Welcome to Maintenance 101, where you will find the answers to all your home mechanic questions. In this area, we speak with resident BikeTiresDirect.com mechanic Tommy Tuite about his favorite tools, how best to clean your bike, the top lubes used, and what a home mechanic can do to improve their ride. If you have questions that have not been addressed, or if you'd like Tommy to cover a specific topic, email him at MaintenanceHelp@BikeTiresDirect.com.
Tommy started his wrenching career by attending the Olympic Training Center's Bill Woodall Institute in Colorado Springs, CO. Yet he says that most of what he's really learned, he picked up at a neighborhood bike shop in west Oakland, CA. His mechanic skills have been honed since by living, working, and most importantly racing (cyclocross and road) in the Pacific Northwest. His focus is on maintenance and racing mechanics.
BTD: What are the most important tools in a home mechanic's shop?
Tommy: Wow! That's like asking which is your favorite child. For home mechanics, I'd have to say Park Tool CN-10 Professional Cable and Housing Cutter, Park Tool PAW-12 Adjustable Wrench, Pedros Pro T/L-Handle Hex Wrench Set and Ritchey Torque Key 4mm 5Nm.
BTD: What can a home mechanic do to improve their bike and ultimately their ride?
Tommy: Clean and inspect for problems, reapply lube, check tire pressure and quick-release skewers.
BTD: What's the best chain lube for any condition? Is there just one?
Tommy: PMS Products T9 Bicycle Lubricant. Apply and clean off excess. For wet conditions, use more often.
BTD: Anything else?
Tommy: Get out and RIDE!