Relative newbie - some questions

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by regicide, 30 Aug 2007.

  1. regicide

    regicide New Member

    Hey everyone - I've been lurking over the past week or 2 but thought i'd de-cloak to ask some questions ;)

    I've been commuting to work (about 10km each way) for the past few weeks on my new Trek 7.2 fx and i'm really enjoying it. However i've been neglecting the maintenance and p*ncture contingency side of things a little and thought it was about time I got my act together. So here goes the q's:

    Pump - My tyres are 700x35c, I think they need to be kept at 60 psi.
    Do I need a high pressure pump for this ?
    Do most mini-pumps come with a pressure guage?
    Can someone recommend a standard one that I could get on CRC ?

    P*nctures- Carrying both a tube and patches seems to be the general recommendation. Should I bother with a fancy multitool or just get a cheap tyre lever and allen key ?

    Chain Maintenance - I bought some white lightning lubricant. I've been cleaning the chain with a rag and then liberally applying the lube about once a week.
    Is this enough ?
    No need for oil?

    Panniers - I got a standard carrier fitted when I bought my bike, not a specific pannier rack.
    Is this ok if I want to attach some panniers ?
    Again any recommendations on panniers welcome. I want something fairly compact and medium duty - what do you think of these ?:

    Clothing - So far it's just been shorts and a t-shirt, but once the cold weather starts to come in i guess this will change. Does a long sleeve base layer and a t-shirt, gloves and tracksuit bottoms sound ok (presuming a "normal" winter) ? I don't think i'll be getting into wearing tights and such.
    How good are breathable rain jackets and how much should I expect to pay for something that won't soak me inside out, or is this an impossible dream ?

    Locks - Work is reasonably safe security wise but occasionlly i'd like to leave it in the city for a few hours (preferably near a police station!). I have an Onguard atika 20mm cable lock and a mid range Abus D-lock (they equate to about 10% of the bike's cost). Is this *ok* ?

    Thanks in advance to anyone who feels like imparting their hard-earned wisdom :biggrin:
  2. Shaun

    Shaun Founder Moderator

    Hello regicide,

    Welcome to the forums ;)

  3. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Salford, UK

    Not sure what CRC is... but I have a Topeak Road Morph - a handpump that has a footpeg, so works like a track pump, good for when your arms feel weak. The later ones have a gauge I think, but mine doesn't.

    Oh, hang on, I see, CRC is chainreactioncycles...

    Depends how much you want to spend! A multitool may always come in handy for other things (bike or non-bike), so you might as well treat yourself to a reasonably priced one (although I sometimes find the tyre levers come off mine, and are a bit bendy), so I carry a couple spare as well.

    I think I last did anything to my chain about 6 months ago... :biggrin: You won't need oil as well as lube - you don't want too much sticky stuff on the chain, it just holds the grit in...

    A standard rack should take pretty much any panniers. Those look Ok - it might be worth looking at a few for real, and making sure they sit far enough back on the rack not to get clipped by your heels, if you have bigger feet.

    Sounds alright - I would recommend Bikesters from Ronhill or similar, as they are shaped so as not to catch in the chain, and are longer at the top of the back to keep you warm. For 10km (6 milesish?) you probably don't need to sorry too much about technical clothing, unless you intend to try and go flat out the whole way. I'm a great believer in just riding in whatever is comfortable. My waterproof is a £50 Endura jacket, and although I get warm, I don't find it a problem - maybe I don't ride all that hard or sweat that much...;)

    10% is reckoned to be the key I think. If you have two locks, it's also good if they are different sorts with different kinds of lock, to thwart tealeaves who come armed with only one type of tool... I'm afraid nothing is foolproof...

    Not sure it was wisdom, or hard earned - mostly picked up in hours of timewasting on the internet... But you're welcome!
  4. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    In short: No, no, and any.
    Most pumps will specify what pressure they will go up to. e.g. the Axiom Inflateair goes up to 100psi, so fine for you. It's a fairly stubby one, and it's only a fiver. The longer sleeker ones tend to be a bit more expensive, but they'll all work - there's not that much in it.
    Almost all pumps come with both presta and schrader compatibility, and a bottle-cage mounting bracket - so basically just choose one you like the look of.
    I personally like the pumps with a lock-on lever, but I've actually got an innovations roadair which hasn't, but it still holds on to presta valves quite well.
    Bear in mind that a mini-pump/frame-attached pump that you carry with you on your bike is only going to have to be able to get enough air in your tyres to get you home after a puncture, if you've got a track pump at home - which is easier to get high pressures with.

    Get a set of 3 plastic tyre levers. Metal ones I don't like as i think they might be to blame for my recent warped tyre, and they scratch your rim, i.e. if you're putting enough force on it to break plastic, you're probably putting too much force on the bead. These are perfect - but you're paying for the park name, so get yourself down your local wilkinson's and pick up the exact same set for 99p. Alternatively get these.

    Tube repair with patches is something I don't personally do, but if you decide you want to - it's much easier to leave your repair kit at home, swap the tube out on your ride and repair it when you get home, where you haven't got wind, darkness, and you've got somewhere to organise all your stuff and a sinkfull of water to find out where the puncture is.

    I personally clean muck off the MTB's chain with a toothbrush when it's particularly muddy, and take it off and give it a complete degreasing probably about every 6-12 months. Other than that I just put a couple of drops of low-viscosity chain oil (or this, off crc) on each link about every week, and spray the cassette, jockey wheels, chainrings and mechs with teflon.

    Not sure what you mean by a 'standard carrier', but try it and see...
    The bike you've got is a hybrid though so it certainly should have pannier braze-ons.

