Monday, August 29, 2016

Flat tires and Defective Inner Tubes

The only responsibility of a tube is to seal air.  If the tube sealed---and later fails---it is not the fault of the tube.  It is either a another puncture or improper installation.  The tire rim interface is designed to hold all the pressure, the tube just seals it.

The classic story---My tube held air for about 10/20 minutes, 3 days, and then it failed, it was a defective tube.  No the installation was improper or the you got a puncture.

The true defective tube failure rate is very close to zero.  All tubes are pressure tested at the factory.  Any true bike professional will tell you the same thing.

The most common causes of tube failure from improper installation come from not getting the valve stem positioned so to not be under stress.  If your stem is coming out at an angle then the base of the stem is not in the right spot and quite likely will go flat.

The second most common problem is not getting all the glass, thorns or whatever penetrated the tire out of the tire.  When brought back up to pressure the tube repunctures.

If you do not get the tire bead to seat properly and the tube squirts out under the bead and goes bang, again this is improper installation, it is also hard on the ears...

Thorn Resistant Tubes
Thorn tubes are very good at resisting flats when properly installed.  These tubes are really thick in the area near the road and thinner near the rim side of the tube.  Thorn tubes are very susceptible to failure at the base of the valve stem.  It is very important to get the stem coming straight out of the rim hole.  I have seen under low inflation the tire and thorn tube can sometimes slip around the rim under hard braking.

Slime Tubes
I prefer Slime tubes to thorn tubes.  Slime tubes will seal back up around a puncture.  With thorns and small penetrations you may need to add a little air but the sealant will usually work great at keeping you from having to patch tubes or replace them.

Base of  the Valve Stem Leaks Especially with Thorn Tubes

It is rarely a tube failure with leaks at the base of the valve stems.  Two potential issues.  The tube is not inflated enough to put pressure on the tire and rim to keep the tire from sliding around the rim when braking .or. the tube was installed and the valve stem was not pointing straight out of the rim putting too much side pressure on the base of the valve stem.


Here is a link to another article on Defective Tubes.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

How to Save Money on Park Tool and Other MAP Priced Items

There are a lot of Map (Minimum Advertised Price) items in the Bicycle industry.  MAP prices are set by Manufacturers that want their items advertised  for a certain price.

The retailer is allowed to sell an items for any price he wants but if he advertises the item it must be at MAP price or above.

This is especially true on Ebay and Amazon, the price must be at MAP or above or the Manufacturer will quit selling the item to the dealer.

Park Tool, Lizard Skin, Serfas, Planet Bike, Kryptonite and several other manufacturers have set MAP pricing rules.  This is why you see every Park Tool Repair Stand on Ebay or Amazon are usually priced exactly the same.

Most of the MAP price agreements do not allow the retailer to put "make offer" in the listing.

How to Save Money on Park Tool etc.

You can email any of the sellers and ask if they will come down on the price. This will probably not work on items that cost under $40 as the shipping is high enough that there is not much margin.  However the $200 to $500 items might be discounted if you ask.

Good luck in your Cycling Adventures

Enjoy the Ride,

Bicycle Rick

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Buying the Correct Tube for your Bicycle

There are a lot of different variations of bicycle tube.  Quick primer on getting the right tubes for your bicycle.

  • Wheel size (20", 26", 700" etc)
  • Tire diameter 
  • Valve stem type Presta or Schrader
  • Length of valve stem
If your bicycle has deep profile rims you may need a longer valve stem tube.  If you can measure the valve stem of your old tube.

The proper size tube is purchased to fit the Tire.  The width of the tire is the second number as in 26 x 1.75 or 700x25.  Tubes will usually fit a range of tires sizes.  For  example, Many 26" tubes will fit tires from 1.75 inches wide all the way up to 2.125.

Inner Tube Thickness

Most standard inner tubes are .9mm thick.  Super light or ultralight tubes will be between .6 and .76mm thick and are usually 20 to 40% lighter.

I always buy a couple of tubes so I have a spare or three around to carry in my pack.

