Regular bike maintenance is critical to enjoying hassle-free rides and prolonging the life of the bike. Who wants to go out and buy a new bike every few years? Not many!
When a bike’s squeaks, rattles, clicks, and clangs are ignored, performance suffers and it can become a safety hazard.
You don’t always have to take your bike down to the local bike shop, however, when some work needs to be done. Many maintenance techniques can be done right in your garage with an iced tea in hand.
Here are 5 at-home pro tips to help keep your bike in perfect working order for years to come.
1. Keep an Eye on Those Brake Pads
With regular use, brake pads begin to glaze due to the friction and heat between the pads and rims. Failing brake pads can turn an enjoyable ride into a scary one!
A cyclist’s first reaction is to buy new brake pads. This isn’t always needed.
Before spending unnecessary money, use some sandpaper and gently scrub the surface of each smoothed-out pad. Most of the time you’ll end up with like-new pads using this inexpensive, easy procedure.
2. Simple Frame Protection
Keeping the bike frame in good shape is key to a bike’s longevity.
Oftentimes the brake and gear cables that run along the frame begin to rub against it, causing damage. When this happens, find the points of contact and put small pieces of electrical tape between the frame and cables.
This helps protect the frame from long-term damage.
To cover existing nicks and dings, use an appropriate shade of nail polish (find that 50-shades-of-everything basket in the house) — but do so sparingly.
3. Keep Lubrication Levels in Check
More isn’t always better, especially when it comes to lubricating a bike chain.
If too much oil is applied to the chain, it can begin to accumulate dirt, dust, and debris. It can also cause excessive chain slipping and shorten the life of the bike’s drive train.
When too much oil has been applied, you’ll see areas of it beading up and gathering on components. Take a clean cloth and run it over the chain to rid it of the excess lubrication.
4. Properly Fit the Front Wheel
Tire punctures are frustrating, but they happen to the best of us.
Many times, after replacing the front tire, a rider will put the wheel back on the wrong way. This is common after experiencing the frustration of lost ride time.
We’re always in such a hurry, aren’t we?
The problem with attaching it backward is that the tire is now essentially rolling the wrong way. This results in less overall grip and performance.
How can you tell if the front wheel is fitted properly?
Simply match the quick release side with the quick release of the rear wheel.
Then be on your way to a high-performance ride.
5. Maintain the Seat Post
A seat post left in the same position for long periods of time can get permanently stuck in position. This turns the bike into a one-user-only proposition.
To avoid this, every month or so take a few minutes to remove and re-insert the seat post into the slot.
If you have a metal post and frame, use a bit of grease to keep it lubricated. If the bike has a carbon post and frame, dab on some friction paste.
These 5 tips will get you well on your way to keeping up with regular bike maintenance.
If your bike needs more work, a bike repair manual can save you loads of money. Plus, websites like the Inflation Zone can give you the lowdown on the best bikes out there, if you’re in the market for a new one.