Empowering The Bicycle Traveler

Simple Bike Maintenance Tips

Some Ideas To Make Your Life Easier
Coat Your Inner Tubes With Talc
Ever had to peel an inner tube out of your tire when changing a flat? Sometimes when a tube has been in a tire for a long time the two almost seem to be welded together. Put your spare tubes in a large plastic bag and sprinkle in a little talcum powder. Shake it up and take the tube out of the bag. The layer of talc will create a slip plane between tube and tire, making mounting easier. Since the tube will be able to slide around a little bit the chance of a fold or wrinkle is reduced and the tire will run more true and with less rolling resistance. I have been using baby powder, but a review of the ingredients shows me it is mostly corn starch so I guess that could work as well. We now carry Rema Tip Top brand tire talc too.

Check Chain Wear
Bicycle chains don’t “stretch”. The links and the pins connecting them wear so that the “Pitch” or the distance between the pins increases. When this happens the chain will then start wearing away at the metal in the cogs and chain rings to match the new chain pitch. In extreme cases a new chain will not mesh with the old rings and the rear cog and the chain rings need to be replaced. Chains are relatively inexpensive so I usually err on the side of caution and replace mine at the first sign of wear. A new chain measures precisely one half inch between pins. 24 links should measure 12 inches edge of pin to edge of pin and can be measured with the chain on the bike. An even better way is to remove the chain and lay it flat and in a straight line and measure the pins which are 24 inches apart. If there is even 1/16 inch of “stretch” in 24 inches it’s time to replace the chain.

How to tell if the chain rings and or cassette cogs are worn? It the individual cogs/teeth have a “shark fin” shape and/or if the leading or pulling edge is deformed with a small ridge, it can affect shifting performance.

picture of chain ring wear

There is a small ridge developing on the leading edge of this ring.

picture of chain ring

Close-up of the deformed tooth.

1 comment… add one
  • Markku Klubb October 18, 2013, 8:51 pm

    Actually, the modern “no talc” baby powder cakes up and doesn’t work. True talc containing powder like the REMA product really does work!


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