As a cyclist, it’s always good to perform your own bike maintenance. It increases the enjoyment you get from your ride and saves you money. Bike maintenance skill isn’t something that comes naturally. You’ve got some learning to do before you perfect it. However, there are some simple yet useful tips you need to turn into some form of “ritual” for your bike. Well, there are tons of cool ideas on how to keep your bike well maintained. Below is a roundup of the top 10 bicycle maintenance tips every cyclist needs to know.
1. Keep moving parts lubricated
The secret to prolonging the useful life of moving bike components is to keep them well lubricated. Squeaking sounds and loud rattling are telltale signs that your bike needs some lubes. Remember it’s cheaper to lubricate than making a new replacement. Ensure the bike is properly cleaned before you lubricate. Don’t just use any lubricant. Settle for bike specific lubricants as recommended by the manufacturer. Parts that need lubrication include the chain, derailleur, cables, brake pivots, and shifters.
2. Ensure tires are properly inflated
Before going for a ride take some time to check the pressure in your tires. This is one of the most important things that affect the quality of your bike riding. Proper tire pressure lets you achieve speed with less effort than you will with tires that have low pressure. It’s recommended to always inflate your tires to the right PSI. For this task, you’ll need an inflation pump that has a pressure gauge. Tire pressure inspection should be done at least once a week.
3. Check bearing play
Bearing play is something that should be corrected the moment it’s detected otherwise the problem might get bigger and more expensive. Components to check for bearing play include hubs, cranks, and headset. To check for bearing play, spin the wheels and check for any wobbles. In case there is any, then it’s time that you need to have your wheels trued. Check the wheel hub bearing and see if it’s worn out. There’s a high chance that it might be a time you make a new replacement.
4. Keep nuts and bolts tight
Rattling and banging sounds might be as a result of loosely held parts. That means you need to keep bolts, nuts, and screws properly tightened. There’s a high chance that you might even lose them if they’re held loose. The right amount of torque should be applied when tightening bolts and nuts. Some bike manufacturers have the maximum torque limit written on each part of the bike that needs tightening. For this job, you’ll need to get yourself a torque wrench.
5. Inspect your brakes
You need to keep your brakes in good check to maintain good braking power. Give them a squeeze to make sure there’s a good grab. If there isn’t, then you might want to check the brake pads to see if they touch the rims. Remember brake pads should always be flat and evenly worn. In case the brake levers can’t reach the handlebars, then it’s time that you replace your brake pads. Always keep the braking surface free of oil and dirt. Oil reduces braking power and dirt makes pads wear out substantially faster.
6. Pluck your spokes before the ride
Spokes are one of the most important components of your wheel and if they fail, then you’re in big trouble. Riding around on loose spokes is quite dangerous. A rattling or humming sound is one of the telltale signs of loose spokes. Well, you might find the sound hard to detect at times. The easy way to tell if your spokes are loose is to pluck them the way you do to guitar strings. Often, a loose spoke will produce a buzz or lower note. If there are any loose spokes, then your wheels need truing.
7. Keep bike clean
Your bike is prone to get dirty even if it’s not meant for off-road riding. That means you need to keep it clean. A wipe with a damp cloth might work. But it’s always recommended that you give it a deep clean on an occasional basis. Use some rags, water, and soft bristled brush. You should have some cleaning solvent to make quick work of grease. When washing your bike, it’s recommended that you do it from top to bottom. Let it dry and lubricate moving parts before use.
8. Keep bike tools close
You never know what will happen when you go out for a ride. Chances are that you might experience bike damage that might require some repair. For that reason, you need to always keep your tools close. You can choose to have some form of storage fitted on your bike so that the tools are always there whenever you need them. Among the most important tools to have on a ride include a patch kit, pump, chain breaker, and torque wrench.
9. Know when you’re beaten
Be it due to lack of knowledge or experience, there are some repairs that might be well beyond your skills. In such a situation, you need to seek the services of a professional. In short, you’re not capable of every repair. It’s better to part with a few bucks for professional service instead of trying it yourself and make the problem even much bigger and more expensive.
10. Replace worn-out parts
As with most machines and equipment out there, you don’t expect your bike to run on the same parts throughout its life. This mostly applies to the moving components of the bike. There’s a likelihood that they’ll become worn out at one point in their life. So you need to be prepared to make a replacement when the time comes. This practice will help increase the life of your bike and improve performance.
Periodic maintenance is key to keeping bike failures at a minimum. These bicycle maintenance tips are the perfect solution to achieving that. Though they look quite basic, you shouldn’t overlook them in case you’re looking to save money. You can do most of these all by yourself.
Remember that you’ll at some point have to seek the services of a professional. In short, these maintenance tips aren’t 100% guarantee that you won’t experience some slight technicalities. As they say, there are times when you need a helping hand. We hope these tips & tricks have given you some ideas on how to improve your biking experience.