Taking care of your new road
Your new bike, like all bikes from Chain
Reaction, is essentially a high-performance vehicle. With proper attention to a few
basics, it will give you years of fun.
The following items are very important to
your bike's well-being:
#1: Proper tire pressure
#2: Ride carefully
#3: Chain cleaning & Derailleur
#4: Avoid "slam" and
#5: Learn how to use "Quick-Release" wheels
#6: Don't miss your bike's "30-day check"
#1: Proper tire pressure is very important! Too little air in your tires greatly increases the likelihood of getting
"compression cuts", which are caused by bottoming out the tire on the rim when
hitting a bump. These punctures are easily identified by the type of damage to the tube: a
thin slit (sometimes two parallel slits) running lengthwise along the tube.
Too low pressure also greatly increases rolling resistance, meaning that you have to pedal
a lot harder to go the same speed. In addition, since air literally cushions your bike's
components, low tire pressure accelerates wear and tear on your frame, fork and wheel
parts. Too much pressure may cause the tire to want to blow off the rim as well as giving
you a harsh ride.
Chain Reaction recommends always running your tires at the pressure rating listed on the
sidewall of the tire. Unlike mountain bikes, road bike tires have a narrow range of
acceptable pressure, making it essential that you check for the right amount of air before
every ride! We suggest either a separate pressure gauge ($3.95-$14.95) or a pump with a
built-in gauge (The TREK Air Slim for about
$30 is highly recommended and nearly bullet-proof).
#2: Ride carefully. Most damage to tires, tubes and rims can be avoided if the rider is careful
about how and where the bike is ridden.
In a world seemingly full of broken glass and potholes, it's important to keep a vigilant
eye on the road ahead. Constantly scan the road in front of you, both for moving hazards
(cars, dogs, people) as well as less-obvious things like new patches of pavement, which
frequently are either sunken or raised (but may not look that way). Also, develop a very
healthy respect of railroad tracks (especially when wet!). It is unbelievably easy for
road-bike tires to turn into the slot next to the rail and bring you to a head-first stop.
As for glass (and any other sharp objects you might run over), if you can't avoid it,
immediately check your tires both visually and by spinning it while running your hand over
the top of it. Skilled riders are sometimes able to "glove" a tire (scraping it
with a gloved hand) while riding, but this can be quite dangerous as it requires a high
degree of skill and control.
#3: A clean and lubed chain is a requirement
for proper shifting performance! Especially with the new
Hyperglide shifting systems, it is essential to keep your chain clean and
lubed...something far too few people bother with. A clean chain shifts better, runs
quieter, and is much less likely to jam than a dirty one.
Cleaning your chain (as well as the freewheel cogs at the back and the chainrings in the
front) requires the use of a solvent, usually brushed or sprayed on, to remove the grime
and grit. After the chain dries, it should be lubricated with something like Tri-flow or,
better yet, one of the new synthetic-wax lubes like Allsop, which attract much less dirt.
Besides cleaning and lubrication, it's also essential to make sure your gears remain
properly adjusted. If you continue to ride a bicycle that exhibits problems while
shifting, it's quite possible that you may experience a broken chain or even the failure
of the part of the frame that connects to the rear derailleur. Please bring the bike back
to the shop for adjustment as quickly as possible so that small problems may be easily
corrected, instead of becoming bigger problems.
#4: Shifting Technique. With the advent of Hyperglide derailleurs, it is now possible to shift under
pressure and still be certain of a clean shift. This is great for those times you get into
trouble and don't have a chance to ease off on the pedals and shift "properly."
However, "slam" or "power-shifting" is very hard on your chain and
cogs, and greatly increases the likelihood of bent chainrings, broken chains and
"chain suck." When you need to shift in a hurry, it'll perform flawlessly for
you, but when possible, be kind to your bike and ease off on the pedals while shifting.
Also, when the chain is on the largest rear cog and the largest front sprocket, avoid
shifting the front derailleur! We call this "cross-shifting", and it invites the
possibility of throwing the chain off the front chainring and onto the frame. If possible,
shift the rear derailleur to a smaller cog first and then shift the front, or, better yet,
don't ride in the large-front/large-rear combination in the first place.
Finally, chains don't last forever and require replacement every 1200-2000 miles or so. If
you keep riding with a worn chain, you can do serious damage to your rear cogs and
dramatically affect shifting efficiency.
#5: Learn how "Quick-Release" wheels
operate. Nearly all bikes are now equipped with special
"quick-release" devices which enable you to easily remove and install the wheels
without use of any tools. While these "quick-releases" are incredibly handy,
they can also be the source of major trouble if improperly used. At Chain Reaction, we
make it a point to demonstrate how "quick-release" wheels work with every bike
we sell, and then have the customer try it.
Improper use of "quick-release" wheels can, in some cases, result in the loss of
a wheel while riding. On the other hand, when used properly, this type of wheel retention
method is one of the most reliable devices you'll encounter. They virtually never fail or
cause trouble unless improperly used.
Whether you purchased a bike from Chain Reaction or not, if you ever have any questions
about how "quick-releases" work, please ask for a demonstration.
#6: FREE 30-Day Check. Just like a new car, it's important to bring in your bike for a complete check
and adjustment during the first 30-60 days. During this break-in period, your bike's
bearings may loosen slightly, and brake & gear cables will stretch. Chain Reaction's
"30-day check" actually takes more time and resources than many shops spend
building a bike. The good news is that, unlike a new car, this extensive check-up is free!
Please note that the "30-day check" does not include removal of the drivetrain
for cleaning; if you have not maintained it as noted in section #3 above, there may be a
charge of up to $25 for the extra services required. Also, failure to bring in your bike
during the 30-60 day period of time could result in damage to components (especially
bearings) that is not covered by warranty.