from reaching the interior parts and washing the lubricant off the exposed parts.


Headset Derailleur Seat post collar

Pedal Chain

Shielding exposed components Sealing the seat post collar

Sealing the headset

Keep water out of the point where the seat pin enters the frame. Mark this junction and remove the pin. Pull a piece of narrow road-bike inner tube over the frame. Insert the pin through the tube to the mark and tie-wrap the tube to secure it.

Place a cover over the headset to provide protection. You can fit a protector to the headset without removing any components by simply fastening the velcro.

Preparing for wet weather

Fitting mudguards Fasten a mudguard to the seat pin and you will block much of the spray from the back wheel. For the front wheel, fit a guard that clips onto the frame and is secured in place with tie-wraps. Full mudguards, which attach to the fork and rear dropout, give almost full protection for on-road biking but get clogged up off-road.

Weatherproofing the drivetrain Cleaning and lubricating the chain

Cleaning and lubricating derailleurs

Lubricate and clean your chain as often as you do in summer and after every wet ride. Apply the same light lubricant that you use in the summer and then apply a heavier oil, which will not wash off as easily. Only coat the rollers and insides of each link with heavier oil because it attracts more dirt.

Dribble oil on to the pivots around which the front and rear derailleurs move. Use a heavier, wet oil rather than the oil you would normally apply during the summer. Every time you dribble oil like this, first flush out the old oil by dribbling some degreaser onto the pivots and letting it sink in for a few minutes.

Cleaning and lubricating pedals Apply heavier, wet oil to lubricate the retention mechanism of clipless pedals after degreasing all the moving parts. The heavier oil will not wash off as easily as dry oil. Regularly clean off old oil with degreaser and apply new oil in order to prevent the accumulation of grit and the consequent increase in pedal wear.


The drivetrain is the heart of your bike. Finetune and regularly service the system to ensure that the gear-shifters, chain, crankset, cassette, and derailleurs work together in perfect harmony.



CABLE ES AND D SHIFTERS Cablles e and shiftter e s en enab able le tthe he rrid ider er to op o er erat atte th he geears. Cable able ab les are under cons nsta tant nt tension on and neeed to t be rep eplla lace cedd reg gular arlly ly and keptt w wel elll lubr briccated. d. Th They e must stt aals lsso bee ins in nsspeect cted d ofte offteen and repl plac aceed iff th they ey sho h w signss off weear. ear. SShift fte ter ers reequ quirre on nly oc occasionall lubrication off their ir inn inner woorrking ng gs..

How w they work An inn nner cab a le conneect ctss th he g geear a -sshift hiift lev e er to th the he deraille l ur, an le nd alllo lows wss the he rid ider er to ch chaan ang gee gear ge ars. s Mov ovin in ng the geear-s ar-sshi ar hi t llev hift ever e ccau er ause au sees th the fron fr ont dera dera de raililille l ur to sh le s ifft th t e ch chai ain ai in fr from om mo on ne ch hai ainr nrrin ing g to to aano notth no her er,, orr tthe he reeaar de he dera railililleeur ur to o shift hiift thee cha hain in n fro rom m on on nee co cog to to ano notth noth herr. Pu ullllin ng th the ge gear ccab able shi ab hift ift fts th the ch chai ain from fr om o m a sm maallller ler er to a la larg rger rg er chain hain ha inri nrriing ng orr ccog o og; re og releeas asin ing th ing the he g geeaarr cab able le sh hifts ifftss tthe he ccha he haiin ha n ffro rom a la ro larg ger er to o a sma maller llller er cha chaain inri inr ring ng or co og g.. The he leftefftt-ha hand nd shiifftteer co sh con nttrol rollss the ro he front rro on ntt dera de r iillle l eur ur;; tthe hee rig h ight ht-h -hand aan nd shifte sh iffterr co ont ntro rols ls thee reear a der erai a lllleu ai eur.r.r eu

C tro Con Co trrolli lling lli ng the ng he e gear ge g ears arss Th The he ccaables ble les and d sshi hifte ftteers rs on n a bike ikke ke al allow ow th he riid ide deer d to o eff e fort ef ortles r lles eesssly sly cco ont ntr n ttrrol ol thee g th the geear ar sys ssyyysstem tem te m.

Cable cla Cab cl mp m Atttac aach hess the ca c ble le to tthe rearr dera rea dera eraill illleurr Rea e r dera dera eraill illeur ill eur Mov o ess the ch chain ain fr from om one one cog o to t an anoth other oth er


A clamp connects the cable to the rear derailleur. When the shiffteer iss pus ushe hed, he d, thee cab d, abl ble le pulls the rear deraiilllleu leu ur in inw waard d, moving the chain from a smaller to a larger cog. When the shifter releases the cable tension, the springs on the rear derailleur pull the jockey pulleys, and the chain, back to a smaller cog.

Fr nt derrail Fro a leu leur leur Mov oves ess th the h ch chain hain i fr m one fro onee cha hainr ha inring in ng too ano othe t err th

How they work


In this Campagnolo shifter, the rider pushes the inner shift lever to pull the cable and move the derailleur. When the rider presses a lever on the inner side of the lever hood, the cable is released and the derailleur moves back.

Gear-shift lever Pulls and releases the gear cable


Cable Connects the lever to the rear derailleur

Gear-shift levers are often combined with the brake levers on the handlebar. On this Shimano shifter, the brake lever also acts as a shift lever. When the rider pushes the brake lever inward with the fingers, the control cable attached to it is pulled and a ratchet mechanism is lifted. One click of this mechanism equals one shift of the front or rear derailleur, which moves the chain across the chainring or cogs. The ratchet mechanism then holds the cable in its new position. When the rider pushes the inner shift lever inward, the ratchet mechanism’s hold is released and the pull on the cable ceases.

Lever hood Attaches the levers to the handlebar

Ratchet mechanism Holds the cable

Cable inner Controls derailleur Inner shift lever Releases the cable Cable housing Counteracts the cable pull Brake lever Pulls the cable




Drop handlebar gear cables Keeping gear cables clean and lubricated, and replacing them if they fray, is very important for smooth shifting. Change them as a matter of course at least once a year, or more often if you are a heavy user. Lubrication reduces the effects of friction between the inner cable and the cable housing, and helps to keep out water and grit. If the gears become difficult to shift to a different chainring or cog, the cable is probably dry and needs lubrication. These steps show how to fit a new gear cable to a SRAM shifter. Fitting cables to gear shifters made by other manufacturers, such as Shimano and Campagnolo, will be slightly different, but the order of each task in the overall sequence is generally the same. STEP LOCATOR

Replacing a SRAM gear cable

Use the shifter to move the chain to the smallest sprocket if you are fitting a new rear-derailleur gear cable, or to the smallest chainring for a new front-derailleur gear cable.


• To do this with Shimano and SRAM shifters, move the inner shift lever toward the center line of the bike.

• To do this with Campagnolo shifters, push

1 3 4 5

down on the lever situated on the inner side of the lever hoods.

2 6

Parts of gear-shift units Rubber brake hood cover

Gear-shift lever SRAM shifter Brake lever

Insert the new, lubricated cable into the same hole in the shifter that the old cable emerged from, pushing until you see it emerge from behind the lever hood.


• Pull the new cable all the way through the Toolbox

 Allen key multi-tool  Long-nosed pliers  Cable cutters  Oil

shifter until the nipple fits snugly in place.

Drop handlebar gear cables

Undo the cable clamp bolt on the derailleur, then release the old cable and push it through the guidance boss on the derailleur.


• Note the path by which the cable enters the derailleur and how it sits in the cable clamp. You must replicate this with the new cable.

Remove the old cable from a SRAM or Campagnolo shifter by rolling the rubber lever-hood cover forward. Push the cable from behind the shifter and watch where the cable nipple emerges from the side of the shifter hood body.


• For Shimano shifters the cable emerges from

• If the cable is frayed, cut off the frayed end

under the hood cover without rolling it forward.

with a pair of cable cutters, to allow it to pass through the guidance boss and the outer cables.

• Pull the old cable from the shifter by its nipple.

Dribble a little oil into the cable outers and insert the cable through the outers. Make sure they are firmly seated in the cable guides on the frame. If you are fitting new outers, cut them to the same length as the ones they replace.

Pull the cable through all the outers and cable guides, and reconnect it to the derailleur by tightening the cable clamp bolt.


• Ensure metal ferrules are fitted to both ends of each outer.


• Refasten the cable so that it is in exactly the same position as it was when you unfastened the clamp bolt in Step 2.

• Ensure that you pull the cable tight through the clamp bolt before you fasten it.




Straight handlebar gear cables

Replacing a Rapidfire gear cable

Looking after and replacing the gear cables on a mountain bike is very similar to a road bike. However, mountain bikes are often subjected to harsher conditions than road bikes, as they are often ridden through dirt and mud, so the cables must be replaced and lubricated more regularly. There are three main kinds of straight handlebar shifter: the Shimano Rapidfire, the Shimano Dual Control, and the SRAM. Replacing a gear cable is similar for them all. STEP LOCATOR Remove the old cable with long-nosed pliers and put the shifter in the smallest sprocket or chainring position.


1 2 3 1 1

• Insert the end of the new, lubricated cable into the hole where the cable nipple sits inside the shifter.


• Check the route of your existing cable and follow the route when fitting a new cable in Step 4.

Parts of gear-shift units SRAM shifter

Gear-shift levers

Shifter cover Barrel adjuster Gear indicator Star nut Ring clamp

Shimano Rapidfire Gear-shift levers Gear-shift lever

Barrel adjuster

Handlebar clamp

Shimano Dual Control

Cable port

Brake lever body Shifter body Brake/gear-shift lever

Cut both the cable and cable outers with your cable cutters to the same length as the old ones you have removed. Make the outers long enough to allow the cable to travel freely inside.



• Dribble a drop of oil down each cable outer. • Fit a ferrule to the end of each cable outer to

 5mm Allen key  Long-nosed pliers  Cable cutters  Cable pullers  Tweezers

ensure that it fits tightly into the frame’s cable guides (see pp.26–7). 7

Straight handlebar gear cables

Replacing a SRAM gear cable

Push the cable into the hole until its end shows through the barrel adjuster on the outside of the shifter body.


• Thread the cable through the first length of lubricated cable outer.

For the rear cable, put the shifter into the smallest sprocket. For the front cable, put the front shifter into the smallest chainring. Remove the old cable from the derailleur, then undo the star nut that holds the shifter cover in place.


• Grab the cable nipple with tweezers and remove it. Insert a new one through the barrel adjuster and seat the nipple into position. Pass the cable through the outers and reattach it to the derailleur.

Replacing a Dual Control gear cable


Thread the inner cable through each length of outer cable.

• For the rear derailleur, unscrew the barrel

For the rear cable, put the shifter into the smallest sprocket. For the front cable, put the front shifter into the smallest chainring.


adjuster to about half its range and then insert the inner cable. For the front derailleur, insert the cable into the clamp.

• Open the cable port to reveal the old cable inside

• Pull hard with your cable pullers and tighten

cable nipple sits in the cradle inside the body.

the cable clamp. Cut off any excess cable.

• Follow Step 4 of Replacing a Rapidfire gear cable.

the shifter, and remove it with long-nosed pliers.

• Push the cable into the cable port until the




FRONT AND RE EAR DERAILLEURS The derailleurss move the cha ain smoot othl hlyy be betw ween co cogs cogs gs and d cha hain inrriing gs, but only if thee tr trav avel el oof th the deraille leur u s is set set up corr corrrec co ectly tly. tl y. Deerrail aaiilllleu eurr pivots and jocke keyy pu pulllleys must be ch c ec ecke kedd fo or w weeaarr and d lub ub ubri brriica catteed. The he front derailleurr musst be properly al alig igne ig nedd wiitth h the he cha ain nri rin ring ng gs. s.

How the ey workk The front and rearr d deraailleurs cha hang ngee th thee ge g ars. To change up a gear, th he sh s ifterr is i useed to pul ull on the he cab ablee, which causes the fro ront nt d derailleurr to pus ush h th he ch chai haiin fr from r m a smaller to a largeer chainring g or tthe hee rreea ear de ear derailleeur ur tto push the chain from m a sm smal a ler to o a llar arge gerr co ge og. g TTo o cch han ang gee down a gear, the cab ablle iiss re releeas ased ed, ca causiing ing th the sp prriing ngs gs in in both derailleurs to mo move ve tthe he cch hain to a smal alle al lleer ch chainriiin ng or cog. Each derailleur mo move vess aroun nd a pivvot ot p poi oiint nt. Adjusting screws ensure th hat the derraill ailleu ai eurs rss do no not pus pu ush sh the chain beyond the largest st chain hainri riing go orr co cog g, o g, orr p pu ullll it beyond the smallest. Thiss rang ng ge is ccal allled leed th he de deraaillleeu urr’s r’s ’s travel. Once its travel is set et up, p provideed th he cabl cabl ca blee tension is sufficient, the derai rai a lleu lllleur wi will makke a si sn ng gle, gle clean gear-shift for eveery ccliickk o off th he ssh hiffte ter er.

Reaar Re Rea derrai de der aail iillle lleu eur ur Mov Mo oovveess ch cha haain in ffro room one ne ccog co og og to anoth to ano ano an nother tthe th h heer Caa le Cab C le Pu PPus u h heeess an hes and pul ppu ullls u ls rre rea eea ar der dde eerra rail aiillleu leu le ur


To change gears, two jockeyy pu pulleyys tr transf sfer er tthee cha haain in ont nto a different cog. They mo ove in n th thee sa same me p plla lane ne as th thee chai an and are spring-loaded to pre resserv rvee thee te tenssio ion o in in tthe he chaain n. Two derailleur plates enable le tthee jockkeyy pu pullley eys to change ng geear a upward, while the plate spri ring g eenaabl bles the h joc he o ke oc keyy pu pulllley leyss to change gear downward. d.

Der erail aillleur platte Transf Tra nsfers ers ccable pu ull to the t jockey joc k pulllllleeys Pla spr Plate spring i Pulls der dee ailleu leur back ac as cab able le is relleas ea ed High and low adjusters Limit travel of the derailleur Cable clamp Attaches cable to derailleur plates Cable Pulls derailleur plates

Jockey Joc key pu ke ullleey spri pring g Pr ser Pre s ves th the tensio ten on in in the th cha chain Jo key Joc ey pu pull lleyy lle PPul Pu ulls an and d pu ushe shess the ch chai ain JJockey ey pu p lleey cage cagee Ho dss th Hol the hee jjocke ckkey pul u ley le s

W kin Wor ng w with ith h th the he shif shif hifter ter erss Thee ffront and and rear eaa de derai raille rai l eurs ll lle urs wo k in wor in harm armon ony ny wi with th h thee shi sh hifte hi f rss to fte o pr pro ovid vide de easy easy asy,, quic uick, k and d aacccur curate cur ate at te gearr shi sh ffts tss whe wh heenev ever ev er the thee rrider riderr ne need n ed eds d them. th hem em. m.



When thee cab When ablle le is p pu ulllled led d, iitt caau ause sess bo oth the der erai er a lleurr plates ess tto o swiing in i waard rd o on n fo our ur piv i ot poi o nts, cau usi s ng g th hee jock jo ockey cckkey ey p pul u le leys y to o guid de th he ch chai chai ain n on ntto o a lar arge g r co ge cog. g.. Whe hen the ca cabl abl ble iss rel rel elea eassed, ea d, thee plaattee sprin prrin ng mo move vees th thee ch haaiin back to a smal sm m lleer cco og. g

La gee co Lar cog The The cchain Th a iss mo move ve ved to th the hee la h large geesstt cog og by th t e pullllll off th t ca the cabl cable ble l .

Sma S malll ccog og The The h ch chain ain iss re r tur turn urrn ned edd to th to the hee small h sm mall allest e co es est c g by the he pplla pla ate te spr spr p ing ing. in


Wheen pulled, the cable move o s the hee outer er arm arm, which acts as a lev evver on a pivot poin oint to o pu ush us sh h th thee front deraill i leur e ccage g awa w y f m the bike. Thi fro fr hiss movees the the he cha haain fro fr m a smallller er to oa larger la g ch ge c ain ainrin ri g. When the he cable ca e is relleased, ed, a sp pring ng on th thee d ailleur’s inner arrm der m pullls the ca cagee back cag ac towar to rd the bik b e. e High Hig h and low adjus justers Lim imits i trravel its avel ooff tth he der he erail aillleur leu cage Ou uterr arm ut m Actss as a le Act lever ver er Cab able ble cla clamp lamp H ds Hol ds thee ca abl ble lle to th he de dera era railill il eu eeur ur

Pivvott poiint Actss as a fu Act fulcr crrum crum for th thee arm m

Fro Fro Fr ront nt d der de eerrail aaiil i leu e r eur eu Transf Tr Tra Transf nssffeers rrs tth he chain cha in fro from one ne cha cch h ha ainr nrring n iin ng to to aano no othe tth heer

Cha C hainr ha aiin inr nrring n ing g Ca Car C aarrrie rri rrie ies ie tthe th he ch h haain in n

Derailleurr cagee cag Moves Mov ess the hee chain cha ain in Ch inr Cha inring ing ing g Engage Eng ag s the ch chaain n

Cla l mp bolt Fixes derailleur to the framee



Front derailleur Front derailleurs shift the chain from one chainring to the next. There are two main kinds: braze-on derailleurs (below) w are fixed by an Allen bolt to a lug, or protrusion, on the bike frame; band-on derailleurs are attached to a band that goes around the frame and is part of the derailleur. There are two important maintenance jobs for a front derailleur: setting it up after fitting a new control cable and adjusting it when it is not shifting properly. You should also clean the derailleur regularly to prevent the buildup of dirt, which interferes with the way it works and will quickly wear it out. For the derailleur to work perfectly, the lower edge of the derailleur cage’s outer side should be no higher than 2mm above the largest chainring. The cage’s outer side must also be parallel with the chainrings. Correct shifts depend on the front derailleur’s traveling a certain distance per shift. High and low adjusting screws on the derailleur will control this travel.

Adjusting a front derailleur


Shift the chain onto the largest cog and the smallest chainring.

• Pull the front derailleur cage away from the frame. The lower edge of its outer side should clear the largest chainring by 2mm. If it is more or less, undo the frame-fixing clamp and raise or lower the front derailleur.

• Line up the cage parallel with the chainrings and tighten the frame-fixing clamp.


1 2 3 4 5 Parts of a braze-on front derailleur Cable-fixing clamp

High/low adjusters

Pivots Front derailleur cage (outer side)

Frame-fixing clamp Front derailleur cage (inner side)


Pull the gear cable through the cable clamp and tighten the cable-clamp bolt.

• Cut off any excess cable with your cable cutters and put on a cable crimp (see pp.26–7). 7

• Repeat Steps 2 and 3 if, after a couple of rides, Toolbox

 Needle-nose pliers  5mm Allen key  Screwdriver  Cable cutters

the chain will not shift up to the next chainring, since cables can sometimes stretch slightly.

Front derailleur Undo the cablefixing clamp until the cable comes free.


• Look for the low gear adjuster (usually marked “L”) and screw it in or out until the inner side of the front derailleur cage is about 2mm from the chain. You have now set the starting point of the derailleur’s travel.

• Take this opportunity to clean the guide in which the cable runs under the bottom-bracket shell. Use degreaser, and then wash and dry the whole area.

• Put a little dry lubricant in the guide.


Shift the chain across until it is on the smallest cog and the largest chainring.

• Repeat Steps 2 and 3 if the chain will not shift onto the largest chainring.

Screw in the high adjuster (usually marked “H”) to bring the outer side of the front derailleur cage to about 2mm from the chain.


• Unscrew the higher adjuster to allow more travel if, when you shift to the largest chainring, the chain does not move onto it.

• Check the action by shifting a few times between all the chainrings.




Rear derailleur

Adjusting a rear derailleur

Most rear derailleurs are indexed, which means that for every click of the shifter, either up or down, the derailleur will shift the chain from one cog to the next. Occasionally, you may find that the chain does not quite move onto the next cog when you make a single shift, or else it skips a cog in an overshift. In either case, the rear derailleur needs adjusting. You will also need to follow the steps in this sequence whenever you fit a new cable (see pp.46–9). 9 To ensure that the rear derailleur works faultlessly, pay particular attention to its jockey pulleys because this is where oil and dirt can accumulate. Degrease and scrub them every time you clean your bike (see pp.28–9). 9 Whenever you lubricate the jockey pulleys or the rear derailleur pivots, make sure you wipe off any excess oil.

Shift the chain onto the biggest chainring and smallest cog, then undo the cablefixing clamp so that the cable hangs free.


• Check the cable and fit a new one if it shows any sign of fraying (see p.39). 9

• Screw the barrel adjuster in or out, until it is at half of its range.


