Bike Maintenance: Five Common Mistakes

If you’re new to bike riding, or have only just started to maintain your bike yourself, bike maintenance can feel a bit of a minefield. There are five commonly-made mistakes that are all too easy to make, but luckily, with this guide, you won’t make them again!

Too Much Lube!

When it comes to lubricating your bike chain, it’s definitely not a case of ‘more is more’! It’s all-too easy to get over-enthusiastic with the lube, but you actually want to apply the bare minimum – and make sure the chain is clean before you do so!

As a guide, we suggest you apply a thin layer of lube to one full rotation of the chain, and then stop – don’t keep going over the chain again and again. Make sure you apply the lube to the top of the chain, where the rollers are, not on the sides. If you spill some lube onto the sides, simply wipe it with a rag. If you apply too much lube to your bike chain, you end up with a big sticky mess all over your drivetrain.

If you want to see it being done, check out our video all about chain maintenance.

Doing Bolts Up Too Tight

When you’re performing bike maintenance, it’s tempting to do up all the bolts extra-tight, just to be sure they’re safe. However, doing things up too tight risks cracking your components, which is a disaster. This is particularly likely if you own a carbon frame or components, as it is quite a brittle material.

When working on your bike, we always recommend using a torque wrench – a precision tool designed to help you apply the correct amount of force when tightening a bolt – and applying just below the Nm reading printed on your components. This Nm figure is the maximum torque required for the component, so do not exceed it! If you want to see where these readings are printed and how to use a torque wrench, check out this video.

You can find out more about why torque is so important at our blog, here.

If you have to make an adjustment by the side of the road and don’t have a torque wrench to hand, apply just the amount of force so that your multitool leaves a slight imprint in your palm after you’ve done the work. The imprint should fade quickly or it suggests you may have tightened too much. Make sure you loosen the bolt and tighten it again with a torque wrench when you’re home to ensure you’ve got it right.

Not greasing pedals

When you install your bike’s pedals, make sure you grease the threads before winding them into the crank! Otherwise, you’re going to have to be feeling very, very strong when you go to remove them.

The weight and force applied through the pedals, and the way in which the crank and pedal area attracts dirt and dust, means that the pedal can effectively become ‘fused’ into the crank if grease wasn’t applied beforehand.

Any generic grease will work, just wipe a small amount around both pedal threads, then install away.

Forgetting about your Quick Release Skewers

The quick release skewers that hold your wheels into the frame of a rim brake bike are easily forgotten about during bike maintenance work. However, if these are not sufficiently tightened, you could be putting yourself in danger!

Under-tightening your skewers mean that the wheel isn’t secure in the frame. It’s most likely that this will result in your wheel not spinning true through the brakes, meaning you’re going to get intermittent brake rub as you ride. In the worst case, if the skewer is extremely loose, there’s a risk that a wheel could fall out of the frame, as the skewer could undo itself altogether.

Check out this video to help you gauge how to get the pressure on your quick releases just right.

Putting too much air in your tyres

Riding a bike with over-inflated tyres is no fun. If you’ve got too much air in the tyre, it will make for an extremely uncomfortable ride as you bounce over the smallest lump and bump in the road or trail. And too much pressure will mean your traction is compromised, making cornering or riding in the wet perilous. Wherever possible, we recommend using a pump with a gauge, such as our very own pump with gauge!

The numbers printed on your tyres are not recommended pressures, but maximums, so don’t feel inclined to pump right up to that number. The tyre pressure that is appropriate for you depends on a range of factors including your weight, tyre and rim width, the terrain, and the conditions. Everyone has a preference, but this is a useful start point:

If you thought "Bike Maintenance: Five Common Mistakes" was a great read. Here are some related articles for you.

Like this PRO BIKE TOOL article about Bike Maintenance: Five Common Mistakes! Why not Share it with your fellow cyclists!

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Make 2022 the year you get back on the bike

We all know what a new year means – new year’s resolutions.

This new year, make yourself a promise to yourself that isn’t about dieting, denial and strict self-discipline.

Why not make a resolution that’s a lot of fun, will benefit your health, and will do your bit for the environment. Oh, and did we mention you’ll make a tonne of new friends too?

Read More

Best Apps for Bike Riders!

Looking to get fitter, explore new routes, or dial in your diet? There’s an App for all of those things, and more.

Here are the five best cycling Apps for Android and iPhone:

Read More

PRO BIKE TOOL Gift Guide 2020

The only thing a cyclist likes as much as a new bike is a new tool or accessory to play with.
But what to get your favourite cyclist for Christmas? There are a lot of gadgets you can get that rider in your life, and it can become a bit overwhelming. Luckily we’re here to help, and have created our 2020 gift guide!

Read More


Winter is nearly here, and it’s time to get ready for the chilly air and dirty roads of the off-season.

Some riders find it tough to get out in the inclement weather and low light of winter, however, a few key tips and hacks will help you roll through to spring and keep you fit and having fun!

Here are our five top tips for cycling through the winter.

Read More

Indoor Training Apps: Which one is for you?

Indoor cycling training season is nearly here – are you prepared?

We’re sorry to break it to you, but summer is over and the dark nights and wet roads of winter are around the corner. If you prefer to save your bike rides for sunny dry days and clean trails, then indoor training is your answer for when the weather turns sour!

Read More

A bike rider’s guide to protein

All you need to know about protein to boost your performance on the bike and your overall health! Read on to find out how much protein you need, when you need it, and where to get it from!

Read More


No matter what size space you have to work on your bike, there are a few items that you need to have in there to make your fettling easier and more enjoyable. Check out our guide to building your home bicycle workshop!

Read More


No matter what size space you have to work on your bike, there are a few items that you need to have in there to make your fettling easier and more enjoyable. Check out our guide to building your home bicycle workshop!

Read More

New Year’s Resolutions for Riders

New Year’s Resolutions can last for a week or they can form the habit of a lifetime. Even though the New Year has passed, there’s still time to make a resolution, so check out our guide how to make an effective resolution along with our favourite bike-related goals from past years!

Read More

Road Bike Tyre Pressure: What should I use?

Too high and it feels like you’re riding on huge rocks all day, and corners feel like ice rinks. Too low and you risk getting pinch flats, you wear your tyres out, and it feels like riding through mud. But if you get the perfect pressure in your bike tyres you’ll be faster, smoother, and have better grip!

Read More


Always been wondering what a CO2 inflator is, how it works, and whether it will be appropriate for you and your bike? Let us guide you through this essential cycling gadget!

Read More

Please select a valid form.



become a pro bike tool vip



0% Complete
1 of 3