Top 5 tips for helping you to maintain your bicycle
Looking after your bike will help to avoid costly repairs!
When it comes to bicycle maintenance, it is often recommended to prevent problems before they occur; this can help to save money on replacement parts and labour. Rather than waiting for things to break, why not take the time to look after your bicycle and its components?
What can be done?
There are plenty of things that can be done to prevent problems from occurring, especially if you take the time to research common bicycle faults and how to prevent them. Keeping your bike in good health could help you to save money in the long run, so its worth enhancing your knowledge to ensure your bank balance is looked after just as well as your bike.
Below, we look at the 5 best ways to service your bike yourself (or via a bike shop if you require some assistance). Let’s begin!
Headset bearings don’t cost much to replace, meaning they are usually left to become worn before eventually being replaced for a small fee. They can be serviced however, helping you to avoid any expenditure whatsoever.
As well as the headset bearings, you will also find pedal bearings, bottom bracket bearings and wheel bearings, all playing a role in the key components of your bicycle. Each type of bearing needs to be check in a different way and we have outlined how you can do this below.
To assess the condition of the bottom bracket bearing, you will usually only need to unship the chain and spinning crank. Spin the crank whilst holding the seat-stay and you will be able to hear it or feel the frame. The louder the rumble, the more likely it is that your bearings will need replacing or servicing.
A similar process will be needed to assess wheel bearings. Suspend the bike and examine how fast your wheels gain top speed. If there seems to be some sort of friction, your bearings may need replacing. If your wheels use cartridge bearings, then another simple method would be to remove the wheels and the cassette (for rear wheels), and removing the seal. Your bearings will either need re-lubing or replacing based on the wear of them.
For headset bearings, you can usually tell by the play or the roughness of the bearings. A brown fluid will often present itself and run down the lower bearing and the back of the fork, so it can be easy to tell when they need servicing or replacing.
A range of replacement bearings can be purchased from Aire Velo Bearings (for those of you that wish to change parts yourself), while all servicing and repair work can be undertaken by Blue Giraffe Bicycles.
2. Gear Cables
Another of the key bike components that should not be ignored is the gear cables. When a worn gear cable splits within a dual control lever, it can be hard to remove and might cause damage to the shifting mechanism. Worn gear cables should be replaced before they split to prevent further damage to the shift lever.
It’s easy to tell when a cable is worn as the additional pressure required to make a shift will be noticeable. Ignoring these signs can lead to snapped cables, which can be a real nightmare to change. If you’re confident to do so, replace the cables before/when they become worn or seek the help of a professional bike shop mechanic who will be able to simply replace these for you.
When snapped cables need replacing, the process is a lot more difficult and a lot more costly, so it’s best to avoid this before it happens.
3. Rim Wear
There are a couple of things you can do to prevent rim wear. We have listed these below:
- Apply a small amount of oil to the spoke nipples to prevent corrosion.
- Reduce brake wear by regularly cleaning/replacing pads. As rim wear cannot be prevented, it can be slowed by looking after the brake pads.
- To do this, hook out tiny pieces of aluminum that can become stuck under the pad. These come from natural wear of pad on rim, which leads to metal on metal friction. This will speed up the natural rim wear, so it’s worth taking the time to clean/replace your brake pads..
Riding on excessively worn wheel rims can lead to fatal consequences, so if you think your rims or brake pads are worn, it’s a wise idea to ACT NOW!
4. Seat Post
Natural road grime can cause the slot at the top of the seatpost to become seized in the frame. This can make it difficult to adjust, clean, replace or remove. It’s another wise idea to remove the seatpost regularly and clean it thoroughly to prevent seizure.
Seatpost seizure can mean that the post becomes stuck in the frame, which may require a mechanic to remove. If this method is unsuccessful, you may need to write the frame off altogether. As both of these methods come at a price to you, the bike owner, it’s important that you regularly unfasten your seat clamp and clean it. A lubricant (aluminum post) or grip paste (carbon post) will help to prevent your seatpost from seizing in place.
Removing a seized seatpost can be costly and time consuming, although can be avoided when you take care of these components.
5. Water Ingress
Water ingress can take place in several places on your bicycle, including the rims spoke holes. Riding through puddles or simply outside on a rainy day can lead to water ingress, which can, in turn, lead to damaged bike parts.
Draining water from your bike’s components is the best way to prevent problems from taking place. Vulnerable areas include:
- Rim spoke holes
- End of the chainstay
- Beneath the bottom bracket
While most modern bikes will have one or more draining holes, it’s always worth taking the time to check for water ingress. Flipping your bike upside down can pay dividends straight away, as most people will be surprised how much water can be stored in their bicycle if left un-serviced.
To remove water ingress from the wheels, you will usually need to remove the tyre, tube and rim strip. When you do this, you will usually be met by water rushing out of the spoke holes. Whilst there, clean any dirt or residue with an old rag and ensure all components are dry before putting the parts back together.
By preventing or removing water ingress, you can add years to the lifespan of your bicycle. Water can lead to corrosion, which will only enhance the chances of faster wear and damaged parts, so be mindful of water and the role it can play in damaging your bike.
So there you have it, our 5 top tips for helping you to maintain your bicycle. By looking after all parts and components, you can a long way in terms of avoiding costly repairs. If you have any questions or you require additional support, please feel free to contact Blue Giraffe Bicycles. We offer a bike repair and maintenance service and will gladly assist you moving forward!