Keeping on top of maintenance and performing regular safety checks will help keep your bike in top shape for years to come. As well as ensuring your bike looks as good as new, maintenance and safety checks will keep the key components running smoothly and prevent any unnecessary wear and tear. We’ve pulled together our top tips to give you a place to start.
Where will you inspect and maintain your bike
It’s important to bear in mind that wherever you carry out the maintenance for your bike will probably end up covered in oil and dirt so try to avoid working near anything you don’t want to get dirty. While you’re working on your bike it should be held stationary, ideally by a bike stand.
From bottom brackets and hubs to derailleurs, bikes have lots of different parts that will require a variety of tools. Here at the Bike Library we have tools available for use and drop in times where you can come along with your bike to maintain it.
What needs checking?
Now that you’ve got somewhere to work and the right tools, you’ll need to know what to look for:
- Cleaning your bike – dirt can cause parts of your bike to corrode and wear down sooner than they should. You can pick up specialised bike cleaning products, but don’t worry if you don’t have them as good old soap and water is better than nothing and will clean off most of the dirt your bike has picked up.
- Lubricate the chain – as well as making your bike run smoothly, lubricating the chain will protect it from excessive wear which will ensure your bike runs for longer. Before you apply any kind of lubrication inspect the chain for rust, if it has rusted then you should replace it.
- …and other bearings – don’t neglect the inside of your bike, many cyclists fall into the trap of only maintaining those parts of the bike they can easily see which can lead to issues further down the line. Things like your bottom bracket, wheel bearings and headset bearings need to be lubricated on a semi-regular basis.
- Saddle – your saddle should be comfortable and firmly held in place, a loose saddle can be incredibly dangerous. If your saddle needs tightening you will just need an allen key to fix it in place.
- Brakes – testing your brakes is easy, just spin the wheels and then press the brake lever. If your wheel doesn’t stop straight away, or makes a scuffing noise, its important that you adjust your brakes.
- Frame – your frame can crack or become damaged without you even realising so it’s worth carrying out a visual inspection from time to time. This is a lot easier if you clean your bike before inspecting it.
- Wheels – Flat tyres can make it hard to steer your bike and make it dangerous to ride on the road so make sure you check that they are properly inflated and free of punctures. Look for any existing cuts, bulges or foreign objects that could lead to a puncture. Once you’ve checked over the tyre don’t forget the spokes, these should feel rigid and shouldn’t move or wobble in any way.
- Handlebars – Stand with the front of wheel of your bike between your legs, keeping the wheel steady, then try twisting the handlebar – if it moves it needs tightening. You can usually do this with an allen key. Make sure all the bolts on the stem and handlebar are tight.