Complete bike maintenance tips: From tires to brakes

Bike maintenance is essential for keeping your bicycle in good working condition and ensuring a safe and enjoyable riding experience. Cycletribe's team has compiled a 7-step guide highlighting crucial aspects of bike maintenance to keep in mind.

1: How Often Should I Wash my Bike?

It's generally a good idea to clean your bike after cycling in the rain, especially if the rain was accompanied by mud or debris on the road. Rainwater itself won't cause significant harm to your bike, but the water can carry dirt, grime, and other contaminants that can accumulate on your bike's components and cause corrosion or damage over time if left uncleaned. If you only have rode the bike in dry conditions, it's possible to hold off and wash after 3 to 4 bike rides.

Keep your bike clean by washing it with a recommended bike cleaner. Pay attention to the drivetrain (chain, cassette, and derailleur) as they accumulate the most dirt and grime. After washing, dry the bike thoroughly to prevent rust.

2: Cleaning the Drive-Chain 

Degreaser: Use a bicycle-specific degreaser, which is designed to remove grease and grime without damaging your bike.

Use a small, stiff brush or an old toothbrush to scrub the chain and other components.

Clean rags or towels: These will be used to wipe down the chain and other parts.

Water source: You'll need water for rinsing.

3: How Long Will Bicycle Tyres Last?

All depends on the quality of tyres, how many miles you have covered and how well maintained the tyres have been kept?

On average, based on a decent quality road bike tyre, you can expect between 3000 to 6000km. The variation is based on the type of road and weather conditions that you cycle on. Riding in wet conditions has a greater impact on the tyre compared to dry conditions, rural roads with potholes, damaged road surfaces will affect the durability of the tyre compared to smooth city roads.

Tire Maintenance: Check the tire pressure regularly and maintain it within the recommended range specified on the sidewall of the tire. Inspect the tires for any cuts, bulges, or excessive wear. Replace worn-out tires promptly. Additionally, ensure the tires are properly seated on the rims to avoid pinch flats.

4: What Chain Lube Should I Use on My Road Bike?

A well-lubricated chain ensures smooth shifting and reduces wear. Use a bicycle-specific chain lubricant and apply it to the chain while rotating the pedals backward.  Wipe off any excess lubricant to prevent attracting dirt.

Use wet lube for winter riding conditions, this type of lube is slightly thicker and protects the chain against wet conditions.

Use dry lube for spring/summer conditions, this type of lube is lighter and doesn't collect as much dry dust as the wet lube would in dry conditions.

5: Brake Inspections

Regularly inspect your brake pads for wear. Replace them if they are worn down to the wear indicators or if they have hardened. Adjust the brake cable tension if necessary to ensure proper braking performance.

You can identify when rim brake pads are worn without too much difficulty, ensure that you replace them. Disc brake pads will generally start to become noisy over time, most often the pads are worn or possibly have some dust and dirt stuck on the pads.

6: Safety Tips On Checking Your Bike Wheels

Start by visually inspecting each wheel while the bike is stationary. Look for any visible damage such as cracks, dents, or loose spokes. Pay attention to the rim sidewalls, as excessive wear or damage can affect braking performance.

Squeeze adjacent pairs of spokes together at various points around the wheel to check for consistent tension. They should feel fairly evenly tensioned. If you notice any loose or significantly tighter spokes, it may require truing or spoke adjustment.

Spin each wheel while observing it from the side. Look for any wobbles or hops as the wheel rotates. A slight lateral and radial runout is normal, but excessive wobbling or significant hops indicate that the wheel requires truing.

Hold each wheel by the axle and try to wobble it from side to side. If there is any noticeable play or looseness, the hub bearings may need adjustment or repacking with grease.

7: Frame + Forks Inspection

Periodically inspect your bike's frame for any cracks, dents, or signs of damage. If you notice any structural issues, consult a professional bike shop for assessment and repair. Especially carbon frames, double check the frame and forks on a regular basis.

Remember, the frequency of maintenance tasks may vary depending on your riding style, conditions, and the type of bike you have. Regular maintenance will extend the lifespan of your bike and help you enjoy a safe and trouble-free cycling experience.

Whether you're seeking professional bike service or looking to enhance your DIY bike repair skills, we've got you covered. Reach out to us for expert bike servicing, or explore our library of bike repair articles to master essential maintenance techniques and optimise your bike's performance.

2 comments

Anthony Downey

A welcome reminder for an intermittent cyclist and hoping to hear more from you soon!

Patrick Horgan

Great article. More like this please.

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