Having a bike at your disposal will undoubtedly aid you in your quest of reaching your health goals, allowing you to work on your leg strength, coordination, and balance while providing you with cardiovascular training. If you live in places that feature seasonal climates, you may not use your bicycle when it gets cold outside. During such times, you may not pay close attention to the upkeep of your bike. Hence, you will have to tune up your bike before it can be deemed safe for usage. We have listed some important tips to help you tune up your bike. The tips are easy to follow and will prevent you from spending a pretty penny at a bike shop.
1. Thoroughly Check Your Brakes
You wouldn´t want to risk your life by riding a bike with a poor braking system now, would you? A good braking system would allow you to speed through your travel without having to worry about abrupt stops and obstacles on the road. Therefore, it is of paramount importance for you to thoroughly check your brakes. During inspection, you should see if the brake lever rubs against the handlebar before halting the bike; if that occurs, you should consider replacing the worn pads. If you see the brake pads wearing down unevenly, you should consider adjusting your brakes accordingly. And, if you see the cables slacking and stretched, you can adjust the barrel adjuster to maintain tightness in the brake cable.
2. Pay attention to the drivetrain
What does the bike´s drivetrain comprise of? Well, it comprises of the chain ring, chain, pedals, rear wheel cassette, and derailleur. And, what does the bike´s drivetrain do? Well, it basically helps transport the force exerted by the rider through to the rear wheel, helping the bike move. When you shift through the gears, it should be smooth; if it isn´t smooth, you will need to adjust the derailleur. You should only attempt to adjust the derailleur if you know what you are doing. Any wrong move during adjustments could further damage the components of the drivetrain. When scrutinizing the bike´s drivetrain, you should check if there are missing teeth, excessive wear, scrapes, and dents on the components. It is also important to apply oil lubricants to the components of the drivetrain. Doing so will prevent the components from collecting dirt and grime, in turn, increasing the performance of the bike by making braking and shifting smooth.
3. Keep Your Bike and Bike Chain Clean
The cleaner the bike, the longer the life cycle of the bike. When cleaning your bike, you can simply use a towel, an old toothbrush and a biodegradable cleaner. You need to clean all the components of the bike including the chain, cassette, pedals, brakes, frame, chain rings, and seat. While cleaning the chain, you can use wet chain lubes. You should then use the lube on the chain and hold the lower part of the chain with a towel before pedaling backward. Repeat this process until you witness the chain sparkling. And, if you see rust spots on the bike, you can get it fixed by simply rubbing the spots with steel wool. We would advise you to wear work gloves while doing so as steel wool and naked hands don’t go well together. However, if you see rust in your chain, it is perhaps better to seek professional help.
4. Inspect Your Tires
Without a proper set of tires, it would be impossible for you to travel on land over surfaces such as dirt, gravel and the concrete pavement. Hence, if you want a comfortable ride, you will need a proper set of tires. When inspecting your tires, you should be on the lookout for cracks, tears, and splits. If you witness such signs, you should get your tires replaced promptly. Replacing tires is inexpensive and it will not burn a hole in your pocket.
5. Tighten Loose Bolts and Nuts
You shouldn´t be surprised to find loose bolts or parts in your bike over a certain period of time. And, if you identify loose bolts and nuts, you can easily add tension to them by using a torque wrench. When inspecting the bolt torque, we would advise you to scrutinize the stem bolts. Is there any way that can help you identify and locate loose parts? Well, there is and you will need to drop your bike 3-6 inches off the ground. If you hear rattling and odd noises, your bike could potentially have loose parts.
6. Inspect the condition of your wheels
Riding your bike with damaged wheels can result in the uneven wear of your brake pads and tires. Flat and blown tires generally occur because of the uneven wear of the tires. If the damage is beyond repair, you should replace your wheels at once. However, if the wheel seems to be in fine condition and spins smoothly without wobbling, you only need to give it a wash. You only need to scrub the wheels with a clean, dry cloth dabbed in alcohol to keep it clean. If your wheel wobbles when spun, you can easily get it fixed by adjusting the rim with a spoke wrench.
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