Bicycle Maintenance Tips

Maintaining your bike regularly is important to your safety, as well as for the long life of your bicycle. Bicycle maintenance isn’t just a yearly tune-up. It means inspecting your bike every time you take it out for a ride. Listed below are quick checks to perform before heading out.

Tires. Inflate tires to the pressure as listed on the sidewall of the tire. Use a pressure gauge to insure proper pressure. Look for any damage to the tire such as cuts, bulges, or tears. Remove any small debris on the tires. Replace the tire if it is damaged.

Brakes. Check your brake pads for wear. Most newer bikes have grooved brake pads, replace the pads if the grooves are entirely worn down. Check your brake pad adjustments, they should hit the rim, not rub against the tire or dive into the spokes. Check your hand brakes, they should travel at least 1 between the bar and lever when applied.

Check your cranks and chain. Your crank bolts should be tight. Check your chain for signs of wear. Grease your chain first with your bike upside down, take hold of your chain with a cloth. Pedal and run the cloth lightly over the chain to remove dirt. Then keep pedaling and apply a thin layer of chain grease. Excess grease will attract more dirt. If your chain skips on your cassette you might need an adjustment.

Check your quick releases. Your hubs should be tight on the frame and the quick release should engage at 90 degrees. The quick release lever should point back to insure that nothing catches on it. Make sure your brake quick releases to insure that they have been re-engaged if you have removed your wheel.

Take it out for a ride. Check to make sure the brakes and gears are working properly. If your bike wont stay in gear or cant shift to a low or high gear, get it checked out. Inspect your bike for any loose or broken parts and replace or fix any you find. Some people even pick their bike up and shake it to see if anything sounds loose.

Winter Bike Care
Rims. When wet, brake pads grip aluminum rims better than they do steel.

Tires. Switching to fatter tires in winter will give you better traction. Running narrow tires slightly under-inflated will provide more traction on wet streets. Use tires with a deep tread pattern.

Sand, Salt and Mud Damage. With lots of winter riding, wipe your frame, rims, spokes, and derailleurs, and lube your chain. Use a toothbrush for hard-to reach parts.

Fenders. They beat almost anything to keep you dry on wet pavement. Plastic ones are inexpensive and light, but can break if installed wrong or they can crack in extremely cold weather.

Bearing Damage. After biking in wet weather, you should store your bike indoors to allow the bearings to dry.

Brakes. Grime builds up on brake pads, making them squeak or scratch your rims. Run a rag between the pads and the rim to clean up this dirt. Occasionally remove the wheel and check pads for wear.

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