May 19, 2022

Botu Linum

The Car & Automotive Devotees

Important Bike Maintenance Tips Everyone Should Follow

3 min read

1. Put air in the tires. Bicycle tires naturally lose air over time—your tires are likely to be completely flat if the bike hasn’t been ridden in a year or longer. Inflate the tires within the range listed on the tire’s sidewall. Be sure to put air in slowly, checking to make sure the bead of the tire (the sidewall) stays properly “seated” inside the rim of the wheel. “Airing the tire up too quickly, or if the tire isn’t properly seated onto the rim, can cause the tube to burst as you’re pumping air in,” says Gary Nicol, co-owner of Pedal Power bike shops, based in Connecticut. Be prepared to add a small amount of air to the tires every few days because air naturally will leak, or escape, through pores in the tubes.

2. Give the tires a visual inspection. Once you inflate the tubes, look the tires over thoroughly for cracking or dry rot. Nicol says it’s easy for a tire to get dry rot with age, especially the part of the tire that has been sitting for a couple of years on a concrete floor.

3. Secure the quick-release wheel skewers. Many bicycle wheels use quick-release skewers to attach the wheel to the bicycle, which makes it easy to take the wheel off without using tools. But Nicol says he sees many bicycles come into the shop with the skewers on wrong. “The skewers indicate on them which position is ‘open’ and which is ‘closed,’ but often people don’t have them locked properly,” he says. This can be dangerous because the wheel could come loose while riding. And yes, when riding you want them clamped into the position where the word “closed” can be read.

4. Check the brakes. Inspect the front and rear brake assemblies to make sure they are working properly. The left and right brake pads on each wheel should come into contact with the rim of the wheel when you pull back on the brake levers. “Make sure there is strong braking force before the point where the brake lever comes in contact with the handlebar,” Nicol says. If it doesn’t, it needs to be adjusted so that you can get full stopping power in the case of an emergency maneuver.

5. Lubricate the chain. Your chain really is the “link” that makes your bike’s drivetrain function, so it’s important to keep it properly lubricated and free of gunk, grime, and dirt. It’s best to use bicycle-specific chain lube, but Nicol says multipurpose lubes—such as 3-in-One oil and WD-40—are better than nothing at all. Apply only a thin coat of lube because an excessive amount will attract dirt onto the chain as you ride. Shift the bike through all its gears, then wipe the chain down with a rag. “Wiping the chain down before adding lube will accomplish almost nothing if the chain is completely gummed up with old crud,” Nicol says.