Check out the hundreds of different tubes we have available at Zbikenut on eBay

Bicycle Rick

Check out our Seatpost Installation Tips

Seat Post Sizing and Installation Tips

Click to watch the short 1 minute video--Thanks

I always put a little grease on the inside of the seat tube on the bicycle before installing my seatposts.  This keeps your seatpost from rusting into the frame.  If you live in a humid region your seatpost can rust solidly into your frame in as little as a year.

Always be sure to have the minimum insertion level inside your frame.

The size of your seatpost will usually be etched on your seatpost just below the minimum insertion line on the post.

We have a lot of seatposts available at Zbikenut on eBay.

We also have a lot of XLC Bicycle parts on ebay.  XLC is a very large international brand that specializes in good quality parts at excellent prices.

Enjoy the Ride,

Bicycle Rick

Monday, December 14, 2015

My New Pedals Do Not Spin Freely!

Bicycle pedals are one of the most commonly replaced items on a bicycle.  They take a lot of abuse as all of our weight is often on them.  Another reason they are so often replaced is many department store bikes come with very low quality pedals that fail with relatively little use.

I am partial to aluminum pedals that have a one piece body and cage.  The weak link in many pedals is where the cage mounts to the body.  If the screws or rivets loosen the pedal often will break.  This design makes the cage and body one piece and very durable.

Check out our Pedal Combo Kits and check our our huge selection of  Zbikenut Pedals

Do Not Readjust the Pedals

Usually when you first get pedals with a one piece body the factory will have adjusted the bearing so they are gritty and do not spin loosely.  Within the first 50 miles the pedal bearings will loosen up significantly.  If you adjust them before installation so they are smooth after about 50 miles they will become sloppy and need to be readjusted.

Bicycle Rick

Sunday, December 13, 2015

How to Save Money on MAP priced Bicycle items

MAP stands for Minimum Advertized Pricing.  It is being used by a several bicycle parts manufacturers and in many other industries.  Bicycle retailers and mail order guys cannot advertize these companies parts for less than stated or the Manufacturer will suspend selling to the dealer. Park Tool, Serfas, Lizard Skin, and many other manufacturers are setting and then enforcing MAP pricing.

 HOWEVER the retailer can still sell it to you for any amount.  

 Most MAP policies also state that the dealer may not put “Make Offer” or “Call for Price” or “Too Low to Print” in their listing or advertisement.

How to Get a Better Price Strategy
So any expensive item that you are looking to purchase that is MAP priced you will probably be able to get a better price by either making an offer, emailing for a better price, or calling for a better price.  In my experience you will not get a better price on a MAP item unless the retail cost of the item is over $25 or $30 or the item is very small and light to ship. 

Bicycle Rick

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Buying and Installing Pedals for your Bike 9/16" vs 1/2"

When looking for new pedals for your bike the first thing is you must figure out the pedal axle size.  There are two common sizes of pedal axles. 1/2" and 9/16".

Check out these Pedals on Ebay

1/2" Pedals will fit bikes that have one piece cranks like the picture below.  Normally you will only find this style of crank on some childrens bikes and some adult one speed bikes.
Only these cranks fit 1/2" pedals

Pretty much any other crank on a modern bike will take a standard 9/16" pedal***.

9/16" pedals
The Cranks below are examples of 3 piece cranks.  If you have three piece cranks then 9/16 pedals will fit.
All of these type cranks use 9/16" pedals

A Little Daub will Do Ya
I always put a daub of grease on the pedal threads before installing them.

Junior Pedals VS Adult Pedals
The only difference between Junior pedals and Adult pedals is the size of the pedal.  I recommend the smaller junior pedal for most 16" and 18" wheeled bikes.  The beginner bikes have the pedals close to the ground so the smaller pedals allow the bikke to lean over further in a corner before the pedal hits the ground.

Left Pedal VS Right Pedal
The left pedal is always reverse threaded and the right pedal is always standard thread.  The left pedal will have striations on the pedal axle near the wrench flat that are not on the right pedal.  Often the axle of the pedal will have an R or a L designation also.

Check out These Pedals on Ebay

If you need new pedals often you can get a better deal with our Bicycle Pedal Kits on Ebay.

***Before 1990 there were 9/16" English (the current standard), 9/16" French thread (this was on Peugeot, Motobecane and other French bikes, and 9/16" Italian Thread.