To get the most miles out of your precious ride, it’s important to stay on top of simple maintenance and to replace parts before they cause any trouble. Below are a few general guidelines to follow to keep you rolling smoothly. Follow this quick guide to help keep your bike running well.
Every ride to once a week
- Check tire pressure and pump tires. Even if you don’t need to pump your tires every single day, it’s still a good habit to get into. Check your tire wall for the correct PSI, and keep conditions in mind—generally if it’s raining, a slightly decreased tire pressure will give you a better grip on the road.
- Ensure quick-releases are tight. Sometimes after transporting your bike at the end of a ride, it’s easy to forget to tighten the quick releases, so double check that they’re tight before you go anywhere.
- Wipe down your frame and wheels. This doesn’t have to be a full-blown cleaning, but a light hand wash will help get prevent any sugary sports drink or sweat from getting into your housing. This is a great opportunity to inspect your frame, and tires for any damage.
- Lube your chain. Type-A riders may do this before every ride; realistic or procrastinating riders can get away with once a week or every other week. Wipe your chain down after every ride to get rid of dirt and debris, then re-lube. Any lube is better than no lube, so don’t worry about the price or brand so much as making this a part of your weekly bicycle maintenance.
- Deep clean your drivetrain. Go a little deeper with the chain and cassette cleaning once a month (or every other month). Soak a rag with degreaser and run your chain backwards to remove dirt. Then re-lube. The grunge brush is a great tool for the job if you want to get a little more detailed on cleaning your drivetrain.
- Check for loose spokes. Touch every wheel spoke to ensure nothing feels loose.
- Spin to test true. Has your wheel stayed in line properly? Check to make sure.
- Test bolt tightness. Check stem bolts, crankset bolts, headset,and bottle cages. Be sure to check the specific Newton Meters listed on the parts. A torque wrench is a great tool to have for this job.
Every 6 months
- Check brake and brake pads. How’s your breaking performance? You should test your brakes before every ride, of course, but take a hard look at the brake pads a couple times a year to see if they are due for a replacement. Brake pads have wear indicators that helpful in deciding when to replace them.
- Swap out your tires. Depending on how many miles you’re putting in or the kinds of road you’re riding on, this could come earlier or later. Keep an eye out for little cuts,bigger holes, and flat spots which make your tires more flat-susceptible. If they reach the point of threading through the sidewall, it’s beyond time for a refresh.
- Examine your chain. Use a chain checker tool to see how much your chain has stretched over time. Generally you should replace it once it reaches the .5 marker. Replacing your chain sooner, rather than later will prolong the life of your cassette.
- Redo handlebar tape. Replace your grips and tape if they become worn or overly discolored. Make sure that your handlebars have plugs in the ends. If you lose them, a corkscrew is a good quick fix.
- Replace your cassette. Take a look at the teeth, on your cassette. If they start to look like sharks teeth, it is time to change out your cassette.
- Look at the bottom of your shoe. Is the rubber on your cleats gone? It’s definitely time to replace them.
- Invest in new cables. Even if your shift performance seems fine, it’s a solid bet to replace your cables and housing to make sure your brake and shift quality doesn’t suffer.
The Essentials Bike Tools You’ll Need
Here are the key tools you’ll need to perform this simle bike maintenance schedule.
- Chain Lube
- Torque Wrench
- Allen/Hex Key Set
- Pedal Wrench
- Multi-Tool with a chain tool.
- Brush Kit & Bucket for Washing Your BIke
- Screwdrivers (Flat Head & Phillips Head)