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The Four Fundamentals of Basic Bike Maintenance

There are four fundamental areas you need to know about when maintaining your bike

We’re going to take you through the key aspects of bike maintenance that will save you money replacing worn out parts, keep you safe, and most importantly, keep your bike moving fast so you can beat your buddies up that hill!
 
If you’re unsure of which parts of the bike we’re talking about in this blog, check out this handy diagram!

Chain maintenance and lubrication

The most important part of your bike maintenance know-how is understanding how to look after your chain. A well cleaned and lubed chain will run faster and more efficiently through the drivetrain, and save you from going mad from listening to it squeak!

CLEAN THE CHAIN

Firstly, you must ensure the chain is clean; lubricating a dirty chain will mean the dirt becomes sticky and clogged in your jockey wheels, cassette, and chain rings, which will wear them down and make a big mess. 

LUBE THE CHAIN

Brake alignment and condition

As much as we love to go fast, we need to slow down sometimes too! The brakes are absolutely fundamental to your safety, and so keeping an eye on them during your bike maintenance is essential. Here’s how to maintain your rim brakes:

CHECK BRAKE ALIGNMENT

You need to ensure that your brake pads are not rubbing on the rim of your wheel as you ride – if this is happening, you are not only wearing them down, but you’re also slowing yourself down!

CHECK BRAKE PAD WEAR

You should keep an eye on how worn your pads are. If you wear your pads too far, you risk increasing the stopping distance of your bike and damaging the rim of your wheels, as the brake shoe itself may start rubbing on the wheel rim.

CHECK BRAKE ENGAGEMENT

If the cables on your brakes are in poor condition the brake pads may not tighten against the rim correctly, or they may not release properly once they have engaged on the rim.

Wheel and tyre checks

It’s easy to forget about your tyres and wheels. However, these are what keep you on the road, and so are pretty important really! Here are the key things to look out for.

CHECK FOR TYRE WEAR

Your tyres wear down the more you ride them. If you ride on tyres that are overly-worn, the grip that you achieve on the road will be compromised as there is less tread, and a punctured tyre is more prone to puncturing as the material is thinner.

What’s more, when you ride, there’s always the risk that your tyres pick up nasty things like bits of glass and flint that could puncture your inner tube.

CHECK YOUR TYRE PRESSURE

Every time you pull your bike out to go for a ride, you should check the tyre pressure. This is a key part of your bike maintenance! Riding on under-inflated tyres will be uncomfortable, and will increase the risk of you getting a pinch flat.

Mini-Road Pump with gauge

CHECK YOUR QUICK RELEASES

Just like the condition of your tyres, people often overlook to check their quick release skewers during their bike maintenance. Your quick releases should be tight enough to prevent play in your wheel axle, which will damage the bearings, but not so tight that it could damage your wheel.

Cleaning Your Bike

Regular cleaning of your bike is essential to your maintenance routine. This will prevent the build up of grime, which can wear down components, and of course, ruins the look of your beautiful bike! Keeping your bike clean is also a great way of discovering if your bike is damaged in any way, so that you can repair any problems before it’s too late!

Conclusion:

Bike maintenance can seem daunting at first, but it’s essential for all riders, whether you ride once a month, or every day. The four main areas we’ve outlined above are all straightforward processes that require few specialist tools.

So, remember:

  • Look after your chain!
  • Check your brakes!
  • Check your wheels and tires!
  • Keep your bike clean!

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