How to keep your bike in good condition

Your bike can give you years of service if you look after it.  Granted you may not want to do all your own servicing but some basic preventative maintenance will keep your servicing bills down.

Here are my TOP 10 Tips …..

  1.  Keep the chain and all parts of the gear mechanisms as clean as you can, especially both sides of those little jockey wheels on the rear mech.  You can buy a cheap sprocket brush and some concentrated de-greaser fluid to help.
  2. Once clean and dry you should LIGHTLY oil the chain.  Use a synthethic Wet Lube for normal riding in the UK.  One drop on each link roller is all you need. Too many folk over oil the chain, or worse oil it when it’s dirty and wonder why it wears out quickly.  Expect 1500 miles from a well looked after chain.
  3. Buy a chain wear guage and replace your chain when it become 0.75% worn.  Doesn’t sound a lot I know but bear in mind 1% would be 1.14 links extra length on a standard chain.
  4. Keep your tyres well inflated.  In dry condition at or very near the max recommended pressure (never over).  This will reduce the incidence of punctures and the tyres will “roll” better and you’ll go faster.  In wet or muddy condition you can reduce this to midway between min and max pressures.
  5. When you clean your bike, take a few moments to check the state of your brake blocks.  Don’t let them wear unevenly or too far and check that the faces are not picking up specks of aluminium from the wheel.
  6. Modern Aluminium wheels also wear out.  Many have a simple groove, called the”wear line”.   if you can’t see it in any place it’s time to replace the wheel.  If you don’t have a wear line check with a finger tip that the braking surface isn’t feeling like there a curve in it.  Several customers have had wheels explode!!!
  7. Check your spokes.   Starting at the valve simply gently ping each spoke to see if they have approximately the same tension.  You’ll notice significant differences or even find a broken spoke you didn’t know you had.
  8. Take a look at you cables.  Get rusted or frayed cables replaced.  Galvanised cables get coated with a sharp white dust (Zinc Oxide) before they go orange, but that dust really adversely affects the way the cables travel in the outer casing.   Check carefully at the place where the cable is bolted to the brakes or gears as they often fracture at these points.
  9. Lubricate your cables, or better still get them replaced with Stainless Steel ones.
  10.  Check your bearings.  You’ll find bearings of some description in the hubs of both wheels, the bottom bracket which connects the pedal cranks and the top and bottom of the headset.  These bearings should not be tight or grind when rotated, but neither should they be loose so that you can detect lateral movement between the rotating parts.

I have quality cleaning tools, degreaser, lubricants, inner tubes, tyres, lights and many other cycling accessories on the van for sale to DIY bike mechanics. Just ask if there’s something you need, or see the web site. We supply genuine Shimano, SRAM and Campag parts, Continental or Schwalbe Tyres and tubes, we also carry a range of budget priced but good quality spares.