Biking: Catch-all

Thanks. Already have a torque wrench, so I'm set there.

The reason I'm looking for a cable puller is I've heard they were nearly essential for the job and I've attempted adjusting some brakes before and it was not fun / and I tend to not get it set exactly the way I want it. This is most likely also due to lack of experience and knowledge, but that comes with time. I have no idea how to tell if a really cheap one would be worth getting vs just giving in to Park Tool, though. I just know they exist and not what about them really works and they all look almost identical to me. I think this Ice Toolz one looks ok and not expensive.

Just replaced my rear derailleur cable using regular ass regular tools - clippers on needle nose pliers and an adjustable wrench. I clipped off the frayed end of the cable to make it a tad easier to pull, but otherwise did everything with my hands and standard wrenches. .

Keep in mind I don’t nerd out like others in this thread and didn’t even bother replacing the housing, but it was a simple job.

Also replaced my pedals earlier this year using standard wrenches

Looks like a cable puller makes the job a bit easier, but doesn’t look “essential” IMO.

LarryC wrote:


Pretty overkill. I think this one is about $5k. Hahaha.

Looks like you can also use it for hunting mynocks.

My bike saga has finally come to an end. Yesterday I took possession of a Trek Marlin 6 (2021). I really like it, it's far better in ride and build than the cheapie Schwinn I had before it, while waiting. For those not in on the story, I was waiting for a Trek Dual Sport 4 for months. Yesterday I took a second look and decided I really need something with more offroad capability. So I called my local bike store where I had a deposit down for the DS4 and asked if they had a Marlin 6. They did, so I bought it instead. It's pretty much perfect for what I wanted, which was an off-road capable bike with road capabilities. This one has nice big wheels, two front gears (one big and one small). I love it. It doesn't have the high tier components that the DS4 would have had, but it's also half the price at 650 versus 1260.

If there's one thing I'd like to change is for the crank gear to have a chain guard. I don't know if that's possible. I'm going to try and research component upgrades, specifically the drive train. I know very little about bikes, but I'd like to upgrade the Altus components to something like Deore tier. If anyone has advice on how to do that sensibly, I would love to hear it. I don't even know what's compatible with what really.

A good rule of thumb on bikes that have the lower tier Shimano components is to feel free to wear them out before upgrading.

My first bike after getting back into cycling in adulthood was a Trek mountain bike. In the first year I managed to tear up the gear set by riding thousands of miles and riding in rain and wet weather that’s hard on gears. After wearing through existing components is when I decided to replace everything and upgrade it.

There isn’t much resale value for those kinds of used parts, so you might as well get some use out of them.

That's good to know, a very useful tip. Thank you!

My thing is, I spent years working on a jetski with 'good enough' tools and hated it. When I would visit my friend who now runs a custom jetski build and repair shop, and use his tools, I didn't mind it. I have some tools that might get the job done, but I still don't want to deal with the crap that goes with sorta getting it right. I already mentioned I've struggled through cable adjustments before, and I'm over that.

maverickz wrote:

That's good to know, a very useful tip. Thank you!

Altus is good enough that I second DSGamer's advice to wear through it, at least for a couple years. After you've ridden and you know what you specifically want and need, it'll be easier to pinpoint a price point and upgrade point. The tech will also be better in a few years. There's a few exciting stuff trickling down.

That's my plan for now based on all the advice. Ride everything out and then in about a year, reassess.

Guess who upgraded from a 15+ year old Trek hardtail to a 2021 Giant Trance X 29 2? Was eyeing the Polygon Siskiu T8 cause it's so cheap, but I finally decided to just get whatever became available first since so many bikes have been out of stock, and I wanna ride now dammit One ride in and it's a ton of fun.

I am looking to upgrade to a better bike rack, I currently have a trunk mounted one, and have to bungie the hell out my bike to keep it stable. Does anyone here have any experience with 1 - 1/4" hitch racks? My parents used to have one and it seemed awfully wobbly, but I don't think it's possible to go up to a 2" hitch on my car. Also it was the hanging kind, and I'd be looking at the platform kind.

