Fixing My Bike

What skills to learn, what tools to get
RoamingFrancis
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Fixing My Bike

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Some Issues I Have Noticed:

Front and rear lights are shitty and make riding at night unsafe
Squeaking noise when I ride, I believe this originates from the drive chain.
The front brake is waaay out of alignment.
A pedal needs replacing.
General cleaning is needed.
I believe the saddle is at the incorrect position for my height.

As you may be able to tell, my bike has a fuckton of issues that I've basically been ignoring. Now I've got some time before summer classes start, so I'll work on it.

Solutions so far:

I found a spare light in the garage. It looks like it's from the 70s. If it works, great. If not, I'll buy one.
I think lubricating the chain will fix the squeaking. I will buy some Park Tool chain lubricant.
I'll also buy a new pedal.
I'll wipe it down with a rag.
I'll experiment with the saddle.

The hardest issue to fix is the front brake. A while back I rode through a pothole and one side of the brake got fucked up. It's at the wrong angle to the wheel, so when I use the front brake half of it is touching the tire. The hard part is that I've tried using various tools to adjust it with no success; it seems to be stuck like that. Maybe I'll have to replace it entirely.

I'll post updates here as I progress. Also, how do you post pictures on here? If I could share a photo you might get a better sense of the front brake.

Alphaville
Posts: 478
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Walkscore 92, Bikescore 93

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by Alphaville »

if the brake went wrong after hitting a pothole, maybe the problem is not the brake but that the wheel needs truing? for that you’ll need a spoke wrench. worst case scenario you need a new rim/wheel.

also, if you need to lube the chain in a hurry you could just spray wd40 while your teflon arrives. wd is both cleaner and lube. see gcn video about that: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QvzVRxlIUL0

sid3
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:40 pm

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by sid3 »

Is it a disk brake or pads?

Alphaville
Posts: 478
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Walkscore 92, Bikescore 93

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by Alphaville »

sid3 wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 4:56 pm
Is it a disk brake or pads?
i figured it’s rim brakes (“almost touching the tires” he said)

jacob
Site Admin
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Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
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Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by jacob »

RoamingFrancis wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 2:59 pm
Also, how do you post pictures on here? If I could share a photo you might get a better sense of the front brake.
You need to upload the pics somewhere else and use the img tag (the picture icon in the editor) to link to the url.

viewtopic.php?t=10362

Gilberto de Piento
Posts: 1475
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

All of those projects sound good for a new mechanic. That said, if you don't want to do it or get stuck if you live in an urban area you may be able to find free help at a bike co-op (it may be called something else) or with someone who is a bike enthusiast. A lot of bike people enjoy working on bikes and helping new cyclists.

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Updates:

I inflated the wheels, adjusted the saddle, and gave it a proper cleaning. Already riding it feels sooo much smoother. However, there's still a lot of weird squeaking and rattling from the gears, and the front brake is still wacky as hell.

I spent a long time trying to hook up the light I found from the 70s. It was one of those where there's a generator that hooks up to the back wheel and powers the lights. Unfortunately it didn't work and had unsafe-looking dangly wires, so I disassembled it and am going to order a light online.

Remaining Issues:

Fix front brake
Replace pedal
Weird squeaking and rattling

Potential Solutions:

For the brake I'm going to try to remove the whole thing and fiddling with it unattached from the bike.
The pedal will be easy; I just don't have the replacement part yet.
I think lubricant on the chain will do the trick for the squeaking. I have no clue where the rattling is coming from though.

Misc.

@Gillberto de Piento My bike repair friend is coming into town soon; I'll get some help inshallah. I'm hoping to tune up the rest of the family's bikes too.

@sid3 I believe rim brakes.

I found a chain cleaner in a toolkit I'm borrowing indefinitely from my uncle. Hopefully that will help with the squeaking too.

I have an old tube of stuff labeled bike grease. Does anyone know if that can be used in place of official chain lubricant? Or is it like WD-40 where that's a no-no?

Thanks everyone!

bigato
Posts: 2631
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by bigato »

WD-40 does not lubricate, it does the opposite. It cleans metal parts dry of all dirt, grease and oil. What you do need is some machine oil lubricant, not necessarily specific for bikes.

Alphaville
Posts: 478
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Walkscore 92, Bikescore 93

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by Alphaville »

wd lubricates, but it’s a light lube.

grease will get the chain sticky with dirt, you dont want grease on the chain

a teflon chain lube like finish line dry works like a wax, and in theory does not attract much dirt. in practice it still gets filthy, but perhaps at a slower rate.

finish line wet is for wet weather... but i live in a dusty desert and don’t use it.

wd is both a cleaner and light lube, and it’s better than a rusty, dirty, squeaky chain, so you have to keep reapplying, which is not ideal. this is why i said just use it while your chain oil arrives.

wd will aso melt off heavier grease, so you have to keep it away from greased parts. one reason i avoid it, you can’t spray it all over. but if you just use it on the chain it should remove the dirt and friction for the ride.

machine oil works too but in theory gets dirty and sticky also depending on conditions + cleaning frequency and this is why i prefer teflon based dry lube. it stays on longer, it attracts less dirt and forms less grime.

however the perfect is the enemy of the good and a squeaky chain is the worst.



eta: depending on the type of pedal there’s a strong chance you’ll need a pedal wrench.

