The Ultimate Bicycle Maintenance Checklist
Americans love bicycles.
Seriously, according to this Breakaway Research study, 100 million people ride a bicycle in the US every year.
It’s unsurprising really. After all, bikes are awesome!
But they do require regular maintenance. And the more you ride, the more frequently your bike will need it. And if you’re new to cycling you might be unsure how to maintain your bike correctly.
Keep reading for a complete lowdown on bicycle maintenance.
Ultimate Bicycle Maintenance Checklist
Good bike maintenance begins before each ride.
Before you get on your bike, make sure it’s in good working order.
Here are a couple of handy acronyms to help you remember what to keep an eye on.
1. Remember Your ABCs
Be sure to check the:
Air: Check your tires to see if they require pumping up. If they’re squidgy to touch then they need more air. Refill using a bike pump to the pressure that’s stated on the side of the wheel.
Brakes: check your brakes work! Squeeze the levers to test your front and rear brakes. They should grip the rims, not the tires.
Chain: look over the chain and gears too. Add lubricant if it needs it.
2. Then Get SET…
We just made this one up! But it’s a reminder to check the following things as well:
Suspension: If you have suspension, press down and release to ensure that it’s working.
Equipment: Be prepared on the road by packing spare tubes, a patch kit, a tire lever and a pump. It also pays to know where your nearest bike shop is.
Tread: To avoid getting a flat tire, check both for debris that might be stuck in the rubber.
There’s also an ‘M-check’ guide for bike maintenance that might also come in handy.
Monthly Maintenance Checklist
Pre-ride checks are crucial. But more rigorous maintenance is important after certain periods of time.
Here are things to do approximately every month.
A dirty bike is more likely to become damaged. Be sure to regularly clean it in order to keep the bike in good working order.
Each month be sure to inspect the most important parts of the bike for damage. Then repair and replace as needed.
Check the chain (any rust or wear?), brakes (do they need lubricating?), pedals, tires (how’s the tread?) and frame (any cracks, bends or bulges?).
Be sure to see a trained mechanic if you have any concerns.
3-6 Month Maintenance
3 to 6 months of riding requires further maintenance checks.
Deeper cleaning’s usually required at this point! For instance, the drivetrain (meaning the chain, chainrings, cassette, and derailleurs) may need particular attention.
And be sure to check the:
Replace anything that’s missing (you might need a new spare tube, or new patches etc). If your spare tube(s) is still there, check that it still holds air.
You should replace them if you notice rot, or areas that have worn particularly thin.
Other Important Parts
Check the cables, brake pads, and handlebars. And how about the hubs, bottom bracket, and headset? If there’s rocking or clicking in the headset, there may be issues with the bearings.
Again, repair and replace where necessary.
Yearly Maintenance Checklist
Every year, at approximately 6,000 miles, you should take your bike for a service.
Particular areas of concern will be brakes, gear cables, rust, corrosion, cracked and worn tires, pedal bearings, and suspension.
However, at this point, your bike will probably require a pro mechanic to do a complete disassembly and overhaul job.
Time to Sum Up
Bicycle maintenance is a crucial part of responsible and safe bike ownership.
And thankfully, with regular checks and the right know-how, it’s pretty easy to keep your bicycle running well.
Before every ride keep your ABCs and SETs in mind. Then, as the months go by, regularly check the most important parts of your bike for potential issues. Finally, try to schedule a service every year too.
Do so and you’ll be riding happily for a long time!
Now we’d like to hear from you! What do you find hardest about bike maintenance? Let us know in the comments.
And be sure to contact us for all your bike repair needs.