1 2 3 4 5 Parts of a rear derailleur

Derailleur pivot Cable-fixing clamp

Barrel adjuster

Jockey cage Jockey pulley


 Needle-nose pliers  Cable cutters  5mm Allen key  Screwdriver

Shift back to the smallest cog, then shift upward through each gear. If the rear derailleur does not shift all the way onto the next-biggest cog, screw out the barrel adjuster until it does. If the derailleur overshifts and skips a cog, screw in the barrel adjuster until it stops.


Rear derailleur

Use the high adjuster (usually marked “H”) to line up the jockey pulleys with the smallest cog.


• Once you have lined them up, rotate the pedals


Shift onto the smallest chainring and largest cog.

• Push the rear derailleur with your fingers

forward while adjusting the “H” adjuster until the chain runs smoothly.

toward the spokes. If it moves beyond the largest cog, screw in the low adjuster (marked “L”) until the derailleur stops at the largest cog.

• Pull the cable downward through the cable-

• Turn the pedals to see if the chain runs

fixing clamp and reclamp it.

smoothly. If it does not, adjust the “L” in or out.

Prevent the jockey pulleys from making contact with the bigger cogs by screwing in the adjuster that butts onto the rear derailleur hanger on the frame dropout. Remember to make this adjustment if you fit a block or cassette with bigger cogs than usual.





HUB GEARS Hub gearrs located inside the hub casing alter th he speed att whiich h the back wheel revolves. They require little routin ne maintenan ance c and, sincce they are sealed, most hub-gear system ms do not nee eedd to be lubricated regularly. The control cables must sttill be inspeccte tedd regularlyy and replaced if they are worn.

How they work All hub gears work according to the same basic principle. A system of internal cogs makes the hub casing, and therefore the reaar wh hee eel,l, tu urrn rn at a different speed from a single, external cog that is driven nb byy the peedals daalss via d i the chain. The external cog g is connected to the internal cogs by a drrivveerr un niit, t, and and n th hee cogs rotate the hub casing at different speeds. Spoke kess at atta tach ta ch the he caassing iin ng to to the rim, therebyy turning the rear wheel. A shifter on the handlebar operates a mech han anis ism m attta t ched ch heed d tto o th he hub. This mechanism causes various combinatiions off diffe ferreent nt-siz -siz -s izzed ed ed cogs within n the hub to engage with a ring gear ar,, whicch dr drivvess th hee hub casing.. Each combination gives a different gea earr raati tio,, and tio, d the he number of gears depends on the number of cog gs wi within in tthe hee hu ub b b.. SHIMAN N O NEXUS HUB GEAR ANATOMY

To changee gear, the rider activates the shifter to pull the cable, which turns the satellite on the drive sidee of the hub. This triggers a mechanism within the driver unit to move two carrier units

containing cogs. Difffeereent nt cog gs arre br brou ough ou ght gh ht in i to to contact with th h the rin ing geears. Wheen th ing he ca cabl b e is bl released, th he spring ng-l ng -loa -l oad oa ded ccaarrrie de ier un unit its it ts mo move ve the cogs bac ackk to a d ac dif iffe if feeren fer nt com nt mbi bina nati tion tion ti on..

Hub ub ca casi sing sin ng Tur urns ns the hee wheel whe ell

Ca Cab ab ble e and and d satel tte e litte Side Sid de viiew ew w off tth he hub

Beaarin ings gss Aidd th he rot rot ota tation tion of th tio hee hu hub h ub b cca asin si g si

Carrier unit Carries the different--sized cogs

Ring gear Turns the hub casing g

Driver Driver er un nit Transf Tra nsf sfers ers th thee cog’ cog’ ogg’s driv rivee and cau ri use se ses the ca carri rriier uni unitt to en eng ngag age ge di ddif iffe feerent fer ntt cog ogss with i th he rring ing ngg ge gear eaarr


Protec P e tin t g the gears T eh The hub gear mecha ch nis ni m is is fully enclosed to o pro p tect it from dam mage a , dirtt, and water. r.

Hub gear a unitt Contai ains n the th he co c gs thaat allow gea g r ch hanges



Hub gear I

Replacing a hub-gear cable

If the cable to your hub gear breaks or frays, you will need to replace it. Before you start, first identify the hub gear units on your bike from the manufacturer’s name. This is usually stamped on the hub, and the number of gears is indicated on the shifter. The hub-gear model illustrated in the steps of this sequence is the Shimano Nexus 7-speed gear, which is operated by a twistgrip shifter. Alternatively, bikes may be equipped with SRAM hub gears, as well as those made by other manufacturers, that are operated by thumbshifters. Some older bikes have Sturmey Archer 3-speed gears. Although they all work on the same principle, the methods used to change a cable are subtly different. Try to find the manufacturer’s instructions for the gear on your bike—ask at a bike shop or search the Internet.

Put the shifter into first gear. At this point, there is no tension on the cable, so it is the starting point for fitting a new cable. If the cable is broken, the hub gear will have automatically returned to first gear, so move the shifter there to line up the system.



1 3




Parts of a hub gear Seat for cableretaining bolt

Right-hand axle nut


Cable route

Insert the cable through the chainstay cable guide and make sure the housing is well-seated into the guide.


Position i i off red d dots d (underneath)

Gear satellite G t llit


 Wrenches to fit wheel axle nuts and cable-clamp bolt  Flat-bladed screwdriver

• Pull the cable tight and tighten the clamp bolt onto it at exactly the distance you measured from the cable guide in Step 2.

• Now push the clamp bolt back into the place where it sits on the gear satellite (inset). t

Hub gear I


Remove the R th rear wheel h l and d push h th the wheel h l forward out of the dropout.

• Use a flat screwdriver to lever out the cable-

Remove the R th cable bl portt on the plastic part of the shifter, where the pointer indicates which gear the system is in.


clamp bolt from the position in which it sits on the ge gear ar sat satell ellite ite..

• Take the old cable out of the shifter by pushing

Pulll on on the the cla clamp mp bol boltt and and mea measur suree the the len length of • Pul

• Insert the greased new cable into the shifter.

the cable between it and the chaiinst nstay ay cab ble g guiide de. Undo the Und h clamp l to remove ve it from m the th ol old d ccabl able. ble.

Drib e a little oil inside the housing and then Dribbl push the new cable through the housing. pus

it from behind, or pull it out by its nipple.

Return the wheel to the bik ke byy placing the axle in the rear dro d dr opou p ts and pulling backward on tthee wheell so that there is tension on o tthe he cch hain a . Do D not pull so hard that tthe th he chaain aiin beecomes tight.


ns n ure re thatt the wheel is straight • EEns bet be b ettwe weeen thee chainstays and tighteen thee axxxle le nutts. There should be abo ab out u 1⁄4in (6mm) of vertical pla layy in in th he chain.

• RRuun throough the gears, shifft by sshiifft.. Iff ttheere is a problem, the hu th ub gear may need adjustin ng (see pp..6 .60 0–1). )




Hub gear II

Adjusting your hub-gear assembly

Occasionally, you might be unable to engage a particular gear because dirt has interfered with the gear satellite’s action. You will need to remove the satellite to clean it, and this means removing the rear wheel. On other occasions, you might find that the shift has lost some of its smoothness. In this case, the cable has probably stretched so that the shifter is out of phase with the gear mechanism. To remedy this problem, use the barrel adjuster on the shifter to take up any slack in the cable. Every time the wheel is removed and put back on to your bike, run through the gears and make sure they are shifting correctly. If they are not, follow the last two steps of this sequence in order to make the gears run smoothly. Finally, the hub-gear system has clear markings—look for the red dots and the yellow dots and triangles—to help you to set up the gears. If a bike is fitted with a Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub gear, it may occasionally shift to second gear, but without any drive. When this happens, put the shifter into the thirdgear position and look at the cable where it runs along the chainstay. The cable will be slack so that it sags. Undo the cable-clamp bolt near the hub-gear unit and pull the cable through the clamp until it runs in a straight line. Reclamp the bolt and the gears will shift perfectly.

Remove the rear wheel by undoing and removing both its axle bolts. The satellite is locked onto the hub by a lockring. Turn the lockring by hand until its yellow dot lines up with the one on the satellite.


• Lift off the lockring to free the satellite.


1 2

4 Put the satellite back onto the wheel. Line up its triangles with those on the axle.




• Press the satellite home on to the hub. • Replace the lockring, pushing it onto the


satellite so that its yellow dot lines up with the yellow dot on the satellite.

 Wrenches to fit wheel axle nuts

• Turn the lockring so that the dots are separated. The satellite is now locked in place.

Hub gear II Lift the satellite from the hub body, noting the relative positions of the two yellow triangles that are marked on it.


• Note the position of two more yellow triangles on the bare axle that is left inside the wheel.

• Flush out the freed gear satellite with degreaser. Let this drain out and spray light oil into the satellite.


Shift through the gears until the shifter is in fourth gear.

• Use the barrel adjuster on the shifter to fine-tune the gear adjustment. Tilt the bike so that you can see the underside of the hub gear.

Look for the two red dots on the gear mechanism. One is marked on the satellite and one on the lockring. Both dots are marked on the underside of the gear where the cable runs. In fourth gear, these two dots should line up. If they do not, screw the barrel adjuster in or out until the dots line up. When they do line up, all the gear-shifts will be perfect.





CHAIN, CASSETTE, AND CRANKSET With every turn of the pedals, the chain, cassette, and crankset are put under strain. The parts are in continu ual con nta tact ct,, an ct a d the mo m tiion of pedaling inevitably leads to we wear ar.. No ar No mat mat atte teer ho how w we welll you o car are for each part, they eventual ally lyy n nee eeed to be re remo m ve mo v d an a d reeppllacced ed. d

How theyy work The chain, cassette, e, aand cra rank n se sett comb com co mb biin ne to form the heear a t off thee drriive vetr trrain, trai n, th hee part of the bikee tthr hrough hrou ough whi hich ch a rrid id id der er’s er ’s pedal power iss tra rans nsfe ns ferr fe rrreed d iint ntto fo forw rwar ard ard motion. Thee peda daals dri rive ve the ve he cra rankse nkse set et an and, d, via the chain, n, ttur urn rn a co cog attta tach ched ch ed tto o tth he hub of the reear ear w wh hee eel, whi h ch ch iin tu turn urn n rotates the whee wheel.l.l Bikes with h der erai aillleu eurr g geearrs usse de dera railille leur us to shift the cha haain ont nto diiff fferren entt si sized size zeed co cog gss and chainringss, wh w ic ich ch ma make k up the th he ca casss ssett ette et te and crankset. Ea Each ch ccom ch ombi om bina nati tion on no off ch haaiin nrrin ing and cog provides es a dif iffe feere r nt nt geaar raati tio o,, giving up to 27 di d fffeerren e t ge gear arrs th that att can an b bee used to tackle any nyth thin ing g from from m sstte teep ep clilim mb bs to gentle flats.

Cha Ch C haain h in Fee Fee Fe eeddss th tthr hroug hr oou ugh ug joc jjo ockey oc keeyy ppu ullllle lleeeyyyss

Cog C og ogs gs Dri Dr D rriiven n by by tth he chai hai ha ain

Reeeaar der R Rea derai era er era r iill lllleu eur eur ur Sh Shi hift hi ftss th fts thee cha hai hai ain acro ac acr cross cr oosss ss th the cogs the gss


The cassette transfers the motio on off the chain to the wheel el. It It con onsi s sts of cog ogss th og that at slide onto the casseetttte bo body, dyy, wh d w ic i h is bol o te ted onto the hub. The cassset ette te bod ody hous houses ho es tthe hee freewheel, which allow ws th he wh w eeeel tto o ttur un when the cassette is stati t on nar ary. y.

Cas asset sette te bod bodyy Conttai Con tains ins th thee ffreeew ewhee heel eel

QuickQui ickck rel releas ease ase leve everr Lo ks whe Loc wh ell int into nto place pla l ce c

Lockring Holds cogs on the body


Cog Slides Sli des on onto to casset cas sette tee boddy

Pro Profil Pr ofil filee Sec ecure ure ress cogs cogs o too casset cas asset sette tee bod body

Hub b fl flang flan ge Spokes Spo Sp Spok kes con connec on nnec ne t hubb to whe wheel el rim i

H w th How they wor w orkk


The chain is the key e to o transmitting pedal al pow weerr into forwa w rd mot otio ion. TTo o trraans nsfe fer powe weer ef e fi fici ciien enttlly, y, the he chai ch ain m mu ust s be st s ro ron ng, bu ng ng, butt fl flex exiib bllee eno en ou ugh gh to ffiit se secu cu ureelyy aro roun un nd tth h hee tteeet eeth eth of et of th hee cha hain hain inri nriing ngs and cco ogs gs. To achieeve v this,, a series off lilink nkks aarrttiicu icu cula late tee aaro roun ro und joining jo jo pins pi ns, w wh hicch ar aree su urr rrou o nd ded ed by revo rev re volv lvin ing me meta tal al b baarr rreellss..

R ar wh Rea Re heel hee Dri Dri riven ven en n by by the th h co he cogss

B rel Ba Bar Sitss betw Sit ettween et eeen teeth of cha h inr nring i s and d cog cogs J nin Joi ning g pin pin Co e tss inn Connec nner aand d ou uter links kss O er Out e lin nk Shape to alllooow Shaped w qu ckk ge qui gea gear-s ar shif h fts ftss Inn nn ner er lin link Ro Rot o aate atte tes around rou und nd th the he barre h ba arre rell

Cranks Cr Cra nkset kset ks et Powere Pow red ed by by peed pped edali alliin ng g

Li htw Lig tw we eig ig ght ht ccom o pon ponent po ent nts T cch Th The hain in n, cass asssett ette, ett ttte, e, and nd d ccrrankkssett arre ligh ligh ightwe htw tw igh twe ight ht items ite items ms tha t t use use s the h lates laates test des e gn esi gn and aan nd co c ns nsttruc ructio ru t n tio t ch tec hni niique n que q qu u s to maxi maxi ximiz xi m e sstre miz trrengt tre n h and n dur durrabi bilit ilit lity ity while whi le mai le ma nta ma ntaini ining in n ng aan n aer aerody ody dynam dy amic icc pro profil fii e. fil

Ch Ch Cha hainr in nring n ing Caarrrie C Car rriiies iees the he cha haaiin n aro aarround ro ound ndd th the he cr he crank an an nkkset ksse set e et

Cha Ch C hai ha aiin n Transm Tra nssm mits iitts ts pow ppo oweerr fro ow fro r m the tth hee ccrraank h an nksset nk seet et

Ped P Pe eed dal dal al T ansmit Transm Tra nsm nsm mits iitttss ene ene en nergy rgyy too th rg the cra cranks raank nks n kkset et





Replacing a derailleur chain

Replacing a chain is a regular maintenance task. All chains eventually wear out, even if you clean and lubricate them properly. A worn chain, as well as being inefficient, will quickly wear out other drive parts and end up costing you money. To determine how much a chain has worn, either use a specialist gauge from a bike shop or measure the length of 24 links. If the length is greater than 12in (300mm), the chain is worn. New chains on derailleur gear systems are linked with a joining pin that comes with the chain. You will need a link extractor tool to make this join. The thicker chains of hub gears, BMX bikes, and some fixed-gear bikes are joined by split links.


Shift onto the smallest chainring and cog so that the chain is slack.

• Place a link in the link extractor and push out the pin until the chain breaks.


• Remove the old chain with the link extractor.

1 2 1 2 3 4 Parts of a split-link and a Shimano chain Split-link pins Groove

Split-link chain Outer platte

Inner links

Split pin

Shimano chain


 Chain link extractor  Needle-nose pliers

Remove the excess links from the opposite end from the one on which there is a joining link. Leave an inner link so that the two ends can be joined together.


• Close the chain by pushing the pin of the joining link through the opposite inner link with the extractor tool.


Joining a split-link chain

Thread a new chain through the jockey pulleys and around the biggest chainring and smallest cog.

Join the chain by pressing the side of the split link with the pins fixed in its plate through the two inner-link ends of the chain.

• Pull the ends of the chain together so that

• Press the other plate onto the pins that are

there is a little tension in the jockey pulleys. This establishes the length of chain you need.

now sticking through the inner links.



pressure until they become loose (inset). t

Push the split pin into the grooves of the split-link pins. These are sticking through the outer plate that you have just fitted. The split pin’s open end should face the rear of the bike.

• Remove the protruding part of the pin after

• Fix the split pin in place by pushing it home


Loosen any stiff links that occur when the chain links are compressed during Step 3.

• Flex the stiff links with a little sideways joining a Shimano chain, since these have an extra-long joining pin.

• Break off the excess with needle-nose pliers.


with needle-nose pliers until you feel it click.




Cassette and freewheel

Removing a cassette

The cassette and freewheel allow the rear wheel to rotate while the pedals remain stationary. Their internal mechanisms—the freehub body of a cassette and the block in a freewheel—will eventually wear out and need replacing. The cogs on both can also wear down. These parts will also need to be removed whenever you replace a broken spoke on the drive side of the rear wheel. The tools for removing a freewheel and a cassette depend on the manufacturer of the part that is fitted to the bike. Usually, the manufacturer’s name is stamped on the component. However, if you are in any doubt about which tool you need, take the wheel to the bike shop when buying a remover tool.


Remove the quick-release skewer from the rear wheel.

• Insert the cassette remover into the teeth of the lockring at the center of the cassette.

• Replace the quick-release skewer to secure the


cassette remover.


Removing a freewheel block

2 3

1 2 3

Parts of a freewheel and a cassette Cog

Freewheel mechanism Cogs Inner side ridges of cassette




Remove the quick-release skewer and insert the block remover into the teeth at the block’s center.


• Lock the block remover in place by replacing the quick-release skewer.


 Wrenches  Cassette remover  Chain whip  Block remover  Grease

Cassette and freewheel


Wrap the chain whip around a cog, and place the wrench on the remover.

• Press downward on both tools. This holds the cassette, while the remover unlocks the lockring.

• Remove the quick-release skewer once the lockring starts turning.

• Continue to unscrew the lockring with the

Take off the smallest cog after you have removed the lockring. On many cassettes, the remaining cogs come off in one piece. If they do not, you must put individual cogs back in a certain way. Failure to do so will affect the precision of gear-shifts. Usually, the cogs are marked, so that lining up these marks ensures the correct cog orientation.


cassette remover.


Put the wrench on the flats of the block remover and turn counterclockwise.

• As the block begins to move, remove the quick-release skewer and continue turning until the block comes off.

Check the integral freewheel mechanism, which is independent of the hub. Replace it with a new block if it is worn.


• Coat the threads of the hub with grease, then screw the block on by hand.

• Lock the block in place by tightening it with the wrench and the block remover.





Removing a crankset

Removing a crankset is a useful skill to have because it will allow you to replace an old crankarm, clean or replace a worn chainring, or work on the bottom bracket. Cranksets are attached in one of four ways. Those held in place by a hexagonal bolt can be removed with a crankset socket spanner (see Step 1). Cranksets with a selfremoving Allen bolt can be detached with an 8mm Allen key (see Step 2). Versions with a standard Allen bolt can be detached with the relevant Allen key (see Step 3). Those on a hollow-axle bottom bracket can be removed by reversing the steps on pp.74–5. When refitting a crankset, keep grease or oil from touching the axle. The crankset must be dry when fitted to the axle or it will work loose. After refitting, go for a short ride and then try the axle bolt again. If it is slightly loose, you should tighten it. STEP LOCATOR

Detach a hexagonal crankset bolt from the axle with a crankset socket wrench. Normal socket wrenches are often too thick to fit into the space where the bolt is located.


• Steady the crankarm with your free hand to give you something to push against. Work from below the crankset so that if your hand slips, the chainring teeth will not injure you.

• To remove the crankset, go to Step 4.

1 2 3


4 Parts of a crankset Right-hand crankarm Spider

Chainring bolt Chainrings


 Crank extractor  5mm Allen key  8mm Allen key or crankset socket spanner  Chainring bolt peg spanner

Use a crank extractor to remove the crankset if it is not the self-removing type. Make sure that the washer beneath the bolt has also been removed.


• Carefully screw the extractor into the delicate threads at the centre of the crankset. When the extractor is fully in, turn its handle clockwise to pull off the crankset.


Unscrew a self-removing Allen bolt with an 8mm Allen key. These bolts extract the crankset as you unscrew them.

Use a long-handled Allen key if there is an Allen bolt holding the crankset on your bike. Usually, an 8mm key is the size required.

• Steady the crankarm with your free hand to

• Work from below the crankset so that if you

give you something to push against. Work from below the crankset so that if your hand slips, the chainring teeth will not injure you.

slip, the chainring teeth will not injure you.



• To remove the crankset, go to Step 4.

• To remove the chainring, go to Step 5.

Remove the chainring with a 5mm Allen key on one side and a chainring bolt peg spanner to hold the bolt on the other. You can do this without taking the crankset off the axle, but you must remove it if you are working on the inner rings of some triple cranksets.


