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Should I Replace Both Bike Tires at the Same Time?

Taking proper care of your bicycle tires is key in ensuring you get a safe ride to your destination. Every cyclist yearns for their tires to be in great shape and size. There’s no better way to ensure this than checking on them. Then you can determine whether you need to replace your bicycle tires or not.

When can I replace bicycle tires?

Tire punctures are a common predicament that most bicycle owners attest to. A big cut or split comes by when you get a sudden puncture from nails or screws leading to a blowout. A small hole caused by broken glass results in a slow leak over time.

Tires wear out after prolonged use on the road. This is due to insufficient inflation pressure leading to poor bicycle performance. Its treads wear out forming flat surfaces at the centerline and it squares off to the sides.

In most instances, the rear tire wears out more than the front. This is because more weight acts on it but the lighter you are, the longer they will last.

Should I replace bicycle tires at the same time?

You need to take note that the front and rear wheels don’t wear off at the same time. This is because the rear wheel balances frictional force and the effect of wind on the front wheel. There’s no need to replace the front wheel if its treads are in good shape. This happens because the frictional resistance of the rear wheel is greater.

Physical damage on both tires will need you to replace both of them at the same time. You need to replace bicycle tires at the same time when in use for an extra five years from the manufacturing date. You can change them to ensure both tires maintain uniform treads. Always keep in mind that the rear wheel balances your weight.

Seasoned riders often replace the rear wheel most of the time while the front wheel remains. Professional cyclists often replace both wheels. This is because the tires get worn out after spending many days on the road. For them, the need to maintain grip is crucial in determining how well they’ll cycle.

How can I replace bike tires?

Begin by releasing the brake pad and loosening the axle nut for you to release the bike tire. Then go on to release the tire through prying it down then releasing it along the rim. It’s to your advantage if you own a released bike tire that gets the break-off and releases the lever on the axle.

Remove the damaged tube by taking one bead or edge off the rim for an easy release. Pull out the tube and remove the tire then place it on your neck to turn it inside out. If you aren’t certain of how to carry out the procedure, better visit your bicycle manual or get an expert.

Fix the bike tube by placing one bead on the rim leaving the other side loose to install the working tube. Always check out for any spaces between the tire and rim after fixing the tire. Do this by pushing it against the bead while you check if the space between the tire and rim is clear.

Should I get a new bike tire or a tube?

When your tire has an inner tube, you need to replace it once a cut of above 2 millimeters is in the casing. But you generally repair the tire tubes rather than the tires. The tube often wears off due to exposure to chemicals from the road grime and mud.

The tires are usually affected by wear and tear. This is due to the frictional force acting on the road and tires that make treads wear out. The tire fabric ends up getting damaged and forms a visible bulge. This might be the cause of most accidents occurring as a result of bumping while rolling.

Conclusion

Before replacing bicycle tires you need to identify the type of physical damage. It can be a small hole caused by a sharp object or the worn out treads. So ensure you do it right to avoid the occurrence of an accident. It isn’t necessary for you to replace both tires at the same time. 

Can You Use WD40 on Brake Pads

It is a good idea to do regular maintenance on your bike, especially if you use it often. For instance, if cycling is a part of your daily routine. Performing maintenance allows you to detect any potential problems and as such, you would exactly know what you need to replace, repair or adjust in your bike. 

Checking on your bike systematically gives you the assurance that you won’t come across any problems whenever you ride. Since the brakes of your bike are very important to ensure your safety while cycling, maintaining this part is of the essence. But when it comes to brake pads, can you use WD40? Let’s find out.

Can you use it on brake pads?

The short answer is, no. WD40 is only suitable for cleaning the internal metal parts of your bike before assembling and lubricating them. You should never use WD40 on anything other parts of your bike, especially the brake pads. 

Applying any kind of oil on your bike’s brake pads or the rotors will lead to contamination. Once this happens, you need to thoroughly clean the rotors using rubbing alcohol. After that, you can either clean the contaminated brake pads too or replace them.

Is it possible to save your brake pads?

If you have already tried using WD40 on your bike’s brake pads, you may need a solution to this problem. Before throwing out your brake pads, you may want to try cleaning them and see if they still work. Here are some suggestions:

  • You may try to salvage your brake pads by sanding them down a bit. This is a quick-fix solution that may or may not work.
  • Another suggestion is to torch your brake pads to burn the contaminants out. If this doesn’t work, then it’s time to replace them. Don’t forget to clean your rotor thoroughly too.
  • You can cry taking the brake pads off and cleaning them with alcohol. After that, you can place them in an oven or toaster oven to dry. Once the brake pads are completely dry, sand the surfaces of the pads a bit then see if they still work. If they don’t, it’s time for you to buy new brake pads.
  • Finally, you can try using brake cleaner. Buy this from any auto parts shop. Spray the brake pads down completely. This may remove any trace of lubricant. Again, test your brake pads to see if they work before your next cycling trip. 