    They're probably ok.
    I've got some bog-standard 'raleigh avenir' ones from a LBS that suffice, but if I was buying again i' might get the ones where the top bit detaches and doubles as a rucksack, but they probably are more expensive.

    Cycling shorts are good because they have padding and are thus much more comfy on the saddle, as probably do cycling specific tights. Loose, flappy clothes are less aerodynamic, which is why racing cyclists tend to wear tight jerseys. Further to that, though, it's really a matter of personal preference, what you're going to be warm enough in but not too warm, and how convenient it is - e.g. it's no good having a whole cycling specific outfit if you never wear any of it because it's not worth getting changed just for the short distance to work or there's nowhere to get changed.
    For instance, I just wear casuals to commute and tuck trousers into socks, and wear my (mtb-style) specialized SPD shoes. But if i worked further away and/or they had better cycling facilities (e.g. showers), I might be inclined to wear cycling shorts and get changed, as I do for say a general long ride.

    No idea - I personally don't bother cycling when it's raining, well not by choice anyway.

    I personally think cable-locks are a bag of shite, i lost my first good bike to a thief who obviously just bolt-croppered straight through the cheap halfords cable lock I had.
    That one might be a bit better, but a D-lock is your best bet. I've got kryptonite evolution mini, but an abus will probably be just as good. The thing about the mini ones as opposed to the long ones, is that while you have to be able to get your bike fairly near to a suitable railing or stand - they're nice and small (and fairly light - mine's less than 1kg) to carry around, but they dont' offer much in the way of opportunity for a thief to get his tool(s) in the right position. (also see my other thread on security)
  5. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    some still do ;).
  6. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Auld Reekie
    Welcome, um I am not sure I can add much to that...

    ...apart from recommending the one bit of essential kit that no one has mentioned so far, the CC cycle jersey;)

    Ok I'll get my coat...
  7. OP

    regicide New Member

    Hey guys - thanks for responses - especially bonj, Arch and User for the detailed replies. All useful information...

    btw I had my first experience of being cut off by a left turning motorist today, I had to slam on the brakes. The driver looked a bit sheepish afterwards..
  8. yenrod

    yenrod Guest

    Yeah just take the minimum, tube or 2, multi-tool/levers unless you have a total mechanical which aint really gonna happen ! Oh and a chain'spliter and punc. repair kit ;)
  9. barq

    barq Senior Member

    Birmingham, UK
    Hello, welcome!

    Eeek! I hate those turning-left-whilst-still-overtaking manoeuvres. You have to watch out for them though.

    People have given some great advice which I can only back up.
  10. Keith Oates

    Keith Oates Janner

    Penarth, Wales
    Welcome regicide. Wow, what a set of questions and also very full answers, I guess you'll have enough info there to last you for a while!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  11. It's obvious that we like a bit of regicide!

    Long live King Reg! ;)
  12. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Salford, UK
    Did anyone ever think they'd live to see that sentence? It's the End Times, I tell 'ee...;)

    I haven't tried one myself, but a lot of people recently have recommended the Cyclaire pump.

    I was sceptical when I first saw it, but I've heard nothing but good reports. I don't need a new pump, but I might think about it when I do.

    With regard to whether to take repair kit or tube - just tube is fine... until you get a second puncture. And if the first one was caused by riding through some glass or thorns, or you don't manage to get whatever caused it out of the tyre, it's a possibility. If you don't want to be bothered with glue and the like on the road, get a few self adhesive patches, which you can keep in your wallet - I think they may not be a long term repair, but they'll get you home.

    It's worth learning about how to prevent 'em in the first place - trying not to ride through debris on the road, not going up kerbs, avoiding potholes, keeping your tyres pumped up, checking them every so often for embedded bits of stuff that can work through...

    Chain splitter? Hmmm. Basic rule for me is only to take tools I know how to use. So yes, I carry a chain splitter (along with the spoke key and the multitool and the spare spanners and the screwdriver and the kitchen sink), but if you can't use one yet, or even know what it is and why you'd want it, save the weight.:biggrin:
  13. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Salford, UK
    Oh, cable locks.... A good brand should be better, but beware, sometimes they look nice and thick, but the majority of the thickness is the plastic coating, which can be cut easily. What counts is the thickness of the cable inside. I've seen a display of cheap cable locks cut in half and the metal core was often only a third or less of the total thickness... So if you can find out the thickness of the metal core, that gives you the best idea of how good it is.
  14. twowheelsgood

    twowheelsgood Senior Member

    Zurich Switzerland
    go for a zefal hpx pump and fit it to the frame (you can get velco straps and rubber mounts if you can't get a size to clip to the frame. Much better than any mini-pump, even if you don't need the upper limits of its pressure.

    Tyre pressure depends on your weight but usually higher is better to avoid punctures and will roll noticeably faster. I'd go to the maximum indicated on the tyre.

    You do not need to "liberally" oil the chain. All excess oil does is attract dirt and makes it trickier to clean. Invest £3 in a SRAM powerlink which allows you to break the chain for cleaning.

    If you can afford it, look at the sportpacker panniers from ortlieb. beware £20 panniers that claim to be "waterproof". With water on a bike coming up, down, sideways and whatever very few really are.
  15. PatrickPending

    PatrickPending Guru


    I'd second the earlier post recommending the toppeakRoad morph - i'd never leave home without it (well when I'm cycling anyway). Personally I take with me 2 spare tubes, punc repair outfit, tyre levers and multitool - but it really depends on how far away from home you go - I commute some 36Km away and needed everything I 've taken with me at one time or other!
    Happy cycling!
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