1. Give your bike a bath!
One of the most critical activities you can do to maintain your bike and all its components is wash it regularly. Keeping things clean is one of the easiest ways to keep your bike running smoothly and make your components last longer.
Be sure to:
- Degrease drivetrain using degreaser or dawn dish soap
- Clean brake pads and brake track with soap and water
- Use a soft bristle brush or soft towel when cleaning frame
- Re-lubricate dry chain
2. Know what wear looks like
For your own safety and the life of the bike, it’s important to know what wear looks like for different components of the bike.
- Exposed threads
- Bulges or lumps
- Holes or gashes
- Most road tires have two tiny dimples that serve as wear indicators. When they’re gone, so is your tire
- Brake Pads:
- For rim brakes: if the teeth or grooves are gone, it’s time to replace
- For disc brakes: the pads usually start out about 3-4mm thick. When they’re about 1mm thick, replace them soon!
- For all brakes: if you feel like your brakes are unresponsive, the pads may be worn, or they may just need to be adjusted. Bring your bike in for us to take a look at it if you’re unsure!
3. Check your bearings
In order to keep our bikes running at its’ best, we must be sure to maintain smooth-turning, low friction bearings that are properly adjusted.
- Check for lateral motion in the wheel, headset, and bottom bracket to determine if there’s play in the bearings indicating wear or adjustment issues.
- Test to see if your front wheel bearings are smooth by spinning the wheel and holding onto the top tube close to the headset to amplify vibrations that indicate bearing wear (the same test applies for the rear wheel but the cassette makes it a bit harder to feel the bearing vibration)
- Your headset bearings can be tested in a similar manner: check for play in the bearings by holding the handlebars firmly and trying to shift them left and right. Make sure there is no lateral play.
- Check your bottom bracket bearings by testing for lateral play in the pedals. This is another important area to check for smoothness, as we want to put has little effort into the pedals as possible.
If you have any other questions about bike maintenance or other specific issues, feel free to stop by the shop or give us a call! We’d love to help you out!