Our mechanics know all too well what regular riding can do to a bike. They’re built to take a beating, but giving them a little TLC along the way can help you roll smoother while reducing wear. We’ve put together this simple guide to help you stay on top of the easiest tasks that really do make a big difference.
Before You Set Out to Ride:
1. Check your tire pressure:
Road Bike: 100-120 psi
Mountain: 30-50 psi
Hybrid: 50-70 psi
2. Check your shock pressure and setting
Hitting road? If you can, you might as well lock ‘em out, but if you’re hitting the trails you may want to check to make sure your pressure is where you want it. This number varies based on the rider’s weight,riding style and sag (the amount that your fork and rear shock will compress while you ride).
3. Inspect Tires for Cracks or Peeling
Nothing’s worse than getting out rolling only to find you had to cut your ride short thanks to a flat. For that matter, bring a cartridge and spare tube/tire along with you.
4. Check Your Brakes
Simple… roll the bike, compress the breaks… do they work? Awesome! If not, good thing you checked before you needed them!
5. Check the Chain
You’re looking for tight links and potential failure points. A visual inspection can give you an educated guess as to if things are moving smoothly. Another thing you can do is measure your chain wear for “stretch" with a Park Tool Chain Wear Indicator. Easy peasy, slip this into the chain, if both ends fit between your links, you’ve got a worn chain and need to replace it. Depending on the amount of wear, you may also need to replace your cassette and chain rings as they would be worn down by the chain.
6. Make Sure the Bike Shifts Smoothly
Take it for a spin around your driveway and check all your gears. Does the bike shift smoothly up and down? If so, you’re good to go, now get out there and ride! If not… check your cable and housing for corrosion, and inspect your derailleur hanger to see if it’s bent (it’s made to bend to protect your frame from damage). If you spot any issues, you may want to bring your bike in for a tune up.
After Every Ride:
1. Inspect your tires
Give them a quick once over to make sure everything looks good.
2. Wash Your Bike
This is especially important if you ride trail, but don’t underestimate the grim a road bike can pick up. We recommend hot soapy water (dish soap works great)… follow this up with step 3.
3. Clean Your Drive Chain
Even if you don’t ride trail, your bike is going to pick up all kinds of particulates from the roads. It’s a good idea to keep this tidy and clean as much as possible to keep things rolling along smoothly and avoiding unnecessary wear. You can use the Park Chain Cleaner and Cassette Brush kit (available at Infinity) to do the most through job.
Follow up every ride by lubing your chain, derailleur pivot points and pedals. Even if you can’t properly wash your bike, this simple step helps remove a significant amount of corrosion-causing mud and grime.
5. Set your Gears to Small/Small
Don’t leave your bike in a high gear when you’re not riding it. Instead, set it to the lowest gear possible to help extend the life of your derailleur.
Keep this up before and after each ride and you’ll be rewarded with many many miles of squeak and creak-free rides.