Garage Files: Things Even Good Mechanics Can Miss


comparing it to the cassette cogs. A bent derailleur can be spotted when the lower pulley looks like it’s bent in towards the wheel. This can usually be remedied by realigning the hanger. If that doesn’t help, you may need a new derailleur, but at least those “ghost shifts” will be gone.

17-Some mechanics will use a single rag when working on a bike, but this is a mistake. Grease and grime from the rest of the bike can contaminate sensitive components like the brake rotors and pads. When working on these, it’s far better to use a clean, lint-free rag or a paper towel.


18-This poor rider has his axle quick release in a place where it could snag a rock, possibly open up and cause a nasty crash.


19-Axle quick releases should be positioned in the spot where they’re least likely to snag an obstacle. We prefer to run them up and slightly forward like so. If your axle does not tighten properly in this position, it may need to be “clocked.” Check your fork’s owner’s manual for instructions to do this.

20-The best mechanics love using zip-ties, and when they do,…

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