Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
Before getting to the new toys, I want to pass on a few of the excellent tips that were posted in response to our feature on fixing clogged or malfunctioning Presta valves last week.
- Several readers warned about overtightening or overtightened valve nuts. They have to be tight enough on tubeless systems to seal. Yet if they’re too tight it can be impossible to remove them by hand to fix a flat (moreso on cold days when hands can become numb). So be sure to double check that they’re not too tight or carry tools like pliers to loosen them.
- Regarding too-tight valve nuts, Tom in Minnesota pointed out a clever solution: replacement wingnut-shaped valve nuts!
- And John Fries described an interesting issue he experienced with his floor pump. The weight of its hose was enough to turn and slightly loosen the removable valve core creating a very slow air leak. That’s a good reminder to always check the replaceable valve cores and make certain they are not coming loose (even brand new tubes may have loose valve cores, so check them, too).
- A quick way to regularly check valves for slow leaks is to rotate the wheel so that the valve is near the bottom. Then put a little spit on the top of the valve and wait a bit to see if a bubble forms. If so, the valve is loose and needs tightening.
Cool Bike Tools
I haven’t tried or even seen in person the two new tools I’m pointing out. One looks like a super nice addition to your home bike workshop and the other seems like an ingenious chain luber everyone will like. I’m looking forward to trying them both when they become available.
Park Tool Wheel Holder (WH-1)
Up first is Park Tool’s Wheel Holder. To me this is one of those “head-slappers,” as in why didn’t someone think of a tool like this a long time ago – it makes so much sense. Just like there are repair stands to hold bicycles off the ground and right where they’re easiest to work on, Park’s Wheel Holder does the same for wheels.
The Wheel Holder needs to be firmly held in place by bolting it to a workbench or clamping it in a bench vise. Once setup like that, it gives you a sturdy and convenient place to hold and work on wheels, for replacing cassettes, disc rotors, installing tires, certain wheel building tasks and more.
Wheels are clamped into the Wheel Holder by the axle so they can be turned just like they can when mounted in the bicycle. So the Wheel Holder is also perfect for cleaning and inspecting wheels, which is always helpful for finding wear-and-tear issues before they cause a failure out on the road. And you’ll never drop a wheel again.
The Wheel Holder accepts front and rear wheels of all types and holds them vertically, horizontally and at a 35-degree angle from vertical. It also accepts wheels with quick releases and through axles. It sells for $99.95.
You can see how it’s used here:
Flectr Lubri Disc
I discovered the Lubri Disc on Kickstarter. I don’t know enough about how Kickstarter works to be able to tell you if and when this nifty new luber with be available or what it will cost. I just hope it turns out to be something we can purchase and for a reasonable price because in my opinion this looks like the best portable lube applicator to come along in quite some time.
What I like is that it’s a self-contained unit with a built-in applicator, so the lube stays trapped inside the case. The case itself looks to be about the size of a hockey puck. When opened you reveal an applicator that resembles a pulley with a foam core (said to be durable and up to the task).
By holding the disc so that the foam rests against the chain and moving it or the chain, lube is spread onto the links. You can then close the case keeping any lube and mess inside. And because you hold the sides of the disc, you don’t get anything on your hands.
This design is ingenious because it allows carrying the Lubri Disc in a pack or pocket for use at any time. And, because the lube isn’t dripped onto the chain but wiped on with the foam applicator, you can lube the chain anytime it’s needed and avoid the mess of drip or spray lubes.
When dripped or sprayed, chain lube usually gets spread to the spokes and can get flung from the spinning rear wheel onto the bicycle and components. Then the lube there picks up dirt creating grime deposits where you don’t want them, such as near the rims and rim brakes or disc rotors.
Today, with mixed-terrain rides so popular, a common situation is suddenly having dry squeaking links in the middle of a ride. Besides the annoying noise (for you and your companions), the dry chain can shift poorly and accelerate drivetrain wear. With the Lubri Disc along for the ride you should be able to remedy that situation in no time at all.
Another benefit is no wasted oil when lubing, since it’s applied via the foam roller versus drips or a spray. The Lubri Disc case also has a built-in magnet so that you can stick the luber to a toolbox or maybe your fridge(!) to find and access it easily. Flectr also offers their own chain lube. Learn more at this link: https://www.flectr.bike/collections/flectr-lubri-disc/products/flectr-lubri-disc-chain-care-tool.
Ride total: 9,254
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 8,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.