Bike Tech Notes – Bike Shop Spokane

Chains and cables are often neglected, but they are continually being stretched over the course of their lives. Eventually this stretching becomes excessive, and replacement is necessary. That is the point when you need to visit your Bike Store in Spokane.

The easy and obvious case is an overly stretched brake cable, which will not stop the bike as quickly as you might like. Or possibly the cable can break, which leaves you with no brake at all (bummer dude)!!

When a gear cable breaks the results are not as catastrophic, but they can be downright inconvenient on a ride. On most bikes, if the rear derailleur cable breaks, the bike will auto-shift itself into high gear on the rear wheel's cassette. The bike is still ride-able, but you are going home in high gear only (hope there are no hills between you and home). The Advanced Bike Maintenance Class from Fitness Fanatics Spokane Bike Store, we show you how to put the bike in a more ride-able gear, so can get home safely after you suffer a broken rear derailleur cable.

On most bikes, if the front derailleur breaks, the bike will auto-shift into the smallest chainring in front, putting you in the lowest gear in front. Here you are in luck, because you still have all your gears on the rear cassette. You will easily be able to get home without the use of your big chainring. When a derailleur cable stretches after the bike is tuned the results can be anything from mildly inconvenient to completely maddening. Missed shifts, double shifts, or skipping are all common symptoms of stretched derailleur cables. The beginning of the season is a good time to visit your bike store in Spokane and install new derailleur cables, so you can give them plenty of time to stretch until a stable length is achieved, then have them readjusted before any big races. It's generally not good practice to "throw on" a new set of front and rear derailleur cables and then do your Ironman!!! Instead, allow yourself at least enough time to ride roughly three hundred miles, then we can do a quick final adjustment, and off you go!

Your chain is the most abused and oddly the most neglected single component on your bike. Although made of steel, your chain is continually being stretched longer and longer by the torque of your massive quads (I'm giving you the benefit of doubt here). As chains stretch, the gear teeth they come in contact with, must also wear to accommodate the new stretched length. The chain is actually removing metal from the teeth of your cassette and chainrings (This is not the preferred method for making your bike lighter). Eventually your bike will hardly shift at all, and you'll have to replace everything; your chain, cassette, and chainrings. This could have been avoided, if you had changed your chain regularly. I have seen some crazy stuff. I know some people who ride a whole season on the same chain!!!! On the other end, I know people who install a new chain every race!!! I usually get about 1500 miles out of a chain, before it's overly stretched. It is different for everyone. It would depend on how much power you are putting out, and external conditions like dirt, and moisture. How well you take care of your chain can greatly enhance it's life. On a bare minimum, everyone should be wiping the dirt off the chain and re-lubing every ride. Yes, every ride!! It takes less than five minutes to pump up your tires and lube your chain (You can have a hands-on demo of chain lubing at our Bike Maintenance Class). We have tools that can measure your chain wear, and the test can be done in 30 seconds. If you prefer, one of the mechanics would be happy to check your bike's chain while you wait.

If you need assistance with any of your bike tech needs Fitness Fanatics – your bike shop in Spokane – can help you out.