bike maintenance

  • Cycling in the Fall

    Summer? Check your rear view mirror. The leaves are turning, and shadows are growing long while the days grow short.

    Get cycling this fall! Get cycling this fall!

    This doesn't mean you have to put your bike away! Just know that caution is needed when cycling during autumn. The weather may be unpredictable with high winds and mixed precipitation, the sun is low and angled, and slippery wet surfaces or debris in the road (like leaves!) can be a challenge. These are all good reasons to slow down and pay attention.

    Be ready for everything and carry a waterproof jacket, tool kit, tubes, water, a snack and a few dollars on board your bike or person. Even if you don't need them, maybe you'll be able to help a fellow cyclist out with either a quick roadside repair or an energy boost.

    It is a good year-round practice to make sure your bike is tuned correctly, but take an extra few minutes now and give it a once over. Visually inspect the entire bicycle. Make sure the brakes are working well. Double and triple check that your front white light and rear red light's batteries are functioning. Look at the chain and go through the gears. Now is not the time to be stranded and unprepared!

    When you are ready to head out for a ride , wear bright clothing, and add reflective strips to your body parts that move (legs, shoes, wrists) for extra safety. If you wear a pack or bag, put reflective strips and a light on it also. Think about putting a flashing light on the back of your helmet to be more visible. I love this idea as it puts light at a motorist's eye level.

    Don't let the season's change prevent you from having fun out on the road or trails. Have fun and happy riding!

  • How to Assemble a Vilano Fixed Gear Single Speed Bike

    Do you have a Vilano Fixed Gear/Single Speed Bike on the way? The friendly folks at Vilano Bikes made this short and informative video to help you through the simple process of assembling it:

    Please know that Vilano Bikes ship in a factory direct state! While the above video highlights the main points of assembly, the bike may require additional tuning. Please visit help.roadbikeoutlet.com for lots of great information and more videos.

    We have bike techs on staff available to assist as well. Call us at 855-762-3245 or send and email to customercare@roadbikeoutlet.com. We are here to help!

  • Bike Maintenance Tips for Springtime

    Spring has sprung, and it's time to ride! Has your bike been sitting in the garage all winter? There is no better time than now to get your bike ride ready.

    This video has some great routine bike maintenance tips, brought to you by our friends at Vilano Bikes.

    It's time to get your bike ready for the season!

    Don't forget, we are here to help even after you purchase your bike with cycling tips, handy how to videos, and more! Our qualified bike techs and amazing customer service team are available to answer any questions you have.

  • How to Adjust Your Bike’s Brakes

    We don’t need to remind you how important brakes are to your bike and its safe operation, do we?

    Taking your bike in to a shop for a tune up is always a great idea. However, there are simple adjustments you can make on your brakes yourself, at home.

    Whether you have mechanical disc brakes, linear pull brakes, or caliper brakes, Vilano Bikes has made a video for you!

    [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSlPOelynjg&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

    The late Sheldon Brown was an authority on bikes and is also an amazing resource. Developed with Harris Cyclery, Sheldonbrown.com is a huge accessible database of technical bike info that I find myself visiting time and again. Here are a bunch of Brown’s articles about brakes.

    I needed some help with the brakes on my Vilano C1 a few weekends ago so I grabbed a cup of coffee and watched Jeff in action as I ate breakfast. Tuning my brakes was simple, and I headed out for a ride in no time. Check out the video below:

    [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2VijRzaquU&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

    Jim Langley (cycling author, bike mechanic, and former Bicycling Magazine technical editor) also has some great informative articles on bike repair, including brake adjustments.

    Roadbikeoutlet.com is proud to be the primary authorized online retailer for Vilano Bikes. Vilano Bikes has an ever-expanding awesome instructional video repository. Check it out for assembly, how-to, and general informational tips.

    Be sure your bike’s brakes are well maintained and in perfect working order every time you head out for a ride.

