At Mister Vélo, the racing bikes we receive will be completely disassembled. All parts will be thoroughly cleaned, greased and made operational again. By carrying out maintenance in this way, the bicycle will last for times again. For the user, such an extensive maintenance service is probably too much. Fortunately, you can safely work more easily, but keep in mind that proper maintenance is certainly important for the durability of your racing bike.
Which parts deserve the most attention?
The parts that are most endured during cycling are the chain, the sprockets, brake pads and the front and rear gear system. The tires and cables are also important, but are often easy to judge visually. Keep the brake pads clean especially after a ride in wet weather. A lot of sand may then remain on the blocks. This is bad for the rims and your braking distance. It is best to check the tires before every ride for the possible remaining stones in the tread. Removing them reduces the risk of punctures and will save you extra maintenance costs.
The moving parts of your bike require proper maintenance. But how?
A lot of people think, the more grease the better. That is incorrect. Keep the chain ‘dry’ in other words; use a cloth after a few rides e.g. 250 km and clean and dry the chain.
Place the bike against a wall and hold a cloth around the chain. Turn the pedal backwards as long as the chain is clean enough. Put a film layer of teflon oil over the chain and remove the excess of oil the next day. Too much oil will really attract more sand and dust. It accumulates between the rear sprockets and the gear system. What you want to prevent.
The front and rear derailleur
You will notice that sand will stuck between the moving parts of the front and back derailleur system. Especially with wet weather conditions. The best option is to maintain them by cleaning with water en soap. This is not necessary after every ride, but it is when you notice that there is sand in both systems. When both are cleaned, dry everything thoroughly. Also here you can use a little bit of oil too. But be sparing! The more oil, the more caked up dirt.
Note: never use a high pressure cleaner. Water is harmful to ball bearings in wheel axles and brackets.
The brake pads
In the Netherlands weather conditions are not always optimal. You will soon notice that in wet weather your brake pads will make a grinding and abrasive sound. This has consequences for the wheels of your racing bike. But also for the braking distance. Especially with vintage racing bikes with chrome wheels the braking can decrease significantly. This can be dangerous of course. Therefore, check the brake pads before every ride and keep them clean as much as possible.
Cycling with a vintage racing bike in wet weather is not the most ideal situation. Because most parts are old and, given their age, less advanced than parts of modern racing bikes. So always be extra alert in wet weather!
- Check your tires, brakes and keep the chain smooth running before every ride.
- Be sparing with oil on the chain.
- Maintain your bike after a number of rides (approx. every 250 km).
- Be extra alert in wet weather.
- Leave extensive maintenance to a professional.
- Regularly doing good maintenance on your racing bike is important. Cleaning and maintaining of the components will extend durability and saves unnecessary costs.
We regularly get the question: “what is the right frame size for my height?”
This question is fairly easy to answer. On the internet you will find a lot of tables with the right frame size for your height. But you have to keep in mind that these lists contains only average sizes. Every person has different body proportions. And measurements can generally be quite different. For example, women have relatively longer legs than men have and men have longer arms than women have. So in order to be able to cycle comfortably, the right frame size is required.
How you could measure to determine your frame size
There are different ways to determine your correct frame size. The most accurate way is to measure your inseam lenght. To do this, stand with your back and both heels against a wall. Place your feet 15 cm apart and measure from your groin to the floor. Do this bare footed. Multiply this measurement by 0.68. Now you’ve got your frame size height. Note: round this down. So 54.7 cm becomes 54 cm.
Another way to determine the correct frame size is to measure from the top of your kneecap to the floor. Do this with the shoes on. You will understand that you do this with the shoes you wear while cycling; therefore do not measure with platform shoes or high heels.
Is the length of the top tube of your racing bike also important?
Certainly! The frame size length is also important. A too long horizontal tube with a too long stem makes cycling unpleasant. Because of this your neck muscles will become too tight and you want to prevent this.
To determine the correct size, place both hands on top of the brake levers. If your arms are slightly bent, the length is correct. If both arms are too stretched, then you better mount a shorter stem. In case of a slight deviation, it may help to tilt the handlebars slightly towards you. This way you will sit a little more upright and this position will feel more relaxed.
