How To Clean Your Road Bike Drivetrain (or Zen and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance)

I feel like I’ve never properly cleaned my bike. Actually it’s more than a feeling. Its a truthing.

Partly (mainly) this is because I’ve never had the confidence to take the dirty bits apart in order to give them a proper deep clean.

The last time I took my bike to my friendly local bike mechanic, I got a friendly rebuke. As he replaced my broken front derailleur, he noted that the teeth on both the cassette and chain rings were worn. The chain was stretched. The rear hub was on the verge of knackery. The cause: infrequent (and ineffective) cleaning.

After returning from our holiday in Cornwall, where both long motorway journeys saw the roof-mounted bike being doused with finest English summertime rain and road muck, I decided to rectify past transgressions. I would give the bike, and specifically the drivetrain, a really good clean. And this would mean that an incompetent would be taking apart his bike (and hoping he could put it back together again).

I thought I would record my ‘journey’ to share on this here blog, perhaps to share some useful information, but more to provide fellow mechanically challenged people with the confidence that they too can destroy a bike and then half put it back together again.

Read moreHow To Clean Your Road Bike Drivetrain (or Zen and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance)

Wahoo ELEMNT vs ELEMNT BOLT – What Are The Differences (And Which Is Better)?

So my current bike computer is close to giving up the goat. And the ghost.

I’ve been waiting for this moment for some time. Having been in new bike GPS purchase mode almost constantly for the past 4 years (who isn’t?), it’s time to thrust my short Yorkshire arms into those deep Yorkshire pockets and ‘level up’ my electronic bike bling.

What’s that? The Garmin Edge is not the only show in town, you say? (Shurely shome mishtake.)

But it is true, we have a new(-ish) biketech contender in town in the form of Wahoo Fitness, with what finally can be described as their ELEMNT range of bike computers (until recently they just had one model). And based on my research THEY ARE GOOD!

Read moreWahoo ELEMNT vs ELEMNT BOLT – What Are The Differences (And Which Is Better)?

Confessions Of A Drivetrain Cleaner (How To Prep Your Bike For Your Next Sportive)

Bike hacks for your next sportive

Everyone will tell you a sportive is not ‘really’ a race, and then visualize leaving you behind in a proverbial ball of smoke. No matter how you approach it, everyone wants to maximize their bike’s performance and do what they can to gain an edge on the road.

So as a race-loving mechanic, here’s the down-low on my various last-minute hacks that can help you prepare for your next sportive.

Note from Monty: Today’s post comes from Simon Laumet, an experienced bike mechanic based in London. Simon’s post has already inspired me to give my drivetrain a proper clean (the drivetrain on my bike…), which will be the subject of a future post (ooh, can you contain your excitement…). If you find the post useful, please do let me know in the comments below (along with any tips you have).

Read moreConfessions Of A Drivetrain Cleaner (How To Prep Your Bike For Your Next Sportive)

What Are The Different Types of Indoor Cycling?

In an ideal cycling world, every day would be pleasantly warm, with little or no breeze to slow you down. The day would stretch out before you, with no work or family responsibilities to intrude upon your ride time.

But this isn’t an ideal cycling world.

In fact it’s piddling it down outside, the temperature is close to zero and you have just 30 minutes for a cycle session, or serious relationship repercussions are heading your way.

Cycling indoors is your only option. (“Turbo Wan, you’re my only hope”).

But what do we mean when we talk about indoor cycling?

Not all indoor cycles were born equal. Or something like that.

In this post, we’re going to look at the options for a cyclist that doesn’t want to go outside….

Read moreWhat Are The Different Types of Indoor Cycling?

Best Chain Whip And Cassette Lockring Tools 2017 (And What The Fug Are They For?)

So you’ve decided to take the next step towards cyclo-service self sufficiency.

You need to take your cassette off the bike, either to clean it or to replace it. It is one of your core principles that you don’t knowingly elect to shred your fingers whilst undertaking bike maintenance.

You therefore need a chain whip and a lockring tool.

And in this post we’re going to find out what they are, who sells them and which is the best (or rather, which will do the job with the minimum fuss).