• Cure a creaking noise from the crankset by putting grease on the threads of the chainring bolts before you reassemble the crankset. Standard chainring bolts are made from steel. Be especially careful not to over-tighten aluminium or titanium bolts.




BOTTOM BRACKETS There are two ma ain types of bottom bracket: cartridgee-bbearrin ingg and hollow-axle. Both use sealed bearings, which can wearr out over time. If thiss happens on n th the ca cart r ridge versio ion, replace the wh hol ole unit, but on a hollow w-axle type you only needd to rep place ce tth he bearings.

How they work The bottom bracket joins the crank of each pedal with an axle, which rotates in the bike’ss frame. Each type of bracket consists of an axle, e two bearings, and two threaded cups (called eith ther e the free cup and fixed cup, or the non-drive and drive-side cup). With the cartridge type, both cranks bolt onto the axle, but with the hollow-axle type, the driveside crank is fixed to the axle and only the non-drive side crank can be bolted on. A third type of bottom bracket, the BMX bracket, has a threaded axle—the bracket is held in place by a locknut that screws on to the thread on the non-drive side of the axle.

Providi iding st s rength The axle and bearings off the bottom bra racket need to o be both stron ng and reliablee enough h to bear the weigh ht and power wer of the rider.


Each of the cartridge bearings is composed of ball bearings, which are sandwiched between an inner and outer race by plastic seals. The cartridge bearings are located close to each end of the bottom-bracket axle. A tubu b lar sleeve fits over the two bearings, filling the space between them. The fixed and free cups fit over this sleeve to create a totally sealled unit.

Free cup Scr crews cr ew into the bike’s the fram fra ame

Fixed cu cup up Holds the bo ottoom bracket in n placce Out uter ut e rac acee ac Houses th Hou he bear b ring ings ngs Bal all-b al l- ear l-b earing ing n Suppor Sup ppor oorts t the the aaxxle lee

A e Ax Axl Connec Con Co nec ectss the hee cranks cra n an nks nd rottate a s in the th he be beari arings ari ngs

Crank Cra nk nk Turns Tur Tu n the the h ax axlee axle

H o w tth eyy wor How Ho workk wo


The drivee side d crank is permanently fixed to the axle, which passes through both cups. The non-drive side crank slides onto the axle and is secured by two pinc n h bolts. The crank cap bolt inserts into the end of the axle to hol od the crank against the bearing, ensuring that there is no play, rather like the stem cap bolt on a threadless headset (p.90). 0

Pinch bolts Hold crank in place on the axle

Crank cap bolt Presses crank against bearings

Cup Holds the h bearings in place in the frame Axle Connects the cranks and rotates in the bearings

Ball-bearing Lets the axle turn Crank Turns the axle

Cup Holds bearings in the frame

C nk Cra n Tu nss the Tur h aaxle he Cartridge-bearing bottom bracket Allows the smooth rotation of the axle




Cartridge bottom bracket Cartridge bottom brackets require no routine maintenance. Their bearings are sealed from the elements—even from the water you use for hosing or pressure-washing your bike, provided you turn the pedals forward during the wash. When the bearings do eventually wear out, you will have to replace the whole unit. The remover tools for this job are specific to each particular bottom bracket, so check which brand is fitted to your bike before buying the tools. If you are planning a replacement, there are three types of bottom bracket axles to choose from: square-tapered, Shimano Octalink, and Isis. The type used in the steps in this sequence is square-tapered; the type shown below is Octalink. Finally, if you are having any problems installing a bottom bracket on your bike, ask the experts at a bike shop to help you.

Installing a cartridge bottom bracket


Put the bike on a workstand and remove the crankset (see pp.68–9). 9

• Use a pair of calipers to measure the length of the old axle before you remove the bottom bracket, so that you can be sure the replacement has an axle of the same length. You need to do this because different cranksets are designed to work with different axle lengths.


1 2 3 4 5 Parts of a cartridge bottom bracket Drive (fixed-cup) side

Grease the threads of each side of the new bottom bracket for easier fitting. The non-drive threads are sometimes referred to as the free-cup and the drive-side threads are known as the fixed cup. Do not grease the drive side of a bottom bracket with Italian threads.


Non-drive (free-cup) side

Bottom-bracket axle


 Measuring calipers  Ruler  Wrench  Cartridge bottom bracket remover  Grease

Cartridge bottom bracket

Measure the width of the bottom-bracket shell with a ruler. The shell forms part of the bike’s frame and will be either 23⁄4in (68mm) or 3in (73mm) wide. This width determines the width of the bracket unit you need to buy.


Remove both the crankarms k (see pp pp.68–9) 68 9), insert a bottom-bracket remover into the non-drive side of the bracket, and turn the remover counterclockwise with a wrench.


• Repeat on the other side, turning clockwise. Turn counterclockwise if your bike has an Italianthreaded bottom brack cket et (ma (marke rked d 36 36 x 1) 1).

Insert the bottom bracket from the drive (fixed-cup) side using the remover tool. Fit the teeth of the tool into the indentations of the bottom bracket (see enlargement). t


he • Insert the non-drive (free-cup) side when the drive side is almost in position. Use the rem remove ove verr to screw it in a few turns. Fully tight ghteen en th thee dr drive ivvee side, then the non-drive side. e.




Hollow-axle bottom bracket

Installing a hollowaxle bottom bracket

Hollow-axle bottom brackets, such as those made by SRAM, Campagnolo, and Shimano, are designed to increase bottom-bracket strength. The axle bearings screw onto the outside of the bottom bracket shell, which houses a large diameter axle that is hollow, light, and stronger than other axles. Since the bearings are farther apart than on other bottom-bracket designs, they encounter less torque, which increases their lifespan. But they will eventually wear out, so you will need to know how to remove and replace them. The steps can also be followed if you want to upgrade to this system.

The faces of the bottom bracket shell must be flat and parallel. This requires specialist equipment, so get the frame checked at a bike shop.


• Measure the width of the bottom bracket shell,


then check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine how many spacers are required and on which cup to put them.

1 2

• Grease the threads of the cups and place the

3 5 6


necessary spacers on them.

Parts of a hollow-axle bottom bracket Chainring


Combined drive-side cup and sleeve

Left-hand crank Spacers

Non-drive side cup


Pinch bolt Crank cap bolt

Push the left-hand crank onto the nondrive side of the axle.

• The crank must be mounted at 180-degrees to the right-hand crank. To do this, match the wide notch on the axle with the wide tooth on the crank.


• Unlike other bottom bracket systems, it is not

 Hollow-axle cup tool  Hollow-axle crank cap tool  Allen key multi-tool

necessary to have a dry interface between the crank and axle. Put a little grease on the axle before you fit the crank.

Hollow-axle bottom bracket


Screw the cups into the frame as far as you can with your fingers (inset). t

• The drive-side cup screws in anti-clockwise, and

Hold the drive side (right-hand) crank and push the axle through the hole in the center of the drive-side cup.


the non-drive-side cup screws in clockwise.

• Continue pushing until the end of the axle

• Secure the cups on each side by tightening

pops out of the non-drive-side cup.

them with the hollow-axle cup tool (main image).

• You may encounter resistance, especially as you

• Grease the axle in preparation for pushing it through the cups.

push the axle through the non-drive side cup. If this happens, give the center of the crank a sharp tap with a plastic mallet.


Grease the threads of the crank cap bolt, and screw it into place with your fingers.


Tighten the crank pinch bolts with an Allen key to fix the crank in place.

• Tighten the crank cap bolt with the crank cap

• The pinch bolts work as a pair, so must be

tool, which draws the crank onto the axle.

equally tight. Tighten them in sequence by screwing in the first a little, then screwing in the other by the same amount. Repeat until both bolts are tight, but do not use excessive force.

• Do not over-tighten the crank cap bolt. Rotate the cranks and if the axle is stiff, loosen the crank cap bolt a little.

• If you have access to a torque wrench, use it to tighten the bolts to the manufacturer's instructions.




BMX bottom bracket

Setting up a BMX bottom bracket

Many types of bottom brackets are fitted to BMX bikes. The type used in this sequence of steps is similar to the type used on many children’s bikes. The biggest difference between this kind of BMX bracket and normal bottom brackets is that the threads securing it in the frame are on the axle and not inside the bottombracket shell. The axle has a cup and cone bearing system, a little like an open-bearing hub (see pp.100–1). The drive-side cone, chainring, and axle are made in one piece, and the crankarms bolt on to them. This kind of crankset and bottom bracket is called a 3-piece crankset. Screwing the locknut onto the cone needs practice to ensure that the bottom bracket is adjusted successfully.

Take out the captive bolt at the center of the non-drive side crankarm, then loosen the crankarm bolt on the side.



1 2 3 4 5 6 Parts of a BMX bottom bracket Chainring Drive-side cone Non-drive side cup Non-drive side bearings Non-drive side cone

Axle threads Spacing washer

Drive-side cup

Put the newly greased drive-side bearings back into their cup, then insert the axle so that it sticks out of the non-drive side.


Axle Drive-side bearings


• Put the greased, non-drive side bearings over the axle and into their cup.


• Make sure that the non-drive bearings are

 Allen key multi-tool  Peg wrench  Wrenches  Grease  Degreaser

sitting square inside their cup.

BMX bottom bracket

Remove the crankarm. Hold the non-drive cone still with a peg wrench while removing the locknut with a wrench.

Take out the drive side of the bottom bracket once you have removed the locknut and cone from the non-drive side.

• Remove the spacer and the cone and pull out

• Hold the drive side by the drive-side crankarm

the non-drive bearings from the cup, which is located inside the bottom-bracket shell.

and clean and degrease the bearings. Replace any worn bearings and grease the clean bearings.

• Inspect, clean, and degrease the cone.

• Inspect the cups while the drive side is out of



the bike. Replace any worn cups or cones.

Put the non-drive cone and spacer over the axle and screw the cone on to the bearings with the peg wrench. Screw the locknut onto the axle.

Put the spacer back on the non-drive side of the axle and then push the crankarm back onto it.

• Hold the cone in place against the bearings and

crankarm, then tighten the retaining bolt on its side.


screw the locknut down onto it. Then screw the cone back a little to the locknut. A bit of play in the axle is permissible, but too much will throw off the chain.


• Tighten the captive bolt in the middle of the




PEDALS There are two types of pedals, flat and clipless.. Pedalss w witth op open en n bearings require regular inspection and lubrication. Clilippleess peda dals da ls must be lubricated to ensure easy foot relea ase. Clea atss shoul uld be correctly fitted to the rider’s shoes and regularl rlyy in i sp pected ec d fo or we wear arr.

How they work The two pedals transfer the push from the rider’s legs and feet into both crankarms, which, in turn, rotate the axle in the bottom bracket. The body of a pedal rotates around an axle and is supported on bearings that are either open or held within a cartridge. Thee pedal’s axle screws into the crankarm. Pedals should grip a rider’s feet in somee way. For example, studs that prevent foo oott slippage will help a rider who makes frequ quen qu een nt stops, such as a commuter in heavy traff ffic ic.. Some flat pedals are fitted with toe-cliips ps and straps that hold the front of the fo foot, although they can interfere with thee ffo oot as the rider tries to remove it. Cliplesss pedals hold the foot securely, while releasing it easily whenever the rider wis ishe h s. he

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Two bearings on the pedal’s axle are held in place by a cone and lockring that screw on to the outer end of the axle. A knurled retainer attaches the pedal body to the axle. The cone (not visible) and the lockring can be adjusted to permit the free rotation of the body around the axle, without any play. Axle Screws into the crankarm Knurled retainer Holds the body onto the axle Ball bearings Allow the body to rotate around the axle

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Pedal axle

Removing and lubricating a pedal axle

The axle of a pedal is usually made from steel and the crankarms from aluminum alloy. This creates an interface where a chemical reaction can take place between the two metals, so it is important that you coat the threads with grease before you put pedals on your bike. The tools for removing the axles are specific to the brand and model of the pedals, and are either supplied with the pedals or available at a good bike shop. Most pedals contain two bearings on which the pedal body revolves around its axle. These sometimes need replacing; in the case of ball bearings, they need regular cleaning, checking, and greasing. Pedal axles can be damaged by an impact or during a fall, and a bent axle can cause riding discomfort or even injury. After removing the pedals, rotate their axles by hand, feeling for the tight spots that are evidence of a bent axle.


Place a wrench on the flats of the axle to remove a pedal.

• Turn the wrench counterclockwise for the right pedal, which has a right-hand thread, and clockwise for the left pedal, which has a left-hand thread.

• Steady the opposite crankarm with your hand to give you something to push against.


1 2 3 4 5 6 Parts of a pedal Cleat-release mechanism

Pedal body Pedal axle Retainer

Wrench flats Release tension adjuster


 15mm bike spanner  Allen key multi-tool  Remover tool  Degreaser  Grease


Lift the axle from the pedal once you have fully unscrewed the retainer nut.

• Clean the axle with degreaser and inspect it. If the axle is bent, it will need to be replaced.

• Replace the bearings on the end of the axle if they are worn.

Pedal axle


Hold the removed pedal, with the axle upward, in a vise.

• Remove the axle by using a remover tool that fits over the knurled retainer connecting the axle to the pedal.

Ensure that the remover tool fits snugly onto the retainer. The retainer may be damaged if you do not.


• Place a wrench on the flats of the remover tool in place and turn it to remove the retainer.

• Turn the wrench clockwise for the right axle retainer, which has a left-hand thread, and counterclockwise for the left axle retainer, which has a right-hand thread.

Hold the cone with one wrench and remove the locknut with another. The cone and locknut hold the bearings on the end of the axle.

Grease the inner bearing to prolong its life. If it is worn, the whole axle assembly must be replaced.

• Remove the cone, then the old bearings. Clean

• Push some grease down into the bearing after

the end of the axle.

cleaning the axle. To reassemble the pedal, carry out Steps 1–4 in reverse order.


• Set the new bearings in grease and screw the cone back on top of them. Then lock the cone with the locknut.





Clipless pedals Clipless pedals were developed in response to the racing cyclist’s need to apply power throughout the entire pedal revolution. They hold the foot to the pedal by locking onto a cleat attached to the sole of the shoe. The mechanism that holds the cleat is spring-loaded—the foot is released by turning the heel outward. The release spring is an essential working part and must be kept clean and well lubricated. Use light oils on road pedals

and heavier oils on off-road pedals. Wipe oil off the pedal body to stop your foot from slipping. The mechanism lets the foot pivot around its long axis during each revolution. The oil applied to the release spring is enough to keep the mechanism working well. Toolbox

 15mm bike wrench  Allen key multi-tool  Degreaser  Stiff brush  Oil


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Clipless pedals


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Pedal cleats

Fitting a pedal cleat

Clipless pedals are designed to hold your feet firmly in place, so it is important that the cleats on the pedals are positioned correctly on the sole of your shoes. The right position also enables you to transfer the maximum amount of leg power into the pedals. Once you have set up the cleats, you might find that your feet try to return to their natural position as you ride. Alter the cleat’s angle to accommodate this. However, do not alter its fore and aft position because the position shown here is the most efficient for applying power to the pedals. The steps in this sequence show an offroad pedal (see pp.82–3), but the principles are the same for road pedals.


Put on your cycling shoes and mark them on the outer side where your foot is widest. This point is usually slightly behind the smallest toe and is in line with the ball of the foot. The aim of setting up a cleat is to make sure that this part of your foot is exactly above the pedal axle when you ride.


1 2 3 4 5 6 Parts of a pedal cleat

In-shoe threads for fixing bolts

4 Fixing bolts


Recessed cleat plate

Put on your cycling shoes and sit on your bike, engaging the cleats in the pedals.

• Ask someone to check from the side that the initial mark you made is over the pedal axle.

• Go for a ride and check whether your feet try Toolbox

 White marker pen  Silicone sealant  Allen keys  Screwdriver

to turn in or out on the pedals.

Pedal cleats

Take off your shoes and continue the mark you made with a straight line across the sole of your shoe, from outside to inside. This line must be at right angles to the initial mark and should end on the inner side of the shoe, in line with the initial mark.


Place the cleat on the shoe so that the line runs exactly through its center. Some cleats are marked to help with this alignment.


• Make sure that the horizontal axis of the cleat is exactly parallel with the line you made.

• Secure the cleat in place with the screws or Allen bolts provided.

Adjust the cleats to accommodate any foot position changes your test ride reveals, but keep the cleat centered over the axle.


• Mark the sole of your shoes all around the cleat, so that you can line it up again.

• Remove the cleat, put anti-seize compound on the screw threads, and line the cleat up with the marks you made. Tighten the cleat.

Seal the Allen heads on the bolts that secure the cleats to off-road shoes. These heads can fill with grit, causing them to lose shape and making it difficult to replace the cleats when they wear down. Prevent this by filling the Allen heads with blobs of a silicone sealant available from the hardware store.



Steering gives you control of a bike’s handling and direction. Regularly check and maintain the headset, handlebar, wheels, and hubs to safeguard their reliability at all times.



HEADSETS A headset allows the bike to be steered. The headdseet must ust us be properly adjusted to allow smooth, safe stteerin ng an and to prolong its life. The bearings and bearing su urfaccess need regular inspection and lubrication, and anyt y hiing that is worn must be replaced at once.

How they work The main function of the headset is to enable the rider to change the direction of the front wheel under any conditions. There are two types of headsets, threaded and threadless, and both hold the front fork securely in the head tube, while simultaneously allowing the fork to turn freely. The headset rotates on bearings, which are held in place by cups, one above the head tube, the other below. For the forks to turn freely, these two cups press on the bearingss jjus ustt en enou ough gh tto o pr prev even entt an anyy pl play ay iin n the part of the fo th fork rkk kkno nown wn aass th thee st stee e rer tu tube. Th Thee wa wayy th this is presssur ue (also kn (a now own n as loa oad) d)) iiss achiiev eveed varies be betw twee eeen th thee thre read re ead ded and and d tthr hrea hr eaadl dles dles esss he h ad dse sets t. ts T TH THR E EAD LESS HEA EADSET ANATO OMY Ste tem m clam clam a p bolts Th he stem cap bolt at C mp steem to Cla to stee te rer tube the top of a threaadl dless headset screws into a Stem cap p bol boltt star washer below. Pulls the steerer Some types of threadless tube upward headsets contain a wedge instead of a star washer. When the stem cap bolt is turned with an Allen key, it pushes the stem and spacer down on to Top cup the bearings in both the Loads the bearings top and bottom cups, and pulls up the steerer Bottom cup tube at the same time. Loads the This places sufficient load bearings on the bearings for the fork to turn freely with no play. The h stem is secured in place on the steerer by tightening two clamp bolts (not visible on the h illustration).

Star wash her Gr ps the st Gri steerer tube

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Threadless headset To determine whether your bike is equipped with a threadless or a threaded headset, look at the stem. If you can see bolts on the side of the part that sits on top of the head tube, it is a threadless headset. A number of different types of threadless headsets can be fitted to modern bikes. These range from the type that has both top and bottom cups, like the traditional headset, to others, such as the headset illustrated here, where the bearing surfaces fit inside the head tube. All the various types of headsets work on the same principle and are taken apart in a similar way. Occasionally, you need to strip down the headset in order to check it for wear and to clean and lubricate the bearings. If you find any cups or bearing surfaces are worn, you will need to replace the whole headset. This job requires special equipment and is best left to the experts in a good bike shop.

Adjusting and cleaning a threadless headset

Remove the stem cap bolt from the center of the stem cap with an Allen key. This bolt loads the headset to prevent play in it, rather than securing the stem.



1 2 3 4 5

Parts of a threadless headset Stem cap Top bearing cover

Stem cap bolt

Top race

Lower the fork and lift off the top spacers and either the top cup or bearing cover, depending on the type of threadless headset.


Bottom cup

• Clean, degrease, and look at the bottom bearing. If there are no signs of wear, grease the bearing. Toolbox

• Take the centering wedge out of the head tube.

 Allen key multi-tool  Degreaser  Grease

Clean the bearings, bearing surfaces (inset), t and bearing cover or top cup . Examine for wear, put new grease on the bearings, and reinstall.

Threadless headset

Loosen the clamp bolts on the side of the stem once you have removed the cap bolt bolt. The stem and handlebar assembly are now free. It is the stem clamp bolts that securee the stem m to the steerer.


Put the fork back into o the heaad tube and replace the centerin ng wedg ge, bear be ring g cover, and spacers.


• Put the handlebar and stem backk onn topp of the steerer. t ng thee steem cap • Load the headset byy tightenin bolt to a point wher ere the hand andllebaar tu turn ns fre freelyy, but there is no pla play in the headset. he et. Seccure the stem in place byy tightenin ing the clamp p bolt b ts. bikee • Apply the front brakke and try to puush thhe bik forward to make sure re the heeadsett is not loose.

