Your bicycle doesn't only run on your ability to pedal. It also needs a little of your time, some lube, and a lot of maintenance. You may not know all the solutions to every problem that your bike has, but you can always learn new things as you go, which can help you extend its longevity for a couple more years.
Understanding how to properly maintain your bicycle will dramatically extend each of its parts' life in the long run. At the same time, it can also improve your riding experience and even help you save money on repairs. But for a lot of newcomers in the hobby, bicycle maintenance can be an appalling thought.
If you haven't had enough experience with maintaining a bicycle, don't fret. Like everyone else, bicycle maintenance is something that you must learn yourself, or by learning from someone with experience. We understand how it feels, that's why we have compiled a list of a few essential maintenance tips for beginner mechanics to help you with your bicycle.
Basic bicycle maintenance for beginners
Keep the drive train clean and adequately lubricated
Do you hear any rattling sounds from your bicycle? These sounds only mean that the metal is rubbing against mud and grime as you pedal. It also means that all the lubrication that you put in has worn off over time. Leaving it unattended will only cause the chains and sprockets to get damaged abruptly.
Replacing these parts is expensive. That's why the best way to save yourself from any unnecessary expenses is to regularly clean and lubricate the drivetrain.
All you need is some disposable rag, a degreaser product, hard-bristled brush, and bike oil. You also need to have a flat-headed screwdriver to get it thoroughly cleaned. Once you've successfully scrubbed all the nooks and cranny of your bicycle's drivetrain, you can now turn the crank slowly backward. While you're at it, simultaneously apply a single drop of bike oil on the interiors and exterior of your chain. The more that you clean your drivetrain and lube it, the less time it'll take to do it.
Regularly inspect your bike
The best defense against any potential problem is a proper inspection. You need to check for any damaged or loose component before your every ride. Doing so will help you detect any issues before they even develop into potential hazard problems. You can use a bike multitool to do pre-ride inspections after taking it out.
Before heading out on the road, you need to check the air, brakes, and chains to make your ride a lot faster and safer at the same time. See if you have adequately inflated the tires to prevent any flats. Also, check your brakes to ensure that it's working. You can squeeze the rear and front brake levers to ensure that your brakes will engage adequately and smoothly.
Learn how to fix a flat tire independently
A flat tire is one of the most common bicycle issues that everyone has. That's why you must learn how to fix it if ever it happens to you on the road.
You need to check the tire pressure before taking your bike out. It'll ensure that the tires still have PSI to get you going. If you pinch-flat often, it means that your running low on PSI in your tires. Remember that the rear tire should have more pressure since it's taking more of your weight compared to the tire on the front.
You can check the tire pressure at least once every two weeks to ensure that it's still in good condition. To keep you safe, you always need to bring your patch kit and pump with you before your trip.
Inspect the saddle
Another part of the bike that needs a close inspection is the saddle. It's that part of your bike that takes the most pressure since it's the one that you sit on the entire time.
If you notice that the saddle sounds squeaky every time you pedal, it means that there's something wrong with it. So that you can solve this problem, you can remove the saddle from the clamp and clean the rails thoroughly. Then, apply a few drops of light oil before you wipe it.
Ensure that the nuts and bolt are tight
You need to tightly twist all the screws, bolts, and nuts before you take your bike out. Any loose screws may cause some of these parts to fall out while you're on the road.
Remember that newer bicycle models have a maximum torque limit stated on them. Some also require tools designed only for a specific amount of torque. If you're planning to buy a new bike, you need to ask your bike shop to spare you a few pieces of nuts and bolts. Most bike shops give it out for free, so it's best to ask the nearest ones in your area about it.
Check the cables
You won't be able to stop or change gears if the cables on your bicycle aren't working. Although cables don't abruptly snap, it can wear out as the years’ past. So, you need to inspect the cables and see if it's in good condition. It's best to do it every few months, especially during the winter season so that you can protect it from corrosion.
You can take the cables out from the housing and check for any signs of rust or fraying. If everything's all good, apply a little grease or lubricant to the wire using a cloth before putting it back in the housing. You should also check if the housing has any splitting or fraying, as this can also damage the cable inside.
These are only some of the basic skills that you need to learn about bicycle maintenance. Learning how to maintain your bicycle correctly is an excellent way to ensure that it'll last. But if you have a tight schedule, you can always visit the local bike shop so that they can do it for you.