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Most people who ride bicycles want to keep them in good shape, but first they need to know where to begin.
Everyone understands the importance of regular preventative maintenance on an automobile, but many folks ignore this concept when it comes to their bicycle.
A bicycle is a big investment and it’s important to keep it in sound working order not only for top performance, but also for the safety of the rider and those riding around him/her. You might say you should get into the habit of caring for your bike like your life depended on it…it does!
* Each Ride: Note-These procedures are necessary to ensure your personal safety. Failure to perform these checks could result in serious injury. I borrowed an acronym from the League of American Bicyclists and added a slight variation to help you with your daily safety check…don’t overlook it, it’s important!
ABC Wheel Quick!
A = Air: ensure proper tire inflation and check for tire wear
B = Brakes and Bars: check proper brake function (proper cable tension and pad alignment). Check handlebars for cracks which indicate an impending failure
C = Chain and Cables: check for tight links and fraying cables
Wheel = Check for trueness and spoke tension/damage
Quick = Quick Releases (Ensure QRs are fully seated…do not close against the fork, seatstay, or chainstay which may prevent full seating of QR)
Before Every Ride:
- Check tire air pressure
- Check brakes and cables
- Be sure your crank set is tight
- Be sure quick release hubs are tight
After Every Ride:
- Inspect tires for glass, gravel shards, and cuts on tread and sidewall
- Check wheels for true
- Clean the bike’s mechanical parts as necessary. Once a week or every 200 miles: Lubricate chain (with dry lube; or every other week or 400 miles with wet chain lube)
Once a Month: (Note-These procedures will maximize your performance and minimize future costly repairs)
- Completely clean the bike, including the drivetrain if necessary
- Inspect chain and freewheel. Measure the chain for wear, check for tight links and replace the chain if necessary
- Inspect and lubricate brake levers, derailleurs and all cables
- Inspect pedals. Inspect tires for wear; rotate or replace if needed
Don’t forget to Inspect and check for looseness in the: Stem binder bolt, Handlebar binder bolt, Seatpost binder bolt (or quick release), Seat fixing bolt, Crank bolts, Chainring bolts, Derailleur mounting bolts, Bottle cage bolts, Rack mounting bolts, Brake and derailleur cable anchors, Brake and shifter lever mounting bolts, Brake mounting bolts.
Every Three Months:
- Inspect frame and fork for paint cracks or bulges that may indicate frame or part damage; pay particular attention to all frame joints
- Visually inspect for bent components: seat rails, seat post, stem, handlebars, chainrings, crankarms, brake calipers and brake levers
Every Six Months:
Inspect and readjust bearings in headset, hubs, pedals and bottom bracket (if possible; some sealed cartridge bearings cannot be adjusted, only replaced)
Disassemble and overhaul; replace all bearings (if possible); and remove and if necessary replace all brake and shift cables. This should be performed at 6,000 miles if you ride more than that per year. If you often ride in the rain who get dirty should overhaul their bicycles more often.
One of the first steps to being a winner is attitude. A well maintained bike bolsters confidence and enhances a positive attitude!