Take hold ld off the ffrontt fork fo , then lift the steem and handle dlebar b from the steerer. You can leave leave these these to ha hang ng out of th thee w way, ay, su suppo p rted by th by thee brake brake an and d gear gear cable cab s. s





Threaded headset Older bikes and children’s bikes are equipped with threaded headsets. This type of headset is designed to make it easy to raise and lower the stem whenever you want to change the height of the handlebar and adjust your riding position. The headset’s top cup and the locknut that holds it in place are both screwed onto the steerer. The stem is equipped with a shaft, or quill, that fits inside the steerer. For safety reasons, you should never raise a stem above the limit marked on its quill. On some even older headsets, the top cup screws down. Its serrated top edge is held in place by a clamp bolt on a similarly serrated lockring assembly. When the clamp bolt is loosened, the top cup screws off. Remember to disconnect the brakes before you start working on the headset and make sure that you reconnect them when you are finished. Before the stem is replaced into the steerer of the headset, coat the quill with grease (see pp.30–1).

Servicing a threaded headset

Undo the Allen bolt in the stem center and knock it downward with a plastic mallet to free the steerer. The stem is secured into the steerer by an expander bolt, which, as it is tightened, draws a wedge up inside the quill.


• Lift the stem from the steerer.


1 2 3 4 5 6

Parts of a threaded headset Locknut Spacer Top cup Top race

Degrease all the bearing surfaces of the top and bottom cups and of the races. You can access the top bearings by pushing the fork up the head tube and holding it there.


Bottom cup Fork crown race

• Inspect the bearing surfaces. If any are Toolbox

 6mm Allen key  Grease  Degreaser  30mm and 32mm headset wrenches  Plastic mallet

damaged, you need a new headset; this is best left to a good bike shop.

Threaded headset


Unscrew the locknut while holding the top cup still with a headset wrench.

• Spread newspaper on the floor to catch loose bearings that may drop out of the top cup.

• Lift off the spacers, then unscrew the top cup upward from the steerer.


Grease both the top and bottom bearings or set loose bearings in grease inside each cup.

• Completely unscrew the top cup to remove the bearings. Set the bearings individually in the greased cups and screw the top cup back on. Bearings held in cages can be greased in situ provided they are not worn out.

Lower the fork to reveal the bearings in the bottom cup. Screwing the top cup upward allows this to happen. Although most headsets have ball bearings held in cages, watch out for loose bearings that may drop out of the bottom cup. Some headsets have roller bearings— treat these as ball bearings in the following steps.



Screw the top cup down onto the top bearings. Replace the spacers and locknut.

• Adjust the top cup so that steering is free. • Pull the fork to make sure there is no forward movement in the headset.

• Replace the spacer, hold the top cup with a wrench, and tighten the locknut onto it.

• Replace the stem and handlebar.




HANDLEBARS Most modern bikes are equipped with either straight or drop handlebars. A rider must be able to rely totally on the handlebar, so for safety reasons, a handlebar must be replaced at once if scratches, stress marks, or cracks develop on the surface.

Straight handlebar Owners of road bikes sometimes want to change the handlebar to a different shape, often to suit the proportions of their body or because of their cycling needs. Some cyclists want to replace a drop handlebar with a straight, or flat, bar. Others may want to replace their existing straight bars with riser bars, or vice versa. Riser bars, which are fitted to mountain bikes, are straight in the center, then rise up to become straight where the grips are. They are installed the same way as a straight handlebar. The steps in this sequence apply to all straight handlebars, whatever the reason for replacing them. However, when replacing a drop handlebar with a straight bar, it will be necessary to swap the brake levers for levers that work with flat or riser bars. Some of these steps will also be useful when fitting new grips, brake levers, gear-shift levers, or bar-ends to an existing handlebar.


1 2 3 4 5

Installing a straight handlebar

Parts of a straight handlebar Plastic plug p g

Grip p Straight handlebar

Ring clamp


Shifterr unit

Remove any raised pieces of metal inside the stem clamp with a medium, half-round file (inset). t Smooth the area with emery paper.


Brake lever Clamp bolt


 Half-round file  Emery paper  Ruler  Allen key multi-tool  Hairspray

• Place the straight handlebar into the stem clamp and screw in the clamp bolts. Make sure the bar is centered before tightening it fully. If you are fitting a riser bar, decide what angle of sweep you want before tightening the bolts.

Straight handlebar

Secure the ring clamp of the brake lever to the handlebar. Like road brake levers, off-road levers have a ring clamp that fits over and secures them to the handlebar. Some off-road brake levers have integrated shift levers with only one clamp. However, some are separate and there are two clamps to go over the handlebar.


Spray hairspray into the handlebar grips to help the grips slide onto the handlebar. When the hairspray dries, the grips will fit tightly to the handlebars.


ends to allow for the width of the bar-end clamp.

Clamp on the bar-ends. Line them up parallel with the angle of your stem to begin with, then adjust their angle to suit your own preference after riding.

• Fit grip-locks to hold the grips in place and

• Put a plastic plug in each end of the handlebar


Slide the grips onto the handlebar while they are still wet with hairspray.

• Push the grips farther on if you are fitting barprevent them from twisting while you are riding.


to prevent injury in the event of a fall.




Drop handlebar Road-riding cyclists often fit a drop handlebar to their bikes so their bodies can adopt a lower, more aerodynamic posture. However, the handlebar should never be positioned so low that breathing is restricted when holding the bottom of the bar. Replace a drop handlebar at once if any cracks develop on its surface. The steps in this sequence will show how to replace a drop handlebar and how to fit, and therefore how to reposition, brake levers. Cyclists with larger hands and long arms may prefer to mount the levers lower down the handlebar than the ideal position shown here. Regularly replace the handlebar tape as shown in Steps 5 and 6, and insert a plug in each end of the handlebar after taping to help prevent injury in a fall. Brake levers for flat handlebars will not work on drop handlebars, and may not work with all brake types. Check the compatibility of your components before swapping.

Installing a drop handlebar

Use a medium, half-round file to remove any raised areas of metal inside the part of the stem that clamps the bar in place. These raised areas can bite into the handlebar, eventually causing them to fracture.


• Smooth the filed surface with emery paper.


1 2 3 4 5 6

Parts of a drop handlebar Drop handlebar

Cable groove

Secure the levers of a Campagnolo brake/shift to the handlebar by tightening a bolt on the outside of the hood with an Allen key. Pull the lever hood cover forward to access the bolt. The bolt on Shimano levers is farther down the outer side of the lever hood, so you need to put your Allen key into a recess under the rubber cover.


Handlebar tape Brake lever hood

Rubber cover


 Half-round file  Emery paper  Allen key multi-tool

Brake lever

Drop handlebar

Fit the new handlebar and tighten up the clamp bolts. Before you secure the bolts, try to line up the flat part of the bottom of the han ndlebar with a point just below the back brake.


Slide the steel ring of the brake lever over the handlebar. This ring clamps the lever to the handlebar.


• Attach the bolt in the brake lever hood to the screw thread on the ring and tighten n.

Pull the cover of th he brake lever hoo od forward and place a shorrt length of tape oveer each h steel ring.


• Wind the tape in onee turrn from m the t bottom to th he top p off th thee levver hood. When yo ou reaach th he top of the handleb ebar, secu ure thee tape with ele electrical tap ape.


Start taping at one end en off the handlebar.

ha f • Wind upward, coverinng half of the previous turn wi with each ch sub bsequent turn.

• Keep the tape tight at allll titimess.




HUBS Th her eree ar aree tw wo ty t pe pess of o hub b, op o en en-b -b bea e ri ring ngg and nd car artrid trid tr idge ge. TTh he cone ccoone nes aan nd be bear arin ar ings in gs ooff op open pen n-b bea e ri ring ng g hub ubs mu must ustt be be ad adju just sted ed to lleet tth he hubs hu bs sspi pin pi in fr free eely ee ly,, wi ly with th h littl itttle tlle pl play ay.. Th The bear beear arin in ngs gs in n bo both th tyyp peess of h hu ub ub need ne ed rreg ed e ul eg ularr che che h ck ckin in ing ng an andd lu lubr bric br i at ic atin tin ing.

How they work The Th he h hu ub al a lo lows w the whee ws heel he el to revo revo re volv lvee. Qui lv uick ickckck r lea re leas le ase me m ch c an a issms ms or nu utss sec ecu ure th ure ur thee ax ax e axle in nto to the h bike’ ikke’s fr fram fram amee. TTh he axl xle re rema m in inss sttat atic icc whilililee th wh the hub body spi pins n aro round d on b bea e rin ea riing ngs. ngs. Spokes run Sp n from m th thee hu h b’ b s fl f an angees to o the h rim m of the of h whe he heell—ass tthe hub ub sspi pins n , so ns o do oees es th thee ri r m. m. T e dr Th drivet etra rain ra in trraans nsfe fers rss the rid der er’s pow er’s ower eerr f om fr m thee ped dal alss to o thee reaar wh whee eeel, w whi hiilee th hee frron o t wh w ee e l is ess ssen en nti tiaally ally pusshe h d al alon ong on g byy thee revo v lu vo l tiion ns of tthe he rea e r.r The g gea eaarss o on n a biike ke arree lo oca c ted teed on tthe hee rea e r hu hub, b, eittheer ass a h hub ub b-g -gea earr u it un i or as as m mul ullti t pl p e co c gs iin n th thee ca case case se of deera railille leur urr gea ears rs.. rs Thee fr Th free eeewh whee eeel me m ch chan an nism, issm, m, wh hiich h is aallso so on thee re th rear ar h hub ub, al ub allo lo ows w a rid der to st stop top pp ped ed edal dal alin ing ng w ililee th wh t e biike iiss in i mot otio tio ion n—ffo or or ex exam ample, am ple, pl e, on a do d wn w hi hilllll sstr tret tr etch et ch of ro road d. Th his is mec echa hani nism sm is part pa rt of th thee hub hu ub in bo otth hu h bg geeaarrs an and h hu ubs bs with wi th cassse sett ttee co cogss.

Minimi M Min in nimi imizin im zin in ng friccttio tion Free-s Fre ree-s e pin ep nin ing in ng hub ubss aare an essse ubs ssse senti ntial nt aall parrt of an p an eeffi f ccie ff ffi iieentt bik bikke. ke. e. Th TThe heeir h ir bea b eaarin rin ri ng gss mus mus mu ust crea reeate te as as lit iittttle ittle lee fricct fri cttiion cti on n ass p po pos osssib o siib blle, lee, e, sso o as as n no ot to slo lo ow th hee rid id deer’ errr’s forw orw war ard rd p rd prrog ogr o g ess ess ss. s.


Th axlee o The of a cart rtridge hub b is nott thr h eaded, so th he bearings are pushed ont n o each end of the axle and coverred by a seal. Wh W en t e hub is assembl th bled, the bearings sit in the hu h b body, just to t e outs th tside of the flaanges, witth the axle running through h them. L ckring Lo gs en e su s re that everything is held in place. Flangee Anc n hors the spokes to the hubb

Axl xle Rottatees the wheel

Seal Seal Cov o ers th he be rings bea

Hub bo b dy d Co taiins thee Con axl xe

Cartri tridge dg b rings bea gs Suppor Sup port the he hub bo b dyy

How they work


The body on an open-bearing front hub spins on ball bearings that are set within, and at each end of, the hub body. Each set of bearings is held in place by a cone (not visible) that is screwed down on the thread at the end of the axle. A locknut (not visible) locks the cone in place on the same thread. If the hub is held by a quick-release mechanism, the axle is hollow to allow the quickrelease skewer to go through it. Axle Remains static as the wheel revolves

Open-bearing front hub Allows the wheel to revolve smoothly

Hub body Rotates around the axle

Ball bearings Support the hub body

Quick-release skewer Locks the axle in place




Open-bearing hub Hubs are available in two types—openbearing or cartridge. The open-bearing hubs require much more maintenance than the cartridge type, since their bearings need regular inspection, cleaning, and regreasing. As a result, the ability to strip down and service an open-bearing hub is a skill that can be used repeatedly. The following steps will help you to remove an axle and a freehub, as well as regrease and retighten the bearings. They can be applied to a Shimano front or rear hub and a Campagnolo front hub. However, leave servicing a Campagnolo rear hub to the experts at a bike shop because it requires special tools. If you are working on a rear hub, you need to remove the cassette by following the steps on pp.66–7 before tackling the steps in this sequence.

Overhauling an open-bearing hub

Remove the locknut on the drive side with a wrench while holding the non-drive-side cone with a cone wrench. Some locknuts can be removed with an ordinary wrench, others with an Allen key.


• Keep holding the non-drive-side cone with the cone wrench and remove the drive-side cone with another cone wrench.


1 2 3 4 5 Parts of an open-bearing hub Locknut




Freehub body

Hub body


Spacers Non-drive side

Axle Drive side


 15mm and 16mm cone wrenches (Shimano)  13mm and 14mm cone wrenches (Campagnolo)  Grease  Grease gun (optional)  Allen key multi-tool  Adjustable wrench  8mm or 10mm Allen key


Take out all the ball bearings from each side and clean them with degreaser.

• Replace ball bearings that are scored or have flat spots on their surface.

• Insert a layer of grease into each groove, or race, where the ball bearings sit.

• Return the ball bearings to each race, pressing down firmly so the grease holds them in place.

Open-bearing hub

Pull the axle out from the non-drive side. Be careful not to dislodge any of the ball bearings as you do so.


• Clean the cones and axle and then inspect them for damage. Check to see if the axle is bent by rolling it on a flat surface and looking for any irregular motion. Replace damaged cones or bent axles immediately.

Insert an Allen key into the 8mm or 10mm Allen bolt located in the center of the freehub. This bolt holds the freehub body on to the axle.


• Turn the key counterclockwise to remove the freehub. You may need a bit of force to loosen this bolt, so use an Allen key with a long handle for extra leverage.

Fit the new hub body or the cleaned old one by reversing Step 3.


• Reinsert the axle from the non-drive side.

• Tighten the drive cone up to the bearings and make sure the axle spins freely with minimal play.

• Lock the cone into position with the locknut.

• Use the cone wrenches to check that the non-drive cone is tight against its locknut.




WHEELS Quick-release mechanisms help to remove and replace a wheel more quickly than ever before. The tires are the component that make contact with the ground. Match the tires on your bike to the prevailing riding conditions and always be ready to replace worn-out tires.

Quick-release wheels Removing and replacing a wheel is a very straightforward task, but if any of the following steps are overlooked, the wheel may come loose and compromise the rider’s safety. The steps are for wheels that use quick-release levers to secure them in the dropout (the frame recess into which the axle fits). For bikes with axle nuts, loosening and tightening with a wrench corresponds to unlocking and locking the quick-release lever. Levers are labeled “locked” or “closed” on the side facing the cyclist when the wheel is secure, and “unlocked” or “open” when it is not. Check levers are locked before each ride, and during a ride if disc brakes are fitted. The rim brake needs to be released on the wheel being removed. For V-brakes, unhook the cable from its cradle; for cantilevers, unhook the straddle wire from the left brake arm; for calipers, use the quick-release lever.


1 2 3

1 2

Removing a rear wheel

Parts of the quick-release system Fork

Quick-releasse bod dy

Quick-release Qu leve ver

Wheel dropout

Release the brake, shift the chain onto the smallest cog, and pull the quick-release lever away from the bike into the unlocked position. Some quick-release levers are shaped so that they bend toward the frame when in the locked position. This provides a visual check if nothing is printed on the lever.



 Wrenches for wheels with axle nuts

Quick-release wheels

Removing a front wheel

Release the brake. Pull the quick-release lever to the unlocked position. If the dropout has safety lips, the wheel will not come out of the fork at this stage. These safety lips keep the wheel from falling out in the unlikely event of the lever becoming unlocked while you ride.


• Use your fingers to unscrew the nut on the opposite side of the lever until the quick-release clears the safety lip.

Hook the chain out of the way and onto the peg situated on the inner side of the right seat stay (if there is one).



Lift up the bike to allow the wheel to drop out of the fork.

• Replace the front wheel by reversing Step 1. • Push the quick-release lever behind the left fork blade to prevent anything from catching it and opening it accidentally.

• Reconnect the brake once the wheel is locked.


Replace the wheel by introducing the hub axle to the dropouts.

• Hook the chain onto the smallest cog, then

• Pull the rear derailleur back and then lift up

push or pull the wheel backward.

the rear of the bike.

• Line up the tire exactly in the middle of the

• Give the tire a sharp blow from above with

chainstays as you hold the wheel straight.

the heel of your hand if the wheel does not drop forward and out of the frame.

• Push the quick-release lever into the locked position to secure the wheel. Reconnect the brake.




Puncture repair When you are out on a ride, it is much easier to replace a punctured inner tube with an intact tube rather than painstakingly mend the puncture. At home, you can repair the punctured tube with adhesive and a patch. It is still a good idea to carry a repair kit on every ride, because you might be unlucky enough to get a second puncture and be forced to repair the tube outdoors. The main point to remember about mending a puncture is not to rush any of the stages. If you patiently give the glue time to dry, closely examine the inside of the tire, and carefully refit the tube, then you will be rewarded with a successful repair. If you miss anything or pinch the inner tube, you may get another puncture.

Mending a punctured inner tube

Take the wheel out of the bike. Place one tire lever under the tire bead and lift it off the rim. Hook this lever around one of the spokes.


• Insert another lever under the tire near the


hooked lever. Push the second lever forward and run it around the whole circumference of the rim to remove one side of the tire.

• Remove the inner tube from the rim.

1 2 3 4 5 Parts of a wheel Tire

Inner tube




Take the tire off the wheel, turn it inside out, and thoroughly check the inner surface.

• Remove anything that is sticking through the Spoke


 Tire levers  Crayon  Sandpaper  Chalk  Patch adhesive  Repair patches

tire by pulling it out from the outside of the tire.

Puncture repair

Inflate the tube a little and listen for the sound of escaping air. Locate the hole, mark it with a crayon, and let the air out of the tube.

Use a small piece of san sand dpaper to dust some chalk over over the patch to preve event nt ex excess adhesive fro om sticking s to the the in inside o of th he tire tire.

• Spread a thin layer of adhesive over and around

ve the tu ube for or a few w minut nutes tes to to mak makee sure sure • Leave

the hole (inset). t Allow time for it to become tacky.

thaat the adh hesi esive vee has dried.


• Peel the foil from the patch. Press the patch firmly onto the adhesive for over a minutee. Make sure the edges are flat.

Put one side of the tire ire all thee way back onto the rim im. Slightl tly inflate the tube, insert th he valve into the hole in the rim, and d work the he tube back inside the ti tire.


• Put the other sidee of the tire in place by push ushing th he valve upward, the hen lifting ng the section of tire nextt to the valve over thee rim. Work the tire re back arou ound the rim m. heck th hat the he • Che tire has no not pinc nc ed nch thee ttube be und ndeerneath h it before bef re fu ullyy infla in ating tin ing thee tub tu be. To do this, s, squ ueezee the t tire tog geth ther and look around d the whole circu um umference of th he wheeel. e





Spokes and rims The steps in this sequence explain how to replace a single broken spoke and how to true a wheel, a term for straightening the rim of a wheel. However, replacing multiple spokes, replacing spokes in nonstandard wheels, and truing a wheel that has been buckled by some kind of impact are jobs that are best left to the experts in a good bike repair shop. It is essential to true the wheel after replacing a broken spoke because the wheel rim is kept straight by the combined pull of all the spokes acting on it. If one spoke breaks, its pull is eliminated and the rim as a whole goes out of line. A wheel jig is needed to true a wheel properly. This tool holds the wheel securely in place, and its jaws provide a reference point on either side of the rim to help judge how far out of line the wheel is. Bringing it in line is a matter of tightening the new spoke until it reaches the same tension as the old spoke.

Replacing a spoke and truing a wheel


Remove the wheel and take off the tire and inner tube.

• Lift up the rim tape next to the broken spoke and push the spoke upward and out of the rim. If the head of the spoke is broken, measure the broken spoke so you can buy the correct length to replace it. If the break occurred in another place, measure the two pieces to get the right length.


1 3 4 5 6


Parts of a spoke Spoke head




Screw the nipple onto the spoke. For the first few turns you can use your fingers.

• Go back to Step 2 and make sure it is laced Nipple head


Toolb lbox

 Spoke key  Wheel jig  Needle-nose pliers



exactly the same way as the spoke four along from it. If it is not laced properly, tensioning the spoke in Steps 5 and 6 could damage the wheel.

Spokes and rims

Insert the new spoke, threads first, into the hub flange from the opposite side from its two neighbors.

Push the nipple of the new spoke through the rim hole from inside the rim and screw it onto the spoke.

• Lace the new spoke into the wheel, under and

• Remove the rim tape to make it easier to fit the

over the neighboring spokes. To do this, look at the spoke four along and lace the new spoke exactly the same way.

nipple onto the new spoke.


Put the wheel into a wheel jig and take up the remaining slack on the spoke nipple by tightening it with a spoke key. Make sure that the spoke key is precisely the right size for the nipples on the wheel.


