Bike Servicing Basics
Having that new bike feel every time you ride your bike is enough motivation to get out and ride with friends, so let’s keep your pride and joy maintained. For safe and happy cycling, all mechanical parts on your bike will have to be serviced or even repaired at some point. That’s why regular bike servicing is very important.
There are things you can do yourself to limit a build up of costs and keep your bike maintained better regularly. Check out our ‘Keeping Your Bike Roadworthy’ blog for more details on that.
However, unless you’re a qualified mechanic by title or a full on bike geek, then some things are going to require a bike shop, a little spending and regular servicing.
What to expect from a Bike Service
We understand looking at a bike servicing list can be daunting, realistically who knows what level of service they need? Not many and certainly not when you’re first starting out!
If you manage to keep your bike in pretty good condition, then your need for a big service should be quite limited. However, there are things that go wrong without any reason. But your service will depend on the issues you have and what type of service you book.
If you just want an MOT as such, then you can book a basic service. Often if you book your bike in for a basic service, the shop will let you know if they come across any further problems you might need to consider fixing.
The type of bike you own will also vary the bike servicing requirements. For example, a fixie won’t take or need anywhere near as much work as a full 11 speed bike.
After bike servicing, your bike should feel as good as new. The gears should change swiftly and smoothly. There shouldn’t be any ticking or sticking anywhere and it should roll along like it’s fresh out of the box.
Bike servicing checklist: What’s included in a bike service?
Most services include the following as standard
- Checking gears and indexing them
- Checking wear on brake pads and tyres
- Tensioning any cables
- Checking for fraying
- Checking wear on working parts such as chain and cassette
The bigger service you pay for, the more in depth the service gets. Some may include a full strip down to check everything, including the parts you can’t see such as bearings.
How often should you service your bike?
A standard time frame is every three to six months, depending on how your bike is running and how well you look after it.
Not all parts wear at the same rate, and if you notice an issue you’re best getting it checked relatively quickly. The longer you leave an issue the more likely it is to damage something else and cost more money.
However, after most rides or weekly if you ride regularly you should as a minimum check your own bike for:
- Tyre wear – when these wear thin you’ll puncture more regularly and it will also affect your bike handling
- Chain wear – riding with a worn out chain can damage your chainrings and cassette
- Make sure gears are running smoothly – if not they can wear the chain and cassette quicker
- Clean and lube your chain to keep it gliding
- Clean your bike regularly – the debris can ruin so many parts and damage your paint
We also recommend getting your bike serviced around two weeks before any events you are doing (a sportive, a big race, or a cycling trip). This will identify and sort any potential issues with your bike ahead of time and so give you confidence that your bike will ride like a dream during your event.
Where to service your bike
As firm supporters of local bike shops, we would always recommend you try and get into your local bike shop before a franchise. However, you’ll need to remember to book it early and not expect there to be spaces within a matter of days, especially during the busy summer months when lots more people are on their bikes.
Check out our recommended bike shops around the country here. Remember, spending a little bit of money early, will save a lot of money further down the line.