Like cars, bikes cover a lot of ground. They carry us over bumps, up hills, down hills, and back home again. They also do that at speed! Needless to say, bikes are prone to wear. That means bike maintenance is an important part of owning a bike. But it’s not necessarily easy. Most of us don’t have time to learn every bike maintenance skill off by heart, no matter how important.
Nevertheless, it’s important to know at least some bike maintenance skills. That’s why we’ve put our heads together and come up with these four basic, but important bike maintenance skills. These are skills that every cyclist can and should know. So let’s have a look at them now!
Check the chain! Here are the bike maintenance skills you need to keep the wheels spinning
Bike chains are literally the driving force of the bike. Chains take all your energy and convert it into kilometre after kilometre of cycling. That means chains are often under load. Worse still, though, is that chains also spend a lot of time sitting idly. When that happens, the dreaded rust can set in. That’s why chain maintenance is a skill every bike owner should know. Luckily, it’s easy! Often, chain maintenance is simply a matter of lubrication. Get a quality lubricant, and ensure that your chain is lubricated at least once a week. That will ensure that rust doesn’t set in. It will also ensure that you’re not expending unnecessary energy getting a seized or dry chain to turn. A smooth chain will equate to smooth riding.
Probably the most important bike maintenance skill is changing a tyre: Here’s how
If there’s one thing that cops it even harder than your chain, it’s your tyres! We drag our tyres through hell as cyclists, and more often than not they emerge victorious. However, it’s inevitable that your tyre will succumb to wear or punctures at some point. Replacing a bike tyre is the most important bike maintenance skill to have for that reason. If your bike tyre sustains a puncture, you could be miles from home. More importantly, you could be miles from the nearest bike mechanic. Effectively, you’re on your own. Luckily, spare bike tyres are very space efficient. Always carry one with you, and ask your local bike shop for some tips on how to change it.
Understanding your brakes is important: checking them is a vital bike maintenance skill
When you’re hurtling down the road on your race bike, you want to know that your brakes are there to pull you up! That means you should add bike brakes to your maintenance skills checklist. Bike brakes are probably one of the more challenging maintenance skills to learn, but it’s important to try. Most braking systems are either mechanical or hydraulic, so the first step is determining which category your brakes fall under. If they fall under the hydraulic category, you’ll need to acquaint yourself with the process of bleeding the brake fluids, and replacing them. If they’re mechanical, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with the tension systems used to keep your brakes at their most effective. Again, chatting with your local bike mechanic is a great way to do that.
Front forks: checking your front forks is the only way to ensure your wheel is secured firmly
Front forks: they bear the brunt of your bike’s impact out on the roads. They also offer a quick and easy release system for your front wheel. For safety reasons, it’s important to check that your front wheel release system isn’t too quick and easy! Learning more about how your front wheel connects to your front forks will allow you to develop some useful bike maintenance skills. Specifically, it’ll allow you to ensure that the structural integrity of your front wheel and forks remains optimal.
Of course, the best skill you can develop is knowing when profession bike maintenance is necessary. Don’t be afraid to get an expert service every now and then!