Previous workshop tips

Bar straight ?
stuur recht?
Is your stem inline with the front wheel? That is always tricky to achieve without trial and error. Turning the bars so that you can reference of the complete wheel makes this job a lot easier

Dishing gauge
To check if the rim is centered over the locknuts you use a dishing gauge. Put the gauge againts the rim and move the pointer to the locknut. Flip the wheel over, and if your wheel is accurately centered ie symmetrical you get the same reading. If you get a gap the centering is of by half the amount. A dishing gauge is to be prefered over relying on a truing stand which will usually be slightly off.
bistro versie On the road you can make do with whatever you can get your hands on. The official version of the Bistro Dishing Gauge [tm] uses a tabletop in the shade,  two glasses of beer and an ashtray, but two coffeemugs and some change will work in a pinch (picture]

Connex links
connex link
The powerlink for Wipperman Connex chains is supplied with a large sheet of instructions. These are needed because mounting the asymmetric link upside down could cause skipping on the 11T cog. However I could never remember the correct orientation with the instructions supplied. Once you know how it is easy though, as only one side of the link is chamfered  to facilitate shifting (arrow). Mount this side facing the teeth on cogs/chainwheel.  


blindklinkmoer Rivnuts are used in alloy frames to fit the bottlecages. They consist of a hollow rivet which expands  when you pull up the threaded bottomsection. 1 is an uninstalled rivnut, with the expanding section outlined in red. 2 is the rivnut installed, with the arrow pointing at the formed shoulder.

For installation you need a special tool, but a ratling rivnut can often be tightened up with a bolt, washer and nut.
blindklinkmoer vastzetten Screw down the bolt in the rivnut as far as it will go by hand.
Carefully tighten the nut while preventing the bolt from turning

Spokes inserted in steel flanged hubs (eg Hubgears) usually benefit greatly from using spokewashers to improve the fit. Putting a tiny washer on every spoke is however a fiddly job. It becomes much easier if you place the washers on a flexible surface (here a rubber sanding pad) . You can now spear a washer in a single movement!

Aligning the derailleurhanger
aligning derailleurhanger
    On the road you can realign a -steel- derailleurhanger with your frontwheel:
    • Flip the rearwheel backwards but retain the skewer in the normal position to get some working room around the hanger-
    • eye
    • Unscrew the derailleur, and let it hang by the cable
    • Fit the frontwheel to the dropout without the funny QR springs, If you're unlucky you might need a thick washer, nut , or a flat tool with a hole in it to get some clearance between the spokes and the rearwheel skewer nut
    • Straighten the hanger by observing the gap between the wheels
    • When refitting, pull the derailleur backwards so the detent clears the protrusion on the hanger-eye

    Bleeding hydraulic brakes

    Hydraulic brakes use either mineral oil (Magura, Shimano) or automotive brakefluid (e.g Hope). The mineral oil is available in very small bottles (Magura Blood) or als LHM (Citroen suspension) oil at the motorfactors. Motorfactors also sell brakefluid, but as this is hygroscopic it is best to buy this in small quantities. For storage squeeze as much air out of the botlle as possible and screw down the top tight. 

    Never use oil in a system designed for brakefluid or the other way round as this will destroy the rubber seals. Systems filled with DOT 5.1 can be used with DOT 4.0 (after flushing with mineral spirits), but never with DOT 5.0!

    Repacking bearings

    Many hubs are equipped with sealed cartridge bearings. These bearings are lubricated for life, ie when the lubricant becomes saturated with water your bearing will die. If time doesn't equal money you could try to replace the lubricant. Depending on the wheelset you might have to remove the bearings first. Pry the rubber seal from the bearing with a needle, starting at the edge. (ill 1) Once you've got a beginning work your way round, taking care not to destroy the lip running on the inner bearing.(ill.2) Now you can wash out the old grease (and rust?) blow dry and repack. Fill with as much grease as possible, and pop the cover back in place
    32 or 36 spokes? 

    As long as the wheel doesn't have radial spoking, you can see it at a glance.

    Take the wheel depicted on  the left. If you look at the spoking pattern you see that the spokes next to the valve run parallel. If the pattern opposite the valve features the same parallel spoking, the wheel is 32H (or 40 etc) If the pattern is V-shaped the wheel has 36spokes (or 28H  etc)

    32 gaats

Tip 8
Removing old handlebartape can be very timeconsuming. Especially cork-tape has a tendency to tear, which means you have to remove numerous small bits.
I prefer the following method which softens the glue first:
  • Remove the bar-plugs
  • Take an electrical heatgun, and blow hot air through the bar. Be carefull not to start a fire.

