How to look after your bike

How to look after your bike

 

Most cyclists don’t look after their bicycles very well and end up paying the financial price: eventually something goes seriously wrong and it becomes more cost effective to simply buy a new one than get it fixed.

 

As a reasonably decent bike for commuting and leisure will set you back between £400 and £700, a bit of maintenance effort could save you a considerable amount of cash.

 

Here’s how the experts recommend you maintain your bike so that it lasts for many more years than it otherwise might:

 

Storage – Don’t keep your bike outside as moisture and dirt only serve to wear out parts quicker

 

Clean your bike – Clean your bike now and again with a cloth (not a pressure hose), and dry it off. Dirt, thorns and tiny shards of glass and grit from road surfaces and paths can get in to tires and moving parts and wear them out faster.

 

Chain – The chain is a hugely important bike component, for obvious reasons. Keeping it clean with degreaser, and then re-oiled with the right oil (Not WD40, which isn’t made for bikes!) will help keep it running smoothly and won’t ruin the cassette (the cogs) as quickly, as well as the chain itself.

 

Check everything’s tight – Loose connecting parts, such as crank arms, pedals, wheel bolts and mounting screws can not only be dangerous, they can lead to greater friction between parts which, once again, means the bike could wear out faster.

 

Oil key points – While it seems obvious that the chain needs oiling, other parts do too. Pay attention to the brake and gear cables to prevent binding, as well as pivot points of brakes, pedals and derailleurs.

 

Tyres – Occasionally remove the tyres and work around inside the rim with your fingers, feeling for tiny bits of grit and sharp shards of metal and flint which can work their way in and eventually cause punctures.

 

Tyre pressure – It’s crucial to maintain tyre pressure to the recommended level as this is a major cause of wheel degradation.

 

Wheels – Keep an eye out for loose spokes. Check by ‘twanging’ them; the tension should be nice and firm. Also look for wear and tear on the rims, and cracks. Replace if needed to avoid catastrophic failure at speed!

 

Brake pads – Check if brake pads are worn and replace them if they are. Don’t wait until they’re almost gone as they could ruin the rims of the wheels more quickly than otherwise.

 

Spare tube and puncture repair kits – Ensure that your spare tube is holding air ok, and that your puncture repair kits and tools are all there.

 

Last but not least… get a good lock! – Ok, so it’s not strictly ‘maintenance’ but all your good work looking after a bike is ruined if it’s stolen. Spending around £25 to £35 should buy a very strong lock.

 

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Published 12th September 2018