Many believe that there are ways to save your brake pads because they don’t consider the brake pads damaged beyond repair when you use WD40 on them. When this happens, it just means that your brake pads get covered with a lubricant. Thus, you can solve the issue by removing the lubricant completely. Once there are no more traces of WD40, the pads should work well.

The proper way of cleaning your bike’s brake pads

Now that you know that applying WD40 isn’t an effective way to clean the brake pads of your bike, you should also learn how to clean them properly. The first thing to do is to check whether the brake pads still have any remaining braking surface. 

If not, remove the pads from the brake caliper. This gives you two choices – to replace the brake pads with new ones or try cleaning them first. Since the first option is self-explanatory, let’s discuss the second choice. Here are some helpful pointers for this step:

  • First, dismount the caliper, then take the brake pads out. Wash your hands before you do this. In many cases, replacing pads with soiled hands makes them even more difficult to clean. Although washing your hands ensures the cleanliness of your brake pads, the best way to handle the pads is with gloves. 
  • Clean the brake pads’ surface layers by using a rag dampened with alcohol. After doing this, you can start the process of deep cleaning.
  • Use a fine grain piece of sandpaper to rub the pads’ surfaces. Make sure you do this uniformly. After finishing the dirty layer, wipe the pads again to remove any dust caused by sanding.
  • Drying time comes next. With the cloth soaked with alcohol, you can bring a source of heat like a lighter to it – to evaporate any excess alcohol. This opens the pores of the brake pads. 
  • Finally, you can clean the pads with a degreaser, rinse, and dry.

Before you start reassembling the clamps and brake pads, make sure that all of the parts are completely dry and clean. Then you can conduct a test to check the success of your operation. After mounting the brake pads, it’s recommended to do a couple of dry brakings. Expect to hear some squeaking sounds at first as the pads adjust.

Conclusion

As a cyclist, it is very important to perform regular maintenance work on your bike and part of this is the checking of brakes pads. When cleaning your bike’s brake pads, never use WD40. Instead, follow the steps we shared. These will help you do the job well without any issues. 

Can I Ride a Fat Bike on the Road?

But can you use a fat bike on the road as well? Here’s the answer.

If you’re interested in getting a fat bike, you’ll feel glad to know that they offer more than meets the eye. As a cyclist, taking a closer look at these bikes helps you discover that they are very versatile and they offer a soft, enjoyable riding experience. This makes fat bikes the best all-around bicycle for your needs.

What is a fat bike?

As the name suggests, fat bikes are exactly what they are – a bike with fat tires. The first glance of this can often feel astonishing as they have the appearance of an enlarged kid’s bike to allow for adult use. Another way of describing it is like a bike with tires made of huge, black-colored marshmallows. 

Despite their unconventional appearance, fat bikes are here to stay. These bikes have been around for about ten years and since they came out, their popularity has been steadily increasing.

What makes fat bikes so great?

There are several great advantages with fat-tire bikes and these have contributed to their popularity. Perhaps the most obvious of these is its versatility in handling different kinds of terrain. The bike performs well in winter weather when the roads are completely paved with snow. 

Aside from this, fat bikes also perform easily in mud, mountain trails, and sand. Versatility is the name of the game for this bike as it can travel on any terrain and condition – through snow, rain, ice, obstacles, rough trails, mud, and bogs. The fat tires can handle all of these challenges.

Another great advantage is that fat bikes offer a comfortable ride. Even when taken through rough terrains, it feels like a dream. It’s like a combination of a tank’s traction and a pillow’s comfort. This is because of the soft tires absorb virtually all of the bumps on the road, thus, leaving you with a riding experience that’s insanely smooth.

When riding on rough trails, the bike can also increase your skill capacity. Many bikers can’t handle challenging trails because, with traditional cycling, any obstacle or rock can throw them off their bikes. This, in turn, may lead to possible injuries and disasters.

But with the traction afforded by fat-tire bikes, you won’t have to worry about challenging trails, unseen rocks or obstacles that can throw you off your bike’s frame as the tires can effortlessly glide over these issues.

Can you ride your fat bike on the road?

If you can use a fat bike on rough conditions and terrains, of course, you can also ride this bike on roads, although it won’t perform as well as bikes designed specifically for such surfaces. Surprisingly, a lot of cyclists find it easier to hop on their fat bike and ride around their neighborhood comfortably.

One primary reason why fat bikes have become more popular for pavement use is that for some owners, it’s the only bike they have. Rather than investing in a bicycle that can handle only one or two types of terrains, they’d rather have one that can perform on all types. Again, versatility comes into play.

