There’s no such thing as a maintenance free bike. Regular servicing of your bike will not only mean your bicycle rides smoothly but it will also prolong component life. There are also a few other things you can do to help keep your trusty ride running happily and reduce potentially high repair bills:
Keep it bling
A clean and polished bike is a happy bike. Give your bike a good clean and polish. Corrosion inducing mud, salt and road grime find it difficult to stick to a clean and shiny bike:
- Start by giving your bike a rinse with clean water;
- Spray a bike specific cleaner such as the excellent Muc-Off all over your bike (maybe an extra blast over the grimiest of areas such as the driver train);
- Leave the cleaner to do its thing for 3-5 minutes and use this time to take a brush to the drivetrain (chain, chain set cassette, derailleurs) to loosen the built up dirt. TOP TIP: a toothbrush is really good to get into those hard to reach places;
- Rinse your bike thoroughly with clean water and then towel try; and
- Lubricate! (See below)
Fit mudguards – only hipsters think they’re not cool
No matter what the fashion over function brigade say, a wet bum, cold feet and a dirty ride is no good for either you, your bike or your wallet. Traditional full length mudguards will offer the best protection but you can opt for the racier looking clip on style mudguards such as the excellent SKS Race Blades. For an even more minimalist look and super easy to install mudguard, check out the awesome (and cheekily named) ‘ass-saver’ style mudguards such as the SKS S-Guard.
For the mountain bikers, the moto style fenders work really well and we often see them out on the wet muddy trails. They are also easy to take on and off when you don’t need them, especially in the spring and summer months.
Use protection and check your rubber
The last thing you need on your ride is a puncture so check your tyre condition – if they have bald or flat spots or large deep cuts or gashes it is best to replace them.
There are some great puncture resistant tyres out there at the moment. Our emergence service client base use the excellent Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyre. Not only is it billed as the “most puncture resistant tyre there is” it is relied on by the Police, Fire and Ambulance Cycle Response teams, whilst the Schwalbe Durano Plus is a great choice for road bikes.
And don’t forget, keep your tyres inflated to the correct pressure to further reduce your chance of a puncture and give you a smoother ride.
Lubrication: make things a little more slippery
Even if you don’t have time to clean your bike, keeping him/her/it well lubed will help prolong component life.
During winter, we advise our customers to use what is called a ‘wet lube’ for the chain. This is a thicker lubricant that tends to last longer during the winter months. In spring/summer, it is best to switch to a more viscose ‘dry lube’. With any lube you should use it sparingly as too much lube can attract dirt (which isn’t good!). We really like the Muc-Off Wet and Dry Lubes. To apply:
- It’s best to start with a clean chain (see above);
- Hold a rag around the chain and spray a water displacer such as GT85 on to the chain. Spin the pedals in reverse so that you can cover each section of the chain;
- Apply a moderate amount of lube to the inside of the chain, again while spinning the pedals in reverse to cover all sections of the chain; and
- Wipe away any excess lube with a rag.
Do’s and don’ts of lubrication
- Do wipe off old lube (or clean your chain) before applying fresh lube.
- Do lube little and often.
- Do try to use a good quality eco-friendly lube from a reputable brand such as Muc-Off or Green Oil.
- Don’t use lubricant to stop your brakes from making a noise! In fact keep lube well away from your brakes and braking surfaces as it can contaminate brake pads and render brakes ineffective.
- Don’t use the tin of 3-in-1 oil that your dad uses on the lawn mower.
- Don’t use spray based lubricants in confined spaces (especially GT-85 which contains ingredients that are considered to be carcinogenic).
Treat your bike to a spa day
For full peace of mind, you can book your bike into our workshop for a Service. We can collect your bike from home or work, anywhere within the M25, service her and return her within 48 hours. Our professional team can also provide you with advice on regular maintenance, component upgrades and general bicycle related advice.