Biking can be a lot of fun as long as you do not have to push hard and pedal your way with a faulty machine. Then it just becomes unbearable. However, if you regularly take some time out to look after your bike and upkeep maintenance issues, there is no reason to not enjoy your bike for a long time.
Bikers who have been biking long know the importance of keeping their bicycle in tip top shape. But even neophytes can learn how to look after their bicycle with some basic maintenance tips. Regular bicycle maintenance will make your ride last longer and save you money getting it repaired from a mechanic.
The basic areas of maintaining a bicycle include the following:
The chain is often a neglected area in bicycle maintenance and can cause havoc if it gives in during a ride. A bicycle’s chain needs to be kept clean and well lubricated as neglecting to do so can make pedalling much harder and also damage other components of the bicycle.
Lubricating the chain is a simple procedure which will ensure that this component does not dry out and makes for a safe and easy bike ride. The chain can also become slack and stretched and present potential for hazard when riding your bike.
Brakes and gears
To look after your bicycle properly, it is important to test bicycle brakes frequently to avoid impairing your machine’s safety features. Most braking systems work by pressing a pad against the braking surface which can wear it out over time. This can cause a decline in the braking performance of the bicycle.
As long as you do not have to pull the brake levers too close to the handlebars, the brakes are in working order, but if you feel that braking requires extra pull then it will be time to replace the braking cables and pads.
Over time brake cables and gears stretch and need to be fine-tuned to adjust the tension.
Just as it is important to lubricate the chain, the same needs to be done for other bicycle moving parts such as the brakes and gears. The frequency of lubricating bike parts will greatly depend on the use of the bicycle, the surrounding weather conditions and whether it is stored indoors or outdoors.
Saddles and handlebars
Saddles and handlebars both support the rider on the bicycle. Saddles come with adjustable features that can be used to find a comfortable sitting stance for the rider. If not then riding the bicycle can be a very uncomfortable experience resulting in a sore bottom. At the same time, find a saddle height that does not tax your strength too much and from where you can pedal easily. Too high or low a saddle can cause back pain.
When adjusting the saddle, also keep in mind to reset the handlebars. As far as handlebar height is concerned, it can be tailored after setting the saddle height. Since these parts of the bicycle take most of the rider’s weight, it becomes important to check that all their bolts are secure and that there are no cracks.
Wheels and tyres
For wheel maintenance on a bicycle try spinning the front wheel which should keep on turning smoothly without any audible cracking or grinding noise. Issues like the wheel slowing quickly or making any odd noises is an indication that the hub needs re-greasing. Likewise any side to side movement at the rim also suggests that the hub bearings need adjusting.
For optimal bicycle maintenance, tyres should ideally be pumped to the right pressure for properly inflated tyres are less likely to puncture. In addition, when fully inflated, tyres will absorb shocks and bumps through the ride and minimise wheel damage. However, if there are numerous cuts in the tyres, they will need to be replaced.
Bikers need to keep in mind that tyres will go down even if the bicycle is not being used. So make sure that tyres are ready for use if you take out your bicycle after a long time.
Pedals on a bicycle are responsible for providing grip to the rider. As such there are options like pedals with clips and straps, clipless pedals that click ono the cleats on a shoe and pedals that have neither. When choosing a pedal with safety features like a clip, it is important to find one that is the right size for both your foot as well as the pedal.
Maintaining a bicycle means checking frequently to assure that the clip is tight enough to accommodate your foot and will not let it slip out. Worn out toe clips will show cracks and should be replaced immediately.
Overall clean up
Whether it is a mountain bike you own or a road bike, all bicycles look better after a wash and a polish. An overall clean up not only improves your bike’s looks but also takes care of mud, dirt and rubble issues that can take a toll on a bike’s long term performance. A clean up job is also a good time to lubricate bicycle parts where needed. You could even use pjuractive 2SKIN!
When washing your bike, keep in mind to stand the bicycle upright, whether on its own or on a bike stand and avoid using a pressure washer. Bicycle bearings are not designed to keep out water under pressure and if using a hose, remember to keep the pressure down.
Storage is also an important part of maintaining a bicycle. When not in use, the bicycle should be stored inside. Leaving it exposed to the elements will expedite rusting and possible corrosion of bicycle components.
How do you keep your bike in perfect shape? Share your tips in the comments below! 🙂