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Learn about TPI and make sure your bike has the tires you need

Curious about TPI? So are a lot of other cyclists and triathletes. In short, TPI stands for Threads per Inch. Take the time to learn about TPI, how it can impact your ride, and what bike tires we recommend. This knowledge can be beneficial during your Kerrville Triathlon training!

Tires are made with threads. Lower-end tires have lower counts which tend to make them heavier and provide a harsher ride. Higher-end tires have higher thread counts which allow them to ride smoother and contour to bumps on the road better. On some tires, the threads are mixed in with Kevlar or some other type of durable fabric. This makes them more resilient to flats. It is important to note that a higher TPI tire is not more prone to flats than a lower TPI tire. No matter what the threads per inch is on your tires, there are steps you can take to prevent flat tires.

Threads per inch and the tires you need

Tires with lower threads per inch are less expensive and are more common for training use. Higher TPI tires are more expensive and tend to be used for racing or for riding roads where you are looking for a smoother ride.

For a great low TPI tire, we recommend the Vittoria Zaffiro Tire. For those of you looking for the high TPI tire consider the Vittoria Diamante, the Vittoria Open Corsa, the Vredestein Tricomp, or the Continental Grand Prix 4000.

Check with James Balentine at City Limit Cycles to see if these tires are still good options.

Follow these derailleur adjustment tips to eliminate shifting issues

Experiencing issues shifting as you begin training for Kerrville Triathlon Festival on Sept. 28-29? Try your hand at a derailleur adjustment with these simple steps.

Derailleur designers provide a simple way for you to dial in shifting. You don’t even need tools (although, it’s easiest to make and check adjustments when the bicycle is supported in a repair stand). Keep in mind, these steps are for derailleurs that are not damaged or bent. If you suspect that it is, it needs more than this simple adjustment and you should call James Balentine with City Limit Cycles.

To adjust the derailleur, look at the point where the cable enters the rear derailleur. See that round, knob-like piece? That’s a barrel adjuster. It’s used to tune the derailleur adjustment.

Standing behind the bike, the barrel adjuster is turned either counter-clockwise or clockwise in half-turn increments until the shifting hesitation is cured. Which way do you turn it? It depends on what type of hesitation you’re experiencing. The most common problem is slow-shifting into easier gears (toward the spokes) due to the cable stretching. But, it’s also possible that you’re experiencing the opposite.

This rule will help you remember which way to turn it. If the derailleur is hesitating when shifting toward the spokes (the more common problem), turn the barrel toward the spokes (counter-clockwise). If it hesitates shifting away from the spokes, turn the adjuster away (clockwise) from the spokes. Turn it only a half turn, shift multiple times to check the adjustment, and repeat as needed to eliminate all hesitation.

Truing your wheels at home could save you money and get you back on the road

If you have some free time you should practice a new skill – truing a wheel!  
Before diving into the details, understand what ‘truing’ means. Often times, hitting potholes, curbs, and foreign objects can adjust your wheel, making it different than before. Truing a wheel means to shape it or adjust it exactly as it was before.

What you need:

wheel, spoke wrench, and truing stand( or your bicycle frame)

Truing a severely bent or out-of-true wheel can be more of a task or cause more problems than you are willing to deal with. However, for those small wobbles in your wheel, here are some easy tips to get you back on the road without running your brakes unsafely open.

The wheel consists of:

Truing your wheels when needed allows you to spend more time riding.
Truing your wheels when needed allows you to spend more time riding.

– hub: center of the wheel
– rim: outside of the wheel that the tire is put on
– spokes: connects the hub to the rim
– nipples: small metal pieces holding individual spokes in the rim (the nipple is the part that is tightened or loosened to adjust tension between the hub and rim)

Directions:

  1. find the place where the rim is rubbing the brake pad
  2. locate the spoke nipple that is opposite the side that is rubbing
  3. tighten that spoke nipple with a spoke wrench (Remember to only turn the spoke nipple a quarter turn at a time. To tighten a spoke, turn the nipple clockwise. To loosen the spoke, turn the nipple counter-clockwise.)
  4. always start at the worst spot and work your way from to the least out-of-true spot
  5. keep going until the wheel no longer rubs the brakes

When you’re done, clean your bike with these tips to get it ready for your next ride. Remember: truing a wheel requires tension in the spokes to be perfectly balanced. This generally takes a bit of patience and practice. If needed, call James Balentine at City Limit Cycles. He’ll visit you at home or at work and take great care of your bike.

Don’t let rust begin forming on your bike

We all know that nothing creates more of an eyesore on a bicycle than rust. The most common parts that rust are the bolts in the cockpit of the bicycle and the chain. The reason it shows up so readily on chains is that they are entirely steel (for the most part). Their low position on the bicycle exposes them to a lot of water and contaminants from the surface of the road. Cockpit bolts (securing the parts of your bike you touch while riding) can rust because of your sweat and hydration and their position under the body of the rider. While a rusted chain poses virtually no safety concern, it does make for poor shifting performance. It can also have a negative effect on the condition of your cassette. Rusty chains should be replaced at the earliest convenience. Bolts on the bar, stem, and top cap, on the other hand, can actually cause a safety risk. If any of these rusty bolts were to sheer due to weakening, it could result in a crash. Furthermore, rusty bolts up front can make for very difficult maintenance if they get stuck. This can cause you to need new components prematurely.

