When was the last time you changed your handlebar tape and inspected your handlebar? Our sweat can have a very corrosive effect on the equipment we ride and race on. Aluminum handlebars should be inspected on a regular interval especially if you have heavy, toxic sweat. We see many bikes come through the service center that have very old bar tape which can be hiding some very dangerous symptoms underneath.
Bring your bike in today for some new wrap, or re-wrap them yourself, for a fresh grip on the fall riding season.
Something everyone should be checking on a regular basis is their tires. We hop on our bikes daily without a thought given to the tires we roll on. It is a good practice to check your tires for debris and cuts after every ride. That little piece of glass embedded in your tire can ruin your next ride within the first mile.
Since I pump my tires before each ride, I am in the habit of letting a bit of air out after riding, and checking for glass in the tire. It’s an old Retro Grouch habit of letting air out from back when we all rode tubies. With all the junk that gets pushed to the side of the road by the car tires, it can be difficult to keep clear of the stuff, and I usually find one or two pieces of debris in my tires. It is real easy to do, you are already dirty, and if you happen to find a big cut in the tire, you can save yourself a lot of hassle the next morning. There is nothing worse than having a flat at mile one of your fifty mile training ride.
So take a minute after your next ride, deflate your tires a bit, and give them a quick inspection. You might be amazed what you find in there waiting to spoil your day.
When I first got hooked on bicycle mechanics in the eighties there were no torque wrenches in bicycle shops. Everything was steel and bullet proof. A mechanic could learn through trial and error by feel, and get by fine. With today’s lightweight carbon components, using a torque wrench is no longer an option—it’s a must for every mechanic. Even home mechanics!
Let’s look at a couple that are affordable, and can possibly save you some skin too!
The TW-5 is a high quality, ratcheting, click type torque wrench that accurately measures the proper amount of torque to a component’s threaded fastener(s). With a ¼ inch drive, it can handle any size socket or hex attachment. It’s 3-15 Newton Meters (26-132 inch pounds) range is perfect for all the modern handlebars, stems, and seat pins.
This is a nice little (small hands) torque key that is pre-set to 5MN, standard torque for Ritchey components. It is small and in-expensive, which makes it easy to have in your tool box.
These wrenches run from $20 to just over $100 bucks. At that price, there is no reason not to own one of your own. That is a pretty low price to pay for a little peace of mind. Besides, how much was that bar and stem combo?