  • Start unwrapping the tape when it feels warm to the touch.
Tip 7

Removing grips can be a bear. Some people manage with brute force, I prefer more subtle methods.Take a syringe (ask your vet, farmers shop, local junkie ;) w.h.y.), and fill it with meths. Insert the needle through the grip and squirt some liquid between grip and bar. Massage the liquid along the grip and it will loose adhesion. You can now slide the grip of without trouble.

To refit, wet the inside of the grip with again methylated spirit, it will slide on without fuss, and once the spirit has evaporated the grip will be tight again. Instead of meths, water will work too but it will take longer to evaporate.

Tip 6
A pot of grease on the workbench easily becomes a mess. Adding grease to some part isn't very convenient either. Both problems are solved with a large (50ml) disposable syringe, available from a vet or a farm supplies shop. Pull the plunger, spoon in grease from the tub (I use a 5" steel ruler) and refit the plunger.
syringe with grease
Tip 5
An emergency spoke is usefull for a temporary repair of a broken driveside spoke, without having first to remove the freewheel or cassette.
Emergency spokes are available for serious money (Simpson etc) but are not difficult to make yourself:
  1. grab a spoke of the right diameter, but too long by about 5 mm
  2. cut of the spokehead
  3. take a piece of steel flatstock, 2-3mm thick, and drill a small hole which will just take the spoke
  4. insert the spoke, clamp the bend with pliers or vice against the flatstock, and bend the second 90 degree bend..

Tip 4
New Shimano SPD-R pedals can be very difficult to release, even with the springtension set low. With time this improves, but at first it can be downright dangerous. The problem is caused by the way the catchplate is manufactured. It is punched, and the resulting burr is nicely chromed but still very rough. That is ok on most sides, but not on the ramp used for releasing the cleat as it will catch instead of slide. Lubricating is a temporary fix, but a more permanent solution is simple: deburr the ramps (marked in red) with emerycloth, file or Dremeltool. If you want to decrease the engagementforce you can radius the entryramp (marked blue) as well. On the topline Dura-Ace pedals this is already done at the factory, but on cheaper pedals finish is well... cheaper.
(note 2002 pedals adress this problem wiith a coated release plate to lower friction)
spd-r pedaal
Tip 3
Many hubs (e.g. all Shimano hubs) are equipped with cup and cone bearings. These hubs are supplied new with zero adjusted play, as otherwise wheelbuilding would be impossible. However, when installed, the tension of the quick release skewer compresses the axle and subsequently most hubs are run with the bearings very tight. After wheelbuilding the bearings should be loosend a bit, but by how much? You could try to guess, but actually it is very easy to adjust the bearing with the with the axle compressed.
  • get a large nut: M 12 is a good size Alternatively you could drill a 10 mm hole in a 10 x 25 mm piece of flatstock, which has the advantage that you can clamp it in a vise (most skewers are wider than a M12 nut, making clamping awkward). I use an old crank.
  • remove the skewer, slide the nut over the skewer rod and put the rod back in the axle. You can leave the centering spring on the skewerside in place. Or rearwheels you insert the axle from the 'wrong' (RH) side
  • put the other centering spring for the time being aside, and refit the adjusternut
  • tighten the adjusternut as you would when fitting the wheel, and close the skewer
  • turn the axle with your fingers and be surprised!
  • adjust the bearingplay with the cup and cone on the adjusterside. Depending on the hub you will need one or two special flat conespanners.
  • adjusting a cup and cone hub under preload
Tip 2
The sealing ring in Presta valveheads is a consumable. And the hose usually starts blowing of the valve at the most inconvenient moments. Pumping tires with one hand on the pump, using the other to prevent the pumphead from blowing of is possible but not very convenient. I prefer a quick fix:
  • unscrew the valvehead and remove the rubber sealing ring 
  • wrap a piece of masking tape around the rubber ring 
  • refit the sealing ring 
 The rubber ring is now compressed which closes up the hole, improving the fit.
Tip 1
Threads, stems  and seatposts should be greased before assembly to prevent corrosion. However a tub of grease on the workbench will become a mess in very short order. The solution is to use small plastic 35mm filmcanister with a hole drilled in the lid. Fill the pot with grease, and stick a short brush through the top. 
Instead of grease you could also use anti-seeze compound: this has superior anti-corrosive properties, is more pleasant to work with, and not as greasy. Never-Seez is often found at industrial supplyhouses, Shimano Lok-not can be sourced at the cycleshop. Standard containers are far to large for the average home-mechanic, so maybe you can get a refill for your small pot if you ask nicely.