Your bicycle does not run solely on leg strength. A good listen, a bit of lube, and a lot of love are also needed. You may not know which intervention your bike requires to live a long life, but with proper bike maintenance, you can keep it in top shape and out of the store.
Monthly Bike Maintenance Jobs
Completely Clean the Bike
If there was one thing we heard about cycling last year, it was that more people were getting on their bikes for fitness and adventure. And you’ve already learned that the more muddy rides you take on the trails, and the more you want to carry it inside for a training session, the more you’ll need to clean it. Even if your bike isn’t fully covered in mud and gravel, it still needs regular maintenance. A road bike should be cleaned once a month (or every 20 to 25 rides), whereas a mountain bike should be cleaned more frequently.
Cycling equipment is costly, and you want to make sure it lasts as long as possible. However, there can be things you’re doing that shorten the longevity of the gear, requiring the purchase of replacements. Not sure how to maintain bicycle gears and worried about the expense of potential accidents and failures? Then consider insuring your valuable bicycle through trusted insurers like Velosurance. They cover full range value insurance, crash damage, and theft coverage. Being founded by two cyclists and partnering with an A.M.Best “A” rated US insurance company, this allows them to provide a multi-risk strategy that protects all types of cyclists.
Inspect Your Chain
The pins and inner links of the chain will wear out over time, causing the pitch (length) of each link to increase. Chain stretch is a term used to describe how the average length of the chain expands with wear, although the metal does not seem to stretch. When the chain wears out, the cassette and chainrings wear out as well, becoming “hooked” to the high-riding chain. Replacing your chain before it becomes too worn will extend the life of the rest of your drivetrain significantly.
Inspect and Lubricate Brake Cables and Levers
If your road bike has an electronic gruppo or a hydraulic system with disc brakes, the shift and brake components on your bike use cables to change gears and stop your ride. It’s important to keep an eye on stuff like your brake cables and levers, which can save your life. You may notice wear when the braking power isn’t as strong as it once was, or that the cables are less sensitive. The easiest way to keep your bike in good shape is to perform a quick cable inspection and lubrication. It’s also a simple procedure. After you’ve completed your inspection, repair any cables or housing that display signs of wear or damage.
Inspect Pedals and Lubricate SPD Style Cleats
SPD pedals seem to last forever even when left alone. Servicing pedals is a ridiculously easy task, and performing this five-minute pedal refresh will ensure that they spin smoothly for years to come. Wash the pedals, remove the axle from the body, clean the axle and pedal body, inspect and replace any loose bearings, and reassemble. Easy enough.
Inspect Tires for Wear
When you start putting miles on your tires every week, you’ll be surprised by how easily they wear out or fail. Preventing catastrophic failure on a long out-the-door trip will save a lot of time and frustration. Regular road tires lack an observable tread pattern, so the formation of a flat surface along the center line and a squaring off to the side walls is one way to detect wear. The absence of any remaining tread, cracked rubber, constant flats, or cuts and holes, can all show that it is time for a replacement.
Check your headset, hubs, and cranks for bearing play regularly. Squeeze the front brake and rock your bike back and forth to test your headset. Push the wheel or crank side to side to check the bearings. If a part wiggles, it needs to be adjusted. Don’t neglect it, otherwise the issue could become larger and more costly.
Take It to the Professionals
Bikes are thoroughly engineered these days and some cost more than a pretty penny. If you have problems beyond your understandings, there’s no need to be a hero. You may not be capable of performing every repair, whether it be due to a lack of knowledge or experience, or a lack of the necessary equipment for the job. You should seek the help of a specialist when the time calls. It’s not only about improving your drive to become a great cyclist; it’s also about having your bike ready to perform as well as you do. Take some time each week or month to work on the skills mentioned above to keep your bike running smoothly, and be sure you remember how to maintain bicycle gears.
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At least once or twice a year.
Try using a light, waterproof lube such as Boeshield T-9 Waterproof Lubricant.
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