While you can ride your fat bike on the road during sunny days in summer, you can also use the same bike when the snow falls on the streets. If you have the money to invest in several kinds of bikes for various terrains, that’s fine. But if one fat bike can handle all these types of terrain, why spend more?

Fat bikes are very practical, especially when you’re not sure what to expect when your journey starts in the morning. It may be very bright and sunny in the morning only to start raining late in the day. The fat bike can easily handle these changes in weather conditions.

With a fat bike, you’re guaranteed that you won’t miss a step on your way back home. For instance, you can have a snowstorm happening in the middle of winter. No one in their right mind would dare navigate snowy roads with a mountain bike – but with a fat bike, it’s no problem at all.

It won’t be as fast as other types of bikes on the road

While you can ride a fat bike on the road, it won’t perform as well as a skinny-tire bike with high air pressure, specifically on clean surfaces with ideal weather conditions. The reason, of course, is that fat bike tires are significantly heavier and wider. 

Moreover, the bike itself isn’t specifically designed for speed. Using an analogy, you can compare the fat bike to a jeep that you can use to ride over different terrains whereas a road bike is a race car that’s only meant for smooth pavements.

Since the tires of fat bikes are a lot heavier and wider too, they have a stronger grip on the road, thus, causing more rolling resistance and friction. If you’re an experienced fat bike rider, you may have the ability to keep up with a beginner cyclist on a road bike, but not if you have equal skill levels. 

For a fat bike, it’s just too much of a difference to overcome. If you want frequently ride on pavements and you need speed, you have the option to switch from fat-tire bike to something designed for this task.

Some bikers would buy an inexpensive mountain bike to use for the summer months then go back to your fat bike for the winter. This may not be very convenient for many but it’s a little less expensive than investing in a high-priced bike.

The bottom line

Now that the fat bikes are more popular than ever, the advancements in their technology have made them even more accessible. As the tires on these bikes get wider, the frames are also getting lighter rather than gaining more weight along with the growing tire size. Because of their growing popularity, you can now see fat bikes online and in bike shops. 

Manufacturers are now more determined to mass-produce them as the profitability factor is enough to make them invest in the infrastructure. As a consequence, the prices for the fat-tire bikes have dramatically decreased. Now that you know that a fat bike can get you anywhere – on any terrain and in any weather condition – perhaps it’s time to invest in one.

Can You Use Clipless Shoes on Flat Pedals?

Once you select a bicycle that’s suitable for your needs, choosing the right shoes will make a big difference to your riding experience. Your feet help you to build up speed, navigate obstacles and give you control of your ride. This is why wearing the right shoes is so important. 

Manufacturers carefully design shoes for particular riding experiences and types of bicycles. They need to be comfortable to wear and yet effective in making every stroke of the pedals effective. 

Flat pedal shoes

If you ride casually and you’re cycling short distances, a flat rubber pedal works fine. This is the standard bicycle pedal that has a flat surface and is compatible with any kind of shoe. If you use clipless shoes on flat pedals, they probably won’t offer you as good a grip as wearing flat-soled rubber shoes.

It is often quite difficult to tell the difference between shoes made specifically for flat pedals from standard shoes. They do, however, usually have a tough, quite rigid sole to help keep your feet steady and in the best position for energy transfer. Grippy outsoles help your feet to stay in position on the pedals.  

Five Ten has become a dominant brand for these flat shoes and although they are fairly costly, the sole is stiff enough for riding, sticks to the pedals very well and has enough flex for walking.  

As a beginner rider, you can wear flat shoes to give you a chance to focus on fundamental techniques without having to worry about clipping in and out of pedals or ending up on the ground when you can’t free your feet in time. It takes practice to become accustomed to riding with clipless shoes and pedals. 

What are clipless shoes?

Clipless shoes use a cleat attached to the sole to clip into your pedals. They may take a bit of getting used to but they offer many advantages. They help you to make the most use of your energy as the foot-to-pedal connection is better. 

You use your whole pedal stroke, including the upstroke. You have more control over your bike and can focus on your training without having to adjust your feet every few strokes of the pedal. 

How do clipless shoes work?

The sole has a pattern of holes that accept specific cleats. Clip-in pedals are compatible with a specific pattern. All the parts must have the same pattern – typically 2-bolt or 3-bolt cleats – or they aren’t able to work together. 

Shoes with 2-bolts are used for everything from mountain biking to gravel riding. You can walk easily in these shoes because the cleats are recessed. Shoes with 3-bolts have exposed cleats, so they are more difficult to walk in and are mostly used for racing and road riding. 