Loner
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:26 pm

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by Loner »

The squeaking might also be the cranks and bottom bracket. That's sometimes impossible to fix by drowning it in oil. You sometimes need to change the BB cartridge if you want your bike to be completely silent.

Oil will be fine for the chain. As Jacob wrote somewhere, you only need a drop in each side of every link. Grease attracts dirt and doesn't penetrate too well. WD will do in a pinch. Or just dip the whole thing in melted paraffin. It's literally the most efficient lube.

Note on pedals (before you break you arm/wrench/crank): the left one's spindle is reverse threaded.

bigato
Posts: 2631
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by bigato »

wow, that melted paraffin tip is gold right there, thanks!

Loner
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:26 pm

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by Loner »

Glad to help! Yes the paraffin is great. Another advantage is that dust and dirt won't catch on it as well as they would on oil and grease. Obviously, removing the chain with a chain breaker can be a pain, but it'll be quicker if you have a quick link.

Some data + info on applying paraffin:
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7550/158 ... 294d_o.jpg
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7544/158 ... 362b_o.jpg

Alphaville
Posts: 478
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Walkscore 92, Bikescore 93

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by Alphaville »

bigato wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 8:46 am
wow, that melted paraffin tip is gold right there, thanks!
+1!

i’ve used candlewax to lube wooden doors and windows but this one is new to me

Alphaville
Posts: 478
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Walkscore 92, Bikescore 93

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by Alphaville »

Loner wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 9:11 am
Glad to help! Yes the paraffin is great. Another advantage is that dust and dirt won't catch on it as well as they would on oil and grease. Obviously, removing the chain with a chain breaker can be a pain, but it'll be quicker if you have a quick link.

Some data + info on applying paraffin:
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7550/158 ... 294d_o.jpg
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7544/158 ... 362b_o.jpg
and wow, great article.

i wonder if dripping wax from a lit candle could work here... sounds like dunking is required, but maybe as maintenance... 🤔

Loner
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:26 pm

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by Loner »

Once, a while ago, I melted wax in a pot, and slowly dripped it on the chain. It did a nice mess, and IIRC, it didn't penetrate so well. Maybe the candle trick would work better (less mess, and given that the drops would be "fresh" from the candle, they might also be more liquid and penetrate more).

Alphaville
Posts: 478
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Walkscore 92, Bikescore 93

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by Alphaville »

i currently lack the space to melt combustibles safely so maybe i’ll stick to my trusty teflon. it’s not cheap but it works well. cheaper than a lawsuit for setting a building on fire anyway :lol:

curious also about that rocknroll one...

Loner
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:26 pm

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by Loner »

:lol:
Yeah, looks pretty efficient. Tbh I never really felt much of a difference in power gain/loss, but then I'm no athlete. I mostly liked the fact that wax is cleaner and doesn't risk staining pants, or your hands if you derail the chain etc.

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Hey everyone,

Time for some updates.

https://imgur.com/a/0B37Pld

This is the brake piece that's giving me trouble. (I realize I'm holding it upside down, sorry!) The nut in the center just won't budge. My brother and I both tried, and I lubed it up to try to get it to come off. Any tips?

Cool article! I have a couple potentially silly questions, as mechanics / engineering is still pretty foreign to me. First of all, is paraffin wax the same thing as normal candle wax? Second of all, can you explain in more detail about how they measure the efficiency of various lubricants? I saw they had the bicycle chain hooked up to a machine, which somehow came out with a Watt measurement. How does this work exactly?

Once I have this brake fixed up I'll get started on maintaining the chain. By the way, what is the best way to prevent damage due to wet conditions? Just having a weather-appropriate lubricant?

Alphaville
Posts: 478
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Walkscore 92, Bikescore 93

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by Alphaville »

oh, the bolt that holds the pad to the cantilever seized! try applying some liquid wrench penetrating oil maybe?

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com ... L1500_.jpg

and once you’re done you might need some new pads.

Loner
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:26 pm

Re: Fixing My Bike

Post by Loner »

I'm no candle expert, but I believe most candles are made from paraffin, yes. In my case, I used old candles that I found in the trash after the yard sale day in my city. I have enough wax for the next four decades. As for efficiency, I believe (IIRC) they use a motor with a bicycle gear. They then use this gear/motor to turn another gear with some weight (or resistance) on, and they compare how much power/electricity it takes to turn the weight using different chains. Something like that. Maybe someone who is knowledgeable about electrical engineering will be able to come up with a more technically correct answer.

I think the paraffin wax does a good job to protect against wet conditions. But yes, if you don't go for paraffin, and you ride regularly in wet conditions, regular lubing would be required.

As for your brake, yeah, some penetrating oil maybe, but make sure it doesn't touch the pad. Else, you can jam it in a vice, and use a ratchet or some such long tool to pull it out. Leverage is your friend. Another thing. Looking at your brake, it looks like you snapped it (hard to tell with a small-ish picture). Look where your thumb is. Looks like the left part (of the round hole) appears to be missing. I believe that's where your cable is supposed to be attached, although I'm not sure how, exactly (not all mechanisms are exactly the same). Compare it to the other side, to be sure, but it looks like it. If it's snapped, you'll need a new one. Or maybe you can jerry-rig it by drilling a hole into it to attach the cable.

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