Bikes are tough but far from invincible. The more maintenance you perform, the longer all your components will last and the less you will spend on repairs in the long run. Here we run through a few tips on maintenance you can perform at home yourself to keep your bike in good shape.
Clean your bike already!
This is the easiest way to keep your bike running mint. Ideally use a bike wash such as Finish Line bike wash or Torpedo7 Bike Wash. Spray this on then hose it back off with warm water. Strapped for cash? Soapy water is fine if you don’t want to use bike wash. Your bike may have a few clingers left so pinch your partner’s old toothbrush for the tights bits and a soft bristled car brush and go over the whole bike. Note here that you should only use a hose rather than a pressure washer as these force water into bearings and hubs.
Brakes feeling good?
Inspect your brake pad wear. To do this check out your brake rotor face on, you will see the pads on either side. They will have two distinct ridges, the backing to the brake pad and the pad itself which is smaller and closest to the rotor. If there are only a few millimeters between the braking pad surface and the backing or less, it is time to replace your brake pads. You should check this every few weeks. If you have hydraulic brakes give them a squeeze now and ask yourself, do these feel squishy and pull further to the bar than they used too? If they do, give them a bleed.
Check your drivetrain
Rest your seat on your bike rack to elevate the rear wheel or put the bike in a stand if you own one. Now go through every gear shifting through all the rear gears with the front gear in the middle chain ring if you have 3 rings on the front. You want the gears to go into every gear easily and smoothly. Repeat this for the front gears with the chain in the middle gear of the cassette on the back. If it doesn’t go into any of the gears and you’re feeling confident take a look at our tuning guide otherwise take it into your local store for a re-tune.
It’s also worthwhile getting the bike store to measure your chain when you are in there with a chain measurement tool. If your chain is old this can be the cause of poor shifting and they may recommend it is replaced. Running an old chain can also cause premature wear and tear to your cassette and chainrings, much more expensive to replace than a worn chain caught in time!
If your shifter lever feels hard or tight to push, the cables and housing may have clogged up with grit over winter. Get some cable slack by shifting into the largest gears on the front and back. Now stop pedalling the bike and downshift all the gears, tug on the cable itself where it comes out of the housing to expose the cable slack. Carefully spray some CRC or WD-40 on the slack section of cable. Re-shift through the gears and that might make shifting slightly easier.
For summer a good dry lube is essential to prolong chain performance. Dry lubes are ideal for summer because they excel at repelling dust rather than attracting it when there is brown stuff covering the ground compared with when its moist and wet outside. I recommend Squirt Long Lasting dry lube. Apply as per instruction on bottle.
Now you have a basic starting point for giving your ride the bit of loving that it deserves before it gets any more abuse this summer. If you have any doubts about your competence and skills to keep your bike tip top, head in to your local torpedo7 and they will help you out! See you out there.