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Bike Maintenance In Three Easy Steps

Chaparral Motorsports
July 8, 2014

Step 1: Properly Clean The Bike

Mountain Bike on trail

A bike can last a lot longer when it is properly maintained. While cleaning a bike after a ride is an easy task, still many riders skip it. Gunk that goes uncleaned can build up and essentially ruin a bike. However, just getting in the habit of wiping down a bike after a ride can do wonders for extending its life. Not to mention, there are a variety of other cleaning techniques that will keep it up to snuff.

What Is Needed?
A rider will want to invest in some cleaning supplies for their bike. At a low cost, these supplies will be well worth it, especially if a rider can avoid having to buy a new bike. Here is a list of supplies needed to properly clean a bike:

  • Rag
  • Water
  • Soap
  • Several sized brushes
  • De-greaser
  • Chain Lube

Cleaning most of a bike is as easy as wiping it down with water, soap and a rag. However, a rider will want to dedicate some extra time to the chain. This is likely the most important part of a bike, so it's essential that it is functioning to the best of its ability.

Riders should use plenty of de-greasers fist. This will loosen any debris that could be adversely affecting the chain. Then they can move onto a thorough cleaning. From the sprockets to the chain rings, riders won't want to miss an inch. Then they can rinse. After a bike has dried, applying lube will bring it back to life. Riders will be amazed how smoothly their bike runs after cleaning and lubricating their chain.

Practicing preventative maintenance and keeping a bike clean are surefire ways to extending its life and getting the most out of any ride. Riders won't be afraid to let a bike take a beating when they know it can easily be cleaned.

Step 2: Securing The Bolts

Bicycle Rear Tires

A bike consists of a large number of components, with nuts and bolts holding all them together. Whether you haven't ridden a bike in a while or you're heading out on a long ride, it's essential to make sure all bolts are securely fastened. This can make all the difference in avoiding a crash or potentially causing damage to your bike.

However, since you might not be well-schooled in bike maintenance, you could avoid making any repairs or improvements. But, when it comes to ensuring the bolts are securely fastened, this is definitely a task you can take on by yourself. While a bike repair shop will ensure your bicycle is up to snuff, you can avoid any maintenance fees by simply taking care of this yourself.

Not having bolts screwed in can lead to a number of problems, including decreased performance of a bike and a greater potential for damage. It sounds unlikely, but thieves will even take a bike apart. A loosely constructed bike could be a target for someone who is trying to sell bike parts.

So what can you do? Before every ride, it's important to check the bolts. One way to see if there are any loose parts is to shake a bike. If anything wiggles, it might need to be tightened. In addition, you should get on the bike and take it for a short test ride. If anything feels out of place, the bolts need attention.

All you will need is a common bike multitool. This tool will have a number of Allen wrench sizes that will fit the various bolts on your bike and can be found at any bike store. A few twists, and your bike is all tightened up and ready to ride.

Step 3: Proper Lubrication

Youth fixing bicycle

A bike is a well-oiled machine, getting you from A to B with little effort. However, in order to ensure it stays well-oiled, you'll need to lubricate it when necessary.

Bike maintenance might be something you steer clear of. You figure since you're not an expert bike mechanic, you'll leave any repairs to the professionals. However, lubricating a bike is something you can do on your own. It's an easy task that requires very few supplies.

Before lubricating a bike, you will first want to clean it, getting rid of any debris that might be caught. However, once a bike is spick and span, you'll be able to lubricate it. So why would you want to this?

Lubrication makes a bike perform to its maximum potential. Instead of two parts rubbing up against each other, slowing you down, a little lubrication will ensure everything is running smoothly.

Best Practices For Lubricating
The primary place you will want to lubricate is your chain. This is essentially the transmission of the bike, so it needs to be running as efficiently as possible. Without proper lubrication, you could be working harder to pedal than you need to.

Apply chain lubrication to a chain and pedal the bike at the same time. This will ensure lubrication reaches every part of the chain for even disbursement.

Other parts of the bike that will also need lubrication are the brake and derailleur levels and cables. A couple drops of lubricant will be just the ticket to making sure these systems are running efficiently.

It's important bike owners do not over-lubricate. It's possible to put too much lubrication on a bike, which could lead to debris becoming more easily caught in these areas.

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