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6 Bike Repair Mistakes Every Cyclist Should Avoid

6 Bike Repair Mistakes Every Cyclist Should Avoid

– I have lost count of the number of hours that I’ve wasted over
the last 20 or so years I’ve been working on my
bikes through time saving exercises that ended up becoming the most mind blowingly irritating jobs imaginable. Made all worse by the fact
they were caused entirely by me and were completely avoidable. Don’t make the same mistakes. Watch this video. Seized seatposts, ughh. It’s very easy to forget
about your seatpost. You may well not ever
really need to move it. But if you eventually do,
you could well find that you well can’t, basically. And that’s because seatposts
can real quickly become seized into frames, no matter what the material either side is made from. And it can actually go
one further than seizing. The two carts can be
chemically bonded together. Particularly if it’s aluminum
next to carbon fiber. And that is via a galvanic reaction. You can generally remove stuck seat posts. We’ve actually got a video
showing you just how. But I’ll warn you, you will probably need to sacrifice your seatpost
in order to do it. So rather than go through
all that irritation and expense, do one simple job. And that is remove your seatpost, put a layer of grease on it before putting it back into place. And if it’s a carbon
post, with carbon frame you want to try using a
fiber grip product instead. Getting the right saddle height, again. Now this one might bother
some of you more than others. But it definitely bugs me. If you ever need to remove
your seatpost for any reason, then getting it back at
exactly the right place can drive you nuts. You’re out riding, and it
feels a fraction too high, or it fractionally too low. No matter how many times you move it, no matter how many times you measure it, it still feels wrong. But there is a quick fix. All you got to do is put
a piece of electrical tape around your seat post just
where it touches the frame. That way, no matter how many
times you remove the post to make sure that it’s
not seizing obviously, you’ll know that it always goes back in exactly the right place. Rounding bolt heads. Stripping bolts so that
you can’t get them out can be really, really annoying, and lead to hours of faffing
around trying to remove them if it was even possible
in the first place. Now basically, sometimes
there’s nothing you can do about it, they just get stripped. But most of the time, it’s preventable. To do it, we need a two pronged attack. Firstly we need to prepare
the threads of the bolt to make sure that we can
actually undo it when we need to. So it might be just a layer of grease, it might be a thread locking compound. But either way, most bolts
will need some kind of prep. Secondly when it then
comes to either tightening or loosening your bolts,
use a good quality tool. And remember that worn tools wear bolts. Lost internal cables. Internal cables are cropping
up on more and more bikes and at lower and lower price points. Which is great, because
they look super cool. However, if you’re not careful they can actually drive you insane. If you remove a cable without taking steps to help to rethread it before you do so, then you could end up
losing hours of your life. So consider this a timely
reminder before you do it. When you go to remove a
cable, take a little tube, thread it over it through the frame, so that when you then
finally remove the cable, the tube is left in place as a guide to help with the next one. Stuck pedals. Taking your pedals off can
be surprisingly annoying and surprisingly painful as well if you’re not careful. Mainly, it’s just technique based. So take a little bit of time
before actually taking them off to make sure the allen
key or the wrench is in a position so that you’re not
going to skin your knuckles when it suddenly loosens. And if the pedals are on too tight, consider getting your
foot involved as well. But then harking back
to our previous point, make sure that you grease the threads of your pedal axles before you put them in in the first place. That way you can avoid having
them seize into your cranks. And also, don’t over tighten them. 35 newton meters will do the trick if you’ve got a torque wrench. Putting things together
in the wrong order. Most bike maintenance jobs are
relatively straightforward. You can take things apart, put them back together relatively simply. But there are a few jobs
that are more complicated. Now I’m thinking mainly
bottom brackets here but also headsets to a certain extent. What spacer goes where, and where on earth did that flippin seal come from? Cue hours spent trying
different permutations even when you had the
instructions in front of you. Now it’s not exactly a hack, this but it is definitely a timely reminder that if you just spend 10
seconds keeping a track of how things come apart,
either taking photos or literally just lining
them up on your work top. Then you’ll be able to put
things back together again very simply and save
yourself a lot of time. Not being able to get your back wheel out. Here is simple one, but I’m
sure we’re all guilty of it. Or at least I know I’m guilty of it. You need to take your back
wheel out, and you know that you need to put your chain in the smallest cog on your cassette. But you just can’t really be bothered. I mean how much harder is it going to be to get your back wheel out. A lot harder. In fact, much, much, much harder. So rather than try spending
ages faffing around getting your back wheel out, with your derailleur
in the wrong position, just change gear first. Searching for tools. Now this used to be another
one of my specialties, losing tools. Ugh, man the amount of
time I lost one winter trying to find my cassette tool. And it wasn’t a one off
either, it was a regular thing. And it does still happen
from time to time now. As I absentmindedly put the
tool down somewhere random and then completely forget all about it. Now of course this
isn’t a maintenance job, but it is nevertheless a
mindblowingly irritating thing and easy to prevent as well. Just create special place to keep all your bike maintenance tools. We’re not of course all
going to be as lucky as this, but a small tool box or a small tool wall will make working on your
bike that much quicker and that much easier. With the exception of helping
to look for lost tools which we haven’t covered
on the channel yet. Although that is actually
quite a good idea. We’ve got videos about most
of the unfortunate outcomes talked about in this video. How to remove stripped bolts
is in fact coming soon, so do make sure you subscribe to GCN by clicking on the globe to make sure you don’t miss that one. And then for a couple more, why not click just down there to help
remove a stuck seat post if you need that. Or deep down there for help
with internal cable routing.