• Stop short of making the spoke as tight as its neighbors at this stage.


• Check the rim tape—if you see any splits, or if it is frayed, replace the tape.


Use small, measured turns of the spoke key to tension the spoke.

• Rotate the wheel so that the nipple of the new spoke is between the jaws of your jig.

• Note how out of line the rim is, then give the nipple a one-quarter tightening turn and check again between the jaws. Repeat and check each quarter-turn until the rim is straight.


ADJUSTING YOUR a bike’s most important component. The braking system needs to be adjusted and serviced carefully and precisely to guarantee a rider’s safety in all conditions.


Trustworthy brakes are



RIM BRAKES Rim brakes stop a bike by contactiing g the rim of th thee wh heels ls. s Pads must be checked to ensure that they con ntact tact tthee rim im fully and at the same time, and replaced wheen th hey are re woorrn. n. Brake cables must be checked and lubricate tedd regula arllyy..

How they work The three most common types of rim brake k —VV-br b akke, br cantilever, and caliper—work in similar ways y . A le ys leve veer ver pulls a cable, which causes the two brake ar arm ms to mo ms move move toward each other simultaneously. Th his i act ctio ion io n brrin ings gs the two pads into contact with the braaki king ng ssurfa face of the wheel rim. Springs cause the arms to m mov ovee baackk ov when the lever is released. Cantilever brake kes di d st strribute tee the cable’s pull via a strad ddle wire. Th T e in nne ner cabl cable in ca n a V-brake and caliper pulls one arm, m, w whi hiile thee o out uteer ut er, er, in resisting this pull, effectively pu push s es the sh he oth therr arrm m.

Bra akin king ssafe a elyy afe Ri br Rim b aakees must usst b bee se set et up pro roper p ly and pe per nd ma main in int nttain i ed in ed to o vverry ry hiigh gh st stan tand nd dard r s if they rd heeeyy ar to are to wo ork eff effect ef ec ive ivel iv ely ly an and and nd saaafely o saf on n aan ny surffac ace cce an and in a co all ond n tio ndi tions. ns.


The cable of a V-brake is attta tach ched ed to a br brak brak akee arm by a cable-clamp bol o t. Whe hen n pu ulllleed ed, th ed, he cable pulls this arm tow war ard d th thee ri r m. At th thee same time, the cable-guide de tube, ub be, w whi hich hi ch is an an extension of the cable houssing ng, push hes es the he

Cable-guide tub be Pushes the brake arm Brake arm Pivots inward on a brake boss

othe ot herr arrm in he inwa ward wa r . Th rd Thee tw wo arrms m p piv iivvo ott aro roun ro un nd thee brak th brak br akee bo boss sses ss es,, pu es push shin sh i g th in thee br brak a e pa ak p d dss agai ag ains ai nstt the ns th he br b ak akin ing in g su surf rfac rf acce on n the rim m. On Once ce t e ca th cabl b e’ bl e s pull pulll iss reeleeas ased e , sp ed pri ring ng gs arou und d th hee pivvot pi vot bo bolt ltss pu lt p sh the h bra rake aarms apar arrtt..

Inn nn ner cab c lee ca Pulls Pul ls th the he brake brake bra k arm m Cab ble le--cla clamp m bol mp bo t At ach Att acc ess thee cable b to to th t e bbra rakke arm m

Bra raake k bo boss Alloows All ow ow ws th t e bra rake arm rak m to piv p ot ot Brrrakee pad Bra B ad Contacctss the h riim and d sto st ps p tthe th he w whe wh heel el Spr prrin i s ing Pus ush h bbrak rakee arms apart rak apart ar Pi ot Piv o bol oltt Anchor Anc ho s the hor he br ke bra ke arm to t br the b ake boss bo osss

H ow How Ho o w th the eyy w wor or o k

B ke Br Bra k lev lever err PPullls the h ca c ble blle

Bra Br rake ra ke arm ar ar Mov Mo M ov oves es the he h brake br bra ke pad padss pa tow to oward ow ard th the the rim rim m Bra Bra Br r ke rake ke pad paad SSllo Slo lows ws do ddow ow own th the th he wh wheel e l


When Wh e the rid en der e app p lies es tthe he b braake lever, it pulls the niipp pple le of th thee in nne n r caabl b e. A As it leaves the lever, the brak br akke ca cabl b e ru bl runs n iins ns nssiid n de a ca cable hous u ing, which sits in a ba barr r el adj rr djus uste us ter.r. Thiss baarr te rrel el adj djussteer allows the brake ttrrav avel el tto o be b fin finee-tu etune tu n d. ne N plee Nip Fixxess inn Fi nner er cab able lee to braake lev le er Inner cable Lin nks the th br brake akk ar ake arm m to the h br brake rake ak le lever verr B rel ad Bar adjus j ter jus Adj dju usts brak ust brak rakee t avel tra el Cabblee hou housin ousin ng Re istts the Res h pulll on pul on tthe he cab ble

Bra rake ke lever Pullss the nipple nip ple




Drop handlebar brake cable

Replacing road bike brake cables

Brake cables on a drop handlebar need to be changed at regular intervals, although this depends on how much the road bike is used. For a heavily used bike, change the brake cables every two months; for a bike ridden lightly two or three times a week, change the brake cables once a year. The steps in this sequence are performed on the back brake. Replacing a cable on the front brake follows the same principles, but there are no cable guides to thread through. Brake levers that fit a drop handlebar require a brake cable with a pear nipple. Always keep a new cable in the toolbox or workshop as a spare. A rear cable can be cut to fit the front as well. Once the cable has been removed, remember to put a few drops of lubricant on the pivots around which the brake lever moves, and spray some oil into the tube inside the lever hood where the cable is inserted.

Loosen the cable-clamp bolt on the brake caliper. Remove the old cable by pulling its nipple from the lever hood with needle-nose pliers.


• Note exactly where the cable fits in the lever hood to allow you to fit the new one easily.

• If the old cable has broken, remove the part of the cable that is still clamped to the calliper.

• Carefully unwind the handlebar tape.






3 4

Parts of a brake lever and brake cable Brake lever hood

Brake cable Pear nipple

Brake cable Campagnolo Ergoshift

Toolb lbox

 Needle-nose pliers  Cable cutters  Allen key multi-tool  Fine round file

Fit each length of cable housing with a metal ferrule at both ends. When you apply the brake, ferrules prevent the cable housings from being pulled through the cable guides on the frame.


Brake lever

• Make sure that each ferrule is pushed all the way on. Put a little oil on the end of the ferrule to help it slide into place, and wipe off any excess.

Drop handlebar brake cable


Insert the new, greased cable into the cradle on the lever in which the nipple sits.

• Thread the cable into the tube in the lever

Cut the new cable housing to length with good-quality cable cutters. Measure the old housing and cut the new one to the same length.


hood. Push it in and watch for it to come out of the back of the lever hood. Now pull it through the lever hood from behind.

• Always cut between the spirals of the housing. • Dribble oil into the housing, holding it while

• Make sure that the nipple is seated in the brake

• Renew cable housings at regular intervals.

lever cradle when the cable is all the way through.


Thread the cable through the first length of cable housing and the first cable guide.

• Pull the cable all the way through and insert it

the oil runs down to coat the inside.

Pull the cable through the cable-clamp bolt on the caliper until each brake pad is about 2mm from the wheel rim.


into the next guide, then the next housing.

• Hold the cable and tighten the clamp bolt. If the

• Push the cable housings firmly into the guides to ensure there is no slack when applying the brakes.

brake has a quick release, ensure that it is in the closed position before tightening the clamp bolt.

• Use a fine round file to file out any tight cable

• Follow Steps 5 and 6 on p.97 to re-tape the

guides. Do not file more than you have to.

handlebar, with either new or existing tape.




Straight handlebar brake cable Replacing brake cable inners and housings is a job that should be done fairly often on a mountain bike—about once every six to 12 months. They also need replacing if they start fraying and become worn. The hybrid bike in this sequence has V-brakes, but some mountain bikes are equipped with cantilever brakes. Fitting cables is similar for both. Brake cables also require regular cleaning and lubricating, especially if the bike has been ridden consistently in wet weather. All brake levers that fit onto a straight or riser handlebar require a cable with a barrel nipple. Regardless of the manufacturer, the barrel nipple fits into the brake lever in the same way. Remember to use ferrules on both ends of every length of new cable housing. Put a cable crimp on the end of the cable once everything is secure and working as it should. In these steps, the tire is removed from the wheel to show clearly what is happening.

Replacing V-brake cables on a hybrid bike

Undo the cable-clamp bolt on the brake. Note where the nipple sits in the cradle that is part of the lever and remove the cable from inside the brake lever by pulling it out with needle-nose pliers.


• Check the cable housings. If they are not worn, you can use them again. Flush them out with degreaser and dribble oil into them.


1 4




6 Parts of a brake lever and a brake cable Brake lever

Ring clamp

Brake cable Nipple

Reach adjuster

Brake cable

Attach the cable to the brake arm by inserting it into the cable guide tube and then pull it through the cable-clamp bolt.


Brake lever

Barrel adjuster

Toolb lbox

 Needle-nose pliers  Cable cutters  Allen key multi-tool  Cable pullers (optional)

• Keep the cable under tension and make sure each length of cable housing is properly seated in the cable guides.

• Pull the cable to bring the brake pads closer to the rim. Tighten the clamp bolt when the pads are about 2mm from the rim.

Straight handlebar brake cable

Cut new cable housings to the same length as the housings you removed, or measure them on your bike and trim as needed. Buy cable housing either in a roll or in precut lengths with inners in a cable kit. The precut lengths may be too long for your bike, so you may still have to cut to fit.


Grease the new inner and thread it into the brake lever. When it shows through the barrel adjuster, pull it from this side of the lever until the nipple is seated in the lever cradle.


• Thread the cable through the lengths of cable housing and seat the cable housings in the cable guides of the frame.

• Dribble oil into each cable housing and push a metal ferrule onto each end.

Pull the brake lever until the brake is fully applied. This ensures that all cable housings are bedded in and all bolts are tight.


• Undo the cable-clamp bolt and repeat Step 4 if the cable slips through the clamp bolt or a ferrule is not seated properly.


Cut off any excess cable once the cables are bedded in.

• Leave about 1 ⁄ in (4cm) of free cable after the 1


cable-clamp bolt.

• Put a cable crimp on the end of the cable to prevent it from fraying.




Caliper brake

Adjusting a caliper brake

Maintaining caliper brakes is a question of regularly checking the action of the brake lever. If you have to pull it too far before the brake bites, the brake needs adjusting. Check the brake pads for wear and alignment, and ensure that they contact the braking surface of the rims simultaneously. How far the lever has to be pulled before the brake comes on depends on the rider. People with smaller hands may prefer more travel in the lever before the brake bites, because they will pull with more strength the closer the lever is to the handlebar. Apart from their quick releases, all dualpivot caliper brakes (such as the Shimano brakes shown here) work in the same way, regardless of the manufacturer. This means that you should be able to apply these steps to your bike, whatever its brakes. STEP LOCATOR

Periodically check for pad wear. If the pads are wearing down toward half their original depth, they must be replaced.


• Undo the Allen key pad retainer and push out the pad. If the pad and shoe are a complete piece, replace the whole unit, releasing the old pad and fitting the new one with a 5mm Allen key.

1 2 3 4 1 1

Parts of a caliper brake Travel adjuster, spring, and washer

Caliper arm Center-fixing bolt

Centering adjusting screw

Brake shoe bolt Brake pad Brake shoe

Toolb lbox

 Full set of Allen keys or Allen key multi-tool  Needle-nose pliers (optional)

Pull the brake on with the brake lever and check to see if both pads simultaneously come in contact with the braking surface on the rim of the wheel.


• Make sure that both sides are working together by turning an adjustment screw on the side of the caliper with an Allen key. This process is called “centering” the brakes.

Caliper brake

Using quick-release mechanisms


Adjust the brake pads so they are directly in line with the braking surface of the rim.

• Release the 5mm Allen bolt on the pad and line the pad up with the braking surface.

• Look for pad wear at this point. Pads that have

Use a quick-release mechanism when the adjusted brake pads are so close to the rim that it is impossible to remove the wheel. Campagnolo and Shimano caliper brakes are equipped with different quick-release systems.


been set too low will develop a lip and will need to be replaced.

• Lift the small lever on the cable-fixing bolt to

Adjust the brake travel if you have to pull the brake lever back a long way toward the handlebar before the wheel stops moving.

Press the small button at the side of the brake lever to move Campagnolo caliper brake pads away from the rim.

• Undo the cable-fixing bolt and squeeze the

• Restore the pads to their original position by

sides of the caliper until the pads nearly touch the rim. The brake cable will then move through the fixing bolt.

pulling the brake lever toward the handlebar until the brakes are on and then push the small button back.


• Tighten the bolt and release the caliper.

make Shimano caliper brake pads move away from the rim. After replacing the wheel, lower the lever.






Adjusting a V-brake

V-brakes are fitted to most new mountain bikes because they give good stopping power. Maintaining brake performance is crucial because of the harsh conditions to which mountain bikes are sometimes subjected, so knowing how to adjust the brakes at home and out on the trail is very important. Pad alignment and brake travel need to be checked and adjusted regularly to keep them working properly. Bear in mind that as soon as you ride off-road you will increase brake pad wear. Even a single ride can render already worn pads useless, so change them before they need it. Adjustment in the workshop, especially pad alignment, is best performed with the tire removed, since off-road tires are bulky and can get in the way. Wheels must run true before setting up brakes (see pp.106–7). 7

Make sure the stopper pin on each brake arm is seated in the same hole on the brake bosses. If it is not, remove the pivot bolt, slide the brake arm off the boss, and put the pin into the correct hole.


• Replace the pivot bolt and retighten it. If you


notice that the brake boss was dry with the arm removed, smear a little grease on it.

1 2 3 4 5 6

Parts of a V-brake Cradle

Cablefixing bolt

V-brake arm Spacers Spring clip

Pivot bolt


Retension the brakes by hooking the cable b k in its cradle. bac

• Make sure the gap between each brake pad and the rim of the wheel is 1mm. Brake shoe

Brake pad

Toolb lbox

 Full set of Allen keys or Allen key multi-tool  Phillips screwdriver  Cable puller (optional)

• Undo the cable-fixing bolt with an Allen key and pull the cable through until the 1mm gap is achieved. Then tighten the cable-fixing bolt.


Press the brake arms together. If they are not vertical when the pads touch the rim, rearrange the spacers on either side of the pads until they are vertical.

Undo the brake-pad fixing bolt, remove the pad and shoe assembly, and switch the spacers around.

• Release the brakes by unhooking the cable-

pad-retaining clip, push the old pad out of the shoe, and replace it with a new one.


guide tube from the cradle. Do this when you remove the wheel with correctly adjusted V-brakes.


• Check the pads. If they are worn, remove the • Line up the pads so that they hit the rim with their entire braking surface, and are parallel to it. Then tighten the fixing bolts.

Use a Phillips screwdriver to tighten or loosen the centering screw on each brake arm. The aim is to make both arms move an equal distance before the pad touches the rim when you apply the brake lever.


• The tension on each screw should ideally be even, since there is an equal number of spacers on either side of the brake arm.

Screw out the barrel adjuster on the brake lever to reduce brake travel and make the brakes feel more responsive.


• Screw the adjuster outward to reduce brake travel and create firmer braking. This technique is quick and easy to perform, and is especially useful for riding in wet conditions, when brake pads can wear down rapidly.




Cantilever brake Cantilever brakes work with the brake levers that fit dropped handlebars, whereas V-brakes do not. This is why touring and cyclo-cross bikes are fitted with cantilevers. Cantilevers were the predecessors of V-brakes, so they may also be fitted to older mountain and hybrid bikes. Keep cantilever brakes running smoothly by regularly checking the pads for wear and adjusting the pad alignment and brake travel. The cable of the cantilever brake shown in these steps is clamped to one brake arm and the straddle wire running off it attaches to the other arm. On some older cantilever brakes, the brake cable is attached to a straddle. This hooks the straddle wire that transfers the cable’s pull to both brake arms and needs regular adjustment (see Step 1 Adjusting a BMX U-brake, pp.122–23).

Adjusting a cantilever brake

Disconnect the straddle wire by pushing the cantilever arm to which it is attached toward the wheel with one hand. At the same time, unhook the nipple on the straddle with the other hand.


• Undo the pivot bolts that attach the cantilever STEP LOCATOR

arms to the frame bosses.

1 2 3 4 5

• Remove the cantilever arms.

1m mm m

Parts of a cantilever brake Brake shoe

Brake pad

Cantilever arm

Cable-clamp bolt Spring clip

2 mm mm Angle the pads so that the front of each pad hits the rim before the rear when the brakes are applied—this is called “toe in.”


Brake pad Allen nut


Toolb lbox

 5mm Allen key  Grease gun (optional)  Grease

• Loosen the pad-fixing bolt and place an emery board between the rear of the pad and the rim. Apply the brakes and then tighten the bolt. Release the brakes and remove the emery board. Ideally, the front of the pad should be 1mm from the rim and the rear 2mm.

Cantilever brake

Clean the exposed frame bosses with a cloth soaked in degreaser, then lubricate with a light grease, not a heavy-duty industrial grease. Use a grease gun if you have one.

Check the pads. If one is worn or badly aligned, undo the pad-fixing bolt with an Allen key and remove the pad/shoe assembly.

• Bolt both arms back on to the bosses, making

slide out the worn pad. Slide in a new pad and replace the spring clip.


sure that the stopper pins are inserted into the same hole on each boss.

• Replace the pivot bolts and then tighten them to hold the brake arms to the bosses.


• Remove the spring clip from the brake shoe and • Return the assembly to the brake arm, line up the pad so that its entire surface contacts the rim and is parallel with it, then tighten the bolt. Undo the brake-cable clamp to achieve the proper spacing from the pad to the rim.


• Pull the cable through the clamp until the front of each brake pad is 1mm from the rim. Tighten the clamp bolt.

• Pull the brake lever to see if both brake arms contact the rim simultaneously. If they do not, screw the centering screws in or out on each arm until they do.




Alternative brake designs

Adjusting a side-pull caliper brake

Two alternative brake designs are commonly fitted to some new bikes. These are the side-pull caliper brakes used on children’s bikes and the U-brakes fitted on BMX bikes. Side-pulls work in much the same way as calipers (see pp.116–17 ), while U-brakes resemble cantilevers (see pp.120–21). Before buying replacement cables for either of these types of brakes, first check the kind of nipple that is currently used on the bike in question. Some levers on children’s bikes and older bikes require pear nipples, while other levers need barrel nipples. When a new cable is fitted to a side-pull caliper brake, leave the barrel adjuster at the halfway point of its range.

Loosen the cable-clamp bolt and pull the cable through until the brake pads are closer to the rim. This compensates for pad wear.


• Screw in the barrel adjuster to move the pads away or screw it out to move them closer.


• Replace pads that are worn below half their 1


depth by undoing the pad bolt and fitting a new pad or shoe unit in their place.





Adjusting a BMX U-brake

Parts of a side-pull brake and a U-brake Side-pull caliper brake

Barrel adjuster

Pivot nut Brake arms

Brake pad

Cable-clamp bolt

Brake-pad bolt Brake arms Straddlewire seat

Straddleclamp bolt Pivot bolts

BMX U-brake Brakepad bolt

Brake pads

Toolb lbox

 Allen key multi-tool  Needle-nose pliers  Wrenches

Centering screw

Undo the straddle clamp bolt and pull the brake cable through the straddle with needlenose pliers to take up the pad wear. Then tighten the nut.


Use an Allen key to adjust the centering screw on each brake arm if the pads do not contact the rim at the same time. Screw in to move the pad away from the rim.


Alternative brake designs

placee and is located behind the fork crown.

Undo the pad bolts, line up the pads, and tighten the bolt so that the brake pads contact the rim directly in line with it. Do this when yyou replace ep worn pa pads,, too.

• Hoold the caliper so that both pads are an equal

• Inspect the pads regularly. If you find any


Center the brakes if one brake pad is contacting the rim before the other.

• Undo the brake’s pivot nut that holds it in distance from the rim and tighten the pivot nut.

Line up or replace pads in the same sa wayy as caliper brakes (see pp.116–1 –17). 7 . Rep plac lace the brake pads by removing the pad boltts and nd fittin ng new pad and shoe units..


• Too disconnect the brake, pinch thee brake arms together and unh hookk the straddle from the strad ddle wire. To reconnect, reverse this procedure.


ridges on them, replace the pads (see Step 1) and then line them up as described above, so that thei eirr enti entire re sur surfac facee cont contact actss the the rim rim.




