Seven Steps To Tune Up Your Bike For Spring
Spring is here and with it the obligatory spring cleaning! Whether or not you have been biking throughout the winter, it’s a good idea to take some time and spring clean and tune up your ride. These seven easy steps should have you back in the saddle in no time.
1. Before you start
Find a good sized area to work in. If working outside make sure to sweep as dust and dirt from the area first so you don’t undo all your good work. If you don’t have area to work in, think about visiting your local Bike Kitchen. Here’s a worldwide list!
2. Clean your bike
Cleaning is one of the easiest, but most important ways to maintain your bike. Use a dry rag to wipe the chain and in or around the drive train(the part of the bike that comprises the pedals, chain, chainring, derailleur, and rear-wheel cassette).
If your chain is particularly dirty or rusty you can use a toothbrush to get inbetween the links to remove the dirt. If the chain is really rusty, you may have to remove the chain, scrub and soak to remove it all.
After taking care of the drive chain you can move on to the body and tire rims. Wash with a light mist of water or a light lather of detergent, making sure to not to direct a stream of water at parts that can rust internally( hubs, bottom bracket, headset).
You can use dishwashing detergent or one of the many bike specific cleaners available. Make sure you dry everything completely with a dry rag to prevent rust before moving on to step three.
One of the leading causes of bike problems is a lack of lubrication. You should check lubrication once a month to ensure that bike keeps running smoothly. Add wet or dry bike specific lubrication to chain, cables and brake cables. Let it soak in and then wipe off excess as over lubrication attracts dirt, dust and particles that can cause it’s own set of problems.
4. Check and Adjust Brakes
If you have been riding though the winter, grit and dirt can get caught between the brakepads and the tire rim. You will probably see a lot of wear and tear and on the brakepads and most likely they will need to be replaced. Align the brakepads so they are connect with the tire rim at the same time.If brakepads are making a grinding noise after you align, that means they are hitting the rim too high or low. Adjust by shaping the brakepad with fine sandpaper or steelwool. Make sure to check the rims for imperfections too, then carefully sand down.
5. Inspect and check the tires
Examine the tires’ tread and sidewalls. Do you see cracks along the sidewall? Do you see cuts or uneven, excessive wear in the treads? If so it may be time to replace the tires. For seasonal riders, your bike may have been sitting inside over the winter. After a while the tires can get slack creating permanent flat spots. If that happens the tires may need to be replaced. The easiest way to prevent this is to check the tire pressure thoughout the winter and keep them inflated year round.
Tires ok? Pump them up to the correct tire pressure so you can roll through spring quickly and smoothly.
6. Check the cables
Inspect your cables and surrounding rubber housing for cracks, crimps, rust, dirt and looseness. If you notice damaged or worn out cables, get them repaired at your local bike shop, unless you have the expertise and willingness to give this a go yourself.
7. Check your gears
You may need a helping hand here or a stand. Lift up the back wheel and pedal through all the gears to make sure that shifting is working properly. Shifting should be smooth and easy to perform. If gears are not shifting smoothly, it’s best to let your local bike shop do the adjustment.
These seven easy steps are now complete you are ready to ride into spring. Consider repeating a tune up every month. So you can keep an eye on wear and tear, lubricate as needed and have smooth and easy riding right into summer.