100 comments on “6 Bike Repair Mistakes Every Cyclist Should Avoid

  1. Here are six incredibly irritating bike maintenance mistakes that we've often made.

    What's your number one bike repair frustration? 👇

  2. Place a vacuum cleaner hose on one internal cable routing hole and a thread a cotton string into the other. Super easy to trick to route a cable or wire through a tube with turns and obstructions.

  3. If you have any sketching ability at all, make a free-hand drawing of any complex assembly before taking it apart; additional drawings in a partially disassembled state may also be necessary.

    Taking photos is helpful; but something about making drawings really gives you a good idea of how things go together!

  4. I agree a simple wheel change lead me to need the wheel trued couldn’t get it on and got a little angry

  5. If you've already stripped your bolt, you can get them out by placing a rubber band inside the groove and pressing ni with the tool head. The rubber will naturally get a good grip without damaging anything else, just takes a little hand pressure

  6. I changed my cassette, this morning. I turned the bike upside down. That makes it so easy to remove the wheel. Just hold the derailleur back and pull the wheel out. Same to put it back.

  7. Lost tools, yep. Forgot the order of headset, geared hub, etc. parts, yep. I have never had internal cables. I am sure I could screw that one up. However, I did insist on trying to remove a bolt from a brake post and broke it off. I wanted to clean and grease the bushing. Then I snapped the removal tool off in the bolt. Then I got a new fork! And I cross-threaded my bottom bracket once, how stupid, but a machinist/bike mechanic guy fixed it, a little threadlock helped.

    What's really fun is working on something that somebody else did wrong, the order of washers/seals might not be right in the first place. Something to think about.

  8. That last one was just too recognicable, found my casette tool a year ago when sorting tools, and now when I need it I don't know where I put it anymore.

  9. Greasing the post bothers me because on newer low end bikes it voids out the stock seat clamps so the seat doesnt stay put but you should regularly take it with you anyways and if it already is stuck i use a quill stem

  10. Over adjusting rear derailleur, leading to a snapped dropout is the worst.

    Take time to make sure everything is in line.

  11. when you yanked up on that seat post and yelled, I lost it LOL! I needed that. Rear derailleur issues all day. Thank you for making me laugh!

  12. Copper slip for assembly, not grease!!
    Basically, if its not meant to move use copper slip. If it is meant to move, grease.

  13. Use a product called anti-seize. It's a good practice to. Also if a bolt has loctite on it. Use heat to remove, giving the ability to do so. Lol. Best fluid spray I ever used like wd40 is another product called fluid-film. Top notch 🤙

  14. I feel like I just watched a ParkTool infomercial! 🙂 The product label out placement inside each toolbin drawer is genious.

  15. Installing tubeless tires backwards.
    Tangled internal cables
    (Why cant cables just stay outside??)
    Dealing with proprietary parts that cant be replaced by anything else, then to find out theyre not available 5 years later.
    Parts that require expensive tools to maintain/repair
    Do designers ever bother trying to wrench on the stuff they create?