HU UB-M MOUNTED BR RAKES Hub-moun untedd br b akess stop a bike by sl slow owin ow ingg do in dow wn the spe p ed d of the th he hub. hub. Regu Re g la gu larl rlyy ch heck disc sc bra rake ke ppad a s fo forr we wear ar aand nd alil gn g meent nt,, re repl placcing in ng th them em m when wh en the heyy ar aree wo w rn rn. Reegu gula la arl rlyy ch checkk an andd re repl plac pl aacccee th t e ca cabl bles bl ess on ca cabl blee bl discss and an nd hu ub br brak akkess. Exam Examin i e thee ho h se sess of hyd dra raul ulic ic bra r ke kes fo kes f r le leak akss. ak s.

How th hey work Hub-mo H ountted brakes are activated by th t e pu pullll of a le pull l ver on a cabl ca ble, e, w whi hich ch ccauses pa p ds to co ont ntac a t a braking n surfacce. e Sprin ings in gs push pu sh tthe he pad ads ds away wheen th thee le leve ver is rel elea e se ea sed. In disc bra r ke kes, s, tth he pa pads act ct on discs at attaach ched to th he hub b. In rollller and coaster brakes, the pads act on a brak In akin ing surfac facce in nsi s de the h hub. The action of the pads on the surfacce then th en sslo lows ws d dow own th t e hub hu ub an and therefore th the wh whee eel. In hydraaulic brak br akes es, th thee le leve veer’ r s ac actiion p pus ushe hess fl f uid through a ho ose se;; this is flu uid d push pu shess tthe he bra rake k pad a s in the cal ad a ipeer int n o ac acti tion on.. Of aalll the hub-mounted br brak akes ak es,, hyydr drau aulilic disc b brake kes offfe fer a ride fer riide derr th thee b stt control ove be verr th t e br brak akin ing g fo f rc rces tha hatt can n be app pplilied ed.

Work Wor king in kin in any any wea weath the th h r her he An adv advant antag age ge of h hu u ub b brakkes over rim m bra b braake kees iiss that their perf tha erffo orm or man a e anc is lar largel gel e y unaf unaf naaffec fe te ted ed by by adv ad dvers ersee rid rid idiing ccon ondittion ion ns..


When the W h rid der e p pul ulls ls the the b bra rake ke llev ever, thee hy th hydraulicc fl flui u d in tth he hose push pu shes es on th thee pi p st ston on ns in tthe he calilipe per.r. TThe hese se pis isto tons in turn cau ca use th thee br braake pa pad d on eacch sidee o off th the disc to co ont n acct the di dissc and sslo low w the rota ro tation ta tati o of the whee e l. When n the rider reele leaas ases the ases h bra r kee leve le ver,r, the preessur ssur ss uree off tthe he fluid id in n th he ho ose s d dec eccre r asses e, allo al lowi wing ng g the spr p in ngs g (not (n ott vissible ib ble le)) in tthe he caalil per to t push the brake paads apaartt.

Disc Slows dow down the hub of the wheel under pressure from the brakee pads

Ho ose ose Contains Co fluid flui id Calipe iper ip Con Con Contai o tains ainss pis isto tons and two br b ake ke pads pad

Brak Bra rake ke pad p Con C on ntac tacts thee di disc sc un er und e preessu pr uree fro from rom thee f id flu

Ho th How h ey e y w orr k Bra B rak rake le lev eever Com Co mppr pre r sse re ssess th the hee br h brake ak flu fl flu uid id

Hosee Hos Car arrrie riess th the he braake ke fluid flu i fro id from m tthe he le lev e er too the th hee cca alip perr

Cal C Ca aallip ipe ipe per Hoou Ho Hou usses sees es tth he bra bbr rraakkin kiin ing meecchan mec mech me haan ha nism issm is m

Dissc Sloows Slo ws ddow doow wn n tthe th h hee wh whee ee eel


Brake hose sess ar aree co conn nnec ecte ted d to a reserrvo voir ir o of brake fluid on eacch br brak a e lever. The fluid fills the hosess alll thee way to the caliper on the wheel. P Pulliing tthe brake lever operates a pi p st sto on iin the re reserv rvoi oir,r, which pushes the fl flui u d down wn n tth he hose an and, as a result, accti tivates th thee caliper pi p st stons.




Replacing disc brake pads When brake pads wear down, the brakes will not stop the wheel as quickly. Eventually, the pads become so worn that they have to be replaced. Unevenly worn pads should also be replaced immediately and the caliper may need to be realigned (see p.129). 9 Although replacing pads is broadly the same for all makes and models of disc brake, there are some differences, mostly in the way the pads are retained within the brake caliper. Some brake pads are kept in position within the caliper by retaining bolts, while others rely on the spring that keeps the two pads apart to fix them in place. Only use replacement pads recommended by the manufacturer of your brakes, and be very careful how you handle the pads. STEP STE P LOC LOCATO ATOR R

Changing the pads

Remove the wheel from the frame or forks (see pp.102-3), depending on which brake you are working on.

• Taking care not to touch the disc brake rotor, lower the wheel from the bike by supporting it with both hands on the axle, on each side of the hub.

• If you do touch a rotor you must clean it, or the performance of the brake will be reduced (see pp.128-29). 9

Parts of a disc-brake caliper

Brake hose

Caliper Rotor

Brake pads (not visible)

Toolb lbox

 Allen or Torx keys  Flat-bladed screwdriver

Place the new pads on either side of the s ing, which is V-shaped when looked at spr from the side. The tabs of the pads should be at the open end of the V. The narrowest part of the V goes into the caliper first.

• Taking care not to touch the pad surface, hold the pad and spring assembly between the thumb and forefinger, ready to put it in the caliper.

Replacing disc brake pads

Remove the pad from the caliper. The pads on this model are held in place within the caliper by outward pressure from a spring.


• Before you can push the pads out, you need to prise them apart with a flat-bladed screwdriver.

• If your brakes have a mechanism for taking up

Once the pads are dislodged, and all internal pressure is off them, squeeze them together. Use the tabs at the front of the pads to pull them free from the caliper. Sometimes they need a gentle push from behind with a flatbladed screwdriver.


pad wear you need to fully wind it out.

• If you have to push them, take each pad out

• If your bike has a pad-retaining bolt, remove it

separately and ensure that the separating spring comes out, too.

with an Allen key.

Squeeze the pad/spring assembly together and push it into the open end of the caliper. Slide the assembly all the way in, listening for the “click” sound that indicates it is seated correctly in the caliper. Let go once you hear the “click.”

• Bed the pads in by spinning the wheel and

• The pads should separate when you let go of

• Some brakes have micro-adjusters for fine-


them. If they don’t, remove and reassemble them, then push them in again, repeating Steps 2–5.


Put the wheel back in the frame or fork, ensuring the quick-release lever is locked.

pulling the brake lever a number of times. Ride the bike for a short time to test the brakes fully. tuning their action—adjust this feature if present on your brakes.




Disc-brake care

Adjusting cable travel

Cable disc brakes work well in all conditions. Even so, check the brake cables regularly for signs of fraying and keep them well lubricated. If the brakes do not release quickly when you let go of the brake lever, they need to be lubricated. Check brake travel, too, since excessive travel can mean that the brake pads are worn. When lubricating your bike, make sure that the lubricant does not fall on or touch the brake discs or pads. Do not even touch the disc or pad faces, because the grease from your fingers can easily affect their performance. Always clean the discs with a specialized rotor-cleaning fluid. Check your disc brake rotors regularly for accuracy and cracks, and clean them after every ride to ensure good brake performance. Replace a cracked or buckled rotor at once.

Loosen the cable-clamp bolt on the caliper and pull through enough cable, with pliers or a cable-pulling tool, to take up any slack in the cable.

• Tighten the clamp bolt. This will reduce the travel on the brakes and is a necessary adjustment if the brake levers need to be pulled a long way before the brakes work.


Looking after rotors

Parts of a cable disc brake (front) Cable housing


Brake cable Brake caliper

Rotor-mounting bolts

Toolb lbox

 Allen or Torx keys  Needle-nose pliers  Rotor cleaner  Clean cloth

Brake disc

Check the rotor for accuracy by inspecting how it moves through the calliper when the wheel is turned. It should run absolutely straight and true.

• Spin the wheel quickly, but ensure you are holding your bike steady.


Screw out the barrel adjuster to reduce brake travel. The adjuster is just above where the cable housing sits on the caliper body.

• Loosen the fixing clamp to remove the old cable if a new cable is needed. Insert the new cable into the brake lever (see pp.114–15) 5 and follow Steps 1 and 2 with the new cable.

Align the calipers with the discs using the adjustment bolts. Undo these bolts, align the caliper so that its sides are parallel with the disc, and then tighten.

• Align brakes that are not equipped with this adjustment facility by using spacers to pack out the caliper-fixing bolts.

• Lubricate the new cable before you fit it.

Remove a cracked or buckled rotor by unscrewing the bolts, holding it to the hub with an Allen or Torx key. Replace it with the specific rotor for your type of brake.

• Place the new rotor over the threaded bolt holes in the hub. Screw in and tighten the bolts.

Clean the rotor with a special rotorcleaning fluid after removing the wheel.

• Spray a little cleaner on either side of the rotor. • Use a clean cloth to prevent the cleaner from coating other bike parts but also to ensure the rotor is covered with cleaner. Do not polish with it.



Hydraulic disc brake I

Installing a hydraulic disc-brake system

Hydraulic disc brakes are more powerful than cable disc brakes, and once correctly installed, will require less maintenance. A bike that has disc-brake mountings on the frame and fork will be suitable for a discbrake system. Cable disc brakes can work with rim-brake levers but their performance falls fractionally short of hydraulic systems. These work by compressing a fluid rather than pulling a cable. Compatible hydraulic brake levers will need to be fitted to the handlebar and brake hoses that hold the brake fluid. Disc-specific hubs will also be required. There is no need to fasten the front hose to the fork. To direct and keep the rear hose in place, use an adapter kit to let the frame’s cable guides take hoses, because the cable hole in a standard cable guide is too small. STEP LOCATOR

Parts of a hydraulic disc brake Caliper Hose Wheel quickrelease Disc bolt Disc

Toolb lbox

 Allen or Torx keys  Wrench  Utility knife  Thread-locking compound  Flat screwdriver

Fit the caliper using the Allen bolts and washers provided.

• Switch the washers around to pack out each caliper in order to line it up with the disc. p ly a thre threadad loc lockin king g comp compou ound d to to the the thr thread eadss, • App then fix fix the di disc sc to the hu hub b usin using g th the dis discc bolt bolts. s

Hydraulic disc brake I

Cut the hose of the hydraulic system if it is too long by following Ste Steps 3–7.

Mount the brake lever onto the handlebar and secure with the clamp bolts.

Move the brass olive along the hose and out of the way.

• Take out the brake pads (see

• Unscrew the aluminum

• Pry the hose off the brake

pp.126–7 ) first and replaace them with a spacer. The caliper u d here is a demonstraation use m el with no hose attaached. mod mo

shroud located where the hose joins the brake lever and move it out of the way. Pry open the brass olive beneath with a flat screwdriver.

lever joint with a flat screwdriver, but be careful not to damage the lever joint. At the same time, gently pull on the hose to detach it.

Join the hose to the brake lever by inserting it into the lever joint. Push it home firmly, but not too hard, since this can split the hose.

Squeeze the olive on to the hose at the lever joint to make a good seal.

• Hold the hose upward as you

• Bleed the disc-brake system




Carefully cut offf excess C cable from the deetached end of the hose with a ssharp knife. Keep the olive and d the shroud on the part of th he hose that you will be reconneecting.



work to keep brake fluid loss to a minimum.


• Screw the shroud on to the thread of the lever joint. (see pp.132–3).




Hydraulic disc brake II

Draining and replacing brake fluid

If you are pulling hard on the brake levers without much effect on the discs, or if you are pulling the levers several times to make the brakes work, you need to bleed air from the system. The following steps will also help if you have cut hoses to fit while installing a hydraulic system, had a leak in the system, or have fitted a new hose.

1 3 2




Remove the wheels from the bike to reduce the chance of brake fluid falling on the brake discs.


• Place a spacer in the caliper between the brake pads (see Step 2, p.131). Toolbox

 Allen key multi-tool  10mm wrench  Length of clear hose

• Take off the brake fluid reservoir cover on the brake lever with an Allen key. Be careful not to let any of the brake fluid touch your hands.

handlebar and hold it. Close the bleed nipple.

Repeat Step 4, filling up the reservoir until there are no more air bubbles flowing through the clear tube when you squeeze the brake lever. You will probably have to repeat this step four or five times before the bubbles in the tube completely disappear.

• Never mix brake fluids. Mineral oil or DOT 4

• Close the bleed nipple once the tube is bubble-

Angle the bike so that the reservoir is level, open the bleed nipple, and fill the reservoir with brake fluid. Pour with a smooth, constant stream to minimize air bubbles.


• Squeeze the brake lever all the way to the fluids cannot be interchanged.


free and the reservoir is full.

Hydraulic disc brake II


Open the bleed nipple on the caliper with a 10mm wrench.

• Slide one end of a short length of clear tube


Pull the brake lever all the way back to the handlebar to remove some brake fluid.

onto the bleed nipple.

• Tighten the bleed nipple. • Make sure that all tools are at hand, since the

• Put the other end of the tube into a plastic

next steps require you to be organized.

container that is big enough to hold the old brake fluid.

• Cover the surface below where you are working, since brake fluids can be corrosive. Use disposable mechanic’s gloves to protect your hands. Replace the cover of the brake fluid reservoir but be careful not to displace any brake fluid.


• Refit your wheels and pump the brake lever a few times to center the brake pads.

• Go for a flat test ride. If your brakes are not performing as they should, there may still be air in the system. Repeat Step 4 and make sure that everything is tight.




Roller-brake cable All brake cables wear out, no matter how much time is spent maintaining them. Cables for roller brakes—sometimes called drum brakes—are no different. If the bike is equipped with roller brakes, the steps in this sequence show how to replace a cable when it is frayed or worn out. However, lubricating the brakes and replacing the internal parts are occasional jobs that are best left to the experts at a good bike shop. If the rear inner tube is punctured, or it is necessary to take off the back tire to replace it, you need to know how to disconnect the rear brake in order to remove the back wheel. At the same time, you should know how to reconnect and adjust the brake after replacing the wheel. Once this is a familiar routine, it will also be possible to adjust the roller brakes for brake pad wear from time to time.

Replacing a roller-brake cable

Push the brake-arm cradle toward the front of the bike. This takes the tension from the cable so that you can unhook the cable-clamp bolt from the cradle and remove the old cable.


• Screw the barrel adjuster on the brake arm in or out to about half of its extent.


• Remove the wheel at this point if you need to replace the tire or inner tube.


1 2 3 4 6 Parts of a roller brake Brake body Wheel axle nut Brake arm Cableclamp bolt Barrell adjuster

Cable C bl guide

Toolb lbox

 Wrenches  Needle-nose pliers

C bl Cable

Tighten the cable-clamp bolt while squeezing the cable slightly, as your helper keeps up the forward pull on the brake-arm cradle.


Roller-brake cable


Thread the greased cable through the brake lever, then through the housing.

• Dribble a little oil into the housing. • Make sure the housing is firmly located in the lever, then thread the cable through the barrel adjuster and seat the housing firmly into it.

• Thread the cable through the cable-clamp bolt.

Pull the cable backward with the needlenose pliers while you push the brake-arm cradle forward and hook the clamp bolt into it.


• Bend the cable slightly behind the clamp bolt and ask someone to push the brake-arm cradle forward. Use your free hand to tighten up the bolt so the cable is nipped in place.

Pull the brake lever hard repeatedly (ten times) to bed in the brakes. The brakes may be a little tight, as if they are being applied gently, even when there is no pressure on the lever.

Screw in the barrel adjuster a few turns until you achieve the 2⁄5in (15mm) of play in the brake lever.

• Keep about

to check when the brakes begin to bite.



⁄5in (15mm) of play in the brake lever before the brakes begin to bite.


• Pull in the lever after each turn in the adjuster


Suspension technology has revolutionized off-road riding. Accurate adjustment of the front fork and rear shock allows uneven terrain to be tackled safely and confidently.



SUSPENSION FORKS A suspension foork softens the blow of a bump on the road d or trai ail. The fork must be checked for wear and lubricated reg gularly lyy. The oil and springs should be changed either when they wea earr oorr to alter the characcteristics of the fork.

How theyy work The suspension fork on the front wheel absorbs the energy of a bump p and prevents the force from reaching the rider. The fork’s main spring, which can be trapped air or a metal coil, is compressed as the sliders move up p the stanchions. Compression ends when the spring has absorbed the shock of the bump. At this point, the spring pushes the sliders back and the fork reb bounds. Damping controls the speed of compresssion and rebound, usually by absorbing some off the energy of the bump with an air or oil dam mping mechanism. This cre reat ates es friction, which slows down the fork’s moveme ment ntts. s

Reacct Rea cti tn ng g to to bu bum b um u mpss Dam mpin pi g sho hould hou lld d pre reven ven nt th the he ffo forrk from ro ro om m reach rea ching chi ch ng thee li lim mits of mit of its trrav it aave vel, el,, b butt the the fo ork or rk rk sh uld sho d sttilll b bee re react act cctive ve ve enough en eno gh h to co cope pe w wit wi ith ith ev ry bum eve bump. p.


Bunnyhopping gives a graphic demonstration of compression and rebound. d As the rider picks up the front of the bike to clear the log, th the fork rebound ndss because the rider’s weeight has been taken off the spring. On landing ng, the fo ork r compresses as the sprring absorbs the shock of the bike and rider lan andi ding ng. Reboun ound d

Pulling the handlebar upward and moving the body backw ward lifts the front wheel so the front fork rebounds.

Compr Co mpress ession

Landin ng on the gro ound nd d ret etturn rns the rns thee rider’ss weig ei ht h to the he bi bikke’ bike’ kee’s frame ram ra ame and d com mpre resse ss s the fro front ront n for fo ork. ork. k

How w tth h ey e wor o k


W en Wh en a b bum u p pushes up the sliders on this fork, a piston mo ove vess up the left stanchion, compressing the air. Once the bump has as b beeen absorbed, the air pu ush shes e thee p pis i ton back and the fork reb bou ound n s. The dam mpi p ng mec echa haniism iin n th t e ri righ ghtt stanchion, which ch iiss fu full of oil,l aalso move ves up and down with th t e bump, conttro th rolling the speed of com ompression and d rreb ebound nd. F k crown For Tur urns ur r the fork Brake arch Coon onnects the two sliders

Seal Keeeps p dirt out of fork’s interior

Rig ght stanch hio on on Contains n th thee dampin pin ingg in mec echanis issm sm Oil ch O chamb ber er Con C ontains oil oili Dampin Dampin Da Dam p g mee hanism mec sm m M es up Mov p and n doown wn with wit h slilid lider

Slliderr S Sli Mov M Mo Moves ooves up p and down on the dow the he sta tanch ta nchion nch ion io ion

Leftt Lef staanc nch chio ch ion on Con ontai a ns the sprin ring me hanism mec and d pi p ston Air cha hambe mbe b r Co tai Con ains air ai Pisston t Mov o es e up and do d wn w in respon po se to o bum bu ppss Shaftt bol Sha Sh b t Fasten Fas tens sha haaft to sliide der er




Front suspension A suspension fork works best if it has been set up to accommodate the rider’s weight. When you sit on your bike, the amount the fork depresses, as the slider moves down the stanchion, is called the sag. As you ride, sag allows the fork to extend into the hollows in the ground, giving a smooth ride. To set the amount of sag, you can increase or decrease the amount of preload in the fork. Damping controls the speed at which a fork works. To find out if a fork is working too fast, lean on the handlebar, then quickly lift up the front of the bike. If the suspension fork bangs back to its limit, its action is too quick and its rebound damping needs to be increased. Adjust the damping still further after a few rides. The best setup will let the fork absorb a hit and rebound quickly enough to be ready for the next.

Setting sag

Put a tie-wrap around the stanchion of the unloaded fork and next to the top of the slider. Ideally, the sag should be about 25 percent of its available travel, though cross-country riders often prefer less and downhillers more.




1 3 4

1 1

Parts of a suspension fork Steerer Air valve Crown Stanchion Fork brace

Brake boss Slider

Get off the bike and carefully measure the distance between the tie-wrap and the top of the slider.




 Shock pump  Tie-wrap  Tape measure

• Express this measurement as a proportion of the fork’s available travel. If the distance is 1in (25mm) on a 31⁄5in (80mm) fork, the proportion is 32 percent. Check the owner’s manual to find out the available travel of your bike.

Front suspension

Fine-tuning the fork


Sit on the bike, wearing your normal cycling clothes.

• Place both feet on the pedals. Either ask someone to hold you upright on the bike, or lean your elbow against a wall. The slider will travel up the stanchion, pushing the tie-wrap with it.

Fine-tune the damping on some forks with an adjuster at the bottom of one of the fork blades. The two air chambers in this fork allow further refinements to damping.


• Pump air into the bottom chamber with a shock pump to change the spring characteristics.

• Change the size of a valve on the air piston to control air flow between chambers. This flow is called air-damping.

