Cycle Publishing
Van der Plas Publications

1282 7th Avenue
San Francisco
CA 94122, USA

Tel.: (415) 665-8214

Bicycle Repair

Maintenance and Repair of the Modern Bicycle
Rob van der Plas

NEW Revised Printing

Format: 8½ x 11 inch trade paperback
Description: 176 pages with 500 full-color photographs and other illustrations
ISBN: 1-892495-55-4
Price: US$24.95

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  • Up to date for the latest equipment
  • Covers all types of mountain and road bikes and their components
  • Selecting the right tools and equipment
  • Optimize the performance of gears and brakes
  • Preventive maintenance and adjustments

About the book

Yes, you can do it yourself: With the instructions in this book, you’ll find it easy to maintain and repair whatever kind of bicycle you ride. It will help you maximize riding pleasure and performance.

From fixing a flat to overhauling the gears and adjusting the brakes, it’s all here. The systematic approach, with step-by-step instructions and clear color illustrations, will guide you through every conceivable maintenance and repair situation. Your bike will last longer and give you more riding pleasure.

This reprint includes numerous revision to text and illustrations bringing the book fully up to date.

About the author

Rob van der Plas is a mechanical engineer with a lifelong passion for cycling. His writings have appeared in bicycling magazines as well as in book form on both sides of the Atlantic. A native of the Netherlands who has also lived in England and Germany for many years, he is a long-time resident of the US, living in San Francisco, California.

Critical reviews of the author’s earlier books

“…a wealth of well-organised and clearly illustrated descriptions…” — Bicycle Rider Magazine (England) about his Bicycle Repair Book

“Van der Plas’ explanations are accurate and clear and a pleasure to read.” — Bicycle USA about his The Mountain Bike Book

Also see brand-new reviews of Bicycle Repair in the column to the right.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Introduction 9

1. Know Your Bicycle 11
Parts of the Bicycle 11

2. Basic Maintenance Procedures 17
Common Procedures 17
Equipping Your Workshop 17
Spares & Replacement Parts 18
General Overhauling Procedures 19
Dealing With Instructions 19
Screw-Threaded Connections 20
Quick-Release Mechanisms 22
Cable Controls 23
Ball Bearings 26

3. Preventive Maintenance 28
Scheduled Maintenance 28
Pre-Ride Inspection 28
Bi-Monthly Inspection 29
Annual Inspection 31
Cleaning the Bike 33

4. Wheel Removal & Installation 35
Wheel Removal Issues 35
Replace Front Wheel With Quick-Release 36
Replace Front Wheel With Axle Nuts 37
Replace Rear Wheel With Quick-Release 38
Replace Rear Wheel With Axle Nuts 39
Spacers, Washers, & Keyed Plates 40

5. Tire & Tube Maintenance 42
Tire Types 42
Tire Inflation 44
Replace Inner Tube 44
Puncture Repair 46
Tire Cover Repair 48
Replace Tire Cover 48
Tubular Tires 49
Replace Tubular Tire 49
Tubular Tire Repair 50

6. Hub Maintenance 51
Parts of the Hub 51
Hub Bearings 51
Hub Bearing Check 52
Hub Bearing Adjustment 52
Lubrication & Overhauling Adjustable Bearings Hub 53
Cartridge Bearing Maintenance 54

7. Rim & Spoke Maintenance 55
The Spoked Wheel 55
Special Wheels 56
The Rim 56
Wheel Truing Check 56
Wheel Truing 57
Emergency Repair of Buckled Wheel 58
The Spokes 59
Replace Individual Spoke 59
Emergency Spoke 60
Replace Rim 60

8. Wheel Building 62
Spoke length Determination 62
Spoke length Check 63
Spoking the Wheel 65

9. Derailleur Gear Maintenance 68
Derailleur Operation 68
The Rear Derailleur 69
Adjust Rear Derailleur 69
Rear Derailleur Over- & Undershift Adjustment 70
Rear Derailleur Maintenance 71
Replace Rear Derailleur 72
The Front Derailleur 72
Adjust Front Derailleur 73
Front Derailleur Over- & Undershift Adjustment 73
Replace Front Derailleur 74
Replace Derailleur Cable 75
Shifter Maintenance 76

10. Hub Gear Maintenance 77
Why Hub Gearing? 77
Hybrid Gearing Systems 77
Hub Gearing Components 78
Hub Gear Maintenance 78
Hub Gear Adjustment 79
Additional Maintenance Suggestions 80
Adjust Gear Range 80

11. Freewheel & Cog Maintenance 81
The Cogs 81
The Freewheel 82
Adapt Gear Range 83
Fixed Wheels & Single Speeds 83

12 Crankset Maintenance 84
The Cranks 84
Tighten Crank 85
Remove & Install Crank 86
Cottered Cranks 87
The Bottom Bracket 88
Adjust, Lubricate, or Overhaul BSA Bottom Bracket 88
Replace Cartridge Bearing Bottom Bracket 90
One-Piece Crankset 91
Thompson-Type Bottom Bracket 92
The Chainrings 92
Tighten Chainrings 92
Replace Chainrings 93
Straighten Chainring & Chainring Teeth 94

13. Chain Maintenance 95
Chain Sizes & Types 95
Chain Line 96
General Chain Maintenance 96
Replace Chain 96
Chain Length 98
Chains With a Master Link 98