And while I'm here, what do people use for trail apps? I've been using strava free just to record my GPS data, and mostly trailforks for navigation. But trailforks changed it's subscription model, and while I may end up paying for it, I figured I should shop around first.

And if anyone wants to go for a day ride in SE Wyoming or Northern Colorado, and you don't mind waiting for me at the top of the hill, hit me up is what I've been using.

Now living in northern Colorado I'm continually stuck (a) wanting a new bike (currently loving my road bike but...) and (b) debating if that hypothetical bike would be a gravel bike or a mountain bike. The gravel stuff has been getting much more affordable, and I feel like I'd get more out of a bike that's better-adapted for road with some trail than for trail with some road, since I want to spend as little time commuting to a bike location as possible. But I wouldn't mind getting off road more, too.

The silver lining is that I'm unlikely to be buying any bike soon so I don't really have to choose.

So let's say I own a Marlin 6, that has a Shimano HG-31 11-34t crank. And I want to change the crankgear and pedals, I assume I have to replace the whole drivetrain, or do I?

Also, how do I know if a cassette will fit on my bike frame? Because I can't find any dimensions on any data sheet for the parts on Shimano's site.

Most cranks have rings that are bolted on. You can change the rings fairly easily with an allen key. Some really cheap ones have the chainrings riveted on. It would be surprising if your Marlin was like this.

Cassettes are a bit harder. The number of gears you can fit on there is determined by your wheel. If you have an 8 speed cassette or higher you should be able to put on up to an 11 speed cassette (and maybe a 12 speed). IIRC, if you take off the cassette and measure you need 35mm of space for 9-11 speed cassettes. Again, unless you have a super cheap bike with 7 speeds you are probably okay.

Obviously going from an 8 speed to an 11 speed would require a new derailleur. The derailleur also controls the number of teeth you can get on your cassette. Most derailleurs will do 36 teeth easy. Some will do up to 42. Anything more than that and you need a derailleur with a clutch. Even some derailleurs with a clutch won't do more than 42 teeth. So look up your derailleur to get information on how many teeth you can do.

Thanks! That's really helpful! If I were to only replace the crank, I'd need a new chain right? A longer one if the gear is bigger.

Yes. The same would go with the cassette. The tolerance for the sizing of the chain is fairly tight so you'd probably need a new chain any time you increased the teeth front or rear.

Cool, makes sense. Thanks! should have info on your bike cassette unless it's a really rare brand (which the Marlin is not).

Well, I'm now the proud new-to-me owner of a 2018 Giant Trance 3. As far as I can tell I got it fairly cheap, even though it needs a couple things adjusted like the front brakes and dropper post, and definitely has some scratches, but I'm ok with that since that was put out there up front. Excited since this is my first full suspension bike.

Also ordered pedals (Amazon seems to be the only place with stuff in stock) since the seller took those with him. Went with OneUp composites since they seems to have a lot of praise for having good grip, more than others in the same $40-$50 price range.

Decided to get a bash guard after hitting my chain ring on a wooden skinny, and some frame tape after somehow launching a fist sized rock into my down tube. Better late than never, right?

This is wild:

I don't understand what AMD is doing here. What is the market for this? Pure marketing stunt? Was somebody trying to get a Giant or a Trek rebadged but got downbudgeted into a Wal-Mart Kent?

EvilHomer3k wrote:

Cassettes are a bit harder. The number of gears you can fit on there is determined by your wheel. If you have an 8 speed cassette or higher you should be able to put on up to an 11 speed cassette (and maybe a 12 speed). IIRC, if you take off the cassette and measure you need 35mm of space for 9-11 speed cassettes. Again, unless you have a super cheap bike with 7 speeds you are probably okay.

So question on this specifically. I've gone through the 'ride a mid-range bike for 4-years and ready to customize/upgrade the worn out parts" phase, and am now purchasing said parts to start doing the upgrades.

