Category: Technical

A Spa That Your Bike Deserves

The bike was a joy to ride. You pounded miles and miles of the road with it and it responded faithfully to your move, transforming every pedal stroke into ferocious speed. You dressed the trim aerodynamic frame with the latest and trendiest fashion in the form of a top end gear set and an ultra-light cockpit made of materials meant for spacecrafts. And you finished it with a pair of slippery deep rimmed wheels. To you, it was flawless. 

A few thousand miles later, it started to squeak whenever you cranked too hard. You no longer feel the same, and it no longer rides the way it was. Something has changed. A lot indeed. The chain, having been punished a few thousand miles on the road, has been over-stretched. The lubricant has dried. The bearings in your bottom bracket which took the chunk of the beating whenever you push your pedal needs to be rehabilitated. The cables that used to react so faithfully to your shifting command is now no longer responsive. A click on the shifter levers no longer translate to a single gear shift at the derailleurs. It is time to send it for an overhaul service.

A bicycle requires maintenance. Though this may not be apparent to all, a bicycle is, after all, made up of a system of moving parts. These parts will eventually get worn and needs to be repaired or replaced. Those who treasure their investment in a good bicycle may even want to carry out maintenance procedures beyond the simple lubrication of the chain. Approach any good bicycle workshop and you will be offered a suite of bicycle maintenance services.

This blog offers a pictorial guide to highlight what goes on during a comprehensive maintenance of a road bicycle. The process may vary from one bicycle workshop to another. But this process is what we, at Bike Stop, feel as comprehensive enough to restore the performance of the road bicycle to its glorious days. If at this point you already feel compelling enough to send your bike for a service, click here to find out the services packages we offer. If not, read on.

The maintenance process involves a complete strip down of all the assemblies from the bicycle frame. Namely

  1. Front and Rear Derailuers
  2. Crankset and Bottom Bracket
  3. Fork and Headset
  4. Cogs of a Cassette
  5. Brake Calipers
  6. Wheelset
  7. Seatpost with Saddle
The Original Condition

The following 6 pictures show the original condition of a road bike that was sent in for a full bike cleaning service:

Rusty chain from years of neglect by leaving the bike parked at the balcony. Rain and sunshine are "toxic" enemies of a bicycle - rain causes some metal parts to rust, while prolonged exposure to UV can cause paint work to degrade.

Months of non-use has allowed a thick coat of dust to settle on the bike's frame, threatening to become part of the paint work.

Frayed cables and rusted cable housing increases friction, resulting in less responsive shifting and braking.

Grit and dirt accumulated at the rear derailleur and cassette can cause shifting problems and reduces the efficiency of the drive train.

The chain is checked for stretch using a chain-length checker tool. An over stretched chain can accelerate wear of the cogs and chain-rings.

The brake pads are checked or wear and tear. Although these are just small rubber pads, keeping it working in tip top condition can make a difference between stopping in time or crashing into the bumper of a brake-happy motorist.

The Strip Down

The following 6 pictures shows the strip down of the bike down to its frame for cleaning and degreasing

To ensure that the rider gets back to his/her original seat height, the seat post position is marked before it is removed for cleaning.

Headset bearings is probably one of the most overlooked part of a bicycle. Proper headset bearing maintenance is key to getting a stable and responsive steering. Here, the fork is being removed so that the headset bearings can be accessed for cleaning. 

The crankset is being removed so that the chain rings can be stripped off the crankset to be degreased and brushed.

After prolonged usage, the bottom bracket bearings have been battered badly. Grit and dirt has found their way into it and only an extensive degreasing and cleaning will help restore the efficient function of the bearings.

Another important component of the moving parts - the jockey wheels (aka pulleys). Here, the jockey wheels are dismantled from the rear deraileur body for cleaning.

The small parts waiting in the box for their turns to be scrubbed and cleaned.

The Cleaning Process

After the components are stripped from the bike, they take their turns to be bathed in a shower of industrial-grade degreaser to rid it of the grit and dirt.

The interior of the cassette is bathed under a shower of degreaser.

Individual sprocket of the cassette is removed for cleaning.

The rear deraileur that has been disassembled now gets its turn under the degreaser shower.

Even the most greasy part of the bicycle component does not stand a chance under the intense shower of industrial-grade degreaser and the mighty brush.


After the components have been degreased, they are then rinsed to rid of the degreaser and then blow-dried using a high-powered air stream.

The components, fresh out of a bath, sitting on the drying mat and patiently waiting for their turn to be re-united with the frame.

The frame getting polished and a layer of protectant coat.

The polished frame, looks completely different now.

The BB shell has been completely rid of the grit and dirt.

The head tube has not been overlooked.

The Final Presentation

And now with the bike re-assembled, it is ready to meet its surprised owner.

