Bike Maintenance Tips
The Pre Ride Inspection
The best defense against loose components is a thorough pre-ride inspection before every ride. Regular pre-ride inspections will help you catch potential problems before they develop into safety hazards. Most pre-ride inspection adjustments can be made with a simple bike multitool.
This involves conducting a safety check of all the main working parts of a bike and with practice, should take no more than two or three minutes.
It’s called the ‘M check’ because you should work from the front of the bicycle backwards in an M shape to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Wheels – Check quick release skewer is firmly closed or that axle nuts are fully tightened.
Tyre wear – Check visually that tyres are not split or cracked and that there is tread remaining on the tyre.
Tyre pressure – Check that tyre is firmly inflated to the recommended pressure on the tyre wall.
Hub bearings – Grip the wheel rim and rock back and forth to feel for loose bearings; spin wheel to check for over-tight bearings.
Rims and spokes – Check visually for any defects, and spin wheel to check that it runs true.
Brakes – Check angle of levers and that they can be comfortably reached. Brakes should apply pressure at 1/3 to 1/2 of travel.
Brake blocks – Check that blocks are correctly positioned and not worn beyond the wear indicators.
Brake cables – Check that cables are not frayed or heavily corroded.The best way to check your front brake is to apply the brake and try to push your bike forward. Rear brakes: apply the brakes and try to move the bike backwards.
Handlebar stem alignment – Hold front tyre between knees and turn gently to check that the handlebar stem is correctly aligned with the front wheel and tightened.
Handlebar alignment – Check that handlebars are correctly aligned and secured by the stem
Headset bearings – Apply brakes and rock bike back and for to feel for loose headset bearings; check that handlebars move freely.
Gears and transmission – Check that chain is lubricated, not heavily rusted and does not easily come off front chain wheel. Check that each gear selects positively.
Saddle – Check that the ‘minimum insertion’ marker is not visible above the seat tube; check that the post is securely gripped in the frame. Try to rock saddle in different directions to check that it is fitted securely; check visually that saddle is straight and level.
Derailleur position – Ensure that the rear derailleur does not foul the spokes.
Peripherals – Check that all additional items such as lights, mudguards, racks and any brackets are firmly secured and do not foul moving parts.