  16. I just buy cheap ass bikes every 6 months and give the old one away, problems solved. I don't have time for bullshit maintenance or any emotional attachment to a bicycle. I suggest everyone else do the same. Save yourself a shit load of time plus you get to ride a fresh bike. Sometimes I even buy one every 4 months. It actually saves you money. It seems paradoxical but its true. Also, you don't have to worry about it being stolen, people rarely want to steal a $250 road bike lol.

  17. An easy way to remove seat posts. Remove saddle and clamp seat post in vice and use frame as a lever to rotate.

  18. ……..Help….I have a crank issue….can someone identify it?…….My left side crank arm has developed 3-4 mm of play…not side to side but front to back. It's making a slight clunking noise as I pedal. I am not mechanically inclined….I have tightened the locking rings and crank arm bolts but they were not loose at all. This made only a tiny bit of difference. What do you think?

  19. I only clicked on this video to see if anyone else noticed the resemblance between this guy and Linus from linustechtips. Sadly, no one did

  20. Worn Allen Hex Wrench Fix: Use a pedastal grinding wheel (or file in a vise) to shorten heavily used Allen Hex wrenches but don't heat it up so much that you soften the alloy. They work better when sharp and full size. Don't use the ball end on snug bolts too.

  21. I thought the seat post on a bike I was rebuilding was seized, and had to use a 5 pound sledge hammer to remove it. I found out that the previous owner had installed a post much too small, and must have pounded it in from the get go.

  22. Wear work gloves for anything that could jam your knuckles into the chainwheel (pedals, cranks)! The 99 cent only store usually has some for…"s'cuse me, how much are these?"

  23. 4:25 35NM is a shitton or force, if you are using hands and a relatively small 8/6 mm allon key, just crank as hard as u can.

  24. Proper order of action can make life better. Keeping the correct seat post height is problem for new bike owners. They let someone else test ride the bike, loan it to a friend or say to themselves "it should be a little higher or a little lower". After I fit people on their new bike, which have an aluminum seat post, I score a little line on the seat post at the top of the seat post clamp. Just a 2-3mm mark, not a ring. This is their base line. New pedals, new shoes, or a new saddle may require a new height but the base line gives a reliable starting point.
    Greasing pedal threads is simple but can be made better, Grease both threads, the pedal and the crank arm threads should be greased to get a uniform coating across all the threads. This will make a better corrosion shield on all the threads.

  25. I lost 45 minutes of my life and a good amount of knuckle skin removing over tightened and not greased pedals on a used 2008 Specialized Allez.

  26. i have all my tools and more bits in 3 huge cupboards i am a big big tool fan im just the profesional Anorak ! lol i am tool number 1 !

  27. One that I just found (and resulted in a large injury) was not tightening the bolts at the wheel enough. Made it wobble at speed and crashed. It's obvious now, but at the time it seemed like too tight made the wheel not spin well. But better too tight than getting speed wobbles (though perfect tightness is ideal)

  28. Re seat position I just bought a new ebike and it has a "ruler" etched in the side of the seat post, that way all you have to do is memorize the number on the "ruler" when you take the post out. The rails under many seats have similar markings to tell you how far forward/back the seat is positioned. There are two problems with electrical tape to mark a seat post: it's not waterproof and will fall off if you ride in the rain, and it leaves gunky adhesive residue which is hard to remove and can cause the seat post to get stuck. Also it can migrate/slide out of position over time. I would use a cable tie instead.

    Greasing threads is a great idea, in fact the manufacturer of my rear rack (Ibera) recommends greasing all bolts when installing their rack.

  29. Here is an old trick if you accidentally pull through an internally routed brake/derailleur cable. As you know it's a real pain in the ass to route the derailleur cable back through the frame.

    1. Find some sewing thread and a vacuum cleaner.
    2. Tape the thread onto one end of the derailleur cable. The thread should be about 2' to 3' long (60 cm to 100 cm).
    3. Insert derailleur cable with thread into one of the frame derailleur cable access holes.
    4. Put the end of the vacuum cleaner hose near the other frame derailleur cable access hole.
    5. Turn on the vacuum cleaner and suck the thread through the hole.
    6. GENTLY pull on the thread until the derailleur cable passes through derailleur cable access hole.
    7. DONE!

    This trick really does work! Be careful next time you don't pull through the derailleur/brake cable through the frame. Internally routed frame cables are a blessing and a curse.