A clipless system

If you cycle more seriously, where you ride, the distance you cover and your speed changes. There’s more risk of your feet slipping off the pedals and even if they don’t, you waste energy as they change position on the pedals. The ideal position is to have the balls of your feet on the center of the pedals. 

Using a clipless system helps many riders to feel more confident and powerful on their bikes. A clipless system consists of the pedal, the cleat and the sole. When the system is engaged, your feet are connected to the pedals and won’t come off. 

To get out, you swing your heels to the outside, and the pedals release. Because your feet are locked into the pedals, it gives you more power while accelerating and climbing and more control for maneuvers such as hopping obstacles if you’re riding off-road. You can get your feet in and out quickly with practice, so you can land safely if you need to dismount in a hurry. 

The shoe you pick must be compatible with the pedal system your use. Most quality shoes work well with major pedal systems but you do get mismatches every now and then and you want to avoid those. 

A final word

You want to wear shoes that will improve your cycling performance and keep you comfortable and safe no matter where you ride. Flat pedal shoes are fine for certain types of riding and grip better than clipless shoes on a flat pedal. If you’re cycling off-road, using a clipless system is the best way to keep your feet on the pedals when you’re flying downhill and dodging obstacles. 

Are 8 and 9 Speed Cassettes the Same Width?

Bike component manufacturers come up with new components with new specifications every now and therefore, the market is full of various options. 

A wide variety of products makes confuses you, especially when the manufacturers some parts aren’t compatible with other components of your bike. Whether you are a pro-level biker or a beginner, it becomes difficult to decide.

This is why cyclists need to know even the minor details of the bike’s components as it helps to maintain the bike nicely.

Same width, different spacing

When it comes to bike parts, one of the most confusing things is cassettes, especially since these come with different speeds. Here are some details for you to know when you’re thinking about whether you should get an 8-speed or a 9-speed cassette for your bike:

  • Both 8-speed and 9-speed have the same freehub width, while the 7-speed is a bit narrower.
  • The spacing of gears of 8-speed and 9-speed differ.
  • You need a spacer behind a 7-speed cassette for it to fit on an 8-speed or 9-speed freehub.

The cogs of these cassettes have the same width, although the spacing varies. This means that a 9-speed chain could work adequately with an 8-speed cassette. 

This is also the reason why 9-speed chains aren’t very durable. The outer width is a bit narrower, while the inner width is the same. This means that the plates on the chain are a bit weaker and thinner.

Sometimes, the difference lies in the brand

Sometimes, the difference lies in the brand. For instance, the 8-speed cassettes of the Campagnolo and Shimana brands don’t have the same spacing. This means that it’s quite challenging to get good indexing when you use an 8-speed wheel from Campagnolo with a cassette from Shimano, and vice-versa.

For the Shimano brand, their 9-speed cassettes have an extra cog added to the 8-speed cassette, while the overall width remains the same. It has a reduced gap between the gears and as such, it requires a narrower chain. The same thing goes for the 10-speed where it still has the same width as an 8-speed cassette. This makes the 10-speed slightly narrower.

For the speed systems in the 7, 9, and 10, the sprocket spacing of different brands doesn’t differ significantly, so it doesn’t cause many difficulties when used. To ensure a perfect match, you can do the following: 

  • Substitute your spacers
  • Use alternative cable routing
  • Use a special pulley adaptor

Estimated widths of different bike components

The width of the cassette you need for your bike also depends upon its compatibility with the other parts. Depending on what you need, you may want to consider researching the specific cassette you plan to buy as the values might vary slightly. To give you some idea of the measurements of different bike components, here are some estimates:

  • For Spacer Width: 8 Speed (3.00mm), 9 Speed (2.56mm)
  • For Cog or Tooth Width: 8 Speed (1.8mm), 9 Speed (1.78mm)
  • For Chain Width: 8 speed (7.1mm), 9 speed (6.6 to 6.8mm)

Other things to consider when looking for speed cassettes

Along with compatibility, you may also want to look into the dropout spacing at the rear. For example, if you have a 126mm bike, you should know that 8-speed and 9-speed need 130mm. 

Additionally, if your bike has a frame made of aluminum, some people would warn you against the stress caused should you use a wider wheel. As such, you may need a new chain, new shifters, and maybe even a new derailleur on the rear.

Conclusion

The 8-speed and 9-speed, even the 10-speed cassettes can all fit in the same hub. This simply means that if your bike is an older model with 8 gears on the rear, you may opt for an 8, 9, or 10-speed without needing to change your bike’s rear wheel. The reverse way works too. 

With this information on-hand, the next thing you may want to consider is the need, if any, and the compatibility when changing other components of your bike. Research everything that you need to know before starting to work on your bike for the purpose of maintenance. Do this to lessen your risk of facing issues.