Increase the air in the chamber with a shock pump if the proportion of available travel is greater than 25 percent.


• Increase the spring preload with a coil/oil system (there is usually a dial at the top of the fork blade) or fit stronger springs.

• Release air, reduce the preload, or fit lighter springs if the proportion is less than 25 percent.

Make damping adjustments on some types of fork while riding the bike. The controls for these on-the-fly adjusters are usually marked “faster” and “slower” to indicate which direction to turn them in. It is also possible to lock out some forks. This means that you can stop their action if you are riding over a very smooth surface and do not need suspension.





Coil/oil fork

Setting up a coil/oil fork

If the sag has been set up correctly (see pp.140–41) but the coil/oil fork keeps bottoming out—the fork reaches the full extent of its travel but the spring cannot compress any more—it will be necessary to fit heavier-duty springs. Conversely, if the fork only reacts to the bigger lumps and bumps, lighter springs should be fitted. The method of changing springs is similar in most coil/oil forks, but check the manufacturer’s manual to find the features of the fork on the bike in question. It may not be necessary to remove the fork blade from the fork crown; or a spring in both blades of the fork may need replacing; or one blade may incorporate the spring, while the other has the damping mechanism. STEP LOCATOR

Remove the circle clip from around the rebound adjuster of the fork by prying it off with a flat screwdriver. Be very careful. Do not dig your screwdriver too far under the circle clip, but put it far enough under so that it does not slip. Keep your fingers away from the screwdriver to avoid injuring yourself if it slips.


1 2 3 4 5 Parts of a coil/oil fork Steerer Fork crown

Top cap Fork crown bolts Stanchion

Fork brace Brake boss




 Wrench  Allen key multi-tool  Flat screwdriver

Drop the new spring into the fork blade. Make sure that it sits correctly in the fork blade, then replace the top cap.


• Screw the top cap in with your fingers, then tighten it with a wrench.

Coil/oil fork

Undo the retaining bolts in the fork crown so that you can drop the blades out. There are usually four retaining bolts. Some fork crowns do not have them, in which case undo a cap bolt at the top of the fork blade to remove the springs.


Start to remove the top cap of the fork blade with a wrench on the wrench flats, then unscrew the cap the rest of the way out with your fingers.


• Note how the spring is sitting in the fork blade, then lift the spring out.

Put the fork blades back in the fork crown and secure the retaining bolts.


• Follow the manufacturer’s torque settings when replacing the retaining bolts.

• Reset the sag of your forks (see pp.140–41).




Changing oil

Air/oil fork Air/oil suspension forks usually have short travel and are popular with cross-country riders. Their spring medium is air, which makes them very light, and their mechanism is damped by oil. Sometimes they have a negative spring working in the opposite direction of the main air spring. This helps to overcome the stiction (the sticky friction between two adjacent but motionless objects) which is inherent in air/oil suspension forks and is caused by their very tight seals. Changing oil is necessary from time to time, as dirt in the system starts to cause excessive wear. If you have increased the damping on your fork and its action is still too fast, replacing the oil with a heavier one will slow it down. In the same way, lighter oil can help to speed it up.

Remove the cap from the top of the stanchion without the Schrader air valve. This is the same kind of valve that is used on car tires. You can carry out this following sequence of steps with the fork still in the bike, although it is easier if someone helps you.



1 2 3 4 5

Parts of an air/oil suspension fork Steerer Fork crown Stanchion

Air valve Fork brace

Brake boss

3 Slider

Make sure that you hold the fork blades absolutely vertical.

• Place a bowl under the fork to catch any spills.


Carefully pour new oil into the stanchion until it is full and then replace the cap.


• Use a calibrated pouring vessel to ensure that

 Wrench  Shock pump

you accurately measure the amount of oil, if the fork manufacturer specifies.

Air/oil fork Pour the old oil out of the stanchion and into a plastic cup. This air/oil fork has an openbath damping system, in which the damping rod moves up and down an open oil bath. The oil also lubricates the rest of the suspension system.



Put the cap back on top of the oil stanchion and tighten it.

• Set the sag again (see pp.140–41), pumping air

Pump air in or let air out of a fork with negative air springs after you have replaced the oil with one of a different viscosity.


in or letting it out to obtain the ideal sag.

• Adjust the damping of the fork so that it works

• Tighten the Schrader valve if, after setting up

at the speed you require, then fine-tune its action with the negative spring.

the sag correctly, your fork works well at first, then starts to bottom out (the valve may be leaking). Use an automotive valve key.

• Pump air in to make the fork more active over small bumps. Let air out to make it less responsive.




Looking after suspension forks Suspension forks soak up a lot of abuse because that is what they are designed to do. Although manufacturers do whatever they can to protect the inner workings, there are still some things you need to do to look after your forks. Chief among them is cleaning. If you do not clean your forks regularly, dirt will wear down the seals at the top of the sliders and allow water to get into the inner workings and damage them. Worn seals will also allow oil to leak out, which affects the fork’s performance. Cleaning also gives you the opportunity to examine the forks for cracks and defects. You can also look for tell-tale signs of seal wear, such as the absence of a dirt ring on the stanchions after a ride—you should see this ring after every ride. Another one of your regular jobs is to check the fork’s settings. You can set the speed at which some forks work, along with other features. You need to check these settings have not been reset after a tough ride or after cleaning. Do not use pressure hoses to clean suspension forks, since they can force water into the inner workings. You need to use a much gentler method of cleaning this part of your bike.

Cleaning suspension forks

Remove mud and dirt with a dry, stiffbristled brush. Remove the front wheel if there is a lot of mud on the fork, since it will make the job easier.


• Start at the top of the fork and brush downward. Take care not to scrub too hard around the fork seals.

• Use smaller brushes to get into hard-to-reach places on the fork.


1 2 3 4 5 6

Apply light, Teflon-based lubricant to the seals at the top of the sliders to keep them supple and help maintain their integrity.


• Apply the oil sparingly but make sure you spread it all around the circumference of both seals. Toolbox

• Be careful not to spill oil on the tires of your

 Stiff-bristled brushes  Sponge  Oil  Degreaser

bike. If you do spill any, wash it off immediately with hot, soapy water.

Looking after suspension forks

Spray degreaser all over the fork, especially on the stanchions, to remove the old oil and dirt—a mix that could corrode the seals on your fork. f k

Wipe the fork clean with a clean sponge soaked in warm water. Wrap the sponge around the fork to ensure they get completely rinsed. Start from the top t and work d down.

spray raying ing de degre grease aserr from f the top of • Again, start sp thee fo fork rk and an work w workk dow downwa nw rd nwa rd.

• Remove the wheel so you can cleaan



the lower

part of the fork thoroughly.

• Examine the fork for cracks and deefects while you perform this step.

Pump the fork up aan nd down by pushing nd on o n the handlebars so that the sseeals be become well coated.


• This is a good time to cch heck ck fo orr cracks on your haan h nd dleebars and stem. Do n not ot o be tempted to alter • Do the sett sett tti tings of the fork if it iss h haar ard tto o push. p What maattt ma tte teerrs is the way the fork ffeee eels when you ride.

Check the settings dials on your fork. Cleaning, especially when yo ou use a stiffbristled brush, can n move the dials. Check that tthey are set where you want th hem for riding.


• Check the cablee outers or hoses for wear ovver the crown of the fork.

• As a final step, turn your bike upside down for five minutes to help reedistribute the oil inside the fork.




REAR SUSPENSION The rear suspension absorbs the shock caused by a bump in the ground or rough terrain. A shock absorber must be kept clean and lubricated, and the bushings and frame mounts checked regularly for damage and wear.

How they work The shock absorber of the rear suspension mirrors the specifications of the front fork in order to increase the rider’s control of the bike. The rear triangle of the frame, which connects the rear wheel to the shock absorber, can move independently of the rest of the frame on bikes that are fitted with rear suspension. Shock absorbers, or shocks, as they are also known, consist of a spring medium, either a coil or trapped air, and a shaft. The shaft is usually connected to a damping mechanism, which contains oil and controls the speed of the shock absorber’s action.

Adjusting the shock The shock absorber of the rear suspension can be adjusted to suit different kinds of terrain and gradients.


When the back wheel hits a bump on the road or trail, the rear triangle moves up on its pivots, compressing the spring, which absorbs the shock.

As the spring pushes back on the rear triangle of the frame, the shock rebounds, pushing the rear wheel back ready for the next bump.

When riding over smooth ground the rear shock absorber is in a neutral position.

When riding over rough ground the rear shock is in a compressed position to absorb bumps.


In an air/oil shock absorber, the spring mechanism is compressed air that is sealed inside an air sleeve. The damping mechanism in the shock body contains oil. When the bike hits a bump, the shock body travels up inside the air sleeve and compresses the trapped air. Once this air spring has absorbed the energy of the bump, the shock absorber begins to rebound and return to its original position. The shaft, which runs from the top of the air sleeve into the shock body, is connected to the damping device. Oil flowing through holes in the device slows the action of the shock absorber in compression and rebound as the shock body travels up and down.

Rear shock Absorbs the force of a bump

Bushing Attaches shock to frame Air valve Controls air pressure in the sleeve Rebound adjuster Changes speed of rebound Shaft Runs into shock body Air sleeve Contains compressed air Shock body Contains the damping device

Rear triangle Transmits the force of a bump to the rear shock

Rear wheel Moves up and down in response to bumps




Rear suspension

Adjusting the sag

A good-quality, full-suspension bike should be designed with a rear shock absorber that complements and works with the suspension fork in the front. Air/oil forks are normally accompanied by an air/oil shock, and coil/oil systems are usually paired. The first step in setting up a rear shock is to adjust its sag. Take into account the rider’s weight, as with suspension forks (see pp.140–1), and then fine-tune its action by using damping and the shock’s other functions after several rides on the bike. One simple test to see if a rear shock is working in tune with the front fork is to press down on the middle of the bike while looking at how the fork and shock react. For general riding, each should depress about the same amount. Add the frame mounts, to which a shock is attached, to the routine safety checks (see pp.32–3). Check the bushes that allow the shock to pivot—consult the manufacturer’s guide for instructions.

Measure the centre-to-centre distance between the shock-mounting bolts, with the bike unloaded.


• Familiarize yourself with the valves and various controls of your shock before going further.


1 2 3 4 5

Parts of a rear suspension unit Pro-p pedal adjustter

Shock body

To achieve the proportion of sag that your riding style requires, let air out or pump it in as needed, then take the second measurement again.


Air sleeve

Air valve


 Tape measure  Shock pump

Rebound adjuster

• If your bike has a coil/oil shock, increase or decrease the pre-load to achieve the measurement you want. The recommended range is only a guide.

Rear suspension Sit on the bike and ask someone to measure this distance again.


• Take both measurements and calculate the second as a percentage of the first. This will reveal the proportion of the shock’s overall travel that is used as “sag.” For general riding, the figure should be from a quarter, to a third.

• Cross-country racers tend to want stiffer shocks, so they sometimes go for a quarter or less.

• Downhill racers like their shocks to move a lot more. Their bikes often feel spongy to ride on the flat, but are really active when descending.

Fine-tune the damping speed of your shock with the rebound adjuster—if your bike has one.

Some shocks have additional features. The pro-pedal system on this one allows you to control pedal-induced movement of the shock.

• Turn the adjuster on an air/oil shock absorber

• Familiarize yourself with your shock’s features

but follow instructions on the shock to find out which way to turn.

by reading the instruction manual.

• Do not set it too fast because this can upset

what happens when you vary the settings. Knowing all about your bike and the way you ride will help you get the best out of any trail situation.


the handling of the bike.


• Ride your bike across different terrains and see




Glo ossary Terms in italic within an entry are deffined under their own he din hea ngs g within the glossary. ALL AL L EN N BOLT A threaded bolt w h a hexagonal depression wit in the center of its head. ALLEN KEY AL K Hexagonal a tool th t fits tha ts Allen bolts. BEA ARIN NG A mechanism that usu uallyy consists of a number of ball bearings and circular channe nnels, or races. It allows t metal two me surfaces to move freely ly while in contact. B CK BLO K Cogs fitted to a freewheeel. fre BOSS Thrread e ed metal fixture on n a bicy cycle frame to which an n ite item such as a bottle cage or a pannier rack is attached. BO OTTTOM BRACKET Rotating unitt that connects the uni cran nkarms. BO OTTO TOM OUT A term that desccribes the point when a su uspension fork or shock ab bso orber reaches the limit off its ts travel. BRAKEKE-LEV L ER HOOD The body in n which the brake lever lev e sit sitss, con connec nectin i g it in i to the handl handl nd eba b r. BRA RA AKE TRAVEL The T dista distance nce a brak rakee leve everr move o s befo befo f re r the brake ke pads pads engage the braking surface on the rim or hub off a wheel. CABLE CRI RIMP MP A small metal

cylinder tha t t iss closed at one end an nd fitss ov over er the h cut ends of a cabl b e to prevvent ffrayi aying. g. CASSETTE A collectio ion of cog gs that fit on the rear wheeel’ss freehub. f

CHAINRING A toothed ring attached to the cranka arms that drives the chain an nd, in turn, the cog co s and th he rear r wheel of a bicycle. CHAINSTAY The frame m tube tu joining the bottom brack acket shell and rear dropou outt. CRANKSET The assembly bly of chainrings and cranka arm rms. CLEAT A plas la tic or meta tal plate that fits on the sole off a cyclin i g shoe oe and engaages ge witth a cli c ple plesss pedal to hold thee fo oot on n th the he pedal. CLIPLE ESS PEDAL A pedal with a mech ec anism tto o engage ge the cleatt on the so ole l of a cycling shoe and hold it securely in place. e Called clip i less because theyy replaced peda edals that had toe clips and straps. p COG A circula lar meta et l obje ject with h teeth thatt is turneed by the chain. Combined with other e cogs, it forms a er cassette orr block. k Cogs are sometimes m caalle l d “spr s ockets.” COMPRESSION The action of a suspension system when en it absorbs an impact fro from m the he terrai ter rain. n. Thee teerm m refers to th he compression of the spring. co CRANKARM The lever that at joins the pedals to the chainrings and transsfe fers energy from thee ri rider’s legs to the drivet vetrai rain n of the bike. DAMPIN PING The proceess tha t t a orbs the energy off an abs ab impact transmitted throu oug gh a susspen ension system. It cont ntrol ro s thee sp peed e at which any form rm off sus uspen pen nsion responds to une u n ven en tterrain.

DERAILLEUR Device that pushes the chain onto a larger or smaller chainrrin ng or cog. See also Derailleurr gears. g DERAILLEUR GEARS A syst y em that shifts the chain beetw tween cogs on the rear wheell (rear d ailleur) and between der ch inrings attached to cha o cra r nkarms (front deraiillleur); ra it all al ows multiple gearin ng on bik bikes. e DOW OWN N TUBE The frame ame tube th t joins the bottom-brack tha acket ck shell to the hea ad tube. DRIVET VET ETRAI R N The assem mbly b of pe ped e als, crankset, t chaiin, and nd d cogs that drives the th bik ike forward by cconveert rting the he rider’s leg power in nto t wheeel rotation. DROPOU OUT A slotted plate ate at the en nd of the fork blad ades an and n sttays ys, into which the axle of a whee h l is attached. d. EXPANDER E BOLT A bolt olt that drawss up a truncated cone or triangle of met metal a ins nside a mettal a tube in orderr to to wedge the tube in place. Commonly found nd inside the stem t of a threaded headset. t FFREEHU EHUB A mechanism, part off the h hu ub, thatt allows a the rear wheel whee e to rotate while the ped pe e als ls remain stat tation ta io ary. FREEWH W EEL A mechanism that does the same job as a freehub but can be scre cr wed cre on or off the hub. b GEAR An exp GEAR exprression of the chainring and cog com ombin binat ation, n lilinke nked d by by the the cha hain, that propels the bik bike.


GEA EAR-S R HIFT LEVER The con ntro tr l mechanism, m usu usuall allyy on th he handlebar, used to initiaate gear-shifts.

QUICK-RELEASE MECHANISM QUICK A lever connected to a skew skewer er that locks or releases a component from the frame.

THREADS The spira sp al groo grooves ves cut in into metal that allow sep par arate te pa parts to be screwed or bo olted d to t gether.

GR RUB SCREW A headless, threa thr eaded bolt that has a singl sin gle dia diamete ter throughout ut its leength.

REBOUND A term to describe the action of a suspension sys ystem te after it absorbs an impact imp act fr from om the te terra rrain. It refers to tthe exte xtensi s on of the system’s m’s sprin ng. g

TOP OP TUBE The frame tube tha th h t joins the seat tube to the head tube.

HEA EADSE D T The bearing unit that attaches the forks to a frame and allows them to turn. There are two varieties: threaded and threadless. HEAD TUBE The frame tube through which the he steerer tube runs. HEXAGONAL BOLT OR NUT A threaded bolt with a hexagonal head, or a hexagonal nut that fits onto a threaded bolt. HYDRAULIC A type off me han mec nica ic l system tha hatt uses co pressed flui com luid d to t move ov an n ob object. LOCKRING/LOCKNUT A ring LO or nut used to tighten onto a threaded object and lock it in place. NEGATIVE SPRING A device that works against the main n spring in a suspension syystem. In compression, forr example, a negative spring ex works to extend the fork, helping to overcome the effects of stiction. NIP PPLE P PL The piece of metal attac ached to the end of a cablle that secures the cab ble in the th control lever. PLA AY A term describing an any looseness in mechanical al parts.

SEA EATT POST ST A hollow tub u e tha haat holds the saddle dle and d iis inserted in nto o the he sea seat tube. SE SEA E T STAY The Th frame frame tube joining g the th bot bottom om bracket shell and an reear dro r pou poutt. SEA EAT TUBE UBE The frrame me tube tha hatt holds h the sea seatt post post. t SID SIDEWALL L Part of thee tire betwee een the tread an nd rrim. S ERER TUBE STE UBE The Th he tu tube be tha that connectss the fork to the ste tem and haandl nd eba eb r.r STE TEM The compo mponen nentt that nen that connec ne ts thee ha handl nd eba barr to to the he ste steerer tube. STICTION A term m that combines es the wo ords “stat atic”” at and “friction.” Itt describ bes the he tension between n movin ng and and st tic sta i parts at rest, ree such ch h as t seals and the d staanchions ns in a sus uspen pe sion fo ork. STOPPER R PIN Th he end of a cantilever or V-br -brake return spring that fitss into a locating hole on the h bik bike’s es brake-mountiing bosses. SUS S U PENSION An air//o /oil or c l/oil system coi m that abs a orbs the h bumps frrom a trail or road. The sys ystem s is either integrated into thee fork or connected to thee rear r wheel via a linkag ge.

