To the casual observer, bicycles look like sturdy, powerful, and nigh-indestructible creations that serve their owners faithfully until their tires deflate. However, anyone who has spent a lot of time around and with bike knows that bikes are affected by a myriad of issues besides flat tires, and performing maintenance is crucial. If you fail to properly care for your bicycle, you can easily find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere with an issue you don’t know how to fix. Hopefully, our tips on bike maintenance will help you prevent this from happening.
- Cleaning your bike
Cleaning a bicycle is more than just an aesthetic choice – it is an essential practice that removes debris, rust, and various hazardous materials that can adversely affect your bike’s performance. As you clean the outside frame and parts of your trusty companion (preferably with a wet cloth), pay attention to the various cracks and crevices in the parts, where tiny rocks, dust, and other things can get stuck. If you notice any rust or damage to paint, it can be repaired with a special formula or a new paint job.
- Performing a checkup
Before you set off on a trip, you would do well to perform a full checkup and look for any “surprises” that may affect you on the road. You can begin by checking the tire pressure for any sign of air leakage, cracks and objects stuck in the tire, and possibly overpumped tires.
Moving on to the nuts and bolts, you can check for any such missing parts, as well as parts that are in danger of coming loose. Most experts warn against over-tightening bolts, as it may cause them to break more easily or damage other components.
Naturally, you will also want to check your front and back brakes to make sure that they are responsive to lever movements and operate with the right degree of force. Another common problem is dislocation of brake position, when they are pulled too close to either side of the bike and do not work properly as a result.
- Don’t be afraid of grease
Grease is most commonly applied to the chain and drivetrain, and this should be done frequently if you want to extend the chain’s lifespan by a large factor. You should apply a healthy coating of lubrication to these parts, but avoid excess, as overlubrication can cause the parts to slip while you are changing gears. Once this is done, you can forget about screeching noises coming from your bike for a good while.
- Don’t forget to examine the smaller and less accessible parts.
While we have covered the most important “life support” systems of a traditional bicycle, we should also take a look at other parts that are rarely examined, but have the potential to cause just as much havoc as the big ones. We are talking about spokes and rims. In regard to spokes, any broken or deformed units will change the pressure applied to other spokes, causing a chain reaction of problems in the wheel. As for rims, it is not unusual for cracks to form in them over time, so checking their structural integrity every once in a while can help identify small issues before they become big.