Bike Maintenance: 10 Essential Tips


It’s spring here at Skratch Labs and teamed up with our friends at House of Spin to bring you 10 bike maintenance must do’s. to bring you 10 bike maintenance must do’s. Start by degreasing your drivetrain. Pro Tip: cut an old water bottle in half to hold degreaser and keep it in the bottle cage for easy access. Use a small brush to apply to all sides of the chain, chainrings, cassette and derailleurs. Rinse off degreaser. Thoroughly wash your frame and wheels. Put together a cleaning kit of a bucket soap and brushes. Nylon brushes work fine, but Tampico versions prevent grease and dirt from accumulating on the brush. Pro Tip: use a nylon chain guide so you can wash the frame and wheels separately. Inspect the frame for damage. Be sure to check underneath the down tube bottom bracket and seat stays. Check the cable rub at the head tube Inspect wheels for trueness and roundness. This can be done on the bike eyeing the wheel relative to the brake pads or by using a truing stand. Check spoke tension by hand, looking and listening for loose under-tensioned spokes. Check tires for tread and sidewall damage and make sure there is no debris in the tread. This can be done with the tire on the rim but removing the tire gives you peace of that nothing is penetrated the casing. Also check for tire wear and squaring off of the rear tire. Make sure your tires are properly inflated for your weight and the terrain. If your tires are set up tubeless, check sealant levels and add a replace sealant as necessary. Set the air pressure in your fork and shock and check preload compression and rebound settings adjusting per manufacturer guidelines. Visually inspect seals for damage. If you’re running a dropper seatpost check for nicks that can compromise seals down the line. Pro Tip: rent a ShockWiz from your local bike shop. After the ride, your mechanic can use the data to get your suspension adjusted perfectly. Spring is a great time to replace your handlebar tape or grips. Dirty tape may be an eyesore, but worn grip can be downright dangerous. Nothing breathes life back into a wintered bike like fresh tape or grips. Check for proper tightness using a torque wrench and following the manufacturer’s specs. Pro Tip: don’t forget the chainring bolts Pro Tip: don’t forget the chainring bolts Check your seat post and saddle clamps too. Run through shifting and braking, making sure gear shifts are crisp and accurate and brakes are balanced and have the desired amount of lever feel. If the built-in or inline adjusters aren’t enough to fine-tune shifting and braking adjust the cables or visit your local bike shop to make sure chain and cassette where aren’t a factor if you have electronic shifting make sure the battery is fully charged and your software is up to date. If you’re running disc brakes and the lever feel has degraded, have your local bike shop replace pads and bleed with fresh hydraulic fluid. shop replace pads and bleed with fresh hydraulic fluid. Lube your chain with a product ideal for your riding conditions. Avoid coating the outer plates of the chain as this will only attract dirt. After a few more backpedals wipe off any excess lube. You’re dialed! All that’s left to do is kit up, fuel up and get out there and ride!