Yeah, I know, disc brakes are pretty much the thing to have nowadays for mountain bikes, but they’re still not the standard. Even today, the majority of bikes are sold with rim brakes, although discs do seem to be closing the gap as prices drop. Still, that doesn’t mean you have to put up with crappy braking, and with a few simple steps, good quality v-brakes can easily brake as well as discs under most circumstances.
The first thing you need to do is clean your rims, since this is half of the overall braking system (the other half being the pads). Take a close look at your rims, and you’ll likely see a lot of residue from your brake pads and whatever else you’ve ridden through lately.
I typically use a CamelBak to carry my tools and water along on rides, but for shorter rides, it isn’t always neccessary. However, I hate strapping a seat bag onto my bike because it’s too time consuming messing with the straps, and seatbags are usually wedge-shaped, so cramming everything inside can be difficult.
So, for a short evening or morning ride where you may need just a few essentials, and especially if you have multiple bikes and never know which one you may take with you, I thought I’d pass along this tip.
This first thing you need is a spare water bottle, preferably with a large opening; a 24oz. size works just fine.
Lately, my bar ends have been causing my hands to go numb. My extremely rigid aluminum fork is probably to blame since it doesn’t dampen vibration like my old SID fork did. Since there are no decent grips on the market for bar ends (other than some slip-on types made of neoprene), I decided to make my own.
One of the most important things to own for your bike is Park Tool’s Polylube. Buy it in the tube and it’ll last for years.
With that out of the way, this is my story:
On both of my rides last weekend, I kept hearing a creaking/popping noise with every pedal stroke. My bike is usually pretty quiet, so this was annoying the crap out of me. I finally discovered the sound went away when I stood to pedal, which gave me an idea as to what it could be.
I saw this tip in Mountain Bike Action magazine awhile back and I thought I’d share it:
If you have an old innertube laying around, cut off a small strip of it and slide it over your handlebar to rest on your grip, or somewhere else out of the way (pic 1). Then when you’re leaning the bike against something and wanting it to stay put, stretch it over to the brake lever to keep contant tension on it so the bike won’t roll away (pic 2). I tried it the other day when I was re-assembling my wife’s bike and found it worked really great. It’ll also keep your wheels from spinning in the wind when it’s on your car’s bike rack.