No matter what kind of bike you ride you will eventually have to give that bike some sort of maintenance. This keeps the bike in good working condition for longer no matter how often you use it. This maintenance is just small upkeep and repairs that you can do at home in minutes. Here are a couple of quick DIY bike maintenance tips:
1. Seat Post & Pedals
In order to keep the seat post from bonding with the frame of your bike and becoming immovable, you will want to grease the seat post once a year. Simply mark the height of your seat with tape and remove it. If your bike is made of steel or aluminum, a thin layer of grease will be sufficient. If your bike frame is made of carbon, a layer of something similar to Tacx Dynamic Assembly Paste will do the job.
Similarly, your pedals should be removed and greased at least once per year.
Dirty bike rims are a sure fire way to have problems with stopping as the brake pads can slip over the rim instead of gripping as they should. Take a rough pad to scrape off the top layer of dirt, grime, or whatever else may be on your rim. Afterwards, a dish cloth with soap will take care of the rest. This is also a good time to test that your wheels are not wobbling, warped, or bent. If you suspect that they are, you should take the bike to your local bike shop to true your wheels.
3. Brake Shoes
DIY bike maintenance also extends to the brake shoes. If the surface of your brake shoes are glazed then the bike may also be having trouble with weak braking power and squealing. You’ll know this sound when you hear it. Simply take sandpaper or a file to scrape off the top layer of glaze and roughen the brake shoe. Also, make sure to look at the indicator line and if the brake pad has been reduced past this line then it needs to be replaced. The same is true if the brake pad is extremely hard.
4. The Chain and Cassettes
Check you chain to see if it is worn out with a chain checker. For chains that are still good, a thorough cleaning will keep them going for a while longer. Use a rag soaked in degreaser and rub it over the chain as you back pedal then also rub it on your cassettes and derailleurs. After the degreaser you can wash the chain, cassette and derailleurs with soap and rags, dry them off and apply some lube on the chain by dropping it on while back pedaling. Wipe off any excess lube.
The next DIY bike maintenance tip is to check the tires for cuts and tears. The simplest way to do so is to deflate the tire so that they maintain their shape but are pliable in your hands. By manipulating the tire in your hands, you should be able find small cuts and tears in the tires. A good rule to remember is that if five or more treads have cuts or tears then the tire needs to be replaced.
6. Auxiliary Equipment
Lastly, you should always keep your bike equipment in good condition. Bike cleats need to be regularly inspected for wear and tear. Many cleats will have indicator lines which can tell you that the different parts of the cleat are becoming worn. This can affect the way you pedal and can even cause your foot to slip if you aren’t careful.
Inspect your helmet and replace it if you find any cracks or frayed straps.
There are several more DIY bike maintenance tips that require a more practiced hand but are relatively easy once mastered. The best way to continue learning about bike maintenance would be to purchase Dave Delgado’s bike repair book & videos for self-instruction. No matter how you go about it, DIY bike maintenance is a great way to keep your bike up and running and save money by avoiding the bike shops for the small repairs.