Understand the Basics
A basic understanding of your bicycle can go a long way to preventing unnecessary and costly repairs. Knowing what to pay attention to will also help you keep your bike running smooth for longer. This basic guide can assist you in learning about the parts of your bike that require the most attention, and how you can stay on top of maintenance into the future. Remember, if you care for your bike it will take care of you.
- Tire pressure is key to a smooth and reliable ride, yet often neglected. Every tire has its recommended tire pressure indicated on the sidewall. Check your tire pressure and inspect for debris and wear every few days to reduce your risk of punctures and drastically improve ride quality.
- Lubricate or replace slow cables. If your bike shifts slowly or your brakes are difficult to use it's probably time for new cables. These are fairly simple to replace and relatively inexpensive, but keeping smooth cables on your bike will keep it shifting and braking efficiently.
- Cleaning your bike can help ensure it stays smooth and efficient. Cleaning your bike removes grime that can cause parts to wear more quickly than normal, and is a great opportunity to inspect the bikes frame and components for signs of wear or damage...and who doesn't love a sparkly bike?!
- Squeaks, rattles, and grinding are not normal. A properly functioning bicycle should be smooth and quiet, just like the day you bought it. Lubricate your chain and pivot points to keep them rolling smoothly. If you still hear strange noises like rattling or crunching, it may be time for some more in-depth servicing.
- Replace any parts that are worn out. It seems to surprise some people that bikes need maintained and parts need replaced periodically. Check your chain for wear monthly if you ride often. Even just 1% elongation means it's time for replacement. Waiting longer can cause your rear cogs, chainrings, or even derailleur pulleys to wear out prematurely.