Bike Jargon with Dan Lucas

Dan Lucas Riding PicDan “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.

Cli­p­less Pedals 

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.