The above methods are also averages. For the correct adjustment and for customized advice you better visit the store. We can help you with the correct adjustment of your racing bike. In addition, we have a wide range of different racing bikes in stock and we can help you customizing the bike you prefer.
It was springtime 2014 and I decided to buy an old racing bike. Because I was reading a lot in my psychology books during that period, I decided to break the routine and started doing something completely different alongside my studies. In the meantime, I was also active in marketing communication. But despite a successful office, located at a beautiful spot in Groningen, I decided to change course after 15 years.
What I wanted was something that seemed really fun to me. Something I could put my creative mind into and that had to do with vintage cycling. I thought it would be a great challenge to see if you could achieve something beautiful with the right mindset and a healthy dose of perseverance. Something with which you could make a lasting contribution to a disposable society in which we live. The mixture of thoughts: sustainability, joy and vintage racing bikes was running through my mind for several days.
Sports as a passion
As a youngster I was always busy with sports but I was mainly interested in cycling. I found it really fascinating how those guys were able to cycle so many miles and restrain one mountain after the other… every day again.
My heart was mainly with the Tour de France. The entire entourage, hordes of people along the route, the beautiful television images, panoramic views and recognizable regions; magnificent! And last but not least the beautiful steel racing bikes they used. Even the longest stages were worth watching. And what it made really special: Mart Smeets together with Jean Nelissen as commentators. These men often sat in very hot commentary cabins at the finish line and could tell a lot about the riders, their backgrounds and performances. Unbelievable! And there was Theo Koomen of course; he reported the stages from the back of a motorcycle what he did for the radio program: “Radio Tour de France”.
Summer holidays to remember! It was the whole atmosphere and the heroism of the riders that apparently appealed to me and still appeals to me.
The start of the first project
One afternoon, when I was cycling home from the library, I came across an old rusty Puch racing bike (an Austrian brand, but I didn’t know that then). The bicycle was for sale at a social sciences teacher who wanted to get rid of it. Behind her house in a barn that was too damp, the door of which could barely open, there was a pile of rust in the corner. When we agreed on the price, she offered me a cup of tea with wonderful stories and experiences.
That afternoon I decided to get started with my vintage racing bike project. Armed with a flex, a few sheets of coarse and fine sandpaper and some basic tools I started. A nice challenge … and that was it! Sanding, filling and sanding again. Primer and sanding again and again. And the following days… the same recipe; repainting and sanding again. Just until it started to look like the ideal photo: a black vintage bicycle with lots of chrome and brown elements, but rebuilt as bare as possible.
The first steps went without major problems. Only a bit of muscle pain but the bike only got better. Until I started with the wheel set. These did not improve the result; the chrome was completely devoured by rust and did not seem to save anymore. After some research on the internet I came across a suitable donor bike with useful wheels. At least I thought so. In the meantime all parts were received: cables, chain, crankset and a nice set of tires that had to finish the whole project.
The next morning I wanted to start with full enthusiasm fitting the tires, it didn’t work out, whatever I tried, no result. But how? Fortunately, Google knew what to do. There were a huge number of different sizes and tire types. And yes, I had the not so common 27 inch wheels. And getting the right tires in a beautiful brown vintage color …. that was too difficult to get them. For a moment I thought “end off the project”. But after some research, I came across a German website that could deliver beautiful sets of light brown tires from Michelin with a black tread. I was completely happy.
A few days later I was able to successfully complete my project. Happy, proud and satisfied with all the effort.
From hobby to profession
I had learned a lot and especially done a lot. When it comes to cycling, a world had opened up for me that I didn’t know existed before. The internet is full of tips and tricks. And certain brands have neatly placed everything on the internet. Without the internet, the success of the project would have become a lot harder.
Meanwhile, 5 years later, I still make grateful use of this knowledge and the experience of recent years. They are the most important ingredients to make projects for clients successful. The right mindset, perseverance and striving for the best quality have turned a hobby into a profession.