Dan “the Man” Lucas is a previously sponsored Airborne mountain bike rider, a walking bike-part encyclopedia, and co-owner of Underdog Bikes, the self-proclaimed best bike shop in Virginia. Here for you today, Dan takes you beyond the basics, above the ordinary, and presents you with some 201 bike jargon know-how:
Dry Lube versus Wet Lube
Modern lube comes in tons of color options and forms; spray-on, drip-on, and rub-on. But you really only need to concern yourself with two different kinds: wet and dry. The first step for applying lube is to clean your chain, be sure to not use anything with heavy degreasers or astringents, it can cause wear on the drive train. After your chain is clean, apply the lube! Wet lube goes on wet and stays wet. It is ideal for wet and muddy conditions. It keeps the chain well lubricated and will not wash off in a creek or puddle. The downside to wet lube is that if you are using it in dryer conditions, it can attract dirt and dust like nobody’s business. Dry lubes on the other hand go on wet and dry to form a protective coating on the outside of the chain. Just the opposite of wet lube, dry lube will be easily washed off by creek crossings or over-zealous lawn sprinklers. Choose the best lube according to your riding conditions.
Why are clipless pedals called clipless when you obviously “clip-in”? The answer is a simple one. Back in the day there were two options for pedals; flat pedals with no attachments or toe clips. Toe clips are those little straps or baskets that fit over the toes of your sneakers. These proved to be incredible dangerous in that it was hard to escape from them or they would get caught flipped upside down causing you to possibly get a face full of concrete. As an answer “clipless” pedals came along, or pedals that attach to small cleats installed onto the bottom of your shoes. Clipless pedals are great because not only do you get more power with each foot rotation, but they can be easily disengaged with a snap of the heels outward. A bit of an investment, but once you go clipless, you’ll never want to go back!
Tubed or Tubeless Tires
It will happen to every mountain biker sooner or later. The dreaded hiss letting you know that your excellent ride has just been postponed due to repairs. Tubes can be great; they are easy to work on an inexpensive. Pop one in, pump it up, and you are ready to rock and roll. Perfect for the occasional mountain biker, path rider, or hobbyist. The drawbacks are that they can be on the heavy side for your ride and are a bit fragile compared to tubeless tires. A well-placed thorn may end your day of fun.
Luckily a few years back, a couple of smart dudes in a fancy lab coats came up tubeless tires. It is a complete set-up and an expensive one at that. But if you got the dough and the passion to match, tubeless tires are great on trail. They can be run at a lower pressure, allowing more surface area for the tires to grip the trail. This lets you turn corners faster, run over objects smoother, and over-all improve your ride. Another added benefit? If you happen to run into a nail, barbed-wire, or heavy machine gun fire, the sealant in tubeless tires will fill the gap in less time it takes for the hissing sound to register in your brain.