I have a 2016 Specialized Hardrock ( and want to do the following:

- convert from 3x to 1x crankset
- front shocks are caput, so swapping in a rigid carbon fork
- would love to upgrade the cassette from 7-speed to 10-speed

I've done the measurements, unfortunately my rear hub body is only 30mm. However, my rear dropouts are spaced 135mm apart, which from what I can tell is enough space for up to 11-speeds. Question is:

Can I replace my rear hub body only, or do I need to do the whole hub? I haven't been able to find much info on this, but the 1 or 2 threads I found there was talk of having to re-dish the wheel if the hub body is replaced. Is this accurate?

Short answer, Yes. You'll need to rebuild your wheels to replace the hub. It's a PITA.

You can replace the rear hub but honestly, you are probably better off buying new wheels. You have to replace the full hub which means at the very least rebuilding the old wheel with the old spokes (which I wouldn't recommend). Rebuilding wheels is cheap if you can do it yourself but I wouldn't do that myself. It's a pain in the butt and requires special tools (or a lot of practice) to do well.

You can get a nice wheel set on Amazon for about $200 with tires that is tubeless compatible. I can't tell from the link but most likely your bike frame is quick release. That would also give you a chance to get fatter tires (something like 2.3" 650B). Though I"m having trouble finding that in a 27.5. Here is the 29" version:

Thanks EvilHomer, that was what my research was pointing me towards, but was having a hard time finding more than 1 or 2 mentions of it.

But technically I was asking just about the freehub BODY, not the entire hub. Only answer I could find was to be mindful of compatibility since inside parts may vary.

Long story short, it's my commuter bike that is now seeing daily use just for exercise/longer rides, so looking to Frankenstein it and covert it to more of a hybrid/gravel setup. While it paid for itself in 5 months just from subway fare savings alone, I'm still not sure I want to drop money on new wheels. I think I'll just do my fork, crank, and switch out to gravel tires and see how that feels first since I'm fine with the cassette gearing for now.

Was thinking of giving it a new paint job as well.

Watch some old shovel videos on bikes. He rebuilds old bikes and does some nice paint jobs. He uses for his stuff.

For how do do some of the other things RJ The Bike Guy is invaluable.

Finally, I think you could replace just the hub but like you've seen be careful. Before you order anything, though, check to see if your hub/cassette have any spacers in them. Did you take the cassette off and do the measurements? If not, your measurement may be off. RJ the bike guy has a video on hubs and freewheels that would probably be worth a watch. He's got a lot of rebuilds for hubs as well. Anyway, the videos may help or you may have already done all this.

Haha! RJ is my favorite biking YouTuber next to Calvin Jones!

Appreciate the response, I’ve actually watched both of those RJ videos, but he was literally the only one I found who answered that question. Even the replies on that top video are filled with lots of “thank god! I’ve been looking for this info forever!” Been asking around to get more of a consensus.

I have taken off my cassette and measured both my hub and my rear dropouts. My frame is good for up to 11 speed but unfortunately the hub is only 7.

Guess I’ll stick with the 7-speed for now.

Another option for you would be to visit a bike coop in your area. They may have some used wheels that would cost you next to nothing.

EvilHomer3k wrote:

Another option for you would be to visit a bike coop in your area. They may have some used wheels that would cost you next to nothing.

Good suggestion, signed up for a local one's mailing list. Activity right now is pretty low, but was starting to look at riding with other folks around the city.

Also, going down the spider hole of biking forums and you tubers, I'm now looking to build a new bike from scratch. Gonna upgrade my Specialized first to get familiar with the components, but yeah, looks like a nice 2nd-wave lockdown project for the winter/spring after Xmas.

Additionally, in the spirit of sharing youtube videos, I've also been really digging Mark Chance:

Fell into his channel looking up DIY 1x conversions and really loved this Gee Milner styled vid.

I’ve ridden 4 or 5 days a week every day for the past 2 months since getting my new electric bike. One of the best purchases I’ve made during the pandemic.