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6 good practices for bike maintenance

Publié le : 01/27/2021 17:15:40
Catégories : Miscellaneous

6 good practices for bike maintenance

To keep your bike in working order for as long as possible, here is a 6-step check-up to be performed every month. This will allow you to monitor its general condition and anticipate an overhaul at your bike dealer.


1/ Cleaning

To begin with, here is the part that is most often unpleasant but no less important: cleaning.

It is important to clean your bicycle regularly because it is the insurance of its good longevity.  To do this, we recommend using a water jet and avoiding too much pressure (Kärcher is to be avoided). You can scrub with a soft sponge using a bicycle-specific cleaning agent before rinsing it off. Drying is very important because it prevents certain parts, such as screws, from rusting.

Concerning the transmission, you must regularly degrease your chain and cassette. To do this, use a specific product. At the end of the maintenance, it is imperative to lubricate the chain, this avoids unpleasant squeaking noises but above all, it guarantees its longevity and more generally that of your entire transmission.




2/ Tires


a) Wear

Check your tires regularly for studs if you have a mountain bike or grooves if you have road or city tires. Next, check your tires for hernias, cracks, or splits. If any of the previous points concern your tires, it may be time to change them.



b) Pressure

Over time, your tires lose pressure. Thus, it is necessary or even imperative to re-inflate them from time to time. It is therefore necessary to equip yourself with a pump. There are several types of pumps; to make sure you don't make a mistake you need to find out which type of valve you have: Presta or Schrader.

As a rule of thumb, remember that you are inflating:

  • A city bike: between 3.5 and 5 bars
  • A road bike: between 6 and 8 bars
  • A mountain bike: between 3 and 4 bars

To ensure the right pressure for your practice, refer to the "manufacturer" pressure. This is the pressure indicated in Bar or Psi on the sidewall of your tire. Most foot pumps have both units. Finally, it is advisable to re-inflate your tires every 2 weeks for optimal use.



3/ Braking

This is one of the most important points because it is about your safety. A bike that no longer brakes is extremely problematic.


a) Cables and sheaths

You should visually check the condition of your brake cables for fraying. If this is the case, it is imperative that you replace them without delay. Take this opportunity to check your sheaths for any deformation or damage.




b) Skates / Discs

Each skate has grooves on the side in contact with the rim, when these have disappeared, it is high time to change them.

Concerning the discs, you must check the wear of the pads: when there is less than a millimeter of "lining" left, it is time to change them.

Then, you must check the position of the pads on your rim (brake band), they must be centered on the rim. They must not touch the tire or be in the void (under the rim). Your pads must then be flat and parallel to the rim. However, you can adjust them slightly inclined (front of the pad touching the rim before the rear) to avoid noise when braking.



c) Checking the brakes

Braking must be effective. When you operate the brake lever, it is imperative that you can brake by moving the lever 2 or 3 centimeters. If braking occurs when your lever almost touches the handlebars, adjust the brake lever "travel" by turning the brake lever adjustment knob counterclockwise or tightening the cable from the caliper.



d) Tightening

To finish with the braking, it is very important to check the tightness of the cables and calipers. Tighten them at each check, your safety depends on it.




4/ Transmission


a) Cables and sheaths

Like braking, check the general condition of your cables and sheaths, advanced wear of one or the other can be responsible for gears that shift poorly for example.


b) Chain, cassette and chainrings

To keep a smooth gear shift, it is important to have a chain in good condition. With the help of a chain wear monitor, you can tell when it needs to be changed. If you do not have one, you can do it manually and without tools: just pull the chain when it is on the large chainring. If there is a large gap (more than half the height of a tooth) between the chainring and the chain: the chain is worn. A new chain is almost stuck to the chainring.

Check the general condition of the chainrings and the cassette visually. If any teeth are missing or trimmed, they must be replaced.     




If the gears do not shift or jump, you must adjust your derailleur. We recommend that you visit your cycle dealer, as attempting to adjust it without knowledge could aggravate the problem or even render it unusable.


5/ The wheels


a) Sailing

It is time to check the condition of your wheels. To do so, turn them on themselves and use a skate as a reference point. If the rim moves from right to left in relation to this point, the rim is warped. A small veil does not have many consequences but if it is important, it can slow you down when the rim touches a skid. It can also throw you off balance when you are rolling. Your bike dealer can unveil it as much as possible with a "unveiling foot".


b) Spoke tension

To control it, simply take the rays in pairs and try to move them. If they are loose, it is because they lack tension. The under-tension of your spokes can be one of the causes of the veil seen above. We do not recommend that you use your bike with loose spokes. They may break in the long term. Take this opportunity to check your rim for cracks.



6/ Tightening and general condition

It is very important to regularly check the tightness of certain parts of your bike:

  • The saddle and seat post,
  • The gallows,
  • Wheels (quick releases or nuts),
  • Brake levers,
  • Cranks and pedals,
  • Derailleurs (fixing screws),
  • The accessories (basket, luggage rack, mudguards, etc.) are also available.

Like braking, tightening the handlebars and stem is an essential element to guarantee your safety. The risk? Not being able to turn the handlebars in a winding downhill for example. To control this, simply stand in front of your bike with the front wheel firmly clamped between your legs and your hands on the handlebars. Try to rotate the handlebars from right to left keeping the wheel in line with your legs. If the handlebar pivots independently of the wheel, tighten the stem using the side bolts.




Finally, as a general check of your bike, visually check the condition of your frame and fork for cracks or deformation, especially at the welds.


To conclude, we would like to remind you that only regular maintenance and inspection of your bike will guarantee its longevity. This is a guarantee of your safety. We advise you to take your bicycle to a bicycle dealer once a year for a complete overhaul. 


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