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Frequently Asked Questions at Expert Bike Repair

Here's just a few of the questions we're frequently asked at Expert Bike Repair.  However, if you don't find what you are looking for here, please feel free to submit your question at the bottom of the page and we'll get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.

What type of bike should I buy?

There are three main types of bike most people should consider buying, Road bike, Mountain Bike and Hybrid. Road bikes are designed for fast commuting, racing and leisure cycling on the roads. They have 'drop' multi position handle bars, thin high pressure road specific tyres, and generally fewer gears than a mountain bike or hybrid. The gears are normally operated by paddles attached to the brake levers offering safe shifting in traffic or at speed. Road bikes are the lightest weight of the three types of bikes.

Mountain bikes are aimed at riders wanting to go off road, but can be used on the road if required. You will hear the terms Cross country, All mountain, Trail, Downhill and Freeride to name but a few. Add to this Front or Full suspension and it becomes a bit of a minefield for the first time buyer. The best way to decide what's best for you is to test ride as many types of bike as possible. Never buy a bike that's too big because the price is right. Most shops will offer demo bikes and many manufacturers offer demo days. Try to borrow a bike from a mate for a ride.

Hybrid bikes are basically a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike. If you imagine a hybrid as a road bike but with more gears, thicker tyres with a more trail friendly tread pattern and straight mountain bike style handle bars. This type of bike will generally be used by commuters and will cope better with potholes and gentle off road trails such as canal paths and forestry tracks. It will also take a rack and mudguards making it more versatile in all weathers.

Before buying any type of bike, always ride as many as possible first, read as much information as you can from independent testers such as magazines and internet forums, and ask your mates why they ride the bike they do.

What is the correct pressure I should  put in my tyres?

This depends on the bike you ride and more importantly, where you ride it. All bike tyres will have the maximum inflation pressure on the sidewall in PSI (Pounds per square inch). A road bike should generally run at the maximum psi to ensure minimum rolling resistance. Try to avoid the potholes though. Hybrid bikes can vary depending on where you use it most. As a guide if you ride mainly on the road then inflate to the maximum pressure to ensure the least rolling resistance. If you venture a bit further off road at the weekend then drop the pressure to about 35 psi to give a bit more shock absorbing comfort. Mountain bikers should start at around the 30 psi mark to aid shock absorbing, traction and grip. Experiment with a couple of psi in either direction to get the best performance from your chosen tyre. A mountain bike tyre will only ever need the maximum pressure for riding on the road to prevent unwanted drag. The best way to set up your tyres is to invest in a track pump. These have a gauge to aid in increasing and decreasing pressures without the guesswork.

How often should I lubricate my chain?

This depends on the amount of riding that you do and where you ride. The time of year and the weather can also have an impact. If you mainly ride on the road, then a check of your chain prior to every ride is advised. This is as simple as running your finger on the chain to see if it is dry or lubed. If its dry, just apply a bit of lube and wipe away any excess. If you ride off road then check your chain prior to setting of on your ride and take your lube with you as your chain may need a relube. This is because the mud and water can wash it off whilst your riding. If you've just washed your bike, simply wait for the  chain to dry and apply lube as needed. Simply wipe off any excess to prevent a build up of dirt.

What type of lube should I use?

'Lubing', the term commonly used for lubricating by cyclists, is essential to prevent premature wear on often expensive components. There are mainly two types of lube on the market, Wet and Dry. If you are riding mainly on the road or in dry dusty conditions (not that we are lucky enough to worry about that here in the UK), then dry lube is fine. If things are a bit wetter or you are a bit of an off road addict, then wet lube is best. Just be careful with the wet lube as it can attract dirt and grime if too much is applied. Remember....wipe of any excess and don't get it on your brakes!!!!

What should I take with me on a ride?

The number one recommendation from us is a helmet and a mobile phone. These can both be lifesavers as many people including myself can testify. Also set up an ICE contact in your mobile phone. ICE stands for IN CASE OF EMERGENCY and is one of the first things emergency services will look for. This needs to be in your phone contact under ICE and then your next of kin telephone number. Put a note in your saddle pack/bag with any allergies, blood group and name and address. Sounds morbid I know, but one day it could save your life! As far as tools go you will need a pump and spare inner tube, a chain splitting tool, tyre levers, a multi tool with allen keys. Learn how to change a tube or repair your chain to prevent a spoiled ride and a LONG walk home. Always tell someone where your going and what sort of time you expect to be back. And finally some cash for a Coffee and a big slab of cake!!!

My gears won't shift properly and you only serviced my bike a few weeks ago.....what shall I do?

Thank you for having your bike serviced by us, we want your bike to work as good as new until you need us again. Your bike will have had new gear cables fitted and these 'stretch' over the first few rides. It's normally quite simple to sort this out. All bikes have 'barrel adjusters' either on the shifters, derailleur or the frame. If your gears wont shift up the cassette/cogs from small cogs to large cogs, just simply turn one of the barrel adjusters a quarter of a turn anti-clockwise. This should take up some of the cable slack. Ride your bike and try your gears again. If this hasn't worked try another quarter turn until the shifting is smooth and quick. If your struggling or unsure, please txt me and I will call you back and talk you through it.


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