How often do you check your bike? By getting into a habit of remembering these quick bike maintenance checks before you head out on a ride, you can ensure your bike is always ready to go reducing the chance of punctures and mechanical issues.
You will need a multitool and pump to carry out these checks along with any replacement parts such as brake pads. You may also want to use a bike stand to make it easier to access certain areas of your bike.
Here are our top 5 essential bike checks to do before every ride:
Check your wheel
Ensure the quick release lever is secure and cannot open easily. If this is not secure there is a chance your wheel will become loose.
Check the spokes on your wheel to make sure they are also tight. A loose spoke can prevent your wheel from running true and wearing your tyre down unevenly.
Inspect your tyre for any cuts or debris like thorns in your tyres, not only will it reduce the performance of your tyre, but it will also puncture your inner tube* and deflate your tyre.
Ensure your tyres are fully inflated to the required pressure and inflate more if required using a track pump or handheld pump.
Check Your Brakes - There are a variety of brakes available depending on the bike you have. If you are struggling to decide which brake pads to purchase, feel free to get in touch with our team and we can assist you.
Here are just a few examples:
Caliper Brakes – Traditional non disc brake pads found on most road bikes.
Disc Brakes – Becoming the most popular, the disc brakes started on mountain bikes, but have since become more popular with road cyclists.
V Brakes – An older style of braking system, but still used.
When checking your brakes, make sure the brake pads are clasping on to the rim of the wheel, the metal or carbon rims of your wheels are designed to withstand braking pressure from your discs or pads, but if positioned too high or low this could cause brake inconsistency and wear down your brakes and tyres unevenly.
It is best to roll your bike forward to test your front and back brake one at a time to ensure they efficiently brake. If they do not brake as efficiently as you would like, they may be worn down. It is best to take a close look at your brake pads to see whether they have worn away, if they look very worn it is time to replace them.
Always make sure you release your brakes before replacing them.
Clean Your Chain – Your chain is an essential operational part of your bike, no chain, no bike ride! Often chain maintenance is overlooked, but by ensuring that the chain is free of any debris or lubrication build your chain will be fully operational. It is advised that you clean your chain every few weeks to prevent any buildup of grease. No need to remove your chain, simply lock on the handheld Chain Cleaner with your cleaning fluid inside and rotate your wheel. We advise that once your chain is clean and dry, you re-lubricate.
Run Through Your Gears– Once you have checked your wheel, brakes and chain, you can now run through your gears. By spinning your wheel and moving through your gears on your big and small chainring. You want your gears to shift efficiently and smoothly with minimal noise. If you do have issues shifting your gears, you can use a 4mm or 5mm hex key on your multitool to tweak your cable retention. If your gears are jumping, you could also check your derailleur to ensure that hasn’t worn down too much.
photo credit @amseaman
Secure Your Seat Post – An important bike check that should be completed before every ride. Try wiggling the seat to see whether there is any movement. If there is, using your multitool and a 4mm or 5mm hex, tighten the seat post ensuring it is pointing forward in line with your top tube.
If you have a mountain bike, it is also recommended that you check the pressure of your shocks to ensure a comfortable ride. You can to this by removing the valve cap on the top of your shocks and locking the Shock Pump on to your shocks.
*inner tubes if you are not using tubeless tyres. Tubeless tyres will still deflate if they receive a puncture, but not as much as air filled inner tubes. Tubeless tyres can be repaired by using a Tubeless Tyre Repair Plug Kit.