We’ve all experienced that magnificent feeling when our bike has returned from the local bike shop, after a service – it’s a feeling only a cyclist will experience. Unfortunately, the cost of shop visits can really mount up.
However, we’ve spoken to some mechanics to find some quick tips to help you maintain your own bike a bit and hopefully bring down the price of your services. Along with some insider knowledge on when it’s recommended to visit a mechanic.
Firstly, if you’re able to store your bike inside, it’s highly recommended because rust destroys bikes. If you can’t keep it inside then a shed or you should at least cover it with a sheet if it has to be locked up outside. Prevention is the best cure to disintegrating bikes!
Basic maintenance after each ride
- Check your tyres for any splinters/glass because it can save you from punctures on your next ride
- Clean your bike if it was a particularly wet/muddy ride
- Lube/wax your chain once it is clean and dry
- Dry your bike and make sure there isn’t any water trapped anywhere
- Check brakes/cables
- Check wheels are in tight still
Weekly maintenance checks
- Check your chain isn’t too worn – you can purchase a chain checker online, which comes with instruction
- Check your tyre pressure, because eventually the incorrect pressure will destroy your tyres by wearing them out in the wrong way and quicker
Monthly bike checks
- Try to strip the bike and clean it completely i.e. take the wheels out, clean the cassette and chain individually, clean in between chainstays/fork
- Inspect derailleur for any notable damage
- Check cranks are tight
- Check pedals are tight and are moving well
- Inspect and check all bolts are tight
Bad weather checks
- Check there isn’t any water building up anywhere, sometimes modern carbon wheels can get a build up of water inside them – rust will destroy your bike
- Clean around your bike, without removing parts. Removing any mud, grit and fluids that may have leaked onto your bike
- Clean near your bottom bracket, headset and wheel bearings/hubs
- Dry everything off
Items to buy that will be helpful
We’d recommend purchasing a bottle of bike cleaner, they’re reasonably priced and help to remove grime and grease from your bike, they’re easy to use and also won’t damage your bike with harsh chemicals.
A good brush to use on your chain and cassette when cleaning – it’s very important to keep your chain clean and well lubed, not only will it keep your gears working smoothly, it’ll help prolong your equipment and make your rides more enjoyable.
A chain checker, we’ve all been there where we’ve worn through our chain and not noticed until it’s too late and the gears no longer work properly – it’s best to avoid this because it also wears your cassette out quicker, so grab yourself a little chain checker and check regularly.
Finally, a track pump – floor pump is unbelievably useful. There is nothing worse than trying to pump up your tires with a hand pump, or surfing around your local shops to have to borrow a pump every week. Although not always the cheapest, they are a solid investment.
‘I’d recommend you have your bike serviced twice a year, once going into the bad weather season and one as we come into spring/summer. It will keep your bike fresh and should also bring down the cost of one of the services.’
The winter will add a lot of strain to your bike, the salt on the road from the gritters, the debris washed into your tracks from the rain and the puddles of water you’ll have to skoot through on your rides are just a few examples of what your bike goes through. You’ll likely find winter riding tough – like most other cyclists, so imagine how your bike feels.
By trying to keep your bike clean, checking the chain,making sure the tyres are pumped to the right pressure and keeping your bike dry you can bring down the wear of your bike a lot.
It’s also good to note, youtube is a wonderful cloud of knowledge – not sure how to use a chain checker? Have a little mooch on youtube, honestly, it will become your best friend for bike videos.