For details of the servicing packages offered by Bike Stop click here.


Tyre Air Pressure – What Every New Cyclist Should Know


The tyre needs air. It sounds perfectly common sense to most of us, whether a cyclist or not. But trust me, who has been in this industry for more years than my palm of five fingers can count, that I’ve been asked umpteen times if bicycle tyres require air. Duh. I presume most of the time the question actually means “how often (or much) do I need to inflate my tyre”. Which brings me to the following important points about tyre air pressure.

1.How much to inflate

Most car owners will be familiar with inflating a regular tyre of a passenger car to about 220kPa. Now, the common misconception is that a bicycle tyre will need a much lower pressure since it is much lighter than a car, right? Wrong! The narrower the tyre, the higher the pressure needed. Every good tyre will have a range of recommended pressure inscribed onto its side wall. Look closely under good lighting to see the numbers.

Maximum pressure stated on the side wall of a MTB tyre

Recommended pressure range inscribed on the side wall of a road tyre

2. How often to inflate

Air does not like to be trapped in an enclosed space. Like us, air likes to be free. Forced into a near air-tight tyre, air tries every means to break free. Though the rubber holding the air looks like a perfect seal, it is not. In short, air is going to have it it’s way and find a way out of the rubber. The higher the air pressure, the easier for air to squeeze its way out. So those of us riding road bikes with slim tyres of 23 or 25mm wide will be required to inflate their tyres once every few days. Those riding wider tyres like 28mm or more can make do with once a week. Mountain bike tires are much wider, typically in the range of 2 to 2.5 inches, and experiences much slower rate of pressure loss. These tyres can make do with once every two weeks intervention.

3. Air pressure is measured in different units

Much like the measurement of length in inch and centimetres, there is more than one unit of measurement of pressure. The  3 commonly used units of measurement for air pressure are: the bar, kPa and PSI. Even if you’re not sure if the number that you’ve been told (to inflate your tyre to) should mean bar, kPa or PSI, you will be able to guess the correct unit of measure by the magnitude of the numbers. If it is a single digit, then it will be the bar. If it is in the tens to single hundred, then that will be PSI. If it is in the 200-600s, then it will be the kPa. Most pumps are equipped with at least 2 units of measurement on the gauge’s dial, so you don’t really need to learn how to convert from one unit to the other.

Pressure gauge of a tyre pump displaying both bar & psi units

4. Two many valve types

There are 3 types of valves used for bicycle tyres (and that's two many). The most common ones found in Singapore are the presta (aka French valve or FV in short) and the schrader (aka American valve or AV in short). The less common one is the dunlop valve. Most good pumps that can be bought from your local bike shops should be able to support both the presta and schrader valves. Though making it compatible with either sometimes requires a laborious task for unscrewing a cap on the pump head and flipping an internal piece around. Some of the better pumps boosting of a “smart” head can accept both presta and schrader without having to do the flipping work. Saves you a lot of work, especially if you own bicycles with different valve types.

Schrader valve

Presta valve

5. About inflating tyres at the petrol kiosk

As if storing a bicycle pump takes up a large real estate, many new bicycle owners cringe at the thought of getting one. So if you haven't been inconvenienced by having to borrow a pump (from your neighbour or local bike shop) or pushing your bike to a petrol kiosk, then you need to know that the pumps in all petrol kiosks in Singapore support only the Schrader valve. If you own a bicycle with the presta valve, you’ll need an adapter.

Tyre with presta valve

Adapter on presta valve to pump at petrol kiosk

6. Pressure increases (tremendously) under heat

Since we’re in the topic of inflating your tyres at petrol kiosks, then I presume there’s a good chance the bicycle will be left in the car and the car left parked in the open, baked by the hot afternoon sun. A study* has shown that the temperature in a car parked under the sun on a summer day can rise from 80℉ (27͒℃) to 109℉ (43℃) within 20 minutes. And if left longer than an hour, the temperature can reach 123℉ (51℃). Here’s where the law of pressure vs temperature comes into play. The pressure law states that if the temperature doubles, the pressure will also double if the volume is held constant (as is the case of the air trapped in the tyre). So imagine the damage the increased air pressure can do to your tyre (or even the rims) if you’ve just inflated your road tyres to 100PSI and you've left it in a parked car on a hot day.

*Springer, Denize. (2010, August 17). Hyperthermia statistics heat up in 2010. Retrieved from

7. Its the “tube” that holds the air, not the tyre.

After going through this entire article talking about tyres and air, the fact is, it is not the tyre that holds the air but a rubber lining we call a “tube” that is doing the job. Most of the time, when the tyre experience a sudden lost of air pressure, it is due to a puncture in the tube, not necessarily the tyre. And this can be fixed by patching the punctured tube or replacing it with a new one altogether.