Expert Advice: How to take care of your bike ‍🚲

It doesn't matter if your rolling around on a factory fresh new ride, or knocking about on your favorite Frankenstein bike, all bikes need to be properly maintained to maximize both the life of your components and your fun. We've put together some tips on essential bike care and maintenance to keep you rolling for longer.

1. The Pre-Ride Safety Check

Before every ride it's best practice to perform a pre-ride safety check, this should not take more than 5 minutes and covers all components which could have become loose or displaced over time and ensures you can catch small problems before they become big issues down the line. The best process is to work from the front of the bike to the back to make sure you don't miss anything.

Both Wheels Check skewers/Nuts are tight
Front Wheel Wheel is true (no wobble) & inflated to correct pressure
Front Brakes Check brakes are working, ensure wheel is spinning freely with no rub on rotor or calipers
Brake Pull Brake levers are secured to bars. Levers pull in correct amount, not too close or to far from the bars
Headset & Bars Stem bolts torqued and tight, careful of overtightening or stripping the bolt threads
Shifters & Gears / Derailleurs Gears are shifting correctly, no skipping or sticking
Cranks Bolts are tight
Pedals Greased and tight
Seat Post & Clamp Greased & torqued/tight
Rear Brakes Check brakes are working, ensure wheel is spinning freely with no rub on rotor or calipers
Rear Wheel Wheel is true (no wobble) & inflated to correct pressure
Accessories Check bolts on any accessories such as a bell, mudguards and rear carrier are secure

 

2. Cleaning your Bike

A clean bike is a happy bike, as well as a faster one. Regularly cleaning your bike will ensure to maximize the lifespan of your components as well as keeping it looking factory fresh.

Firstly you'll need to prep your tools for the job.

You'll need:

  1. A bucket of water or hose
  2. Bike cleaner (or mild detergent in a pinch)
  3. Brushes/cloth or sponge
  4. Chain lube
  5. Clean cloth for wipe down

For a premium clean: Chain cleaner, drivetrain & brake cleaner, bike protector spray.

Step 1. Find yourself a space to clean the bike, preferably one that won't get muddy. It's easier to clean a bike when it's on a stand than leaning against something where it could fall over.

Step 2. Rinse your bike with water to loosen any dirt before spraying down with bike cleaner. After liberally spraying cleaner wait for 5-7mins for the cleaner to take effect and dislodge the dirt particles.

Step 3. Use your brush or sponge to scrub the bike, it helps to keep a bucket of water handy to dip the brush in, allowing the brush to stay clean so that you don't end up scrubbing any dirt into the frame or components.

Step 4. Rinse the bike down and check that you have cleaned the bike efficiently and not missed any hard to reach spots. If the bike is clean then wipe the frame down with your clean cloth and leave to dry. Some bike protect sprays also help to evaporate residual moisture on the frame, check the directions if you have one and apply to your frame, make sure to cover all braking surfaces before spraying.

Step 5. Lubricate your chain using only bike specific chain lube, using things like WD40 will actually gunk up your chain and components rather then help lubricate. When applying lube to the chain, spin the crank slowly while dropping a small consistent amount through the links, then wipe off the excess.

3. Bike Maintenance

A well maintained bike will last the test of time, getting into the habit of a pre-ride safety check and ensuring to clean your bike regularly after muddy rides as well as lubricating the chain often will maximize the lifespan of your components. But depending on how hard or often you ride, it is inevitable that things will loosen or become damaged with time or crashes.

Small adjustments to be aware of are tyre pressure, gear indexing, suspension pressure, brake pad wear, rotor alignment, brake fluid or cable tension as well as loosened nuts and bolts. To learn how to adjust your bike to be rolling correctly, here at 99 Bikes we offer free maintenance classes for club members once a month across all our stores, simply choose your local store then click to the maintenance classes tab to book in.

Big adjustments are best left to the professionals, many a sheepish bike owner has taken on more than they can handle and ended up causing bigger problems for their ride than before they started, it's easy to strip or over torque bolts, while replacing and adjusting brakes and tuning gears can be tricky, things like wheel truing are akin to art and need an expert hand. 99 Bikes offers discounts on all servicing to club members with 7 day workshops across all stores.

Regularly servicing your bike is absolutely the best preventative approach to ensure your bike stays in good working order. We recommend a complete service every 12 months, with a standard service in-between when shifting from one season to another. This does depend on the amount of riding you are doing as well, if you are an absolute sender hitting the bike park every weekend you'll need to service your bike more regularly as you'll wear through your components quicker. If you think your bike is due a service, check out our workshop menu and book in with one of our experts at your local 99 Bike store.