If you want to keep your bike running, you’ll need to work on your bike, and there are a few tips and tricks that many people don’t know. We felt we would make life easier for you and bring you a few workshop tips and techniques to make sure that you're keeping your bike running as well as possible and save you from hassle when you’re out riding.1. Check your tires regularly. You will want to get into the routine of weekly checking your tires. You want to check for debris caught on the tire, and you’ll want to check the pressure of your tires. By doing so, you will lessen the chance of you standing at the side of the road or trail fixing a puncture in the rain; it always rains when you have to fix a puncture. If you keep your tire pressures in the correct range and remove debris from your tires, you’ll have fewer punctures.
2. Keep your chain clean. The dirtier your chain gets, the faster your drivetrain wears down. Not paying enough attention to your chain can quickly bring you a big repair bill. Like your tires, you’ll want to get into a regular routine of looking after your chain.
You’ll want to wash your bike, and then pop your bike in a work stand. Then use a chain cleaning device and cycle your chain through. Then dry your chain. Now stand behind your bike and turn the pedals. As you do so squeeze your lube bottle just behind the moving chain and the chain should pull the lube onto itself. Don’t go overboard with the lube or you’ll get a sticky/slimy floor and possibly spray some onto your brakes or braking surfaces.
3. Creaking. Don’t ignore creaks from your bike. If you hear a creak, it is time to go through your bike and make sure everything is tight. You want to remember and not overtighten any parts, as that can be as bad as having loose parts.
4. Grease dries out. One thing many people don’t realize is that grease can dry out. It doesn’t matter how much you smothered your seat post in grease, at some point you’ll have to pull it out and grease it again. It is also the same story for pedal spindles if you use copper slip instead of grease on your pedal spindles though you should be good for years. Remember that a creaking headset could also be because you need grease, not greasing it will cause the bearings to die so get in there and keep it greased up.
5. True your wheels. Your wheels will suffer when you ride. The very act of riding will be testing the tension in your spokes, and so will the various knocks and hits you give them. There is a simple way that you can true your wheels at home, and you’ll only need a spoke key and some zip ties. Take a pair of zip ties and tie them around your fork or frame, depending on the wheel you want to true. Make sure that you leave the tails long enough that they just don’t touch the wheel. Slowly spin the wheel if it touches the zip tie on one side, tighten the 2 spokes exactly opposite it. Work your way at this slowly and methodically, and you’ll have you’ll wheel running true in no time.
6. Care for your cables. The cables on your bike don’t just suddenly fail. They may snap but if you’ll have had warnings leading up to that happening. If you care for your cables then, they won’t just randomly snap. As your cables wear down, you’ll get sloppy gear shifts, or your braking will be less crisp. Pay attention to these changes, and you’ll be able to fix a problem before it becomes a big issue. When your lubing your chain, run some of that lube down your cables, that will help with friction. If you lose a cable end, make sure you fit a new one before your cable starts to fray.
7. Love your derailleurs. Keep an eye on your derailleurs. Make sure that if they have had a knock that they are back inline as they should be. When you're using that bottle of lube, go over your pully bearing, anchor points, and set screws with it. Doing so will keep all these parts moving smoothly and correctly. Having your screws seize in your derailleur is not a pain that you want to have to go through.
8. Keep a spare hanger. When you buy a new bike, or frame, make sure that you order a spare hanger to go with it. You will have a small accident at some point that will bend your hanger and having one spare in your workshop will save you from missing riding time when you try and get a new one. They are a cheap part but can be worth their weight in gold.
If you have a bit of spare time, it is always worth thread locking the most common bolts to come loose when you’re riding. These bolts are your water bottle bolts and your chainring bolts. Put a small dab of thread lock on them, and you’ll find that they no longer vibrate loose, they will though still be easy to remove with a good turn on your Allan key.
9. Check your brake pads. We would hope that this would be an obvious tip, but it is one that many people seem to forget about checking. Remember that one day, your life could depend upon your brake pads doing their job. So, make sure that they have not worn down past their usable limit and that there is no debris stuck in the pad material. You’ll also want to make sure that if you’re running rim brakes that they are still hitting the rim and that cable stretch and pad wear is not causing them to miss the rim.