Maintain your bike in 5 easy steps
Few things compare to the feeling of freedom you get when you get on your bike. No matter what the terrain, our two-wheeled machine is constantly challenging and exploring. In order to keep your faithful companion in good condition and ready for action, it is important to take care of it!
Here are the 5 essential steps to maintaining your bike:
1. Clean your bike regularly
More than just a matter of aesthetics, cleaning your bike will prevent the accumulation of dirt and dust that can damage parts and shorten the life of your bike. To clean your bike, you will need:
- A soft cloth
- A bucket of soapy water
- A soft brush
- Other bike cleaning products
Once you have your cleaning equipment, you can start by tackling the dirtiest parts of your bike, such as the wheels and chain. Then, once you've finished cleaning with soap, you'll need to rinse the whole thing with clear water. Finally, you'll need to wipe it down with a clean, dry cloth.
And if you don't want to get your bike wet, you can also do it without water. In fact, although cleaning with soapy water is a common practice, choosing to do without it is also an interesting choice since it allows you to limit the entry of water in the bearings of the headset, crankset and wheels.
2. Check your tire pressure regularly
There's no doubt about it, tire pressure is one of the most important elements in the performance and safety of your bike. Under-inflated tires automatically increase road drag and friction, which will slow down your bike quite a bit and make riding more difficult. Conversely, if the tires are overinflated, you risk losing traction and sliding.
Generally speaking, the optimal tire pressure will vary depending on the type of bike, the size of the tires and your weight.
Evaluating tire pressure may seem complicated, but it quickly becomes accessible if you are equipped with a pump and a pressure gauge!
3. Lubricate the chain regularly
The chain is an essential part of the bike that transmits power from your pedals to the wheels. It is subject to high tension, bending loads and constant wear, especially if it is not maintained regularly.
It is important to keep your chain clean and well lubricated to avoid premature wear of the chain and gears, which could compromise the operation of your bicycle. To lubricate your chain, it is recommended that you use an oil designed for bicycle chains. Especially avoid using motor oils or automotive grease, which can damage the chain.
First and foremost, it is important to clean your bicycle chain thoroughly to remove any accumulated dirt and dust. Use a bicycle chain cleaner and a clean cloth to clean each link, it may seem like a long process, but it's worth it! Next, apply a small amount of oil to each link of the chain while slowly rotating the pedals. Be careful not to apply too much to avoid leaving oil residue on the gears or the chain itself. Finally, wipe off the excess oil with a clean cloth to avoid attracting dirt and dust.
4. Check the brakes
The brakes are probably the most important part of a bicycle. It's the part of your bike that keeps you safe on the road. So it's important to check them regularly to make sure they're working properly. To do this, first check the condition of the brake pads visually. They should be thick enough and not so worn that they are no longer able to brake effectively.
Once you have checked the condition of the brake pads, you should take the time to observe the condition of the brake discs. They should be clean and free of deep scratches or dents, as the presence of either can cause premature wear of the brake pads and thus reduce braking efficiency.
Brake lever fluidity is the next step in your brake checklist: make sure the brake levers are fluid and not too stiff or soft. In the event that the levers are in either situation, you will probably need to bleed the brake system.
All that's left to do is perform a brake test. To do this, simply spin the wheel to confirm that the brakes stop it quickly and safely.
5. Check the spokes and rim
Acting much like the foundation of the wheel, the spokes are essential elements that ensure the strength and stability of your wheel. In short, they are responsible for supporting the weight of the rider and the forces that are applied to the wheel when you are on the road. So the importance of taking care of them makes perfect sense.
If you notice a loose or broken spoke, it can cause the wheel to buckle, making it dangerous to ride. In this case, it is important to have the spokes professionally repaired or replaced, as improperly fitted or replaced spokes can compromise the safety and durability of your bike.
Once the spokes have been checked, the rim should not be overlooked. The rim is also a crucial part of the bicycle wheel as it is the link between the spokes and the tire. Make sure that it is in good condition and that there are no dents or cracks that could endanger the stability of the structure. Once the condition of the rim has been taken into account, simply make sure that it is well centered in relation to the hub, to guarantee an optimal rolling of the wheel.
By following these tips, you'll not only extend the life of your bike, but also ensure its proper functioning. Taking care of your two-wheeled friend is a real long-term investment that can not only save you money, but also enhance your entire cycling experience.
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