  • How to Change a Rear Flat Tire on Your Road Bike

    If you ride a bike enough, there is a good chance you will hit a pothole or pick up a nail or a piece of glass in one of your tires. Bicycle flats can be frustrating, and yet changing one is a simple process that can be done in about ten minutes.

    Changing a rear flat can be a little tricky, but like everything, the more you practice the better you will get at it. Don’t wait until you are stuck on the road to learn how.

    Here are the quick steps to changing a rear flat on a multi geared bike:

    1. Shift gears to the highest gear to move the chain to the smallest rear cog.
    2. Open up the brake.
    3. Take the wheel off.
    4. Take the tire and the tube off.
    5. Inspect the tire to try to find what caused the flat.
    6. Install the spare tube and the tire.
    7. Replace the wheel.

    Need more detail? Vilano Bikes made a great video on changing a rear flat on a multi geared bike. Check it out:

    [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tneob00nNK8&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

    Preparing for a flat in the first place helps too. Keep spare tubes around. Ride with a repair kit and tire patches, tire levers and a mini pump. Make sure your bike tires are properly inflated in the first place, as this can help prevent pinch flats.

    A flat tire shouldn't keep you off your bike for long!

  • 6 Tips to Help Prepare You for Spring Bike Rides

    The calendar page has turned, days are getting longer and warmer and you want to get outside and ride! If you are thinking about riding to work or have an upcoming charity ride, these tips will help you get ready to pedal this spring.

    Stretch.  Take care of your body.  Do some light stretching or even throw down a yoga pose or two before you head out and when you get back. This is a great way to limber up and then cool down post-ride.

    Take care of the machine. If your bike sat in the garage all winter, it will need some lovin’. Consider bringing it into your local bike shop for a quick tune up, or better yet, slap it on a repair stand and do it yourself! Clean the bike, inspect the brakes and wheels, inspect the drivetrain, inspect all cables, and check your tires.

    Check your clothes/other equipment. Inventory your on board repair kit to make sure you have a few basic tools, tubes, mini pump, etc. Be sure the cleats on your cycling shoes are sound. Treat yourself to a new pair of cycling shorts (especially if you can’t remember when you last got any). The same thing goes for your helmet. Sweat, sun and the elements eventually wreak havoc on helmets, so it may be a good idea to get a new one.

    Prepare for unpredictable conditions. Be ready for swings in the weather and dress and ride accordingly. Even over the course of a day, the spring season can bring extreme temperature changes and severe storms.

    Take it slow. I am not at all implying you are out of shape from the winter… but admit it, keeping in decent cycling shape can be tough especially if you live in a colder area. Take it easy on your first ride or three! After a few weeks of regular rides, you will feel stronger and faster and ready to dial up the intensity.

    Break up your old routines. Spring is a perfect time for fresh starts. It is easy to do the same route over and over, especially if your time is limited. But why not shake it up? Think about finding a new rail trail in your area to explore. Try a group ride. No group rides in your area? Start one yourself. Sign up for a charity ride or a sprint triathlon to give yourself a training goal.

    Have fun as you head out on the road or trail!

  • How to Clean Your Bike

    Cleaning your bike is simple and a crucial part of bike ownership.

    All those moving parts are constantly exposed to the elements, road debris and dirt. To keep your bike working correctly and safely, a regular cleaning routine is a must. If your bike is kept clean, it will be easier to spot potential issues before you get out on the road or trail.

    While it may be tempting to hook up the power washer and shoot the bike with a jet stream of water, this is not a great idea. Along with the dirt, you’ll also blast away the grease that should be there, which has the all important job of lubing the bike’s various components. You will also risk damaging the bearings systems.

    All you need for a good basic bike cleaning are a few fresh rags or sponges, a couple of different size brushes, a degreaser like Simple Green, diluted dishwashing detergent or a bike specific wash, a bucket or two, and a chamois cloth or towel for drying.

