There are several easy things you can change on your bike to give you a new lease of riding life. Contact points particularly wear quickly and upgrading can really improve your ride quality. A holiday period such as Christmas is a great time to make any alterations and cope with break in periods. Many of these components are also great presents!
Here we take you through how to change these components and alterations you may need to make.
Replace your handlebar grips for aesthetic purposes or due to wear and tear. You may wish to occasionally replace your handlebar grips for aesthetic purposes or due to wear and tear. Another possible reason for completing this repair is if your grips are sliding off too easily. You’ll need a new pair of handlebar grips, WD-40 to loosen the grips, Allen key, flat screwdriver and hairspray. The hairspray acts as glue to stop the grips from sliding off.
If your bike has bar plugs then remove these first. Loosen the brake and shift levers using your Allen key and slide them away from the grips.
If the grip is really stuck on the bike then try sliding a flat screwdriver into the grip to loosen it. As it is easy to scratch the handlebars with a screwdriver it is best to use other thin, blunter objects if they are available.
With the grip loosened you should easily be able to twist and pull them off. Before installing new grips make sure you give the bar a wipe. Also if you are replacing the originals and have sprayed WD-40 into them then give them some time to dry out.
New grips typically don’t tend to need glue (Brompton foam grips are an exception to this), but if the instructions say to use some, make sure it is an epoxy type glue rather than a brittle one like superglue.
If not glue is required, spray some hairspray into them to act as a lube to make them easier to slide on. Spray a small amount inside the grip. Do not spray hairspray directly onto the handlebar. Then quickly slide the grip back onto the bike and leave it to dry. Finally retighten your brake and gear shifter into their original position and replace bar plugs. If the grips are clamp on, tighten the bolts.
A full guide to installing new bar tape on drop bars can be found here.
Removing and Replacing Pedals
Maybe your got new pedals for Christmas? If you have been thinking about trying out spd or other clipless pedals, the holiday period is a great time to practice. Let’s go through the steps to change the stock pedals your bike came with to something lighter or more specialised.
This is one of the easiest replacements you can do. You may also want to do it to install new pedals or re-grease the existing ones if they seem noisy. You’ll need grease and a pedal spanner.
Attach the spanner or pedal wrench facing down on the pedals and turn counter clockwise for the right pedal and clockwise for the left. This is because the left pedal has a reverse thread to prevent it coming off during pedalling.
Before attaching new pedals first clean them to remove any dirt and then apply a thin coat of grease to the threads. This will make them easy to remove in future and ensure they don’t creak. Also check that you are installing them correctly as left and right pedals differ. This should be marked on the pedal.
Tighten the right pedal by turning the wrench clockwise. Tighten the left pedal by turning the wrench counter clockwise. You want to make sure the pedals are very tightly screwed on, as there is a lot of pressure on them during pedalling.
With clipless pedals you will also need to adjust the position and angle of the cleat on your shoe, and they tension in the pedal. For cleats, you want to have the ball of your foot on the pedal and not have your heel drop below the level of the pedal. With the tension, you need to have your foot held in the pedal but not too tight that it is hard to unclip. You probably will start out with looser tension when you are learning.
A new saddle can bring a new lease of life to your riding. They are very easy to attach to the bike, but often take quite a bit of adjustment to get in the right place.
To remove the old saddle, undo the allen key bolts on the clam. There may be one or two, depending on the level of adjustment you have on your seat post. Before removing, it is worth measuring the length of rails compared to the new saddle. There are often guide markers on the rails to make life easier. This will ensure that you start off with the new saddle in roughly the right place.
When bolting in the new saddle, grease the screws a little to make sure that you can easily adjust the saddle position. With the new saddle, make sure that you start off with the top surface level. It may be that you alter this platform angle a little, but ideally it should be flat.
For your first few rides, carry an allen key around for on the spot alterations. If the new saddle is not immediately comfortable, do not despair! Many saddles need some break in (particularly leather ones such as Brooks), and often your rear end might need a little breaking in to it as well! Christmas is a great time to break in a new saddle as you can go on short leisure rides and take a break after each one.
What are your handy tips and tricks for changing contact point accessories? Do you have any suggestions for good upgrades? Let us know!
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.