Dependable, supportive, empowering. Now if you think that describes the perfect life partner, it does—your bike. Hopefully, every one of us realizes how fortunate we are to have cycling be a part of our lives, and also appreciate the many benefits that our bikes provide.
As with any relationship, it’s important to show just how much your partner means to you, which in the case of a bicycle, requires nothing more than some attention and a loving touch, accomplished by performing regular service. Don’t fret, there’s no need to carry out a hub overhaul every week. An effective and uncomplicated maintenance schedule is as easy to establish as airing up your tires. In fact, that’s number one on the list…
- Inflate tires to your proper level
- A floor pump with a gauge makes this easy
- Wipe down drivetrain (Don’t forget those derailleur pulleys!)
- Wipe fork stanchions (MTB)
- Lube Chain (MTB if needed)
Every Few Rides
- Lube Chain (Road)
- Lube fork seals with Formula D (MTB)
- Check axle torque
- Inspect tires and look for any obvious signs of damage. Pay special attention to identifying any bulges or cracks in the tire casing and keep an eye on the amount of tread remaining.
Every Month or Two
- Check torque on all bolts. Use a torque wrench if possible, and especially on any carbon component
- Adjust cable tension
- Road-Scrub brake track and brake pads with an abrasive cleaner and then wipe down with a non-residual cleaner (rubbing alcohol). The more zealous out there would be well-served by sanding down the brake pads with a fine-to-medium grit sandpaper to remove any embedded debris from the pad and as well as any glazing or oxidation that may have occurred.
- MTB-Straighten brake rotors, there are specific tools for this, clean rotors with non-residual cleaner (rubbing alcohol), check pads for contamination and replace if necessary
- Check chain for wear
- Check wheels for trueness/roundness. If you have any hops or wobbles, address them before they get worse.
- Wash bike
Without proper maintenance, your bike won’t perform as it should, eventually refusing to show you a good time anymore. Additionally, neglected parts wear out faster, costing you more in the long run. With regular maintenance, even “lower-tier” components will provide years of excellent service.