The best way to keep your bike in tip-top condition, so it can perform to the best of its ability and give you as the rider the best chance of finishing your event in good time, is to give it a little tlc! For most, the Gran Fondo 85-miler will be the biggest challenge mentally, and longest time you’ve ever spent in the saddle, so comfort and efficiency is everything!
Award-winning and head mechanic at Cycle 360, Richard Cuffwright gives us some DIY top tips for getting your bike ready this week pre-gran, medio and piccolo fondo…
Top tip number 1: clean your chain + cassette
Think of maintaining your chain like a ritual of appreciation. It’ll make your ride smoother and help your drive train components last longer. Wipe with a towel and, if your chain is particularly dirty, rusty or sticky with grease, you will want to use a few sprays from a bio-degreaser, a fine brush to go in between the links, and heavy-duty magnets to attract errant metal filings. When using a degreaser, make sure to wipe the chain free of the fluid and let it dry completely before lubricating the chain again.
- muc-off bio-degreaser £9.99 @ cycle 360
*remember to avoid contact with brakes or braking surfaces.
Top tip number 2: lube up
One of the leading causes of bike problems is a lack of lubrication. If you don’t check on lubrication once a month, bearings can grind, metal rubs and the bike stops running smoothly. That being said, you can also over-lubricate a bike, making it a dirt magnet, which brings on similar problems. The perfect lubrication, Richard says, should barely be visible, but leave an oily residue at the touch of a finger.
- finish line wet lubricant (wet weather riding) £9.99
- muc – off wet lube (wet weather riding) £7.99
- muc – off dry lube (dry weather riding) £7.99
- squirt chain lube – £11.99
Tip top number 3: your tyre pressures
Double check your tyre pressures the morning of pre-ride. To do this, use a hand or foot pump and match the pounds per square inch (psi) with the recommended numbers which can be found printed on the side of the tyre. Generally, for road bikes, pressures should max out at 120 psi. Put between five and 10 psi less on the front because most of the weight is on the back.
Fixing a flat! Before or even during your ride…
If you find you have a flat tyre because of a puncture, fixing it is relatively easy!
First, you’ll have to remove the entire tyre to repair it. If you’re repairing the rear wheel, you’ll want to put the drivetrain into the highest gear and then unthread the thru-axle to take the wheel off its mount. You’ll want to use two tyre levers to separate the rubber from the rim. Using the rounded end of one of the tire levers, begin pulling the tire away from the rim. The other end of the lever should be used to hook onto a spoke to keep the lever from moving as you work to remove the tyre. Then, using the second lever, work your way around the entire tyre, peeling away from the rim in a clockwise direction until you’ve separated that side of the tyre from the rim.
You’ll want to look for the object that pierced your tire and carefully remove and discard it. Double check that nothing else is stuck inside the rubber and either patch it with a kit or insert the replacement tube. put the tire back in place, reattach to your bicycle, and test ride to ensure there are no leaks.
We recommend watching this how to fix a puncture video with Elliot Baxter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixlh81qisiq&t=17s
For your ride, we recommend taking:
- puncture repair kit
- saddle bag
- tyre leavers
- spare tube!
- gas canister
- top tip: whack a pair of disposable gloves in your saddle bag too, so you avoiud getting any oil on your hands when taking your wheel in and out of the chain
Top tip number 4: safety
Have your red back light ready to go, remember it’s compulsory to ride with one!
- knog blinder mob – £37.99
- knog blinder skull – £39.99
- knog cobber 330degrees – £44.99
- acid rear light pro – £16.99
For safety, and above all – comfort when riding too, make sure your bike is set up properly to your height and that your bars and pedals are in the correct position. We recommend watching this how to bike fit from home video with Elliot Baxter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctbr22ibc7m
In summary, there our four most important top tips for diy bike maintenance, of course if bigger issues arise and you need a professional mechanic to assist, our workshop team are here to lend a helping hand, so please get in touch with the team: email@example.com
Good luck to all riders in the Gran Fondo Isle of Man events this year, don’t forget you can come say hi, as well as ask any questions to Richard at the Cycle 360 retail tent up at the rider’s village in Mooragh Park all weekend!