If you want your bicycle to go faster, roll easier, and shift smoother, you have to know and regularly perform some simple bicycle tune up maintenance procedures. You don’t really have to have special tools or knowledge to get immediate and significant improvements in your riding. Just follow these quick and easy bicycle tune up tips:
1. Clean and lubricate your chain.
The chain and sprockets on your bicycle are very important arts in the transfer of power from your legs to your wheels. When these parts accumulate dirt and grit and get gummy, they wear out faster and your bicycle will slow down significantly. Keeping the chain clean and lubricated is one of the best ways to maintain your bicycle great performance.
Quick and Easy Steps on How to Clean Bicycle Chain
Cleaning a your chain is not a daily or weekly task. It is ideal to do so every thousand miles or so. Clean your chain more often if you ride in dirty, dusty, or muddy conditions.
Bicycle Tune Up Tip: Use a lightweight oil specially formulated for bicycles. Do not use motor oil as it’s too heavy and will only quickly attract crud, dust, and dirt. Using too much oil or the wrong type will give you big greasy chain ring mark on your leg, which is not attractive and hard to remove. The key is light lubrication. Do not forget to wipe off excess oil when you’re done lubricating your chain.
2. Lubricate the moving parts of your brakes and derailleurs.
Your bicycle has several moving metal parts that are susceptible to moisture, dirt, and rust. To keep your bicycle functioning well, these parts must be regularly lubricated. Target on the pivot points on your brakes and derailleurs as these spots tend to attract dirt and grit because of their placement on your bicycle. Spot many of these moving metal parts by watching your bicycle in action. Also, observe where the metal parts move against and around.
For example, on most road bikes, they’re mounted on a bolt on the frame above the wheel. When the lever is squeezed, the brake pivots around this bolt as it contracts. It is these spots where you want to put a few drops of oil.
3. Inspect your brake pads.
A quick inspection on your brake pads will often reveal potential problems that can be easily fixed. Here are the things you have to check:
• Are the brake pads aligned properly?
Brake pads are little rubber things that clamp down on the rims to slow the bike down when brake levers are squeezed. See to it they’re evenly hitting the rims and that they’re not either rubbing the tire or missing the rim partially or completely. For greater braking power, consider a bicycle with disc brakes.
• Are the brake pads toed-in?
The brake pads should also be “toed-in.” This means the leading edge of the brake pads should touch the rim first when the brakes are lightly squeezed. The pads squish a bit, and when brakes are squeezed hard, the pads should have full contact to the rim. This can help prevent squeaking.
• Check for small items embedded in the brake pads.
Check the surface of the brake pads where they make contact with the rims. Using a pointed sharp item like a knife, remove any bits of metal or sand that may have embedded in the pads. Doing so will prevent the pads from wearing faster and scrapping your rims. This also helps provide more consistent and even stopping power. But you don’t have to do this with a bike with disc brakes.
4. Check the pressure on your tires.
One of the most simple things you can do is the one that has the greatest effect. But it is also the one which most riders often overlook.
Keeping the proper air pressure of your tires can: prevent flat tires, protect your rims from damage, make pedaling easier, and prolong the life of your tires.