    Set your bike up on a repair stand or even your car’s hitch mount bike rack so you don’t have to hunch over it. Pour water from a bucket on or wet the bike with your hose (lightly, just a dribble). Remember-no blasting! You merely want to wet the bike to loosen any stubborn caked on dirt or grime so you don’t scratch the frame when you begin wiping it.

    Fill a bucket with detergent and water, grab a sponge or rag and get cleaning. Wipe the bike with sudsy water. Use a brush for hard to reach places like around the fork, brakes or hubs. Does your bike have standard brakes? Then clean your rims well; this is your braking surface after all!

    Rinse the bike with a bucket of clean water. Or if you decide to hose it down, spray it lightly. Dry the bike thoroughly with an unsoiled towel or chamois cloth.

    Once the bike is clean and dry, if you want the job to be a little easier next time, use some silicon spray on the frame. It will make your bike look pretty and shiny, with the added bonus of repelling dirt and water. Be sure to spray only the frame, though; take care to stay away from the wheels, rims, brakes and chain. Relubricate your chain with a good bike chain lube (there are many fine products available, ask your local bike shop for their recommendation).

    You are now ready to set out on your clean machine!

    Get into a good bike hygiene regimen. Repeat these basic cleaning steps as often as necessary. This is an easy and essential part of owning a bike. On a dirt free bike, it is easier to see potential maintenance problems and get them straightened out. Plus your bike will look great as you ride off down the road.

  • Wall and Bench Mounted Bicycle Repair Stands

    Knowing a few simple bike maintenance tricks and routine repairs can be a satisfying and important part of bike ownership. But what if you just don’t have enough room to accomplish these tasks?

    Before you give up and bring your bike to a shop, consider a wall or workbench mounted bike repair stand.

    Bicycle repair stands come in many shapes and sizes from heavy duty professional style bike mechanic stands like you’d find at your local bike shop, to the lightweight folding portable home bike repair stand. Wall or bench mounted stands are the most compact repair stands available and are perfect if your space is limited.

    Conquer Bench Mount Bicycle Repair Stand Bike Rack Conquer Bench Mount Bicycle Repair Stand Bike Rack 

    If you are short on garage or basement space, yet have a sturdy workbench, consider the Conquer Bench Mount Bicycle Repair Stand Bike Rack. This repair stand has a quick release that easily adjusts the height or turns the stand out of the way when not in use. The offset base plate allows ample room to spin your bike’s pedals. The head swivels 360° so you can work on your bike at any angle.

    Another great option for the workbench is the Conquer Bench Mount Bicycle Repair Stand Bike Rack. Super compact and sturdy, it is easily attached to virtually any bench. The arm extends 10” from the bench while the rotating head can adjust the protective rubber clamp to any angle.

    No bench? No problem! The Conquer Wall Mount Bike Repair Stand Bicycle Mechanic Workstand is the ultimate space saver. The mounting plate is easily attached to any stud or post and the stand’s arm detaches from the plate and can be easily stowed when not in use. The arm extends 14” from the wall, and the rubber coated clamp can grab tubes from 30mm to 75mm.

    The easily detachable Conquer Bicycle Wall Mount Repair Stand Bicycle Rack-Rotating Head is one more fantastic option for fixing your bike when space is at a premium. Adjust the quick release clamp to any angle while clamping the top tube or seatpost (be careful if it’s a carbon bike) with its locking 360° rotating head.

    Conquer Bicycle Wall Mount Repair Stand Bicycle Rack - Rotating Head Conquer Bicycle Wall Mount Repair Stand Bicycle Rack - Rotating Head

    This bike repair stand’s angle can also be adjusted at the wall plate. When not in use, it quickly detaches from the wall plates (it comes with two so you may move to another spot).

    Working on your bike, even in a cramped workspace, has never been easier than with one of these wall or workbench mounted repair stands.

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