Main mechanic Mike has shared his top five tips on keeping your bike in top condition at home this winter. It's really important to keep your bike in good condition to make the most out of all the expensive parts on there and keep them running as long as possible. Just remember, you look after your bike, your bike will look after you!
Tyre pressure is number one on the list because the tyres are the most important part of the bike. They're what keep you connected to the road and what keep you rolling all day long. They will naturally loose pressure over time so it's important that before every ride you check they are set to the right pressure for your bike. For road bikes they should sit at around 90-120 PSI and Mountain 35-40PSI, but it's always best to check the manufacturers guidance. Having too much pressure will create an uncomfortable ride and you will have a twitchy bike. Too little and the tyres will drag, making the bike impossible to control and potentially damage your wheels.
Cleaning Your Bike
Cleaning your bike is a must, if you do not; grit, mud and dirt build up in the places you don't notice. This means that vital components from chains to bottom brackets to bearings can deteriorate... very quickly. Remember, a clean bike is a happy bike.
Keeping your chain healthy is must in maintaining your bike. The chain, much like many vehicles, is the primary driving force on your bike and with out it you can't go very far. Once the chain stretches and begins to degrade it can wear away your cassette, chain rings and jockey wheels. This can compromise shifting performance and the grip of the chain on the teeth is lessened. The best way to look after your chain and reduce the friction when pedalling is to use chain lube. This keeps it slick and resistance free!
Stopping your bike is pretty important in the grand scheme of things, so having healthy brake pads is a must. If the pads wear out, it becomes harder to control the braking as you have to use more lever travel to control your brakes. It also means there is less grip when the pad and braking surface make contact. When riding road, it's always best to have the pads and cables inspected as the cables can stretch, especially on a new bike. With mountain bikes, you need to check pads and that there is pressure in the hoses. It is also recommended to check the seals so the fluid can't leak. We offer all of these services in the workshop. As you can see, these brake pads were not checked regularly.
This is not as relevant to mountain bikers as it is road, but it is always good to check the condition of your bar tape and grips. When bar tape is old, it's grip can be lost meaning you are more likely to slip when riding on the bars. If not replaced for a long time, the tape can unravel leaving little to no grip at all. Handle bar grips on other bikes are similar when they become worn and offer no grip.