Road bike setup and maintenance

This article was published in 2007, in Newsletter 75.

This is a new DVD written and presented by Darryl Kelbrick, consisting of six sections each from 7 to 17 minutes long. The sections cover bike fitting, gear setup and maintenance, headset setup and maintenance, brake setup and maintenance, puncture repair and wheel truing, and handlebar tape fitting.

On first view the DVD was puzzling: who was it aimed at? Surely someone needing help on puncture repair would not be taking a headset apart, and vice-versa. A look at the web-site provided the answer. The six sections were first published as individual DVDs, and this is a compilation of those that have been made so far. The title “road bike” is somewhat misleading, road-race bike is what I would call it, although the phrase is used by bike manufacturers to distinguish bikes built purely for speed from tourers, town bikes, utility bikes and so on.

DVD available
Image as described adjacent

All of the material is well produced: very clear photography with many close up shots. The spoken dialogue is clear and easy to follow, with further tips appearing at regular intervals as text on the screen. The advice given was good too, but unfortunately not all of it applies to all bikes. Of course trying to cover all of the varieties of brakes and gears would take hours of video, and be pretty boring too, but for everyone without Campagnolo components most of two of the sections possibly do not apply.

A good deal on the section of fitting really only works for racing too, measuring leg length to get the length of cranks correct to 2mm is more than almost any reader will do. However many cyclists I see on the road would benefit from getting the seat height right, even if Darryl uses a more complicated method than the normal “leg straight, heel just touches pedal when at full stretch” method.

So what is good? The puncture repair part would be very useful to many people. It very clearly goes through the ways to find holes and how to prepare the tube to get a permanent repair. This is followed by a demonstration of wheel truing using the brake blocks as a truing stand. The tolerance in straightness that Darryl suggests of 1-2mm is rather large though, over 10 times greater than I accept when truing my own wheels.

As value for money at £12.99 + £2.00 p&p the compilation DVD is not good unless all of it applies to your own bike(s), for the same price one of the books available gives greater coverage of the different parts you may have. The individual sections at £3.99 are better, particularly the puncture repair one for anyone nervous about tackling it for the first time. The gear setup would also help those who have derailleurs that are not changing cleanly. The other sections really apply to a much smaller set of bikes, and will only be of interest to racers.

The DVDs are available from and and fresh ones covering mountain bikes are in the pipeline.

Mike Causer