August 7, 2005

    Hey, I have a few questions and I really appreciate your time.
    1) How exactly do you remove the front V-brake? I’ve seen pictures and heard but for some reason I cannot do it.
    2) How do you adjust the handlebar?
    3) What is the difference between wet & dry lube? What are the pros and cons?
    4) What is with all these different types of clipless pedals? What kind goes on what kind of bike and what is the difference and how do I know which shoe will fit it?
    5) How do you put on pedals?
    6) How do you tell the difference between mechanical and disc brakes quickly?
    7) What are these beach cruiser bikes, e.g Trek Navigator 100? How do they compare to the 7200, etc.? They look the same.
    8) What is the size of the typical adult wheel?
    Thank you so much for your help. I’ve tried to research this information myself but was having difficulties.

Matt H.

    Any learning quest requires an investment. Given the extent of your, uh, thirst, I think the time’s come for you to belly up and buy a book.
    You can find answers to many of the questions you have (and, I’ll bet, haven’t) asked in a good bike repair book. You’ve lots from which to choose, so I’ve narrowed it down to ones that (a) have come out recently, and (b) come from folks I respect:

  • Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair, by Calvin Jones
  • Bicycle Repair Manual (AKA Richard’s Bicycle Repair Manual), by Richard Ballantine
  • Simple Bicycle Repair: Fixing Your Bike Made Easy, by Rob Van der Plas
  • Bicycling Magazine's Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair for Road and Mountain Bikes, by the editors of Bicycling magazine
    To your other questions. On bike chains we generally like dryer lube that doesn’t attract dirt. On the other hand, some folks who do long-distance riding on relatively clean roads claim they get more life outta wetter lubes, and therefore their chains. Me, I stay dry.
    You ask about two different kind of Trek bikes. Excuse me a sec while I put on my ranting gloves.
    Now, then. Trek considers the 7200 one if its hybrid models, while it calls the Navigator a comfort bike. Hybrids, as careful observers will know, combine the sturdiness of a mountain bike with the smoother riding of a road bike. Hybrids, some opine, represent the American bicycle industry trying to atone for its sin of foisting mountain and road bikes on a hapless and powerless public. When hybrids didn’t go far enough to satisfy said public’s desire for the simple, practical, and long-lasting bikes widely available until the 1970s, the bike industry took hybrids and added front suspension, wider tires, and cushy seats—voilà, comfort bikes. Cold comfort, methinks.
    Adult bike wheels generally come in diameters known as 26", 27", and 700C. Click here for my revelation of what these numbers really mean.

Mr Bike

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