  30. #1 what grease to use : Canada you must use marine grease on bikes, wheel bearings, bottom brackets, brakes, cable housing exits. This is to stop rust and poor roads with debris from gunking your bike. 1200 km redid all wheels and bottom bracket that is how bad they got when opened up insane gunk even though the bike was clean.

  31. Ah I actually didn't know that it helped to have you gears at the smalless setting to take the back wheel off. I just thought it was suppose to be hard XD

  32. GCN has a video in regards to ‘things you shouldn’t grease’ and the seat post was one thing the bike mechanic said that shouldn’t be greased. He said “You need friction between the post and seat tube”. Although, he did recommend greasing the seat clamp.

  33. 1. Trouble removing back wheel even in the lowest gear? Lower the tyre pressure first, it helps a lot.
    2. Always, put your chain on the largest front sproket when removing pedals or undoing the crank arms. It could save you an awful lot of blood and pain.

  34. You forgot most important one, how to adjust handle bar and stem perfectly straight with wheel. I think its most irritating one for me

  35. great videos!…just a little trouble understanding some of the mechanics when he is showing and explaining…the accent makes it a bit confusing to understand.

  36. Use anti-seize if you don't want it seized. I had seized pedal threads when I was trying to replace worn-out pedals an hour before getting on a train for my tour. Stripped them down to the spindles, ground some flats and used my locking pliers with prejudice to get the new pedals on in the nick of time. A near-disaster that could have been avoided with a little blob of goo.

  37. Carbon Fiber Grip Paste. Hmmmpf. Who knew. OH, yeah, the BIKE SHOP that sold me my CARBON FIBER BIKE!! 😡 Thanks.

  38. I would also add another repair mistake to this list, perhaps the most annoying, and that is accidentally popping that little pin all the way out of your chain when you are breaking it. You'll need 3 hands and at least an hour spent dropping the thing over and over to get it back in, and after you do that, your chain will probably be a little bit bent.

  39. I've always liked working on bikes (taking them apart, cleaning lubing and putting the damn things back together/upgrading)almost as much as I like riding them,
    except when things don't go right and the nervous panic sweat starts pouring down my face.)
    thankfully that doesn't happen much anymore as in 50 odd years of doing it I know everything from experience or reading up on it, except how to spoke a wheel correctly
    but the common rule is… you shouldn't spoke your own wheels anyway, it's kind of like 'never pack your own parachute'.

  40. As for seat post, take wheels off the bike, remove seat and clamp and place seatpost top into bench vice. Use the frame as a lever. To twist out.

  41. As your Allen keys wear, just dress the end with a file. In many years time they will fit a tiny saddle bag.

  42. Grab your hex wrenches and secure your belt-sander in a vice, and gently sand the ends for a few seconds to sharpen the edges to prevent stripping bolt heads

  43. Dude's got the most tiring croaky voice I've ever heard, dude fix your throat looks like you're about to pass out lolz

  44. There's a product that's better than plain grease for preventing threads from seizing. Use a copper based never-seize compound. The copper fines will still be in the threads to prevent them from sticking long after the grease dries up, which it will, eventually.

  45. i have 1 mistake i made, but after 10 minutes i was able to get it back together with allot of Luck,,,lol, recently i took off my handle bars, i loosened to screw/bolt that bolts into the Stem, i removed the bolt completely , and then i realized i just made a mistake, because now the nut is somewhere inside the stem, at least the good part i didnt loose that nut,,,lol, to get it back into the nut i had to remove everything off handle bars, so only the stem could be held Upside down, looking with a flashlight while holding bracket upside down i lined up hole of nut, with hole for bolt, then with a quick motion pushed bolt back it pushing the Nut to the back side ( Inside stem ) so i could turn bolt until it caught the threads, this took several try's 5 times,, i got it on the 6th time, thank goodness my other option was to buy a new Stem, for a Specialized Rock Hopper that i bought back in 93,,,lol

  46. Made the mistake of using Harbor Freight Allen wrenches and rounded a small bolt. Luckily I was able to remove it with a high quality Allen key that has chamfered ends made by Husky. Highly recommended.

  47. Is it alright, possible to begin with, to install a 50 t road bike chain ring/ crank arm set to a 9 speed to 10 speed mtb?

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