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  • How to choose frame size
  • How to switch gears
  • How to pump Presta valve
  • How to set up a wheel
  • Groupset level (Shimano)
  • Configuring the shifters (gears)
  • How to replace the carrier
  • Bicycle diagram
  • How to replace the cassette
  • Bicycle manufacturers
  • Valve
  • Models
  • How to protect your bicycle from being stolen
  • How to avoid creaking when using v-brakes
  • How bicycles are made
  • How to choose bicycle
  • Handle Bar adjustment

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    Choosing the frame size according to your height:

    Mountainbike, MTB inches Hybrid, road bicycleHeight in cm

    There is a rule of thumb, that when standing on your feet with the bicycle between your legs, the free space between you and the frame should be 7-10 cm. I have used MTB with 21 st'' frame for many years, now I think it is a bit small for me. Nowadays I use a hybrid MTB with 24'' frame and it feels quite nice.


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    How to switch gears

    Basic idea - the chain has to be set straight to avoid "diagonal" position which would create additional friction and, therefore, would reduce the life time of the chain and chain wheels.

    If you have three gear wheels in the 'system' (front gear wheels, left shifter) and seven in the 'cassette' (back gear wheels, right shifter), then theoretically your bicycle has 3 x 7 = 21 speeds. However, it is not suggested to use them all.

    Shown in the image, when in 3rd gear, the chain is on the larges wheel in the system

    You can use the three smallest cassette gear wheels with it so possible variants are:
    3-7, 3-6, 3-5.

    With the 2-nd (middle) system gear wheel you can use the middle cassette gear wheels:
    2-5, 2-4, 2-3

    1-st (smallest) gear wheel can work with largest cassette gear wheels:
    1-3, 1-2, 1-1.

    Consecutive gear switching from the lowest 1-1 to highest 3-7 has to be done approximately like this:
    1-1 → 1-2 → 1-3 → 2-3 → 2-4 → 2-5 → 3-5 → 3-6 → 3-7

    So there are about 9 available speeds.

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    Valve types

    different nipple types

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    How to Pump Prest Valve


    1. Take the pump. Reassemble it: unscrew the nut, remove the rubber and the bearing . Then reassemble the pump. Install the plastic bearing with the narrow end down. Install the rubber with the wide end down. Throw up the nut and fix it.

    2. Take the tube. Unscrew the nipple by turning it a few times. Put on the pump. Pump the tube.

    3. Take off the pump. Screw the valve.

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    How to lace the wheel

    Spokes Setup:


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    Groupset level

    On some websites that sell bicycles, equipment, for example shifters, is characterized as "basic level" or "city journey" or something else. I have tried to match these names with the existing Shimano equipment. Starting with the cheapest and ending with the most expensive.
    For MTBs:
    Shimano equipment (price decreases)Group characteristics
    TourneyBasic level - cheapest and most unsophisticated Shimano equipment. It is used for start-up bicycles. These componens are work well enough only for calm journeys in the park and some easy routes.
    Altus (does not exist anymore, combined with Acera)It seems reasonable to characterize it as basic
    AceraUpper-basic level. Not so long ago Altus and Acera were united under Acera name, because they had small difference. Is used with cheap basic or sometimes cheap middle level bicycles.
    Alivio "Cruise" level is for intermediate level cyclists (I use this type). These components have acceptable quality for casual usage of bicycles, and have a relativly low price. It is used with a wide variety of new basic and intermediate level bicycles.
    DeoreUpper-intermediate level which is suitable for frequent usage and for trainings. Reasonably high quality and reliability of components. For intermediate level bicycles.
    SLX Semi-pro level. High quality and reliability but relatively low price (for pro =)). Best price/quality ratio for those who are real bicycle fans.
    Deore XTMuch cheaper then XTR, but also can be called professional. It is used for cross-country races. It is pro-quality for an affordable but high price.
    ZeeLess costly version of Saint
    Saint Developed for extreme stresses of freeride and downhill. Highest reliability and effectiveness of all units provides clear functioning during downhill rides and jumps. Price is really high.
    XTR Professional equipment that is used for top-level cross-country racing. Highest reliability, precision and lowest weight. Made for professional cyclists. All state-of-the-art technologies are used in XTR. The price is extremely high. I recommend to check the website you can even find electriciy-driven gear-shifters there.

