Scheels Facebook followers were recently asked to share their bike questions with us. Those questions were forwarded to Scheels bike experts Aaron Romaine (Moorhead, MN) and Jenn Bast (Eau Claire, WI), whose responses can be found below. We hope these will assist you as you prepare for a summer on the roads and trails.
Is there a rule for seat height?
Bast: Yes. Typically, you want a big enough frame size where the seat post is up 2-4 inches from the frame of the bike allowing a slight bend in your knee. This may also vary depending on the style of biking you are doing (mountain biking vs. casual riding).
Romaine: There are several formulas on the internet that can help you calculate what your seat height should be and several “rules of thumb” that can be applied to attain the correct seat height. What it really boils down to is simply make the bike as comfortable as possible and gain the most out of your bike with little effort. When riding your bike you should really have a knee bend of approximately 10 degrees when the bottom of your pedal is perpendicular to the ground (meaning your leg is almost straight). This can seem a little tall for most people because you can no longer touch the ground with the flats of your foot, but only with your tiptoes while on your bike seat. You can get to this height by simply raising the seat until it’s up to your hip bone. This should get you to the general height needed to get to the 10-degree rule. To determine if your seat is too high, simply pay attention to what your hips are doing while riding your bike. If you feel your hips are going up and down, or if it feels as though you’re “rocking “ from side to side, then your seat’s probably too high.
Proper seat height ensures a couple of things; one is an efficient pedal stroke. I look at it like this, pedaling with a poor pedal stroke is like walking down the block with a 50lb bag of dog food. You can walk the same distance without the dog food, so why would you choose to do so. The other — and more important — reason is the damage you could cause to your knee. If your seat is too low you can experience pain in the front part of your knee, if the seat is too high, then the back part can cause discomfort.
The best advice I can give is to get your seat height as close to the 10-degree rule as possible. Put your wrench in your pocket and go for a ride and let your body tell you what feels right. After a couple of “tweaks” with the wrench you’ll be on the road in comfort!
Watch a helpful how-to video on adjusting your bike seat.
What all should be done to a road bike taken in for a spring tune up?
Bast: In order of what I usually do: Clean the frame and get all the junk off your bike that may be left from fall, check the break system and make sure all pads are clean and working properly, clean and run through your drivetrain to ensure your bike is shifting properly, and use a de-greaser on your chain followed by the right lubricant (depending on weather). The last thing I check is tire pressure. I usually put new tubes on both tires just to be safe going into riding season.
Romaine: I generally recommend a performance tune-up to customers. This allows the service technician to clean and inspect the drivetrain and thoroughly go through the bike. Since a road bike generally takes on a lot of miles, a chain can easily become worn and stretched out. Depending on the intensity of riding the cyclist is doing, and how they shift their bike, a standard road chain can wear anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 miles. If a worn chain is left unattended, it could start wearing out the rear cogset and chain rings, costing the customer a lot of money. I also thoroughly inspect the tires, then the cables, and so on. I would recommend a major overhaul once every two years, depending on the conditions the rider experiences during the riding season and the amount of miles the customer is putting on their bike. Since a majority of mid- to high-end road bikes come standard with sealed bearing systems, they generally don’t need to be completely taken down to the frame on a yearly basis.
What are some of the most common repairs you have come through the store?
Romaine: The most common repair I have on a day-to-day basis is your standard flat tire. My shop has changing flats down to such a tee that we can change a flat tire in less than three minutes! I would say a distant second would be a standard shifting adjustment.
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