Regular bicycle maintenanceEdit
Performing regular maintenance on a bicycle will improve its performance and longevity, and reduce the risk of breakdowns. The exact schedule for a particular bicycle will depend on how it is used: its weekly mileage, the weather conditions, road (or off road) surface conditions and so on. Most parts will need attention and possible replacement every year or two; if this is done, however, a bicycle can be maintained in good working order for decades.
Bicycle inspection & maintenance can be roughly broken down into four categories. Each includes clean, inspect, adjust, lubricate and repair as necessary. The primary difference between them is the depth or level of each task and sub-task.
The schedule given here is a starting point for an average bike, assuming daily or weekly use; you will soon adjust this based on your own experience.
- Check that the tires are inflated (a quick pinch to ensure they are hard generally suffices)
- Check both wheels will rotate without sticking
- Squeeze both brakes to make sure they engage properly (this is especially important if you have been working on the bike and may have disconnected the brake cables)
- Check for obvious loose parts; if you have panniers or removable child seats make sure they're properly attached
- Check you have working lights, a lock and a key if you will need them before you return
- After the ride, if the moving parts have got muddy or picked up road salt, give the bike a quick hose down. It's much easier doing it now than after it has dried!
(washing with a bike cleaner helps get rid of dried on and hard to get off grime.)
Once a week:
- Lubricate the chain
- Re-inflate the tires to the correct pressure.
- Rotate wheels to check that they are in true. Replace any broken spokes - other spokes will break and the wheel will be permanently bent if ridden in this condition.
- Check the brakes to ensure they are correctly adjusted, and that the pads are not worn.
- Check derailleur adjustment.
- Check screws or bolts holding attachments such as mudguards, racks, bottles etc. are tight.
- Check brake and gear cables for fraying or rusting, and lubricate.
- Grease seat post. It may not technically be a moving part, but it is not desirable for it to become permanently stuck.
- Adjust the saddle height and position if necessary. (when crank arm is in-line with seat tube and ball of foot is inline with pedal axle, knee should be slightly bent, then place heel on pedal, leg should then be completely straight. Hips should not wobble when riding bike, Lower seat if this occurs)
- Check tires for signs of wear, bulges or splitting. (replace immediately)
- Check handlebars are aligned properly with front wheel.
- Check reflectors (if required) are still attached
- Check the chain for wear
At least every two years:
- Replace the chain and front or rear sprockets
- Complete dis-assembly, cleaning, and lubricate all moving parts.
- Check bottom bracket and wheel hubs for excessive play and replace if worn.
- Check derailleur jockey wheels for wear, replace them if worn. *TIP* If the "teeth" of the jockey wheels or front or rear sprockets look sharp and pointy, Replace. (if rear cassette is worn, you will need to replace chain at the same time)
- Grease metal-to-metal contact points.
- Check saddle for splitting, and handlebar grips or tape for perishing or fraying
- Check headset; tighten or replace bearings as necessary