General Bike Care

No mechanical device is going to run forever without some occasional maintenance. And that goes for your bicycle as well. If you want your bike to be a trusty stead for your adventures, you need to take care of it. With a little maintenance, your bike should give you years of faithful service.

Here are a few tips to help get the most out of your bicycle.

  1. Dry your bike whenever it gets wet. If you come back from a ride and your bike is wet, bring it inside where it can dry thoroughly. If you bike is muddy or dirty, wash it off before the mud dries. Then dry you bike. Avoid harsh detergents and pressure sprays. And NEVER clean your bike at a car wash.
  2. Wash your bike. Many people over lubricate their chains whether they need it or not. Keep this up and eventually the entire chain and drive system will be a gooey mess. This gooey mess gathers dirt and speeds up wear and tear grinding up the chain, cogs and chain rings. Keep the chain drive clean by washing it often with water, cleaning agent and a brush and dry it completely. After washing, lubricate the chain with a dry lube. Between washings, only lube the chain if it is noisy. If rust appears after a wet ride, it is time to clean the drive system.
  3. Check your chain. Do this at least a few times every season. You will need to make an accurate measurement of your chain. 24 links of chain should be 12 inches long. If they have stretched more than 1/16 inch, you should replace the chain because this causes wear on the cogs.
  4. Center your wheels. Make sure your wheels are centered the fork and rear triangle. And check and double check that your quick releases are securely closed.
  5. Examine brake pads for wear. The brake pads can wear out quickly from making long, steep descents. To check your pads, apply the brakes and examine their position on your rims. Are they in contact with the tire If so, you are at risk of cutting a tire open. Are they too low and part of the pad is not contacting the rim If so, over time the pad will develop a lip, not release from the rim and drag on the rim permanently. And this makes you work too hard.
  6. See if your wheels are true. This is simple to check. Sight off your brake pad and spin each wheel. Do the rims wobble side to side or up and down If they do, you need to have them trued up to improve braking and to maintain wheel integrity.
  7. Check for tire wear. Are the treads worn smooth Are there dry, cracked sidewalls, or gashes on your tires If so, replace them. High-speed descents can be extremely risky on worn tires. You dont want to be catapulted off your bike because of a blowout or other tire failure.
  8. Examine cables and housings. Look for damage or grime. Shifting and braking performance deteriorate gradually, making it difficult for you to notice changes. Resistance in cable housings is the most common cause of shifting problems. Do the levers move easily The most common places for damage to occur is where the housings end and where the housings pass the head tube.

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