It’s important to keep up on your bike maintenance for both performance and safety – some simple tasks will guarantee your bike will be in great shape for years to come.
If your bike is falling apart, it’s not going to ride as well, and it’s going to put you at risk. When biking, you’re powering the bike yourself, making it an extension of your body. Caring for it accordingly will keep it in adventure-ready shape.
Here are the top bike maintenance and bike performance tips.
Keep Your Bike Chain Clean
A worn-down bike chain is a perfect example of something that will slow you down and eventually end up damaging the lifespan of your bike. You need to stay on top with bike chain maintenance. The best way to do this is by cleaning regularly. First off, you’ll need a rag, a bottle of lube and a bottle of de-greaser. Saturate the entire chain with the de-greaser – make sure you get the parts that might at first be wrapped around the wheel. You can do this by spinning the pedals to move the chain. After everything’s soaked, wipe it down with a rag, and brush inside the chain links to get to those out-of-reach parts. Once you’ve fully de-greased the chain, take a bottle of lube and, standing at the back wheel, put the lube into the links of the chain as you spin the pedals.
Keep The Tire Pressure Correct
A bike’s tires are a massively important part of your bike. Keeping your tires in tip-top shape isn’t just a matter of making sure they’re on the bike and not flat — you also want to make sure the tire pressure is correct. It’s hardly the most difficult thing in the world, but it does require a certain amount of care. First, open the valve on the bike and attach a pump. Once the pump is secure, start pumping air into the tire. You probably want about 110 to 120 pounds per square inch of pressure, but you don’t want to go there immediately, because that risks moving the tire off its frame. Go in increments, checking to make sure that the tire is still on as you go, until you’re at the perfect level for bike performance.
Clean Your Drivetrain Regularly
The chain isn’t the only part of the bike that needs to be kept clean. The drivetrain, the whole mechanism that helps the bike move, gets incredibly dirty and needs to be cleaned regularly for proper bike performance. First, use a screwdriver or other long implement to scrape the dirt out of the jockey wheel as you rotate the wheel back and forth. Next, do the same with each cog on the cassette, the part that attaches the chain to the bike wheel, using a curved stick or similar tool. Finally, clean the cassette disks themselves; a screwdriver should work well for this.
Keep Your Bike Brakes Properly Adjusted
Almost as important as the tires are the brakes – if you can’t stop, you’re in danger. That means you want to keep your brakes properly adjusted. First, check to make sure that, when you pull on the front handlebar brakes, they stop with about two fingers of space left between them and the handles. If that isn’t the case, use the barrel adjuster to tighten it. If that doesn’t tighten it enough, leave the barrel adjuster open, then open the front part of the bike just slightly and tighten the brake cable. Once that’s done, close the barrel adjuster.
Lock Your Bike
None of this is worth anything, however, if your bike gets stolen. Be sure to lock your bike up properly. That means locking your bike to a structure that can’t be moved, such as a fence or a post in the ground, making sure your lock goes around both the wheel and the frame itself, and purchasing a lock that has a cable you can use to wrap around the front of the wheel as well as the back, particularly if the front wheel has an easy release mechanism.