14. Pedal Maintenance 99
Pedal Bearing Types 99
Replace Pedals 100
Adjust Release Force of Clipless Pedal 101
Adjust Conventional Pedal Bearings 101
Lubricate & Overhaul Conventional Pedal 102
Maintenance of Cartridge-Bearing Pedal 103
Install & Adjust Shoe Plates 104
Convertible Pedals 104
Toe-Clips 104

15. Rim Brake Maintenance 105
Types of Brakes 105
The V-Brake 106
The Sidepull Brake 106
The Cantilever Brake 106
The Centerpull Brake 107
Common Rim Brake Features 107
Brake Test 107
Brake Adjustments 109
Adjust Brake Application 109
Adjust Brake Pads 110
Brake Centering 111
Brake Squeal Compensation 111
Brake Rumble Compensation 112
Replace Brake Cable 112
Replace Brake Levers 114
Overhaul Brake 115
Stirrup Brakes 116
Hydraulic Brakes & Their Controls 116

16. Disk Brake Maintenance 117
Operating Principle 117
Disk Brake Test 118
Disk Check & Maintenance 118
Disk Brake Caliper Maintenance 118
Hydraulic System Maintenance 119

17. Hub Brake Maintenance 121
Hub Brake Types 121
Principle of Operation 122
Brake Test 122
Brake Adjustment 123
Brake Cable & Lever Maintenance 123
Counter-Lever Problems 123
Hub Brake Bike Gear Adaptations 124

18. Handlebar & Stem Maintenance 125
Handlebar & Stem Details 125
Adjust Handlebar Height 126
Adjust Handlebar Angle 126
Replace Handlebars 127
Replace Stem 127
Suspension Stems 128
Replace Handgrips 128
Install bar-ends 129
Replace Handlebar Tape 129

19. Headset Maintenance 131
Headset Types 131
Threadless Headsets 132
Adjust Threadless Headset 132
Overhaul or Replace Threadless Headset 133
Threaded Headsetz 134
Adjust Threaded Headset 134
Overhaul or Replace Threaded Headset 135

20. Saddle & Seatpost Maintenance 137
Saddle Types 137
Adjust Seat Height 137
Adjust Seat Angle & Forward Position 138
Replace Saddle 139
Replace Seatpost 139
Suspension Seatposts 140
Maintenance of Leather Saddle 141

21. Frame & Fork Maintenance 142
Frame Construction 142
Frame Inspection 143
Frame Alignment Check 143
Dropout Alignment Check 144
Fork Inspection 144
Front Fork Installation 145
Paint Touch-Up 145
Repainting Frame & Fork 146

22. Front Suspension Maintenance 147
Suspension Terminology 147
Suspension Stems 148
Suspension Forks 148
Suspension Fork Check 148
Suspension Fork Maintenance 149

23. Rear Suspension Maintenance 151
Rear Suspension Systems 151
Suspension Seatposts 152
Shock Unit Maintenance 152
Suspension Troubleshooting 153
24. Lighting Equipment Maintenance 154
Lighting Systems 154
Lights With Built-In Batteries 155
Lights With Central Battery 156
Generator Lights 156
Systematic Troubleshooting 158
25. Accessory Maintenance 159
Accessory Types 159
General Accessory Comments 159
Lock 160
Pump 160
Bicycle Computer 161
Luggage Rack 161
Fenders 161
Chain Guard 162
Water bottle cage 162
Kick Stand 162
Warning Devices 163
Reflectors 163

Appendix: Tools Overview 164

Bibliography 171

Index 173


From the contents

Overview of bicycle components


Adjusting cable-operated disk brake


Adjusting rear derailleur.


Cleaning front suspension stanchions and seals



Book Reviews

The Best of the Lot

Bicycle repair is a popular subject. I have more than 50 repair books in my library.

Rob Van der Plas’ Bicycle Repair is the best of the lot. This 8-1/2 x 11 inch softcover has 176 pages with about three color pictures per page. The pictures walk you through the procedures that are clearly and systematically described in the text. You will take this book into your workplace and get grease on it.

It’s not a beginner’s book. It’s for someone who can use hand tools but needs instruction on the special bicycle tools and the bicycle quirks, like left-hand threads.

The first five chapters cover basic procedures, preventive maintenance, wheel removal, and tire repair. The last twenty chapters cover the less frequent jobs. In addition to the standard stuff, it covers the latest ironmongery, with instructions for adjusting and maintaining front and rear suspensions, disc brakes, and threadless headsets.

The chapter on adjusting front and rear derailleurs will keep your indexed shifting working correctly. You will also know when you need a new chain and what kind to buy.

If you avoid one trip to the bike shop (and you will for sure), that will more than cover the $22.95 cost of the book.

Frank Berto, PE
Former Engineering Editor of Bicycling Magazine


Reviewer’s Choice:

Rob van der Plas is a San Francisco based mechanical engineer with a lifelong passion for the bicycle. This passion is reflected in this writing of several books about bicycle, as well as articles about bicycles for various trade and consumer cycling periodicals. His technical expertise is such that he has been an expert witness in patent disputes and other legal cases regarding bicycle technology.

Profusely illustrated throughout with color photography, Bicycle Repair: Maintenance & Repair Of The Modem Bicycle is his newest work and is specifically designed to enable the non-specialist general reader to acquire the ability to maintain and repair all types of bicycles. Fully up-to-date and covering all the latest equipment and accessories (as well as older models of bicycles), Bicycle Repair covers some workshop procedures and roadside repairs, as well as preventive maintenance and adjustments of gears, brakes, and suspension.

Simply stated, if you own a bicycle of any make or model, then you need your own personal copy of this book.

James A. Cox

The Midwest Book Review