Home Bike Maintenance
The perfect COVID-19 social distancing activity
It’s important to keep your bicycle in good condition. Maintaining your bicycle is great for your safety and the longevity of your bike. A quick run-through your bicycle will help ensure your bike is safe and reliable for years to come. An easy way to make sure your bike is in good working order is to do an ABC Quick Check. If you are ever uncertain or not confident repairing your bike alone, please refer to a bicycle professional.
ABC Quick Check Video
Watch this video for a quick overview of the ABC Quick Check. Link To Video
Check tire pressure - If you don’t have a tire gauge, you can go by feel. Press down on the side of each tire with your thumb. If you can easily press down, you should add some air. We recommend inflating tires to the recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) printed on the side of each tire. If left sitting, bicycle tires naturally lose air. Don’t worry! You probably just need to top them up.
If you inflate the tire, and it loses air rapidly (or slowly overnight), you probably need a new tube. Check out the video below to learn how to replace a tube.
Flat Fix Video
Check your brakes – Firmly grasp your front and rear brake levers. You should feel resistance increasing as you squeeze harder. Roll your bike back and forth to ensure the brake mechanism is engaging properly. If your brakes do not work, do not ride your bike.
C.) Chain & Cranks
Check your chain, cranks, and drivetrain – Grab each crank and push and pull towards and away from the bicycle. If you feel any movement or “play” it is likely that the bottom bracket (or bearings that allow the crank arms attached to the pedals to move) is worn and we recommend having it repaired by a professional.
Spin the cranks backwards and observe if the chain moves freely over the chainrings and cassette without any kinking, skipping, or binding. It should turn relatively quietly without squealing or grinding. If if does any of these, it needs to be cleaned and lubricated.
Finally, If the chain is covered with hunks of grease or grime, either partially or completely, then clean and lubricate it. Inspect the chain for any rust. If there is just a little surface rust, clean and re-lube your chain with bike chain lube. Pro-tip: NEVER use WD-40 on any chain!
Q.) Quick Releases
Check to make sure all quick releases are closed - Check where your wheels are attached to your bike. If there is a lever (shown in the photo), make sure your levers are closed and tightened properly.
Give your bike a final check - Before you ride, give your bike a short slow ride to make sure everything feels right.
So your ABC Quick Check looks good, but you want to keep working on your bike. Keep reading for more repair tips!
Check The Stem and Headset
The stem holds the handlebar in place. To make sure this is tight, stand over the bike holding the front wheel from turning with your feet, then try to rotate the handlebars. If they move while the front wheel stays in place it is loose and we do not recommend riding the bike. Most headsets can be tightened via a hex bolt at the top, each bike will vary slightly.
Check Your Wheels
Stand over each wheel and try to knock it side-to-side. If the wheel moves or has any “play” do not ride the bike. Check to make sure that where the wheel attaches to the bike is secure. If the attachment point is secure there is more going on with your bike and we recommend having your bike looked at by a professional.
If there is no movement, lift each wheel and spin it. Each wheel should spin straight and not “wobble.” if there is wobble we do not recommend riding our bike and taking your wheel to get a “wheel true.”
Check your Derailleurs (shifting)
Derailleurs work to change the gears on your bike. They can be daunting to the beginner bike mechanic to adjust, but it is actually pretty easy to make minor adjustments.
Derailleur Adjustment Videos
Watch this video for some more useful bike maintenance tips!
Happy riding! As always, if you are not confident in your skills to repair and maintain your bicycle, please refer to a professional.