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How Often Should You Lubricate A Bike Chain? | Ask GCN Anything Cycling – Maintenance Special

– Hello, and welcome to
another Ask GCN Anything. This week is a special,
maintenance themed episode. You can tell that, because
of our change in location and also because I’m wearing an apron. Oh yeah, that means it’s business time. Not like that, that would be weird. Okay, first up we got a question sent in from Andrew
Reitsma about lubrication. So, he says “Hello from down under.” Hello. “How often, in kilometres,
should a chain be re-lubed “in dry weather? And,
should it be degreased “every time prior to lubing?” Wow, that is an absolute can of worms to get things kicked off with. A lot of people have very strong beliefs about looking after their
chains and rightly so, it’s an important part of the bike. But, I think it’s also
possible to overthink things. In terms of trying to eek another couple of hundred kilometres of
life out of your chain, maybe it’s not worth
getting obsessed about. But, there is definite
do’s and don’ts here. I would say as a rule relube your chain if it’s starting to get dry and noisy but otherwise, I wouldn’t bother. And then in terms of degreasing, I’d look to see what the kind
of condition the chain is inside the links, so, between the rollers. ‘Cause that’s where a chain will get worn and if it’s full of grit and
sand and things like that, that’s the point at
which you wanna clean it until it’s sparkling like new. Definitely worth thinking of
what kind of degreaser you use. Don’t use any really abrasive,
acidic, or alkaline solvents. Then, that’s not very good
for the life of your chain. Most manufacturers would
say definitely steer clear. But, a normal bike-specific
degreaser will do the job nicely every once and a while. But there are no rules
because at the end of the day, where you ride might be different to where I ride in the dry. And you know, like I said, it’s impossible to put an exact number on
it but hopefully that helps. And if nothing else, there
should be some good comments in the comments section down below. Right then, next up. We got this one from TomKrouze. Cool name, Tom. “What is actually the benefit
or importance of stiffness “on a bike? When, why,
do I need a stiff bike?” Well, that is a very
good question actually. People generally think that
a stiff bike is important for power transfer, so
you press on the cranks and all of your power goes
straight to the back wheel because the bike’s not flexing. However, that ignores an
important point which is that generally energy will
not be lost in that system. Obviously, energy can’t be lost it just gets transferred somewhere else. So, theoretically if your bike flexes this wasn’t gonna give you
that energy back somehow. So, that is point one I guess. But, stiff bikes do certainly feel better on the power transfer. But actually, what I
think is that stiff bikes really give in terms of handling. So, I think a stiff front end on your bike is a very good thing for
making a bike feel great when you’re going round corners. But, it’s certainly not important. You can ride very fast
on a very flexy bike. Okay, next up we’ve got Haziq Annies, “Is a bottom bracket interchangeable? “Can a 24 mil crank spindle fit “in a BB30 with some adapters?” Yes, it can. You’ve actually got one here, I think. There ya go. So, FSA make little adapters. So this one goes from a BB386EVO bottom bracket, or yeah. And it will go down, this is
specifically for Sram’s GXP, so that’s a 20 something mil
spindle, I think. (22mm & 24mm) Have a look online, you
can definitely get adapters but you can’t necessarily
adapt all bottom brackets to fit all types of crank. So, proceed with caution. But, yeah, definitely
you can do something. Okay, next up we got this
one from Patrick Joseph. “Almost every bike shop tells
you to bring your new bike “back after a few weeks
to retune the gearing, “is that just an excuse
to sell you more stuff?” No, it’s definitely not. Cables, we say that they
stretch, the cables themselves don’t stretch but all the housing and stuff can compress down and that can make your gears
just a little bit out of tune. And so all the bike shop needs to do is just tweak the barrel adjuster but it’s definitely something
you can do as well at home. We’ve got a great video on the subject. And in actual fact, we’re
going to play a bit of it now. Now, if you derailleur doesn’t
sit exactly beneath each cog in turn when you’re changing gear, then the gears are not indexed. Which is at which point, then they’re gonna be working badly. And it’s the process of
indexing to correct that and to move the derailleur
into the right place. You can micro adjust it very simply. Okay, we’ve got a really good question left under last week’s YouTube video. This one from leecbracing, or lee cb racing, I’m not sure which. Anyway, they’ve asked, “Why do pros sit so far
forward on the saddle?” Mainly, it’s because when you’re
riding really aggressively and really fast on flat roads, you naturally wanna get really low. And by getting really low,
it means that your hips will rotate forward and
therefore, to stay comfortable and to keep getting the power out, you will naturally want to
slip further forward as well. It’s actually not a new
thing, it’s been around for an awfully long time
and it’s actually the reason why we have the phrase, on the rivet. Which is a nice bit of
cycling trivia for you, it comes from when
saddles used to be riveted and people would slide forward on the seat and literally sit on the
rivet at the front there. The one thing that is new actually now, is the fact that positions
are getting lower and more stretched out at the front so saddles are going farther forward and they’re also angled down. And Matt did a really, really great video at the recent Tour of Dubai
