Touring Bicycles: Maintenance, Technical

Articles, blog posts, and external resources to help with the finer points of making adjustments to your bicycle and choosing the best components for your needs.

Photo by Derek Gallagher

A Brief History of Fatbikes
A Brief History of Fatbikes

Fatbikes have gained attention as the fastest growing segment of the bicycle industry this year, and for good reason. They've ridden the length of continents, across the snowy state of Alaska in winter, and along unique sections of coastline all around the globe.

Video Review: Nobilette
Video Review: Nobilette

In this video, Adventure Cyclist contributor Patrick O'Grady shows off his custom Nobilette road bike.

Velo Orange Grand Cru Drillium Crankset
Velo Orange Grand Cru Drillium Crankset

It's hard not to be attracted to shiny things, which is one of many reasons I've been spending a lot of time this week checking out the Velo Orange Grand Cru Drillium 110 Fluted Double Crankset. That's a pretty impressive name for a component. Before getting into the details, I thought it would be fun to break down the name of the crankset first.

Salsa Enabler Fork: First Impressions
Salsa Enabler Fork: First Impressions

A peculiar looking fork, Salsa's Enabler first caught my eye a few years ago when introduced as their rigid 29er "adventure fork." It has since become the stock fork on their Mukluk line of fat bikes and it is becoming a go-to option for a fatbike frame build. While putting together a fatbike build earlier this winter, I took an opportunity to purchase one and put it to use with my setup. Although I haven't tested it to it's fullest potential for overnight adventures and gear hauling, it has steered wonderfully so far and I have thoroughly enjoyed some of the features of this unique fork.

Winter Tuneup Projects

After a foot of snow falls in a couple of days, getting out on the bike is tough going, even on a fat bike! With limited daylight and nasty conditions making it hard to get in the saddle, it's a good time to tackle some more time consuming maintenance projects.

Belt Drive for Loaded Touring?
Belt Drive for Loaded Touring?

Belt drive transmissions are probably best known in the motorsports world, where you can find them on a fair number of cruiser-style motorcycles. Over the past few years, they have been slowly working their way into the cycling scene, and are currently most commonly found on urban single-speed bikes. The benefits of belt drive over a bicycle chain, which you may already know, are that they are cleaner (since they don't require any kind of lubricant), quieter, and they last longer.

Rear Derailleur Adjustments

The derailleurs on a bike may seem pretty complex, but once you start fiddling around with them you'll find them surprisingly easy to troubleshoot. When you're on the road, and away from a bike shop, knowing how to tweak your derailleur can save you a lot of skipping gears and frustration.

Cantiliver Touring Brakes
Cantiliver Touring Brakes

The vast majority of touring bikes are built with cantilever brake bosses, which as the name suggests, are designed to take cantilever style brakes. The reason for this style is that they allow you to run wider tires, and provide a lot of space for fenders.

Varieties of Handlebars

Changing handlebar styles can significantly change the character of your bike. Sometimes a change is needed for comfort, while other times you simply want to spice up your ride a bit. Here's a brief look at four of the most common handlebar styles that we see roll through the Adventure Cycling office -- might give you some ideas for any upcoming retrofits to your touring bike.

Off Season Bike Maintenance
Off Season Bike Maintenance

While the winter season often means that you spend less time on your bike, it doesn't necessarily mean that you should spend less time with it. Your bike has seen many miles throughout the course of the year, and this is an excellent time to give it a tuneup before you zero out your cycle computer and start logging the miles for 2010.
 

Tools for the Road

I'm often asked by touring cyclists about tools. They are generally heavy, so you don't want to carry more than are necessary, but at the same time, not having the correct tools can leave you stranded. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when packing for the road. Terrain, climate, and bike setup can all influence your tool selection. To take some of the guess work out of the equation, here is my general roster of tools that keep me rolling with confidence.

Brakes 101

by Jan Heine. What you need to know about the gear that brings you to a halt. (PDF)

Derailer First Aid

by Sheldon Brown. Staying mobile in an emergency. (PDF)

How to Adjust Your Seatpost

by Sheldon Brown. "The Sublime Seatpost" article part two: Adjust me. (PDF)

Cranks and Chainrings for Touring

by Sheldon Brown. What you need and how to get it. (PDF)

Give Me a Brake

by Larry Diskin. When you're zooming down a mountain pass on a loaded touring bike, you will be counting on reliable, well-adjusted brakes. Most high-quality models will do the job, but there are some things you should consider before picking a brake set for your touring bike. This article will describe the pros and cons of the three most prominent styles of brakes and help you decide what is best for you.

SheldonBrown.com

An extensive resource for all aspects of bicycles and touring. Contains a wide assortment of informative articles.

Who Needs Fenders?

by Sheldon Brown. Explains the purpose, and different types of fenders. (PDF)