How To Not Maintain Your Bike – Road Bike Maintenance

How To Not Maintain Your Bike – Road Bike Maintenance


– We spend a lot of time here on GCN advising you about what you
should do to maintain your bike. But very rarely do we say
what you shouldn’t do. We’ve probably all been there, applying more and more
pressure to a fragile, yet seemingly immovable bolt, only to find that instead of loosening it, we either round off the
head or strip the threads, then requiring us to drill out said bolt. Now, to avoid doing
that in the first place, only use tools that are in good condition. So stop using them as soon
as they get rounded off, particularly Allen or hex keys. Now, this is not at tool anymore, this is a blunt instrument. And then, when it comes
to the bolts themselves, always prep them as per the
manufacturer’s instructions. So that may be applying
grease to the threads, or, indeed, some kind of locking compound. Common contributing factor
to that previous point could very well be
over-tightening the bolt in the first place. And it is very easy to get
into the habit of that. You may well think, well, that’s the bolt that’s stopping my face
from hitting the tarmac, so I better make sure
it doesn’t come loose. But that is the wrong attitude. Over time, bolts can,
indeed, break entirely, or simply damage expensive other parts of your bike
that are next to it. So the simple solution is
to buy a torque wrench. Now, overtime you may end
up being able to judge exactly what five
newton-meters feels like. But the fact is, it’s
probably an awful lot less than you might think. Removing your pedals needn’t be a job that is fraught with danger. But yet, for some reason, I’m sure we’ve all got
a story about that time when we casually sliced open
our hands on our chainrings. The trick, simply to get round it, is to just to take a little bit more time over the procedure and don’t rush it. So, for example, you
start loosening the pedals in a position where you
wrench or your allen key is not then gonna put
your hand at any risk, either skinning your
knuckles on the ground or going anywhere near your chainring. And then, of course, also making sure that your chain is in your big chainring, or sort out any form of chainring danger. If you are using through axles, you can look away now. But for the rest of us
using quick releases, make sure that your wheel is in straight before you start trying to adjust your breaks or your gears. Ha, you think, that you’d
never made this mistake, but believe you, me,
it’s very easy to do it, especially if your bike’s in a work stand and your putting your
wheels in only to find that having then spent 15 minutes adjusting your gears and
fastening your breaks, they’ve actually, when you put
the bike back on the ground, the wheel is not in straight. Speaking of work stands,
as a general rule, lightweight bikes do
not like being clamped. In fact, there’s pretty
much only one place you can be almost sure that you’ll be okay clamping your bike in a work stand, and that is your seat post here. They are, by and large,
built to be clamped. But there are still
exceptions, unfortunately. Integrated seat posts
don’t like being clamped, and some arrow seat posts do
not like being clamped either. So, in those cases, you will
need a different work stand, one, generally, that will
clamp your front quick release, your forks, and, indeed, will then rest on your bottom bracket. Hold on a minute. Surely no one is gonna get this one wrong. Well, hang around a bike
event for long enough and you will definitely hear
that tell-tale gunshot sound as a tyre blows off the rim. You can only hope that
yours isn’t the head that’s right next to it. And it is, let’s face it, all too easy to fit a new tyre, pump
it up, only to find the bead isn’t seated quite
correctly in one part. And then as the pressure builds, it suddenly blows off the rim. So, to get round this, make a point of spending 10 seconds just checking that the bead of the tyre is seated correctly. Perhaps after you’ve got
maybe just 30 PSI in there, so that it will not blow
off the rim at that stage. It’s definitely 10 seconds well spent. Well, yes, and also no. Some stuff might not be broken as such, but without maintenance,
it might well be soon. So don’t assume that
you can leave anything on your bike and still expect it to work. Common areas for neglect are leaving your seat post in place and only then finding that
when you do need to move it, it has completely seized. Or, indeed, your chain, which will probably work brilliantly until the moment that it doesn’t. And then when you replace it, you realise that it’s also prematurely worn out your cassette
and also your chain rings. And then tripling the bill
at your local bike shop. Well, that is probably
the tip of the iceberg on how not to look after your bike. There are, undoubtedly, many, many more. I mean, we haven’t even got started on the fact that you
probably shouldn’t try any maintenance procedure
completely naked. But we’ll leave that for another day. In the meantime, do make sure that you have subscribed to GCN. To do that, it’s completely free, and every Monday without fail we will give you a maintenance video. So in that case, you’ll
be in the right place. For another simple maintenance video, why not click just up
there and you get through to five essential road
side maintenance skills you will need to know. And if it is a bit of
nakedness you’re after, you can always try watching
that one over there, which is what not to wear when cycling.