Maintaining your bike in good condition is of paramount importance. If your bike is in good shape that means one thing, more time you’ve got with your feet on the pedals.
But, unfortunately, cleaning, pumping and scrubbing are mundane. Think about a pit-stop, bike cleaning, tire pumping place at the top of a mountain… but that just doesn’t exist. So it doesn’t matter if we decide to do ourselves or rely on a mechanic: it has to be done and the more regularly you do it the better.
So what are the most important things to be checked habitually and how to proceed? Learn about essential mechanical skills every cyclist should know. Once you master these crucial operations you will not only be a safer rider but you’ll also avoid premature wear on you bike and accessories.
Do you replace old running shoes when they wear out? Bike tires are same as your shoes: once the time has come you need find a new pair of tires able to upgrade your bike experience. Similarly to your shoes, you are looking for tires with a reasonable price, which will increase speed, keep durability and generally speaking enhance all-around performance. From a maintenance perspective tires are made of rubber and rubber is porous that means even if you checked the pressure before your last ride, check it again. This is true if you have a city or road bike. Indeed, mountain bike tires can be checked less frequently as they have higher volume under lower pressure.
Tire pressure is not a set-it-and-forget-it matter: the higher the pressure the lower is the rolling resistance (an extra inflated tires flexes less and the contact patch is smaller). This solution is optimal if you are riding only smooth surfaces but doesn’t work when it comes to hit bumps or stairs. It goes without saying that most people are riding mixed terrains so that the bike should be properly inflated in order to adsorb shocks of rough surfaces. In addition, less inflated tires improve riding comfort.
So in summary, what is your favorite riding terrain? What kind of bike are you riding? How much do you weight? These questions will make you hit the target when it comes to choose and maintain your tires setting. Finding tires matching your needs is only halfway to final destination, you need to pump them up! Commonly, tires can be inflated either through a pump or an air compressor. Complete this task is simple but requires attention when it comes to select the nozzle, stick it and inflate. Moreover, when deciding which tool to use to inflate make sure it has a gauge, you’ll be able to check the pressure.
By maintaining the correct pressure levels in your tires you’re also looking after the wheels. Even if easily fixable, a flat tire or twisted spokes mid cycle makes for a sad day. After a ride, clean down the bike (takes you less than 3 minutes to remove all the dirt if you’ve got a hose) prop it up and check the wheels are tuned and trued. Straight wheels means more contact of tire to ground. The size of the wheels is really important because it helps you to understand how your ride is likely to perform. That said, you would like to choose same diameter rims and tires. Some tires will be a tighter or looser fit on a given rim but don’t worry, this is because sizes of different producer are inevitably not the same in terms of millimeters. You can take advantage of this, on the contrary. How? Depending on your needs you might want tires easier to mount. In such a case the diameter of the tire can be slightly larger. If you are looking for a tubeless solution be aware that this is the option when rims and tires measurements should be carefully evaluated. Remember always that almost nobody keeps record of slack/tight combinations: experience and advice from others is your winning kit here.
This is one of the hardest working parts of the bike along with the drive train and you will see deterioration here first. The easy way to keep on top of it is keep it clean and keep it well lubed. If this gets dirty, then you will need to replace it. So make sure you’re cleaning the chain after every muddy ride and take this opportunity to make sure there are no odd noises coming from the derailleur. A little soapy water and a low-pressure wide spray rinse is going to be the most efficient way. Once it’s dry re-lubricate the chain using either a wet or dry lube depending on the conditions you’re riding in.
As you pile on the miles expect that the chain will warp a little so every now and then lift up one of the chain links and measure between two of the rivets with a chain checker or a ruler. Knowing when you need to change your chain will save you having to change the cassette, which is far more expensive.
Needless to say, you can choose between a long line of different handle-bar shape: flat bars, raise bars, cruiser bars, butterfly bars, drops bars, bullhorn bars and many more. The choice can be driven from several reasons such as the riding terrain and frequency of use. Your handle-bar choice affects the overall handling, stability and reliability of your bike, so picking the right type for your biking style is essential.
The most common operation when it comes to dealing with this part of your bike is keeping it stable. You can set the height of the handlebar easily in this case by finding the screw and going through loosen-set-lock process. Same simple modus operandi will help you when you would like to modify the position of brakes reach. Different approach should be adopted when you need to lower/raise or to replace the handle-bar because there are lot of different systems in the market. Fortunately, most of the bikes have a threaded steerer-tube, in this case the handle-bar stem telescopes into the steerer tube and expands to lock there. Here is about loosening the screw, set the right height, and lock it back. Tip: before doing the operation wrap some tape around the handlebar stem so that if the new setting doesn’t fit you’ll be able to reverse the process.
Platform pedals, MTB clipless pedals and road clipless pedals are the most common bike pedals you can see in the streets. No matter which one you’ve chosen, the most important thing is that the choice reflected your riding style and needs. Usually pedals are quite sturdy so you won’t have to fix them often, hopefully. Despite installing or removing bike pedals is not a hard operation however, if you haven’t done it before easy mistakes are just around the corner. What does this mean? You’ll end up with a stuck pedal and a ruined crank arm. Follow these 3 simple steps and avoid rendering your new bike pedals useless. Firstly, loosen the right pedal with a hex key by turning counter-clockwise. Careful, the left one has to be unscrewed clockwise. Then you would like to screw the new pedals respecting a 90 degrees angle and – if possible – by remembering to apply some grease in order to have the process smoothly carried out. Please notice that this operation has to be executed in reverse: right pedals tighten by turning clockwise, left one tighten counter-clockwise.
Bike frames are available in several shapes, from prone to truss, from cross to recumbent, from cantilever to diamond and so on. Each of it has been developed for a specific purpose but also for a mere artistic sake. Different discourse is when we consider the material implied. From this perspective we have 4 main families of bike frames: aluminum, carbon, steel, titanium. Each has plus and cons that should be considered in finding the right choice. This guide aims at giving tips when it comes to maintenance operations so that we’ll narrow our considerations to this aim.
Aluminum and carbon bike frames are tricky to repair. In other words, despite the high performances they can provide these bike frames are also more prone to fracture, and if it happens these frames becomes fragile and thus unfit to ride. Titanium and steel frames are can be repaired on the other hand. The main difference between the two is that the former doesn’t corrode which means no paint is needed, which helps shave weight too. Steel frames are the most used ones and have reasonable prices which make them the best choice if you are an everyday rider looking for easy maintenance and basic performances. The pain point here comes if you are living in a humid place: steel frames corrode. Making yourself available an air grinder or sander would save yourself money and time.
The bike saddle is a component of your bike that doesn’t need to go through lot of maintenance processes, as pedals. Indeed, once you’ve set it by unscrewing the clamp on frame you will be able to stick it and enjoy a comfortable ride. However, they are probably the most important element in the entire field of cycling. Every main physical problem originating from riding hours and hours comes from there. This is why carefully choosing it is a process not to be underestimated. Take a look on best practices when deciding which one buy.