Bike Care – Basic Bike Maintenance



online bikesBike Care and Bicycle components are evolving rapidly – the suspension and braking systems on more technical mountain bikes are a bewildering sight to most DIY bike mechanics attempting home bike repairs.

The good news is, for general bike care and basic safety checks you don’t need to touch any of the advanced components on your bike – in fact, unless you have successfully completed a bike repair course of some sort you are best to leave the technical bike repairs to a trained bike mechanic. So what bike repairs can you do at home ?

This article covers 5 simple bike maintenance tasks you can do to keep your bike in good repair, safe and reliable.

Bicycle Rims and Tires :

The most obvious simple check for all bike tires whether they are on a  road bike or mountain bike – is the rim running true and do the tires have the correct pressure in them. How much air… will depend a lot on where and what you ride plus how heavy you are, this article will give a baseline to follow from there you will need to experiment and adjust the tire pressure to suit your own needs… ( the thinner the tire the higher the pressure, is a general rule )

  • road bike tires typically require 80 to 130 psi, if you are of heavy build, opt for a higher pressure range (100 – 130 psi )
  • mountain bike tires 30 to 50 psi. I find 38 psi is ideal for me – when riding off road – I’m 165 lbs

Properly inflated road bike tires roll faster and absorb a higher percentage of shocks while they roll over the road surface reducing rider fatigue,

Correctly inflated mountain bike tires are less likely to puncture due to a pinched tube. 38-40 psi is my preference for single track mountain biking  any less you increase the risk of a pinched tube anymore you find the ride a bit harsh and unpredictable.

Overinflated tires transmit every vibration and bump to the rider, so be sure to experiment with different pressures adjusting your tire pressures to suit your weight, riding conditions and tire type, as well as the surface you are riding on…

For mountain bike riders your bike may roll smoothly with less effort on the sealed roads with 50 psi ?  but  it would definitely feel better at 35 – 40 psi on a single track when you start bouncing over rocks or tree roots.

Bike Frame :

Bike Frames are under constant stress how much stress depends on your riding style…

the frame and welds are constantly flexing as you ride it is sensible to inspect your frame for wear and tear.

Check your bike frame for cracks !online bikes

Every few months or after a hard crash visually inspect your bikes frame – starting with the welds that join the frame, but also check the seat post or headset, if you notice hairline cracks in the paint, remove enough paint to check if the weld or frame tube is cracked – it maybe just stress cracks in the paint surface.

If you do find your frame has developed a crack take the bike to your mechanic or a frame builder for expert opinion on whether to fix the frame or junk it – don’t ride a bike with a split frame a collapsed frame can lead to nasty injuries.

Standard bike care would involve regular de-grease and washing of your bike parts and bike frame, how often depends on the conditions you ride in and how much grime you can tolerate… it is important to  be careful when using your garden or water blaster, try not to use high-pressure water in a way that  forces water into the frame and bearings.

While washing your bike you can take the time to inspect for damage after the bike is dry – lube the chain and all moving parts such as derailleurs, brake, and gear cables.

Bicycle Brakes :

There are two main types of brakes… Rim Brakes and Disc Brakes

Rim brakes rely on your rim being in good condition, clean and correctly trued keep your rim free of dirt and grease ensure the pads are sitting correctly and not making contact with the tire, lubricate the cables and pivot points.

Disc brakes have the advantage of being weather proof and of not being affected by rim dents or wheel true.

Get into the habit of inspecting the hydraulic system for leaks every few weeks.

If your disc brakes squeal it could be something is loose or the pads and rotors need cleaning, check all the bolts that hold the brake components on, refer to your bikes manual before cleaning your disc pads and rotors as some can be damaged by certain types of cleaners.

Bicycle Gears :

bike careCleaning the drive train is a job people either  neglect or totally over do it…

A light clean and then apply lube to all moving parts after each ride will keep your bike in great condition as well as keep you in touch with any damage or minor repairs that need attention… if it is a mountain bike it is meant to get dirty !

If it is a road bike it will just pick up a bit of road grime – so don’t over clean!  You risk introducing water to bearings and hard to lube places – resulting in rust and premature wear and tear.

Bike Seat :

Seats need to comfortable, they also need to be inspected for damage or wear and tear to ensure they are structurally safe.

Remove the seat post periodically and apply grease to the post ensure it doesn’t corrode into place, unless it is carbon fiber  if you have a carbon frame, seat post or fork don’t apply grease [to carbon fiber]

While the seat post is out inspect the seat frame for broken welds or bent supports – if the seat looks worn replace it.

Basic Bike Maintenance requires very little technical knowledge it is largely common sense…  Clean, Inspect, Lube covers the majority of Bike Care Tasks.
If you want to learn how to carry out more technical bike repairs – at home, these bike repair tutorials are excellent – not free, but nothing worthwhile is… Have a quick look at the bike repair videos

About the Author Ian

Ian is the Chief editor here at OnlineBikesShop, a reformed Cycle Traveler... now a dedicated stay-at-home dad of a very active 3 yr old, a keen mountain biker with a passion for all types of bikes, the outdoors, and keeping fit...

Leave a Comment: