Ask A Mechanic

dsc_4533.jpgHave a technical question about touring?

Maybe you’re wondering how long you can make a chain last, or what to do if a rack breaks on tour.

Thankfully, help is at hand. Our expert mechanics, frame builders and bike shop owners are waiting for your questions about bikes and touring.

Read their profiles and then ask a question by leaving a comment on this page or sending us a message.

We’ll pass your questions on and hopefully provide you with the information you need to keep rolling smoothly.

Topics Covered So Far:

Do wider tires let me carry more load?

How much difference does a wider tire make to the load you can carry on your touring bike? And will a wider tire make for a softer ride? Framebuilder Marten Gerritsen, who runs his own bike building workshop M-gineering in Holland, answers this question for us. Read More »

How can I check chain wear and chain strength?

Neil, from the bike workshop Common Wheel in Glasgow, Scotland, answers a question about chain wear. The Question: “Are certain bike chains are stronger than others and therefore better for fully-loaded touring? I have had chains stretch quite a bit and then wear out the teeth on the rings prematurely. So I was wondering if […] Read More »

What should I do if my frame breaks during a trip?

Discovering a crack in your bike frame in the middle of a tour is cause to worry. What can you do, to stop the crack widening? And will you have to abandon your trip? Framebuilder Marten Gerritsen of M-gineering dishes out some advice for this worst-case scenario. The Question: “I’ve never had a frame break […] Read More »

How can I check and reduce rim wear?

To save difficulties during a tour, make sure your rims are in good shape before you set out. In this week’s Ask-A-Mechanic, Luke Gibson of British framebuilders Ellis Briggs dishes out information on how to tell if your rims might need replacing and how to make them last longer. Read More »

How can I protect my bike frame from chips and scrapes?

Chris, from Cycleworld UK, answers a question about keeping your frame in mint condition while you’re on tour. And he’s got a far better idea than the nail polish we used to touch up our bikes. Never again will you have to worry about chips and scratches on the frame, after a nasty tumble. The […] Read More »


  1. gus
    22nd February 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    hi there in regards to my basic 5 speed screw on shimano freewheel, as i’m snapping axles after doing around 5to 6 thousand miles,i’ve got used to keeping the bike in its original design, i know the reason why the axle snaps on the drive side because it sticks out about 30mm, this is on a apollo 20kg bike with no panniers on it yet but has a rear rack, can i still go touring on it and i’m hoping the answer is yes, thanks

  2. Pete
    2nd June 2014 at 9:22 pm #

    I currently have fitted to my road bike a Shimano hg41-8 rear cassette and a shimano sg-x 50-f front sprocket are these compatible as I’m have trouble sorting my gears.

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