Caring for Your Bike
Caring for your bike is as important as selecting the right bike for your needs. Proper bike maintenance is essential for your bike’s health as well as your own. Poorly maintained bikes can lead to serious wear and tear causing poor performance which can result in safety hazards. Fortunately, this can be avoided with a bit of time and effort.
Depending on your biking lifestyle, we recommend implementing a regular maintenance schedule. If you ride hard and expose your bike to environmental elements more, you’ll want to maintain your bike more frequently. Wet weather and muddy conditions can erode your bike’s parts, leading to corrosion and rust.
Lubricating your bike is crucial for optimum performance. Lubricating moving parts prevents excessive wear and tear caused by friction. Take care not to over-lubricate as this can also attract abrasive elements. After applying lubricant, simply wipe away any excess lubricant. When applying lubricant, look for parts that rub together. Where metal meets metal, you want to ensure these parts have adequate lubrication.
Parts that require lubrication
- Brake & shifter levers
- Brake & derailleur assemblies
- Brake & derailleur cables
Cleaning your Bike
Keeping your bike cleaned regularly helps prevent rust and corrosion. You’ll want to place special attention to keeping your drivetrain clean. The drivetrain is the portion of your bike that enables you to propel forward. It consists of all the bits you use to push or pull your bike along. Key components of your drivetrain include the chains, crain rings, cogs, pedals and derailleur. Cleaning this portion of the bike can be as easy as running a damp cloth along the bits to clean any debris but may require a deeper clean. This can be done by scrubbing or brushing but make sure you reapply lubricant after. When cleaning chains, it helps to use a chain cleaning device but you may find a clean toothbrush to be helpful as well.
Nuts & Bolts
Bikes are held together by nuts and bolts and as we all know, these can become loose over time. Implement regular checks into your maintenance routine to ensure any loose bolts are properly tightened. Be sure to refer to your owner’s manual prior, to obtain the correct torque specs, to avoid over-tightening and damaging the parts.
Tyres & Wheel Bearings
Keeping your tyres properly inflated helps to avoid punctures and wear and tear. Include tyre checks in your regular maintenance and always use a pump that is compatible with the type of tyre your bike uses. Wheel movement is also important. Spin the tyres to see if they spin smoothly. If you observe any wobble or notice the tyres move in a course manner, this will need to be addressed before you ride again.
Inspect your brakes every time you use your bike. A faulty brake can lead to accidents which can cause serious injury and even be fatal. When checking your brakes, inspect your brake pads to ensure they’re not worn out. Also check the cables and clamps to ensure nothing is loose and everything is working properly. Make sure all parts are tightly secure and cleaned regularly.
If your bike is equipped with disc brakes, a special note is not to spray or apply any lubricant/ spray/ cleaner on or near disc brake pads and rotors. This will contaminate brake pads and disc rotors and decrease braking efficiency and promote noise. If this occurs, the brake pads require replacement and disc rotors require deep cleaning.
You might think bike maintenance requires heavy duty tools. That’s not really the case at all. Most things you need for proper bike maintenance, you already have lying around the house or garage somewhere while others are typically easy to source from your local store.
Here is a list of what you will need:
- Water - use as needed and where bike parts can be aired to dry after
- Brushes - cleaning brushes are useful but to really get into the small cracks and crevices, but a clean toothbrush is going to be your best friend.
- Rags - keep a stash of clean rags on hand for each required task (ie: grease, cleaning & drying)
- Soap - Specialised bike cleaner works best but you can also use dish liquid diluted with water.
- Degreaser - A good degreaser is probably one of the most important elements in cleaning your bike. This will help you efficiently remove dirt & debris.
- Lubricant - A bike-safe lubricant is necessary for cleaning your bike. Not every lubricant is made equally so check to make sure the lubricant you choose is safe to use on bikes. Using oil that is too thin will dissipate quickly where oil that is too thick will gum up and attract dirt.
- Bike Stand - Many bikes come with a kick-stand that can effectively support your bike but for best support, a bike stand is best.