DriveClean has a number of suppliers and organisations of which we (or Peter) are members. Of the many organisations we work with, these ones are particularly worthy of recommendations.
We believe that a mobile bike service works best in conjunction with your local bike shop. By offering the convenience of services at work we expand the number of people who are riding happily and safely. Your local shop features more in depth mechanical services and products than we can offer.
Cargo Crew – DriveClean gets aprons from here. They are designed for hospitality and home cooks but some are heavy duty enough for bike work. Really cool shop and good quality products right in Brunswick East.
Feedback Sports – Our workstand comes from here. Really happy with it, heavy duty, transportable, stable. This has been better than any other stand we have used previously.
Local Pantry Co – This has nothing to do with DriveClean, but they have a cool business online and at the Preston Market.
Whilst we have been working with bikes for decades, all you need is an inclination to work on your bike. Bike servicing is a bit like a video game, you start on the easy level and begin to work your way though more skills.
It’s easy to get lost in finite detail on this, but some basics get you a long way there.
Inflating tyres – It makes us sad to see deflated tyres being ridden. You can look at the side of the tyre and it will tell you what pressure to pump to (usually says something like “50-80 PSI”).
Oils – By default DriveClean will put a wet lube on your chain. Wet lube is better in wet conditions and each application lasts a lot longer (hence why we use it). The downside is that it attracts more grime. Wet lube needs to be wiped off after application.
Dry lube keeps your gear cleaner, but it needs to be reapplied frequently (every 100k or so and after rain). If you ask we will use this but you need to keep applying it.
For higher end road bikes and by request we apply a dry ceramic lube. This requires reapplication, but not quite as frequently as the dry lubes.
What brand – too techie to worry about.
Degreasing – Regular, biodegradable degreaser watered down works fine – be careful about using stuff that is too heavy duty for bikes. Oiling your chain works better if before applying, you clean your chain with a rag and degreaser (or soap and water).
When to replace
Tyres – new tyres cost $20-$70 (generally). A new tube is $12+. How many punctures do you want before replacing a tyre? If you see your tyres looking more square than round or there are big sections shredded, time to get new ones. Don’t wait on this one.
Chains – DriveClean uses a chain checker to measure wear. It is possible to get get good performance out of chains for years. Your drive train can wear out quicker if you use a worn chain, so a rule of thumb is that if the rest of your drive train (rear cassette, etc) is new, replace your chain around the recommended time. If your drive train is older, ride your chain until it isn’t working well anymore.
Cables – If your cables are fraying, becoming rusted or not really perfoming well, then it’s time to change. With brakes it’s not really worth messing around. Having said that, manufacturing recommendations get well exceeded on Peter’s bikes.
Tools to have
Here is an attempt at prioritising the order in which you should acquire bike tools. We like to buy nice tools, but it’s not necessary to start with.
- Tyre levers – have these, a tube and pump on you when you ride.
- Multi-tool – Peter doesn’t own one because they only come in handy riding when you haven’t maintained your bike properly (and of course he does), but it’s a good one to start out with.
- Oil and degreaser
- Allen (hex) wrenches in metric measurements – a cheap set will do at first, but they wear out and will cause problems if you use it for years.
- Sprocket – most bikes with nuts use 15mm
- Chain whip and remover – to take off the rear cassette
- At this point, things get more specialised and you can figure it out.