Monthly Archives: November 2010

Steel Rims and Brake Pads

It’s quite frustrating for us when we can see an obvious problem with a bike which compromises the cyclist’s safety. Even more so when, after we have pointed it out, the customer thinks that we are trying to sell them something they don’t need.

We are forever advising cyclists with steel-rimmed wheel to change their aluminium-specific brake pads to leather-faced brake pads. Below is a photo of a bike which crashed into the back of a car because the cyclist couldn’t stop in time. At the time it was raining. The rider ended up crashing into and breaking the rear window. Thankfully the cyclist was fine after a few days but £70 poorer (cost of the screen).

Bent tubing

Bent tubing

As you’ll see the, the frame downtube is buckled, the headtube is bent backwards and the front wheel cannot be used for steering. Essentially, the frame is a write-off. If you look closely at the above image, you’ll notice that the front brake have aluminium-specific brake pads acting upon a steel-rimmed wheel – not a good combination (especially in the wet)!

Badly-adjusted brakes

Badly-adjusted brakes

Similarly, the above picture shows the front brake lever being able to move all the way back to the handlebars – we all know that the braking will be ineffective and a risk to the rider.

Advice: If you have steel rims – used leather-faced brake pads (see picture below). Similarly, carbon, ceramic and aluminium rims will need their own type of pads. Ask your usual bike shop if you are unsure – if they are unsure, find another bike shop!

Advice: Check your brake  pads once a week for wear – if any of the tread is missing, replace them immediately with the correct type.

Advice: Adjust for wear AT THE ADJUSTER ONLY (usually found on the brake lever or the brake caliper – DO NOT re-clamp the cable at the cable-clamp. This will result in you needing a new inner cable every time you change the pads – a cable which has previously been clamped at a position between the new position and the brake lever will be compromised – if the cable is going to fail it will fail at the old position and exactly when you need it the most!

Advice: If you are, in any way, unsure bring your bike into our shop for a free appraisal.

Remember: Never, never, never imperil your safety!!!

Leather-faced brake pads

Leather-faced brake pads

Best wishes and safe-riding.

P/S. We estimated a repair cost of £210 (parts & labour) for providing a used Reynolds 531 frame, transferring the components and correcting all defects.


Just trying to provide a good service

About 18 months ago, one of our regular customer had bought a bike from another shop (one closer to him than ours).

The end of the inner gear cable had broken and lodged itself into the right-hand STi lever – making gear-changing impossible. He took it back to the shop. They couldn’t fix it and quoted him £150 to replace and fit a new lever.

For a second opinion he brought it to us. Using the correct tool and technique, we got it working in 5 seconds. The customer asked us “how much for that – you’ve just saved me £150!”. Our reply: “Sorry John, you’re one of our ‘regulars’, we can’t really charge you for that. See you!”

Two minutes later,  he came back with a very nice bottle of claret for us.

Nice to be nice.



Well, Justice of a sort.

Last night, about 6:15pm one of our customer’s (we’ll call him “A”) was cycling over the bridge which connects the Leeds General Infirmary and the bottom of Clarendon Road. On noticing that 2 guys (“Y” and “Z”) loitering on the bridge, “A” moved out of the cycling lane to avoid the blokes. As “A” rode past them, “Y” viciously kicked him off the bike.

So, there’s “A” on the floor and “Y” coming over to him. You’d think “A” would be passive and “Y” and “Z” would take the “A’s” bike and bags. “Y” and “Z” didn’t know who they were dealing with!

“A” got up and landed a punch on “Y”s nose and knee into “Y’s” groin – blood gushes and “Y” is now on the floor. “Z” decided that this is not easy picking and belts it down the road.

Witness (“B”) comes to assist and restrains “Y”. “A” is chasing “Z” down the road – unfortunately “Z” got away.

The Police are called. “Y” is now SOBBING and BEGGING to be released.  Within 2 minutes the Police arrive in a car and, shortly afterwards the Cycling Police arrive. Great Service! After taking statements, the Police take “Y” away.

To us, it appears that a pair of ‘smack or crack heads’ were waiting for ANYONE to pass by for easy pickings. They would probably have passed the bike over to their dealer for only £10 or £20. The violence used by the culprits was extreme!

We’re glad that, at least one of the got their just-desserts!

