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Odds and sods*

Welcome to the Bootiebike Odds and sods page – a blog-style place for reviews, gripes and little discoveries. Maybe you'll find it interesting.

Chains aint chains

I've discovered that chains aint chains; there are those meant for derailleur bikes, and those for the rest. It took a long time for this little epiphany to occur. I had always thought that bushed chains were olde worlde, long since superseded by the much more modern bushingless variety.

But that was until the I stumbled upon the 'chain wear measuring tools' page of the fascinating 'Pardo' website (one of those unglamorous but wonderfully informative websites that prove the worth of the web™). Anyway, I always knew (as you probably do), that bushingless chains are made the way they are so they can 'bend' their way across a derailleur cassette. What was new to me is that bushingless construction introduces all kinds of compromises that affect the durability of the product, a drawback you needn't accept if your chain doesn't need to bend.

close up of bushed chain compared to bushingless chain

Pre-slimed tube

As part of the never-ending war against flat tyres, I thought I'd be clever and finally try a pre-slimed tube. No worries; I quickly scanned the instructions, popped in the tube, pumped er up and went inside for dinner. Next morning, what else but one very flat tyre with a very slimed valve core.

Lesson: Before inflating a slimed tube, drain any slime from the valve stem. This means scientifically locating the valve at roughly 5 o'clock or 7 o'clock for a few minutes before inflating. A second, very close look at the box revealed this wisdom, but it was buried deep in the fine print, and only legible to this old fogey with the aid of a magnifying glass.

Dear Mr Slime: Please make this advice more prominent and save your new customers a little heartache. (Would being upfront about this really jeopardise that many sales?) Oh, and by the way, it should be 5 o'clock or 7 o'clock, not the 2 o'clock or 10 o'clock it says in the tiny text on the slime box!

close up of bushed chain compared to bushingless chain

Special grease in tyre valves

Could this really be as simple and effective as it seems? Periodically douse/smother your valve cores with special rubber grease to make them seal more effectively (and Prestas easier to tighten/loosen). It's hard to be scientific about it, but I could swear it slows down air leakage from the tyres.

You can't use ordinary grease as it will damage the rubber, but you could probably use the grease plumbers use to lubricate tap O rings, available cheaply at any hardware. It's easy to apply to removeable Presta valves and Schraeder valves (i.e. also removeable), but it's a problem with non-removeable Presta valves. I've tried it by just deflating the tyre and then squeezing it in alongside the valve core.

close up of bushed chain compared to bushingless chain