for the knowledge
Strange noises, rust and uncomfortable seats are part
of life but are they necessarily part of your bike? Follow
KS into the nuts and bolts of maintaining your bike …
Every time you ride — Tires, Brakes
• Before starting off, check your tires are full and have no debris
lodged in the treads. Tires shouldn’t be rock hard but should
give a little when a rider sits on them. Use an air pump or ask
your local bike shop for air-usually free of charge. Full tires will
protect your rims and make your ride smoother.
• Secondly, squeeze the brakes to make sure they grab well and
save yourself from plowing through an obachan patrol.
Once a week — Chain, Moving parts
• Ideally, clean and lube your chain once a week to help ensure
long, faithful service. It's not necessary to take the chain off
every time to clean it. Use a toothbrush and cleaning solution,
or handy dish soap, to scrub the entire chain; then rinse and
wipe with a clean rag. Next, put a drop of oil on each pin of
the chain and turn it with the pedals—beware of flying oil! Let
your chain suck up the oily goodness for 15-20 minutes and
wipe off any excess with a clean rag. 3-in-1 oil, WD-40 or
motor oil, if necessary, work well. Don’t overlube the chain!
• Oil exposed moving parts like the brake levers, derailleur and
gear levers. Be careful not to get oil or grease on brake blocks,
tires or rims.
Once a month — Chain, Nuts & Bolts, Steering, Pedals,
Wheels, Seat, Frame
• Chains should be replaced about every 1,000 miles as wear
and tear stretches them. Look for bent cogs that need replacement.
If your bike has gears, check gear cables are moving
freely and that gears change properly.
• Tighten all nuts and bolts holding components together or
onto the bike. Some screws, called 'adjustment screws', normally
found on derailleurs and brake components, don't need
screwing with, although the name is tempting.
• Ensure the seat post bolt is tight and seat height is still correct,
that is, your legs are just less than fully extended at the bottom
of the pedaling stroke.
• Fill up the tires and ensure the valves are upright and not leaking.
Tighten or replace any loose or broken spokes. Ensure the
wheels are without damage and true (spin without wobbles).
If the wheel is untrue, either learn how or ask a bike mechanic
to true the wheel for you.
• Pedals should rotate freely and the axles should be tight.
• Check brake blocks for wear and make sure they connect with
the rim, not the tire. Replace any worn or frayed brake cables
and lube them.
• Check the handlebars and stem for looseness.
• Wash the whole bike with a garden hose and lots of suds—
especially after any ride through dirt or water. Take it for a
quick spin to whip off water then apply, you guessed it, lube
to the chain. During the rainy season, you may consider buying
shares in the lubrication company.
• Use sandpaper to remove rust then touch up with paint.
Twice a year (or at least once) — Tune-up
• Once or twice a year treat your bicycle to a life-elongating
tune-up at the bike shop. Tune-ups consist of many things you
check every month but they also service parts like derailleurs