“A” could easily have been a child, an elderly person, someone with a health problem or YOU.

If you see anyone acting suspiciously, take personal responsibility and do something about – don’t think assume that someone else is going to take care of it. At least call the Police – they would rather it was a ‘false alarm’ then deal with a traumatised victim afterwards. By taking action you will be helping to make our city safer for all of us.


Xmas & New Year Closing

We will be closed:

  • 24th (Friday) to 28th (Tuesday) December
  • 31st December (Friday) to 1st January (Saturday)

Our best hopes and wishes to all.



Yesterday, a customer brought in a bike because the gears weren’t working well.

Fine – we thought “probably needs adjusting, a cable change or a bit of advice on using the gears appropriately”. On enquiring as to the bike’s history, we discovered that she had bought it as a pre-owned item via the internet and was impressed by the seller’s knowledge of the bike.

Fine, we thought “the lady’s got a bargain and we’ll get her back on the road asap”.

NOT FINE. On examining the purchase we noted that:

  • both the wheels had been replaced by extremely low-quality ones,
  • both wheel spokes were slack
  • the gear shifter was 7 speed in conjunction with a 6 speed freewheel (therefore incompatible and a snowball-in-hell’s chance of working),
  • the freewheel was worn out,
  • both front and rear brake cable needed replacing
  • the rear gear changer
  • the chain was worn out and
  • the brake pads were at the end of their life.

It looked as though the seller had taken 2 worn out bikes to make one worn out bike. Not a bargain. Not a viable purchase. Not a safe bike. Not an honourable seller. Another buyer ripped-off.

After buying the bike and then spending more to get it into a safe & efficient condition, the bike wasn’t such a bargain!


  • always buy a bike from a reputable shop (i.e. one recommended by other cyclists).
  • if you are going to buy a used bicycle, make sure that you have test-ridden it AND take along someone who knows about wear’n’tear issues.
  • don’t buy on the basis of colour, style, visual condition – remember a bike is the sum of it’s components (not just a brand or model).
  • if you are unsure about your potential purchase, WALK AWAY – there’ll always be another one.

We see about 3 of these cases each week. Although renovating these wrecks may be to our benefit, we are not the type of shop to encourage private purchase without the above advice.

Looks like this post will be repeated over and over again.


New – Light – Front – Lenser B7

We’ve just received these. £54 from us (£60 rrp). They are (literally) brilliant and amazing value-for-money!

As used by our emergency services (police, para-medics, coastguard, etc.).

Lenser B7 - Bicycle light - front

Lenser B7 - Bicycle light - front

Manufacturer’s description: “This lamp meets even the highest demands. Equipped with a Cree power-LED and an innovative bracket, B7 is fit for all uses. Its range and luminosity are evocative of motorbike headlights, and the light modes available are long-distance light and low beam. The lamp is of course splash-proof, so that even heavy rain doesn’t affect its functionality”.

Our description: “You’ll be hard-pushed to find a better light at this price!

  • 3 watt Cree power chip
  • Aircraft-grade aluminium
  • Gold plated contacts
  • Reflector lens
  • Splash proof housing
  • One-handed quick focus (spot to flood)
  • Practical easy releases bracket – allows simple conversion to hand held use
  • Modes: Off, 15% power and 100% power
  • 220m range
  • 133mm long
  • 192g
  • 200 lumens
  • 4 x AAA needed (spare set included)
  • 7.2Wh
  • Upto 120hr runtime (+/- 15% depending on batteries)
  • In black or silver

Manufacturer’s page:

Lenser B7

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Posted by on 2010-11-21 in Lights, Products



Welcome to Re-Cycle Engineering’s Blog.

We’re a small and independent bicycle workshop in Leeds (UK). Although we provide parts & accessories, our primary function is to provide very good quality repairs, upgrades and new & renovated bicycles.

This blog is NOT intended to keep you updated on changes in all aspects of cycling – there’s umpteen sites already available.

We hope to update cyclists on:

  • our workshop experiences.
  • our advice to increase the chances of trouble-free cycling.
  • new products, accessories & services which may be of benefit.

We’ll also try to publish some topics (non-bicycle-related) which should be interest to everyone.

“Keeping you on your bike – without the hype

If you’re interested, you may want to go to our website:

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Posted by on 2010-11-21 in Hallo