Bike Care Essentials

A well-equipped work bench can make the difference between a stellar ride and downtime at the bike shop


Posted: 18 November 2009

Easy-as-pie psi

Top Dog St Deluxe pump, £46.99

Tyre pressure affects your bike's comfort, speed, handling and even your safety. And although your road tyres may have a maximum pressure of 125 psi, that might not be the pressure you should use; most riders of average height and weight will experience optimal performance with less than the maximum stated pressure. The Top Dog St Deluxe certainly lives up to its name and is a quality piece of workshop kit. The heavy steel base makes it stable, the wooden handle is contoured for comfort and the top-mounted gauge is clear and easy to read. The generous stroke length fills tyres quickly, up to a psi of 160.

Info: www.zyro.co.uk

Tooled up

Torpedo level with mini line level, £4.98, tape measure, £1.48, plumb bob, £1.48

If you know your preferred saddle height, saddle offset and reach dimensions, these tools will help you set up a new bike quickly and accurately. Or use them to experiment with your positioning to find more performance or comfort. Start by writing down your original position (so you can return to neutral), then make small changes, one at a time, to your saddle offset or height.

Info: www.diy.com

Hassle-free keys

Park Tool HXS-2 Allen key set with bench/wall-mount holder, £39.99

Full-size wrenches give you better torque and easier access to tight spots than folding or mini versions. The Park Tool HXS-2 has a few nice additions: a holder to keep wrenches organised and easy to grab; ball ends for getting at tricky heads; and a short sleeve that allows you to spin the wrench to speed up installation of longer screws.

Info: www.madison.co.uk

Rags to riches

Bag of rags, £1.48

Yep, it's simply a bag of rags of all different sizes. You can use them for a host of jobs: cleaning bikes, tools and hands; wiping away excess grease or lube; mopping up spills; or as protective padding when packing your bike for travel. And at just £1.48 for this bag from B&Q, you can afford to clean your bike every time you ride it.

Info: www.diy.com

Cut through grime 

Shimano Degreaser, £12.49

When it's time to overhaul a drivetrain, a dose of this powerful stuff and a little diligent scrubbing will
have your chain, cassette and chainrings sparkling and ready for your favourite lube. You can also use it to overhaul bearings and remove adhesives. In diluted form it can be used to clean other materials, although it's a good idea to patch-test it first, especially on plastics and rubbers, to ensure it doesn't cause damage. 

Info: www.madison.co.uk


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