Bike Maintenance Tips
Thursday 13th October 2016
Bike Pro - Bike Maintenance tips
The best way to ensure you get long life and good value out of your bike is a regular programme of maintenance. Our pre-ride checks might help flag some of these issues as well, but even these can be avoided if you regularly maintain your bike, and have it professionally serviced at least once a year.
Bike Pro Racing's top Bike maintenance tips are:
Keeping your bike clean is the easiest way to ensure your bike stays in the best condition for as long as possible. In the main, a bucket of water and bike wash, a sponge and a toothbrush (not your other halves) is enough. A degreaser to get rid of oil and grit in the chain and gears can be a good addition.
Blasting your bike with a high-pressure hose forces in unwanted grit and dirt and blows out much-needed grease and lube.
Keep your tyres inflated properly to avoid punctures. You need a standing track pump with a pressure gauge to do the job. If you're out and about you can pop into Bike Pro to use ours. Look at the PSI number on the side of your tyre. That tells you how much air to put in. If you do get a flat, remove the instigator—whatever it is from the inside of your tire, or look for a tear in your tyre's sidewall. If not, you'll keep getting flats.
Check your brake pads regularly. Worn brake pads are no good to anyone. If you can't see the grooves, you need new brake pads. Fitting new brake pads is a very cheap and easy fix. Other ways of knowing your brakes are worn are a gritty scraping sound, or you feel stickiness when you brake.
Silence squeaky brakes - Screeching brakes are often dirty brakes, or at least dirty wheel rims or discs. Clean and dry both properly and most of the time, you've solved the problem. If that doesn't work, they might need adjusting.
Tighten saggy brakes - If your lever moves more than halfway towards the handlebars when squeezed, then your brakes need tightening. The easiest way to do this is twiddle the barrel adjuster by the brake lever. If that doesn't do the trick, you'll need to get your Allen keys out and free the brake cable by opening the brake nut, pulling it taut and closing the nut again.
Get a professional service once a year - Ideally at the start of spring if you've been brave enough to cycle though winter. Think of it as your bicycle MOT. A full service will give you great peace of mind at the beginning of a season.
Keep your bike lubricated - using some bike-specific lubricant. Use it sparingly on any parts of your bike where metal touches metal. There is no point oiling your chain unless you have cleaned it properly first - you'll make matters worse.
It's important to keep your chain lubricated with the proper lubricant for your area. If you ride in the UK, want a lube that will stay on in the rain. If you live near the beach, you might want a dry lube so sand won't stick to it.
Also, there's no need to douse your chain with a whole bottle of lube. Excess lubricant just attracts grit. Use a light coat, spin the crank a few times, and then wipe the extra off with a rag.
Remember don't use a solvent to lube your chain.
Check your wheels are true - by turning your bike upside down and spinning your wheels. If they wobble a bit from side to side they need "truing". This is a quick fix, but as you need special equipment it's best to get it done in-store. Bike Pro provide this service for a small fee.
Get your saddle perfect for your riding style - If you are getting a sore bum then experiment with your saddle, raising or tilting it slightly to suit your riding style. If you get sore knees while cycling, you might have your saddle too low. When you pedal, your legs should be almost straight on the downwards revolution.
Tighten your pedals for a quiet ride - Loose pedals is a common cause of creaks and squeaks. Pedal wrenches exist for a reason.
Check your chain regularly - A chain-checking tool is an easy way to test the stretch of your chain. If it says you're at 0.50-percent wear, you've got one more season left in your chain. If it's at 0.75 percent, you've got a month or less left.
If you don't have a chain checker, go find a ruler. When 24 links of your chain measure more than 12 1⁄16 inches from rivet to rivet, it's time to replace your chain. Once that measurement reaches 12 1⁄8 your cogset is likely shot as well.
Don't be a hero. Whether it's due to lack of knowledge or experience, or not having the proper tools for the job, you are not capable of every repair. Sometimes you have to take your problem to a professional. Don't lie to your bike mechanic either - it just makes the job harder!
Pluck your spokes regularly so you get to know what feels and sounds right. When one feels off or its tone is different from the rest, you know you have a loose spoke.