TRAVEL TRA VEL A term that refers to the th ttotal distance a com mponent moves in carrying out its purpose. For example, ou traavel in a suspension fork is the total distance the fork has available to move in order to absorb a shock. Brake Bra ke tra travel vel is the distance ab brake leveer must be pulled beffore or the brak rakes es fully contac actt the h braking g surf surface ace. TREAD Th he centrral par pa t off a tire that makes conta tact witth the groun nd. VIS V SCOS OSITY A rating system fo or oils, which also refers to the weight wei ght. A lig ght oil has low viscosity and d moves more q ckl qui ck y than a heavy oil thr h oug ough hag giiven en dam dampin pingg mechan mec hanism han ism.. This ism hi re results in a faster fas ter-ac ter actin ac ti g susspen pensio s n system sys tem or o reduc duced duc e dampin p ng. WH EL WHE EL JIG A stan stan and d that h holds a whee eeel so that at it itss rim rim run runs betwee be bet w n two t o jaw jaws. Use ja Used in truing a w whe h el aft af er e replaccing g a broken spo oke. e




Index A adult's bike, setting up 18–19 air sleeve 149, 150 air valve 13, 104, 144, 149, 150 air-damping 141 air/oil fork 139, 144–5, 146 Allen bolt/wrench 13, 25–6, 152 antiseize compound 13 axle cartridge-bearing bottom bracket 70–3 hollow-axle bottom bracket 70–1, 74–5 hub quick-release mechanism 98, 99 nut 102, 134 open-bearing hub 98–9, 100–1 pedal 13, 17, 18, 78, 80–1

B band-on derailleur 52 bar end 94 barrel, chain 63 barrel adjuster brake 111, 114, 119, 122, 129, 134–5 gear-shifter 48, 60 rear derailleur 12, 54 basic bike 10–11, 14–15 bearing 152 BMX bottom bracket 17, 70, 76–7 cartridge-bearing bottom 70–3 gear hub 6 headset 88–9, 93 hollow-axle bottom 70–1, 74–5 hub 98–100 lubrication 30 pedal 78, 80

bleeding hydraulic disc brake 132–3 block, freewheel 66–7, 152 BMX bike 16, 17 bottom bracket 17, 70, 76–7 chain 64 U-brake 122–3 bolt 152, 153 Allen 13, 25, 26, 152 cable-clamp 110, 120, 122, 128, 134 pivot 110, 118, 120 rotor-mounting 128 stem 13, 88, 90 tightening 24–6 boss, brake 110, 140, 142, 144, 152 bottom bracket 12, 70–1 BMX 17, 70, 76–7 cartridge-bearing 70–3 hollow-axle 70–1, 74–5 Isis 72 lockring 70, 76 lubrication 30 replacement 72–7 servicing 34–5, 53 Shimano Octalink 72 square-tapered 72–3 tools 25 brake 11, 12 adjustment 17, 116–19, 122–3 alternative designs 122–3 arch 139 boss 110, 140, 142, 144, 152 braking surface 124–5 Campagnolo 117 cleaning 29, 114 combined shifter 45 danger signs 38–9 drum, see roller brake fluid 124–5, 132–3 handlebar compatibility 94, 96 hose 124–5, 130

maintenance 15, 17, 34–5, 112–17 safety checks 32, 38–9, 133 servicing 34–5 Shimano 116–17 shoe 116, 118 spring 110, 124 “toe-in” 120 troubleshooting 36–7 working of 110–11, 124–5 see also cable disc brake; calliper brake; cantilever brake; coaster brake; hubmounted brake; hydraulic disc brake; rim brake; roller brake; U-brake; V-brake brake arm 12, 29, 34 cantilever brake 120 rim brake 110–11, 120, 122 roller brake 134 U-brake 122 V-brake 119 brake cable cable tidy 114, 152 cutting outer 26 drop handlebar 112–13, 120–1 guide tube 12, 110 hub-mounted brake 124–5, 126–7, 128, 130, 134–5 lubrication 30–1, 34–5, 112–15 maintenance 15, 34–5, 114–15 rim brake 102, 110, 114–15, 116, 118, 120–1, 122 split or frayed 39, 128 straight handlebar 114–15 brake lever 13 barrel adjuster 111, 114, 119, 122, 129, 134–5 brake travel 152, 153 drop handlebar 96, 112 gear-shifter combination


45, 46–7 hood 45, 96, 112, 152 hub-mounted brake 125 hydraulic 125, 127 nipple 111, 112, 114, 122 piston 124–5 position/reach adjustment 18, 19, 114 rim brake 110–11 side-pull caliper brake 122 straight handlebar 94, 114 brake pad 12, 15, 16, 17 cable disc brake 124, 126–7 caliper brake 116–17, 122–3 cantilever brake 120 coaster brake 124 hub-mounted brake 124 hydraulic disc brake 124 maintenance 32, 34, 126–7 rim brake 110–11 roller brake 124 side-pull caliper brake 122–3 troubleshooting 36–7 V-brake 118–19 braze-on derailleur 52 bunnyhopping 138 bushing 149, 150

C cable, see brake cable; gear cable cable disc brake 124, 126–7, 128 cable-clamp 44, 50, 53, 54 bolt 110, 120, 122, 128, 134 cable-guide tube 12, 110 caliper brake 17, 102, 114 adjusting 116–17 brake lever 116 cable 110 cable disc brake 126 hydraulic disc brake 124, 125, 128 quick-release mechanism 117 side-pull 122–3

Campagnolo caliper brake 117 gear-shifter 45, 96 wheel hub 100 cantilever brake 102, 110, 122–3 adjusting 120–1 cable 110, 114, 120–1 carbon fibre, and lubrication 31, 131 carrier unit 56 cartridge-bearing bottom bracket 70–3 cassette 152 cleaning 28, 28–9 lockring 62 maintenance 17 profile 62 removal 66–7 replacement 17 tools 25, 29, 66 working of 62–3, 66 chain barrel 63 cleaning 28–9 derailleur 64–5 gear-shifter and 44, 50–1 joining pin 63, 64 links 63, 64 lubrication 15, 29, 30, 41 measuring device 25, 64 replacement 15, 64–5 safety checks 33 servicing 34–5 Shimano 64–5 split-link 64–5 troubleshooting 36–7 wear estimation 64 weatherproofing 41 whip 25 working of 44, 62–3 chainring 13, 15, 51, 62, 63, 68, 76, 152 cleaning 28 danger signs 38 removal 69 servicing 34–5

chainstay 12, 32, 152 child's bike handlebar adjustment 20–1 setting up 20–1, 76–7 side-pull caliper brake 122–3 threaded headset 92–3 cleaning/degreasing 28–9, 30 cleat, pedal 78, 82, 83, 84–5, 152 cleat-release mechanism, pedal 80, 82, 83 clipless pedal 11, 41, 78, 82–5, 152 coaster brake 124 coil/oil fork 141, 142–3 common problems 36–7 commuting bike 14 compression 138, 139, 148, 152 see also suspension cone 76, 78, 99 crank 70–1, 152 crankset and drivetrain 13, 68 crank-removing tool 25, 68 pedal 70–1, 78, 80 Crank Brothers pedal 83 crank puller and bolt remover 25 crankset 152 cleaning 28–9 removal 68–9, 72 3-piece 10, 76–7 triple 10 working of 62–3, 68 cup BMX bottom bracket 70, 76 bottom 13, 88, 90, 92 fixed 70, 72 free 70, 72 top 13, 88, 89, 90, 92

D damping disc brake 152 fork 138, 139, 140, 144–5 danger signs 26, 38–9 see also safety checks




degreasing 28–9, 30 derailleur 40, 153 adjustment 50, 51, 52–5 band-on 52 barrel adjuster 12 braze-on 52 cage 51, 52 cleaning 28–9, 52, 54 front, see front derailleur jockey wheel 12, 30, 34–5, 44, 50–1, 54–5, 62 lubrication 29, 30, 41, 50–1, 54, 78 maintenance 52 plate 12, 50, 51 rear, see rear derailleur safety checks 33 servicing 34–5 troubleshooting 36–7 weatherproofing 41 working of 10, 12, 44–5, 50–1 derailleur gear 62, 64–5, 98, 152 maintenance 15, 17 disc brake 10, 11, 34 cable 124, 126–7, 128 damping 152 hydraulic, see hydraulic disc brake lubrication 128 maintenance 128–9 rotor 126, 128–9 driver unit, hub gear 56 drivetrain 10, 13, 152 see also chain; chainring; crankset; pedal; sprocket drop handlebar 16, 17, 96–7 brake cable 112–13, 120–1 brake lever 96, 112 gear cable 46–7 drop-out 12, 102, 140, 142, 144, 152 drum brake, see roller brake Dual Control gear-shifter, Shimano 49

F flange, hub 62, 98, 100 flat pedal 11, 78 folding bike 14–15, 15 foot retention mechanism 13, 78, 82–3 see also pedal cleat fork air/oil 139, 144–5, 146 brace 139, 140, 142, 144 cleaning 146–7 coil/oil 141, 142–3 compression 138, 139, 152 crown 13, 88, 139, 140, 142–3, 144 damping 138–9, 140, 144–5 drop-out 140, 142, 144, 152 headsets 88, 89 leg 13, 142 lockout 141 lubrication 34–5, 144–5, 146 maintenance 146–7 pistons 139 sag setting 140–3, 145 seal 139 servicing 34–5 Shrader air valve 144–5 slider 13, 139, 140, 142, 144 spring 138, 142, 144 stanchions 139, 140, 142, 144 troubleshooting 36–7 working of 11, 138 frame 10 aluminum 33 anatomy 12 carbon-fiber 31, 33 chainstay 12 metal fatigue 32–3 protector pads 17 safety checks 32–3, 150 seat stay and tube 12 steel 16 freehub 100, 152 freewheel 152 removal 66–7

working of 66, 98 front derailleur 41, 44, 50–1 adjustment 52–3 outer arm 51 front suspension, see fork front wheel hub 98, 99, 100 removal 103

G gear 152 adjustment 60–1 control 44–5 danger signs 39 derailleur 15, 62, 64 hub 56–61 lubrication 15, 34 ring 56 safety checks 33 satellite 56, 58 servicing 34–5 Shimano Nexus hub 56, 58–9 SRAM 58 Sturmey Archer 58, 60 working of 56, 58 gear cable 44–5, 50, 58–9 cutting outer 26 danger signs 39 drop handlebar 46–7 lubrication 30–1, 46–7, 48 maintenance 15, 34 split or frayed 34, 39 straight handlebar 48–9 gear-shifter 11, 13 barrel adjuster 48, 60 Campagnolo 45, 96 combined brake lever 45 drop handlebar 46–7 maintenance 44–5, 60 Shimano 46–9 SRAM 46–9 working of 44–5, 50–1 grease applying 30–1 removing 28–9, 30


servicing timetable 34–5 weatherproofing treatment 40–1 see also lubrication grip 13, 94, 95, 96–7

HIJ hairspray on grips 95 handlebar 13, 94, 96 adjustment 20–1, 92–3 drop, see drop handlebar maintenance 34–5 replacement 94–7 riser bars 94, 114 safety checks 32 stem 13, 88, 89, 92, 153 straight, see straight handlebar tape 96–7 headset 17, 34–7, 153 adjustment 90–1 bearing 88–9, 93 cleaning 90–1 fork connection 88, 89 lubrication 30, 90, 92–3 sealing 40 threaded 89, 92–3 threadless 88, 90–1 working of 88–9, 90, 92 high and low adjuster, derailleur 50, 51, 52–3, 55 hollow-axle crank cap and cup tools 25 hose, brake 124–5, 130 hub axle quick-release 98, 99 flange 62, 98, 100 lockring 99, 100 open-bearing 98–9, 100–1 rear 12, 98, 100 hub-mounted brake cable 124–5, 126, 128, 130 see also cable disc brake; coaster brake; hydraulic disc brake; roller brake

hybrid bike 10–11, 14–15, 120–1 hydraulic disc brake 16 brake fluid replacement 132–3 installing 130–1 lever 124–5, 127 piston 124–5 working of 124, 130 inner tube 13, 104–5 valve 13, 104 Isis bottom bracket 72 jockey wheel 12, 30, 34–5, 44, 50–1, 54–5, 62 joining pin 63, 64

KLM knurled retainer 78, 80, 81 lever, see brake lever; gear-shifter lockring/locknut 12, 153 bottom bracket 70, 76 cartridge hub 100 cassette 62 flat pedal 78 headset 92 hub 99, 100 Look road pedal 82 low and high adjuster, derailleur 50, 51, 52–3, 55 lubrication 17 applying 30–1 bearing 30 brake cable 30–1, 34–5, 112–15 cable 30–1, 34–5, 46–7, 48, 59, 112–15 and carbon fiber 31 chain 15, 29, 30, 41 derailleur 29, 30, 41, 50–1, 54, 78 dry lube 30 fork 34–5, 144–5, 146 gear cable 30–1, 46–7, 48 headset 30, 90, 92–3

pedal 41, 80–3 rear derailleur 30, 41 removing 28–9, 30 servicing timetable 34–5 viscosity 153 weatherproofing treatment 40–1 wet lube 30 see also grease mountain bike 12–13, 16–17 brake cables 114–15, 120–1 gear cables 48–9 off-road pedal 83, 84–5 riser bars 96 V-brake adjustment 114, 118–19, 120 mudguard 40, 41 multitools 25

NOP negative spring 144, 153 Nexus hub gear, Shimano 58–9 nipple 153 brake lever 111, 112, 114, 122 pear 112, 122 spoke 106Octalink bottom bracket axle 72 off-road pedal 83, 84–5 oil, see lubrication outer arm, front derailleur 51 pear nipple 112, 122 pedal 10, 40 axle 13, 17, 18, 78, 80–1 bearing 78, 80 cleaning 41, 82–3 cleat 78, 82, 83, 84–5, 152 cleat-release mechanism 80, 82, 83 clipless 11, 41, 78, 82–3, 84–5, 152 crank 70–1, 78, 80 Crank Brothers 83 flat 11, 78 foot retention mechanism 13




knurled retainer 78, 80, 81 Look road 82 lubrication 41, 80–3 off-road 83, 84–5 release mechanism 80, 82, 83 replacement 17, 80–1 retention mechanism 13, 78, 82–3 road 82 servicing 34–5 Shimano off-road 83 Time 82, 83 toe clips 78 working of 78–9, 80 piston fork 139 hydraulic brake 124–5 pivot bolt 110, 118, 120 joint 41, 50, 51, 52, 54 plate spring 50, 51 pliers 25, 26 preride safety checks 32–3, 38–9 problem-solving chart 36–7 profile, cassette 62 pumps 25 puncture repair 104–5

QR quick-release mechanism 153 caliper brake 117 hub axle 98, 99 wheel 12, 102–3 quill 89, 92 race 70, 90, 92 race level road bike 16–17, 17 Rapidfire gear-shifter 49 reach adjustment 18, 19, 114 rear hub 12, 98, 100 rear derailleur 12, 15, 50–1, 62 adjusting 54–5 barrel adjuster 12, 54 cable 44–5 lubrication 30, 41

rear suspension 17 compression 148–9 pro-pedal adjuster 150 sag adjustment 150–1 rear wheel removal 102–3 rebound 138, 139, 148, 153 adjuster 149, 150 see also suspension release mechanism pedal 80, 82, 83 quick-release, see quickrelease mechanism retainer, knurled 78, 80, 81 retention mechanism pedal 13, 78, 82–3 riding position adult 18–19 child 20–1 rim 13, 39, 104 straightening 106–7 see also tire; wheel rim brake 11, 39, 102 drop handlebar 112–13 straight handlebar 114–15 working of 110–11 see also caliper brake; cantilever brake; U-brake; V-brake ring clamp 48 ring gear 56 riser bars 94, 114 road bike 16, 17 drop handlebar gear cable 112–13 road pedal 82 roller bearing, see bearing roller brake 124 brake arm 134 cable replacement 134–5 rotor cleaner 129

S saddle 12 adjustment, adult 18–19 adjustment, child 20–1

sealing seat post collar 40 seat pin and stem 21, 31, 41 seat post 12, 40, 153 seat stay and tube 12, 153 safety checks 17, 32–3 danger signs 26, 38–9 troubleshooting 36–7 sag setting, fork 140–3, 145 salt 40 satellite 56, 58 removal 60–1 servicing 34–5 setting up adult's bike 18–19 child's bike 20–1 shifter, see gear-shifter Shimano brake 116–17 chain 64–5 hollow-axle bottom bracket 84 Dual Control gear-shifter 49 gear-shifter 46–9 Nexus hub gear 56, 58–9 Octalink bottom bracket 72 off-road pedal 83 Rapidfire gear-shifter 49 wheel hub 100–1 shock absorber air/oil anatomy 149 damping 149 sag adjustment 150–1 shock pump 25, 141 shoe, see brake shoe; pedal cleat Shrader fork air valve 144–5 slider, fork 13, 139, 140, 142, 144 spanners 25, 26 specialized bike 16 see also BMX bike; mountain bike; road bike split-link chain 64–5 spoke 13, 104 key and ruler 25 replacement 106–7 see also wheel


spring brake 110, 124 fork 138, 142, 144 negative 144, 153 plate 50, 51 shock absorber 148, 149 see also suspension sprocket 12, 38, 51, 56, 62, 66, 153 square-tapered bottom bracket 72–3 SRAM gear-shifter 46–9 stanchions, fork 139, 140, 142, 144 star washer 88 steering headset, see headset safety checks 32 servicing 34–5 steerer 13, 89, 140, 142, 144 steerer tube 13, 88, 153 troubleshooting 36–7 see also handlebar stem, handlebar 13, 88, 89, 92, 153 stiction 144, 153 straddle clamp 122 straddle and straddle wire 120–1 straight handlebar brake cable 114–15 fitting 94–5 gear cable 48–9 Sturmey Archer, 3-speed gear 58, 60 suspension 11, 16, 17, 153 compression 138–9, 148, 152 damping, see damping fork, see fork lubrication 17, 34 mountain bike 16, 17 negative spring 144, 153 rear 148–51 rear, see rear suspension rebound, see rebound sag 140–1, 150–1 servicing 34–5

shaft 148, 149 shock absorber, see shock absorber troubleshooting 36–7

T tape, handlebar 96–7 3-piece crankset 10, 76–7 Time pedals 82, 83 timetable, servicing 34–5 “toe-in” brake 120 tools and workshop 24–7 torque gauge 24 transmission, see cable; chain; derailleur; shifters travel 153 tread 153 wear 15, 39 troubleshooting 36–7 danger signs 38–9 troubleshooting chart 36–7 truing, wheel 106–7 tire 10, 11, 17 bead 13 bulge 33, 39 danger signs 38–9 inner tube 13, 104–5 pressure 33 puncture repair 104–5 puncture resistance 11 replacing 105 safety checks 33, 102 sidewall 153 split 39 tread, see tread wear signs 15, 102

UV U-brake 122–3 utility bike 14–15 V-brake 102, 110, 120 adjusting 118–19 cable 102, 110, 114–15, 118 cable replacement 114–15

valve fork, air/oil 144–5 tire 13, 104 vice, bench 25 viscosity, lubrication 153

W washing and degreasing 28–9, 30 wedge 88, 89 wet weather 40–1, 114 best brakes for 124–5 wheel 10, 13 carbon rims 16 cassette, see cassette child's bike sizes 20 cleaning 28–9 danger signs 38–9 derailleur, see derailleur jig 106, 153 levers, quick-release 33, 34 lubrication 30 mudguard 40, 41 quick-release 12, 102–3 removal 102–3 rim straightening 106–7 safety checks 32–3 servicing 34–5 size 20 spoke, see spoke troubleshooting 36–7 truing 106–7 wheel hub 12, 13, 128 Campagnolo 100 cartridge 98 freewheel, see freewheel front 98, 99, 100 lubrication 101 maintenance 100–1 open-bearing 98–9, 100–1 rear 12, 98, 100 Shimano 100–1 working of 98–9, 100 workshop principles 26–7 workstand 25




Acknowledgments Author’s acknowledgments

Publisher’s acknowledgments

Pip Morgan and Richard Gilbert for their patient and diplomatic editorial work.

Original edition produced by: Senior Art Editor Kevin Ryan, Art Editor Michael Duffy, Managing Editor Adèle Hayward, Managing Art Editor Karen Self, Category Publisher Stephanie Jackson, Art Director Peter Luff, DTP Designers Rajen Shah, Adam Shepherd, Production Controller Kevin Ward

Ted Kinsey for designing everything so that the writing makes sense. Dave Marsh of the Universal Cycle Centre for technical advice regarding road bikes. Wayne Bennett of Don’t Push It Mountain Bikes for advice regarding mountain bikes. Tim Flooks of TF Tuned Shox for advice regarding suspension. Gerard Brown for his excellent pictures and Guy Andrews for getting together the equipment we needed to show all the aspects of bike maintenance. Jo Jackson and Keith and Barbara Oldfield for help when the author’s computer broke down, twice. Finally, all the bike companies who lent their equipment for our photoshoots.

Design: Janice English, Simon Murrell, Dawn Young DTP Design: Gemma Casajuana Photoshoot Art Director: Jo Grey Picture Research: Carolyn Clerkin Proofreading: Lynn Bresler Illustrations: Kevin Jones and Matthew White at Kevin Jones Associates, Tim Loughead at Precision Illustration Ltd. Additional photography: Jill and Steve Behr at Stockfile Models: Jay Black, Chris Hopkins, James Millard, Simon Oon, Helen Rosser, Rochele Whyte Cycling models: Hsu Minh Chung, Jamie Newell, Claire Paginton, Hannah Reynolds, Simon Richardson, Kelli Salone, Ross Tricker, Russell Williams

Accessory, component, and bicycle suppliers: Ian Young at Moore Large for Schwinn BMX; Caroline Griffiths at Madison for Profile, Shimano, Finish Line, Park, Ridgeback, Cervelo, and Commencal; Ross Patterson and Jon Holdcroft at ATB sales for Electra and Marin bikes; Collette Clensy at Giant Bikes; Adrian at Pashley bicycles; Evans Cycles in Wandsworth and Milton Keynes; Cedric at Luciano Cycles, Clapham; Sam at Bikepark, Covent Garden; Richard at Apex Cycles, Clapham; Graham at SRAM; Shelley at Continental; Trek UK; Mike Cotty at Cannondale; Richard Pascoe of Ricci—Bike Chain; RJ Chicken; and Fisher Outdoor Leisure.

Picture credits The publisher would like to thank the following for their kind permission to reproduce their photographs: 56—7: Stockfile/Steve Behr; 150: Fox Racing Shox. All other images © DK Images. For further information see

PLEASE NOTE Bicycle maintenance is potentially hazardous. While the information in this book has been prepared with the reader’s personal safety in mind, the reader may help to reduce the inherent risks involved by following these instructions precisely. The scope of this book allows for some, but not all, the potential hazards and risks to be explained to the reader. Therefore, the reader is advised to adopt a careful and cautious approach when following the instructions, and if in any doubt, to refer to a good bike shop or specialist.

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