You’re relying on your bike to get you where you want to go, and get there safely. A small amount of maintenance will pay dividends in terms of your riding enjoyment, plus a well maintained bike is safer and more comfortable.
How often you need your bike serviced depends on how often you ride it. As a general rule of thumb we recommend you get your new bike serviced after the first 6 weeks for adjustments once parts have bedded in. Following which a pre-summer and pre-winter service would be recommended as a minimum.
But don’t forget in between services to carry out the following few checks to keep things rolling smoothly.
Feeling a bit flat?
Check your tyres often as they may deflate over time. Tyres that are not at the right pressure make it much harder to ride. Floor pumps make this much quicker and easier than hand pumps. As a rough pressure guide, road bikes need to be around 100 psi, hybrids around 70 psi and mountain bikes around 50 psi.
Failing to stop
Unless you are a competitive track cyclist – brakes are important. They last quite a long time, but are super quick to check. Look to see that the brake pads are not too worn – there are lines cut into the pad. If you can’t see these, then it’s time for new ones. Also check that they line up with the braking surface on the rim (the silver part, usually) and aren’t rubbing your tyres.
A dirty and over lubricated chain is not only the scourge of trouser legs worldwide, but also the most common problem seen by bicycle mechanics. A greasy chain attracts dirt and causes more wear to all the parts it touches in the drivetrain. To keep your chain in good order you will need some lube and a rag.
Pop the bike upside down and liberally apply lube to the chain at the rear cassette (the gears at the back). Turn the pedals backwards for around five seconds and then use a rag to wipe off the excess lube. Really wipe the chain, it can’t be too clean! The lube will be inside the links but the cleaner the outside is, the longer the chain and cassette will last. Be careful while wiping the chain – don’t let the rag get snagged or your fingers caught.
Checking your nuts
Wheel nuts or skewers (some bikes have nuts, some have quick release skewers) and the main bolts on your head stem, saddle, seatpost, cranks and rear rack should stay tight, but it is worth just checking them every now and again. Popping an allen key into each nut/bolt or putting a spanner on and giving it a quick tighten is a good way to test. You don’t want anything coming loose in the middle of your ride.
Like your car, bikes love a good clean every now and again. The easiest way is to clean your bike with a soft foam pad like you would use on the car with a bucket and a hose. Just be careful not to spray the hose at full power into sensitive areas. If you can, use a very soft head on the hose.
Gears a bit cranky?
If you have gears that sound a bit rough or are not shifting properly, it might be time to book in that annual service.
As always, if in doubt call your local stockists who will be happy to provide advice over the phone or in person.
If you give your bike a little love, it will love you back with years of happy and reliable riding!