and that one is gonna play just in one second, worth checking out to get a bit more information. – The pros are renowned
for their aggressive, slammed, riding positions but of late there’s been an increasing
trend towards the extreme. (mellow music) Now, when you consider that
my bike is pretty slammed and by that, I mean,
there’s a big differential between bar and saddle height,
the same as when I was racing and compare it to the
extremely aggressive position of Johann van Zyl and you
will know what I mean. Now, we talked to a few
riders about why they seem to be taking things, position
wise, to the extreme. – Well then, quickfire question round now. Always probably the slowest
part of the entire video, but as ThatsSoNathan commented last week, “Average speed definitely doesn’t matter “during the rapid fire question round.” So, thank you very much for that Nathan. Question number one though, Liam Bradley. Yeah, he’s got an issue
with his rear wheel. Sometimes when he pedals it
works fine and he moves forward. Other times the pedal arms just spin and nothing happens, what’s going on? Well, that is quite a common complaint, if your rear wheel is getting really old and it’s the free wheel. So, the bit that sounds really nice and clicks and it actually
allows to not pedal and coast and then also pedal. Basically, they can get
a bit jammed up with gunk and general crap over time and
so, the little springy bits that actually allow you to coast stop springing basically, in a nutshell. It could well be that you can fix it. So you really need to check
out your manufacturer’s website and see whether they’ve got
any instructions on there. But, there is a chance
that maybe your free wheel can’t be fixed and therefore
it may well be terminal. So, definitely check online first. Most of the free wheels that we’ve got in GCN bikes here, I think can be fixed. So, hopefully, hopefully
you will be in luck. I’m sure you will be. Okay, we’ve now got one from oreosaysb00, that’s a weird name now. “Why do pros race with 25c tyres “if 28c tyres save you two
to three watts per wheel?” Now, someone’s already very
good at answering this. Lennart Meinke, who said, “It’s a little bit of aero
and lots of tradition.” And I’ll tell you what, that’s actually not far from the truth. Sometimes it takes a while
for scientific thought to actually filter down
into the Pro Peloton. Because at the end of the day, how something feels and what people think is also really, really important as well. And, a lot of pros feel that
28s are slower than 25s, even though maybe the data
says something different. Having said that, 28s are
little bit heavier than 25s and they are less aerodynamic. Clearly, there’s more surface area to break through the wind. But I suspect that we will
start seeing pros use more 28s, particularly, as wheels get wider as well. So, that obviously offsets some of the aerodynamic disadvantages. Now, following on from
that we got a question from Amaury, here, who
has said they’ve just got a new Canyon Aeroad for fast
rides, they will be fast. What do you recommend for
tyre sizes, 25 or 28 mil, Continental GP 4000sII? Well, given what I’ve just said, 28s do fit very comfy in there and if you ride on particularly
really poor, abrasive tarmac then running 50psi in there, will mean that your bike rolls like a magic carpet and you will go very, very fast indeed. If however, you are riding
on super smooth tarmac and aerodynamics are everything
and your average speed is super high, then you may
still wanna go with 25c. But, I definitely would go with the 28c on there, that’s for sure. Okay, we’ve now got a series of questions all linked together as well. Dan Fish, unfortunately, has
just broken his collarbone and he wants to know how he
can use his turbo trainer to keep the fitness that he’s got, despite this period of convalescence. So, definitely can with a turbo trainer and you don’t even have to
spend all that long in there. Have a look through the GCN
archives, the training sessions. And if you did maybe one of
our 20 or 30 minute sessions every other day, you will
probably find actually that you will keep your fitness. It’s incredible how little you need to do in order to stay fit,
even if it’s a bit harder to get fit in the first place. But, one thing I did notice in
the weekend Stephen Cummings won the British National Road Race Champs and the British National
Time Trial Champs, having not raced for ages
’cause he’d got really bad injuries after a crash at the
Tour of the Basque Country. And he, did all of his
training on Zwift actually, almost right up until
the nationals itself. Including, some pretty punchy
rides at four hours plus. So, if you’ve got that option open to you with a smart trainer
or even if you haven’t, all you need is a couple of sensors then maybe Zwift could well be your answer with a broken collarbone, like so many pros are doing at the moment. Linking on, neatly, to the next question which is sent in by Sanresh Shedekar, who’s saying that his FTP
on the road is 245 watts but on Zwift his FTP
comes down to 205 watts. He suffers a lot, can we tell him why? What should he do? Well, there are various
different reasons why your FTP is generally a little bit lower inside. But one of the big ones is actually heat, because our bodies don’t
like getting too hot and without the cooling effect of the wind even with a really good
fan in front of you, you will still find that your FTP probably comes down a little bit. So that will be the reason why. You can try and train in
an air conditioned place, with more fans, that’ll
certainly help matters but as long as you train and test yourself in the same environment. So, always test it outside