    References: Shimano wikipedia, Velootpusk.ru , uabike.com

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    How to Configure Shifters

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    How to Remove The Cassette

    You will need some wrenches, an adjustable spanner and a special cassette removal tool.

    After you have tightened the wheel you need to check if it is too tight. Rotate the wheel and wait after it stops. If it makes a small but noticeable move to the opposite direction then it is okay. If it does not make this move, slightly loosen the nuts.

    Best video I have ever seen, typical Russian style


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    How to Protect Your Bicycle From Beeng Stolen

    When I lived in Lappeenranta and after I moved to Tampere I always read some Facebook messages about stolen bicycles. It is impossible to guaranty that your bicycle will not be stolen from you when you need to leave it somewhere near the university or near a shop. This being sad I am quite certain that many of the stolen bicycles were not protected properly and therefore became an easy target for thieves. Shown below are some examples from the neighbourhood. If it is your bicycle that I accidentally took photograph of, and you do not want it to be here just send me a message and I will remove the image.

    The first and the most important rule that you have to keep in mind:
    The more expensive your bicycle is, the stronger protection it requires
    It sounds simple but people do not always take proper precautions. If you are using a 10 years old used bicycle, you can probably rely on a simple lock like the one shown in the left picture. If your bicycle is old and does not have any expensive details it is most likely not easy to sell. It is probable that thieves will not look at it, but you never can know for sure so always make certain to lock up your bicycle properly.
    I use exactly the same lock. When you have relatively new bicycle it is necessary to have a chain lock like shown here. You must and lock it through the frame to a solid object.
    I would recommend to use two locks a chain, as lock depicted above, and a long cable lock like this one (try to avoid buying a cheap lock).

    This is how I use them together:

    You have to keep a heavy chain lock somewhere in your bag, due to the weight and size. This might result in you forgetting about it's whereabouts and this is why you should always keep a cable lock on the frame (try not to forget keys). I also recommend to put the chain or cable inside the wheel, especially if you have a fast removal system.
    If you only have a cable lock use it like shown in the left picture.

    For cheap bicycles a cable lock is probably enough protection, but to me, this cyclist underestimates his bike. You can see a GT bicycle secured only with a cable lock (he or she does not leave it overnight which is good):
    Sometimes the heavy lock is too short to protect your wheel, this is one more reason to have two locks.

    And this is how I don't recomend to secure your bicycle:

    If you lock your bicycle trough only one wheel this is what might occur.
    There are also U-type locks. You can use them instead of a chain lock. I would reccomend to use the U-type only in tandem with a cable lock.

    Here is a good example of using this type of lock:

    The owner of this nice (I guess one of the best non e-bikes in the neighbourhood) Bianchi bicycle is aware of thieves and doing everything right.

    Bicycles have to be protected from easy thefts. For example it is quite easy for someone who has a car to lift up the bicycle with the lock still on and leave. It is also possible that someone can come along with metal clippers and cut through the cable lock. But if this bicycle is also secured with a chain lock then it will be much harder to steal, as it requires more effort and equipment to remove the lock. The thief will see that he needs to use many of his skills and various equipment (clippers and car) to steal your bicycle so, he will probably choose someone else's bicycle. If you leave your new Cannondale for the whole night, your bicycle will most likely not be there in the morning because the temptation of such and exquisite brand is unavoidable for thieves.

    Important details about the keys - try to choose a lock which comes with thick rigid keys. Thin keys are easily destroyed inside the lock, especially when it is cold.
    These keys are strong and will not break easily.This one here is not very reliable and might break.
    Try to not forget to oil the lock from time to time.

    wikipedia about the locks

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    How to avoid creaking when v-braking

    Get some sandpaper and rub the rims.

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    Bicycle diagram

    Bicycle diagram-en Back to Top

    Handle Bar adjustment