Measure to prevent rust

The best way to prevent rust is simply to give your bicycle a quick wash and wipe down after every ride. That can be a long training ride through the Texas Hill Country and/or your sprint/quarter/half at Kerrville Triathlon. Make sure to get any sweat, Gatorade, and Gu off your bike. Also, storing your bicycle in a dry place, preferably indoors, can go a long way toward keeping your bike rust-free. Finally, don’t forget to schedule an appointment with your favorite bike mechanic, James Balentine of City Limit Cycles, for regular service. He will inspect for rust and other problems, saving you headaches down the road!

Make post-race bike maintenance an integral part of your training plan

Most triathletes put a great deal of thought into everything leading up to a big race (equipment, training, nutrition, etc.) However, many do not know what bike maintenance should be completed after a race. With Kerrville Tri less than a month ago, you might want to make sure you haven’t neglected your bike’s care. Utilize this post-race bike maintenance advice.

In most cases, there are only a couple of things that need to be done. If they are completed as soon as you return home after the race it will keep your bike running smoothly.

  • wash your bike and make sure you get all of the gel and drink residue off the bike (if these gels and liquids sit on your bike they will cause rust and can affect the finish of your bike – if they are acidic enough)
  • follow these bike washing tips
  • lube your chain after you’ve washed your bike
  • switch back to your training wheels if you have race wheels on your bike

Once this is done, you are ready to start riding again without any mechanical issues. If you discover something abnormal or out-of-place, schedule an appointment with James Balentine of City Limit Cycles!

Introducing the Official Bike Mechanic for Kerrville Tri – James Balentine, owner of City Limit Cycles

Tune-up your bike and know how to change your own flat tire before race day. If you arrive in Kerrville and something occurred to your bike during transit, James and his City Limit Cycles van will be at your service during bike check-in on Friday and Saturday. James is also turning wrenches race morning (both days) should last-minute issues arise. He’ll set up shop at the southeast corner of T1 (off Guadalupe St.) Saturday and Sunday morning.

For more than two decades, James worked as a bike mechanic at bike shops, including a decade as Head Mechanic for Jack & Adam’s Bicycles in Austin. For the past 14 years, James has traveled the world volunteering as the mechanic at Triathlon World Championships for Team USA. He has also helped Olympians for Team USA Paratriathlon in Brazil and continues to volunteer for Team USA Paratriathletes.

James likes bikes. He likes to see and hear them running perfectly because he likes to see you riding them with a smile. His service experience is built around a lifetime passion for all things cycling. He’s been a pro racer, a pro mechanic, and pro-level bike geek.

Through it all, James brings a high level of professionalism and attention to detail. He has cared for all kinds of riders from recreational to pro and literally every kind of bike on the planet! Click To Tweet

City Limit Cycles is James’ mobile bicycle repair company. Now a world-class bike mechanic comes to your door so you can focus on what you love most – more saddle time. We’re lucky to have someone of his caliber at Kerrville Tri for the entire weekend. Follow City Limit Cycles on Facebook. and follow his bike cleaning advice!

You should strive for a clean drivetrain

While you’re hanging around this summer, why not try your hand at making sure you have a clean drivetrain? With these simple steps, you’ll be the grease monkey you always dreamed of being! Not only that, but keeping your drivetrain clean and lubed extends the life of your bicycle and helps maintain proper shifting performance and pedaling efficiency.

Steps:

1. When riding primarily on roads, you should clean and re-lube your chain at least once every three or four rides, depending on the conditions (rain, excessive road grit, etc.).

2. Run the chain backward through a clean cotton rag until the chain is fairly clean and dry. Lube the chain with your favorite lube, making sure that some lube gets on each link. Run chain back through the rag once more to remove excess lube. Don’t have a favorite chain lube? Check out 2 of our favorites White Lightning Clean Ride or Bike Medicine Purple Extreme.

3. Clean the cassette or freewheel. You can “floss” the cassette or freewheel with a clean rag to remove built-up gunk. If it is really dirty, you may want to scrub the cassette or freewheel cogs with an old toothbrush and some de-greaser.

4.  Wipe off your front and rear derailleur. Afterward, spray the derailleur pivots with a light, penetrating lube.

5. Wipe off your chainrings from time to time with a clean rag. If they are really dirty, you may want to scrub them with an old toothbrush and some de-greaser.

6. Clean the rear derailleur jockey wheels from time to time with a clean rag to prevent the build-up of gunk.

Tips:

If your chain is really dirty, you may need to remove it to clean it properly. However, if you regularly follow the steps above, you will not need to do this. You can buy chain cleaning kits which run the chain through a solvent bath. You can also use a wide mouth soda bottle, Gatorade bottle, or old water bottle as a chain bath. Again, following the recommendations above should keep your drivetrain clean.

You should generally replace your chain every 2000 miles. If you wait longer than that, your old chain may begin to put undue wear on your cassette or freewheel. Don’t forget to wash your bike!

Happy cleaning!

James Balentine, owner of City Limit Cycles