You love your bike, right? So, show it some love! Regular bike maintenance is essential for safe riding, as well as helping to prolong your bike’s lifespan and save you money.
Dan here, and today I’m going to show you some simple bike servicing tips that you can easily carry out at home. So, let’s get started.
Before/after every ride, check:
Brake effectiveness. Squeeze the brakes to make sure they’re stopping the wheels. Check the condition of the brake pads and ensure they’re not rubbing while the wheel is spinning. If your bike has v-brakes, check that the brake pad closes onto the wheel rim, not the tyre wall. If the pads have a shiny coating, or they’re squealing a lot, then you can sand them down slightly. This will also improve braking performance.
Wheels. Spin the wheels in the frame. If you see any wobbles they may need to be trued (straightened). This is a bit of a tricky process, so you might want to pop and see a bike mechanic. Depending on the type of brakes you are using, check that either the wheel rims or disc rotors are clean. If these are dirty it will compromise stopping power. You can clean these with just a rag soaked in soapy water, then rinse off and leave to dry.
Tyres. Low tyre pressure can force you to use a lot more energy than needed, and will also make the tyre more prone to punctures. The recommended maximum PSI will be printed on the tyre sidewall. Check for any glass, thorns or other sharp objects that could cause a puncture.
Chain. Have a look over the chain and add lube if it looks or feels dry.
Carry spares. Leave equipped with a spare tube, puncture repair kit, tyre levers, multi-tool and a pump. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting a puncture in the middle of a great ride, having nothing to repair it with and having to walk back!
Every month, check:
(If you ride regularly or are drawn to hardcore, off-road terrain, you may need to carry out these checks more frequently.)
Drivetrain. Clean the chain and cassette with degreaser, then rinse, dry and re-lube.
Frame. Clean the frame and check it over for any cracks or dents.
Cables. Check for any fraying or rust and apply some lube to keep them running smooth.
Cranks. Grab each crank arm and try to shake away from the bike.
Wheels. Hold opposite sides of the wheel, top and bottom and try to move the same as you did with the cranks.
Headset. With your bike on the floor in the riding position, squeeze the front brake with one hand and place your other on the top headset cup just below the handlebar stem. Move the bike back and forth and if you feel any movement in the headset cup it will need tightening.
These checks should help you keep your bike as fit and healthy as you! Bear in mind that you should also have a full service by a qualified bike mechanic every six months or so, as there is a lot which cannot be completed with simple tools.