Read moreBest Chain Whip And Cassette Lockring Tools 2017 (And What The Fug Are They For?)

Best Place To Buy A Road Bike in 2017: Online Or LBS (You Decide…)

For most of the last two centuries, the best place to buy a bike (whether that’s road bike or a vélocipède) has not been online. Once production moved out of the LB (local blacksmith), sales activity moved to the LBS (local bike shop).

In more recent years, LBS sales have come under threat from bike chains and from direct sales on the internet. But as we stand here in 2017 (or sit), where is the best place to buy a new bike (and do we have much choice anymore…?).

Your intrepid reporter, Le Mont of the Daily Velo, attempts to make sense of it all. (And fails. The End.)

Read moreBest Place To Buy A Road Bike in 2017: Online Or LBS (You Decide…)

Best Power Meter For Road Cycling 2017: The Sportive Cyclist Guide

Join me as I investigate the best power meters available for road cyclists in the glorious year of 2017.

Now I don’t own a power meter. I keep hoping that if I write about the topic enough, one of the power meter companies might notice and send me a free one.

Fat chance. At some point I’m going to have to buy one.

And me being me, I’ve done all the research to work out which one I’d get, for when the urge to splurge finally becomes unbearable (or when my training becomes so consistent that ‘training with power’ would give me a material uplift in fitness).

I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt with you good readers of the Sportive Cyclist (and a few of the naughty ones too).

So I give you, the Sportive Cyclist Guide to Cycling Power Meters.

[Fanfare. Mont exits with a flourish]

Read moreBest Power Meter For Road Cycling 2017: The Sportive Cyclist Guide

Service Course: In Which Our Hero Starts To Upgrade From Shimano 105 To Ultegra (And May Need To Buy New Wheels)

I am pleased to report that my gallant Trek Domane has been in for a service. I am less pleased to report that I have been guilty of a little bike neglect.

But there is a silver lining to every cloud. In this case it’s an Ultegra lining.

And this nimbostratus may even have a platinum lining as we, whisper it, consider… new wheels.

So, without further ado (and another paragraph that starts with a conjunctive), I give you my bike service REPORT!

Read moreService Course: In Which Our Hero Starts To Upgrade From Shimano 105 To Ultegra (And May Need To Buy New Wheels)

Shimano 105 vs Ultegra: Is It Worth It To Upgrade?

SHIMANO 105 vs ULTEGRA

There comes a time in every road cyclist’s life when it becomes clear* that the quickest way to progress to professional standards of performance is to splash more cash on a random bike component.

(*Not all that clear)

That time occurs before you buy your bike, roughly a week after you’ve bought your bike, then on a weekly basis until you cycle off this mortal coil.

So now is the time to consider whether upgrading from Shimano 105, a perfectly functional bike groupset, to Shimano Ultegra, a perfectly functional bike groupset, will take you from dog-dog to Froome-dog.

Read moreShimano 105 vs Ultegra: Is It Worth It To Upgrade?

Torque To The Hand (Or What’s The Best Torque Wrench For Bikes?)

Best Torque Wrench For Bikes

It feels like spring is starting to agitate in its loins (as Keats would say). It also feels like I need to show my bike a little TLC after it has spent the winter doing a ‘good job of work’.

And as every beautician will know, performing some serious TLC requires a serious torque wrench.

Whilst I’ve been washing off my bike after most rides, and a couple of weeks ago, I gave the whole drivetrain a (relatively) deep clean, I’m thinking that it might be time to start taking key components off the bike in order to clean (and grease) them properly. I want my summer cycling to hum to the tune of sweetly-tuned gears.

This is another of those ‘research before buying one’ posts. I’ve always known (in my heart of hearts?) what a torque wrench does (it tightens stuff to a precise amount of, er, tightness). But until now I’ve never had cause to use one.

Having decided to buy one, I’ve been doing some research and in this post I’ll share it with you (in case you, too, wish to tighten things to precise levels of tightness).

Read moreTorque To The Hand (Or What’s The Best Torque Wrench For Bikes?)