Like most machines, your bicycle is a collection of moving parts. When any of these components come into contact with mud, rocks or road debris, wear and tear eventually becomes largely unavoidable. However your best line of defense against breakdowns is regular bike maintenance, with a small investment of tools and time, most basic bike repair and maintenance jobs can be performed by you.
1. Clean and Lubricate: One of the easiest and most important aspects of bike maintenance is cleaning and lubricating your bicycle on a weekly basis. Lubricate exposed moving parts (e.g. chain and gears), avoiding wheel rims and brake blocks. Clean any dirt and grease off the wheel rims with a soft cloth and lubricant spray.
2. Watch your wheels: Maintaining proper tire pressure will help prevent flats, minimize tire wear, increase traction and improve the overall performance of your bike. Before every ride, do a quick check of the tire pressure and the the condition of the wheels. Do not be alarmed if you have to add air regularly, tires can easily lose a few pounds of pressure over the course of a week.
3. Brake: Check the brake blocks for wear and ensure they contact squarely with the rim, not the tire. To prevent squeaking, be sure the leading edges of the pads touch the bike rim first when they are applied. Use a sharp tool to clean off any debris, sand or metal that may have embedded the pad. Lastly, be sure to replace worn or frayed brake cables.
4. Gears: When shifting gears, you essentially move a lever that pulls a cable which in turn moves adjustable gears known as front and rear derailleurs. Improperly adjusted derailleurs can cause an over- or under-shifting, which prevents your chain from moving into the proper gear. On a monthly basis (at minimum), ensure gears work correctly and cables move freely. Simple maintenance suggests cleaning the chain with a rag soaked in degreaser and then re-oiling.
5. No sloppy steering: The bike headset (steering system) should be checked for looseness or it can make for one sloppy ride. A rattling headset can bend the head tube on your bike and cause serious damage to the frame itself. Anytime you hear rattling during a ride, check for loose handlebars and steering mechanisms.
6. Pedal power: Check the pedal axles for looseness and tighten when necessary. The best tool for tightening pedals is a long 15mm torque wrench, turning it towards the front of the bicycle. Use caution during this adjustment, over tightening may damage or break fasteners and under tightening may allow the part to slip.
7. Frame is fundamental: Regularly inspect the frame for any damage. Cracks are usually found near welded areas or where the frame is butted. If any cracks are discovered, immediately stop riding the bike and have it repaired by a professional. Check the frame for corrosion by removing the seat post and sticking a rag down into the seat tube. If it comes out tinted orange, you may have a rust problem. Avoid corrosion by carefully washing your bike and ensuring water is not sprayed directly at the seat post collar.
The most important aspect of bicycle maintenance is recognizing problems early on. Early detection and minor adjustments can help avoid pricey repairs, in addition to reducing the risk of injury or accident due to an equipment malfunction.
If you’re looking for bike rentals in Phoenix, the staff here has a bike ready for you. We are the only AZ bike rental store devoted strictly to providing rental bikes. We have experienced guides who can also suggest excellent areas for road biking in Scottsdale or mountain biking in the surrounding areas. If you have any questions about bicycle rentals or guided tours, let us help. Learn more by calling 866-455-1601 or contacting us online.