Easy Fixes for Annoying Bike Issues

June 30, 2015

Keep your bike safe and comfortable by ensuring the saddle, bell and handlebars are in the proper position and kept in good working order.

Easy Fixes for Annoying Bike Issues

My handlebar grips are loose

Hair spray them in place

If your handlebar grips are loose, pull them off and spray hair spray inside. Slide them back on — the hair spray will lubricate the grips, making it easy to position them. As it dries, the spray sets them firmly in place. This tip also works when replacing old grips with new ones.

My bell doesn’t ring

Check the bell's assembly

A working bicycle bell can prevent accidents, so it's important to keep yours in good working order.

  • If your bell has stopped ringing, first loosen the cover by turning it counterclockwise — there needs to be a gap between the cover and the bell for the cover to reverberate.
  • If that doesn't restore the ring, unscrew the cover and remove any rust from the mechanism within using steel wool or a wire-tipped brush.

My saddle creaks when I ride

Oil out those annoying noises

If your saddle squeaks as your weight shifts back and forth, check that the securing bolts are tight (but not overtight — that can cause creaking too). Watch out for cracks in the mounting rails underneath the saddle — if you find any, replace the saddle immediately.

  • If the saddle still creaks, apply lubricant carefully to the securing bolts and clamp underneath the saddle around the seat post.
  • Give it a minute to penetrate, then wipe away any excess.

My bike lock has seized up

Lubricate it to loosen any corrosion

Locks are essential for keeping your bike safe. But when they are exposed to bad weather for long periods, they are prone to seizing up.

  • If you use a padlock and chain, spray WD-40 or penetrating oil into the holes in the top of the lock where the shackle enters the body, and into the keyhole. If it's a combination lock, spray around the tumblers too.
  • Grip the shackle with a pair of pliers and wiggle gently. Turn the key, wiggling it gently to help break any resistance. If you can, pull on the shackle while turning the key.
  • Give the top of the lock a good tap on the ground or against a piece of wood. The shock might help loosen any corrosion.
  • Once the lock is open, soak the inside with penetrating oil — or cola if you don't have oil — and clean any corrosion off with steel wool.


Never allow lubricant or oil of any kind to touch the brake pads or the wheel rim, as it can compromise braking. If you spill some accidentally, remove it with a cloth soaked in detergent or degreaser. Dry thoroughly with a cloth, then roughen the surface with fine sandpaper (for a brake pad) or coarse emery cloth (for a wheel rim).

My bike lock rattles when I ride

Silence it with tape

D-locks are usually carried in a bracket attached to the bike frame. The weight of the lock makes it prone to rattling in the bracket as you ride.

To silence it, wrap one to two turns of electrical tape around the arm of the lock; this will make it fit snugly into the bracket.

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