You’ve finally got a brand new bike or maybe you’ve got around to digging your Grandad’s old 7 speed out from the garage! Either way, taking care of your bike is important. Not only will it make your bike ride faster, smoother, and more efficient, but it will save you money in the long run. Here are our favourite easy-to-do-at-home bicycle maintenance tips for beginners!
1. Keep your drivetrain clean and lubricated.
Problem: You’ve probably experienced riding past someone whose chain is squeaking and sprocket is rattling, or perhaps that person is you. That awful sound is the sound of metal rubbing on metal with a lot of mud, dirt, and road grime mixed in. Why? Because all the good oils and lubrication have worn off. Unfortunately, that means the chain, sprockets and chainrings (more commonly referred to as your drivetrain) are on their way to becoming very worn out resulting in a costly fix.
Solution: Keep your chain regularly lubed and replace it regularly. Clean your chain with a rag before applying 1 drop of Biomaxa eco-friendly lube to each chain link while simultaneously turning the cranks slowly backward. Take the rag and wipe the excess lube off.
The more often you clean and lube, the less time it takes every time you do it. A good starting point is every 100km.
(Above) Biomaxa chain lube.
2. Inflate your tires to the right pressure.
Problem: If the pressure is too low you’re having to work hard to keep up speed or you’re regularly getting punctures, especially when hitting a curb hard.
Solution: Although having the right tire pressure may not seem like a big deal it can greatly impact the quality of your ride. One of the most essential must-have tools you should own is a quality floor pump with a pressure gauge. Check the suggested pressure from the sidewall of your tires (If you’re not sure we’re happy to help). The rear tire should have slightly more pressure as it is taking more of the rider’s weight than the front. It’s a good idea to check your tire pressure once a week.
3. Make sure your brakes are adjusted correctly and not worn out.
Problem: If you’re having to pull the brake lever until it touches your bars and still almost nothing happens or you are hearing metal on metal again you pads probably need an adjustment or replacement.
Solution: If you like to ride fast, you’d better make sure you stop effectively when you need. Step 1. is to adjust the brake pads closer to the rim (or your disc depending on your bike). You can do this by tightening the adjusting barrel adjuster (if your brakes have one) in the brake lever or the brake arm end. Tightening the screw moves the pads closer to the rim (or disc). You may also need to unscrew the bolt holding the wire, tighten the wire and then screw the bolt back on (It’s good to note to not let the wire go whilst doing this). Before tightening the bolt again, twist the adjuster holding the wire and the wire housing to the loosest setting. This way you have more room to adjust the brakes.
It is also important to keep both the pads and the braking surface clean from dirt and oil. Dirty pads wear out themselves and the braking surface substantially faster, not what you want when you’re flying downhill.
5. Keep your bike clean.
Problem: Oil and grease is everywhere!
Solution: A simple and easy bike maintenance task. Like anything, if it’s properly clean it’s going to work much better. Keep your frame, wheels, drivetrain and brakes clean and you’ll have a happier bike.
It’s easy to do and if done weekly you won’t need to spend more than 10 minutes cleaning it. We recommend using a degreaser or warm soapy water and a brush or sponge. Avoid using a high-pressure washer or powerful hose, this will strip the bearings of any grease. Here is a great video of how to clean your bike in 5 minutes!
By doing these simple things you can reduce the overall cost of bike servicing. However, to keep overall bike servicing costs generally low we still recommend a service every 6 months if you are a commuter and once a year or after your multi-day ride if you are a leisure rider. Book your bike service here >