or always test it inside, then actually it’s not a problem if its always 35 watts lower inside. It’s just, you know that
it’s cause you’re hot and so you can just leave it at that. But, final linked question,
are you ready for this? Okay, B. Ryder says, “We’ve
all heard of altitude training, “is there such a thing as heat training?” Yeah, there is. Yeah, you can train to
get better in the heat. So if, for example, you live
in a cold and wet country like England but you are
training for an event that’s gonna be in a
nice, hot sunny country. Then yeah, actually
it’s a really good idea to get a little bit of heat
acc limatisation before you go. And you don’t need to do all that much. So, back when I was racing I got told to do some turbo training, not intense, but just riding but in a
really hot, humid room. Maybe even your bathroom. I believe Matt did it in his garage once. And as long as you really
start to get a sweat on, you do that for an hour a
day, everyday for five days before you travel, that should
get you heat acclimatised. So, there you go, heat training. Right. How was that for quickfire, then? Probably not terribly quick, but hopefully the questions
got answered alright. And I guess that’s the point. We could always rename it,
call it something different. Next up, we’ve got a question
from Gabriel Blanchfield. He’s got an odd creaking sound coming from his crankset area. There’s no visibe damage,
the bike’s well maintained, and only occurs when he’s in the big ring. I feel for you, because
tracking down creaks on bikes can be a frustrating process. Handily, Lasty’s bike is
hanging just next to me. So, if it creaks when
you’re in the big ring then it could well be because
you just put more torque through the bike and
that’s why it’s creaking. It could well be your chain bolts so I’d suggest that you
have a look at those, make sure they’re all
tightened up properly. Although, they don’t tend
to make a creaky noise, they tend to make like a clicking noise. It could well be your bottom bracket, but before you go down that
route and get all cross, then I’d suggest that you
actually check out a video that we’ve got about how to
track down creaks on your bike. From that video, we then
had to go make four more because there’s so many
different permutations. Such as, for example, I
had creak that happened. I was sure it was coming
from my crank sets and every time I got out of the saddle and it turned out it was
my front quick release. I kid you not, but there you go. Much easier to deal with
than a bottom bracket. Anyway, the video is gonna
play just now, have a look. A clicking, squeaking
bike is deeply annoying and it can generally ruin your ride. No bike is immune from the curse, even top of the range super
bikes are susceptible. Now, as well as ruining your ride it can also be a sign of
something much more serious. For example, when carbon is
damaged and in danger of failing it can make an almighty creaking noise. So, it’s always a good
idea to pay attention to the sounds even if you can actually put up with the noise. Random Bike Trips sent in
a really good question, under last week’s show. “What is the ideal position or angle “to set your handlebars at. “You see some that are at a slight incline “and some that are angled downwards.” Well, a lot depends on the
shape of your handlebars but also it’s personal preference. And actually, it can change over time. Mine certainly has. On Lasty’s bike here, is an
integrated handlebar and stem. So he actually has no
choice and so you can see that Trek has decided that
that is the optimum angle. And actually, I’d go for that as well. Two things you probably want to look at. Firstly, the angle of the
handlebar next to your brakehood. So, do you like it to go down or do you like a smooth transition? Most people tend to go for
a smooth transition now. The other thing is, can you
hold the drops comfortably? So, that bit there has to be an angle that’s comfortable for your wrists. So, generally you don’t want
too much bending of your wrists ’cause that would be uncomfortable
for long periods of time. Either way, up or down,
so kind of generally you want your wrists in a neutral position and then, for it to
feel nice transitioning from your handlebar to your brakehood. We have a video on this subject that hopefully will give you
a little bit of information. I’d check it out now, if I was you. The first point we’ll
cover is handlebar width. Now, road handlebars
typically comes in sizes from 38 to 46cm wide. And typically, you would
choose your handlebar based on your height. Except that height doesn’t
really have anything to do with it, it’s actually
the width of your shoulders. So, traditionally you
would choose a handlebar that is the same width as the distance between your AC joints. That’s the knobby bits
in your shoulders there. So, that when you hold your
handlebars in the drops, your knuckles are just outside
the line of your shoulders. Okay, well hopefully I’ve
answered your question. If I haven’t got around to
answering yours this week, then obviously make sure you stick it in the comments section down below again. And if you’ve got a new question entirely or you’re new to the show
then submit your questions in the comments section down below, or on social media using the #TorqueBack. Now, before leaving this video do make sure that you subscribe to GCN. It’s very simple just click on the globe and then if you want
more content right now, then why not click just there for our Tour de France preview show? Given it is starting tomorrow
or potentially even already by the time you watch this video. Get up to speed with that one there. And then, for a Dan and Matt classic, nine ways to drink from your water bottle. Who knew there was more than one? Click just down there.

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