However old or well used your bike, it’s important to keep it well maintained. It helps to ensure your safety, but can also prolong the life of your bikes and give you a smoother ride.
Brought to you with our friends at Halfords, here is our essential guide to keeping your bike on the road.
What you’ll need to maintain your bike:
- A torque wrench
- Some wet lube
- And some dry lube!
If you’re missing anything, you can order it from the bike maintenance section at Halfords.
Get your bearings
Grab your tyres and push your wheels from side to side to see if there is any movement -if there is, your wheel bearings may need some attention.
Perform a saddle check
Slipping off a loose saddle while riding isn’t a pleasant experience, so check yours is nice and tight. Push it side to side and up and down and give it a tighten if it moves at all.
Spin your wheel and pull on each brake separately. Braking should be firm, so if it takes a while for the wheel to slow down or things feel soft, your brakes may need some attention.
Solve that rattle
If your front forks shake when you ride or the front of the bike vibrates at all, then your headset probably needs to be tightened. Try pulling on your front brake and moving the bike back and forth – if the headset moves, then that’s the problem. Grab your torque wrench and tighten the four stem bolts to 5 Newton meters -we don’t want the handlebars coming off!
Silence squeaky chains
A squeaking chain is more than just annoying; it could be an indicator that there’s a problem that could cause an injury or damage to your bike. Turn a pedal backwards and listen for clicking or unusual sounds caused by friction. Try applying some lube (wet during winter, dry in the summer) to see if that solves the problem.
The bounce test
Pull on the front brake and bounce your bike up and down. If you hear anything out of the ordinary, something might be loose. Check all connections and nuts and bolts until you find the issue, or take it into your local bike shop where they’ll check it’s safe to ride.
Give it a clean
Cleaning a dirty bike will not only make it look great, but also extend its lifespan. Grab some hot soapy water or even some specialist cleaner like Muc Off and give it a good scrub -just remember to dry it off to prevent rust.
Need extra help?
The Halfords website contains a whole range of more detailed advice and videos on specific elements of bike maintenance and repair. Take a look and see if you find what you need.
Failing that, take your bike to your local cycle shop and ask for some help, or see if there is any support at your workplace.