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Tips for basic maintenance of your bicycle

Tips for basic maintenance of your bicycle

Whether we like it or not, passing kilometers contributes to the deterioration of our bicycle. Even with exquisite care, wear and tear, the need to replace parts and the corresponding financial expense will come. Taking this into account, proper maintenance will help your bike always offer its best version on a tight budget. How to achieve it? Here are some useful tips and strategies.

Keep your bike clean

Frequent cleaning is one of the most basic, and cost-effective, maintenance routines to prolong the life of your bicycle. Especially if you ride in muddy or wet conditions. In addition to looking great, cleaning also protects parts from wear and helps keep corrosion and rust at bay. In short, it ensures that the entire mechanism works as expected. To obtain the best results, it is advisable to use a specific bicycle cleaner. One of these spray products can work wonders. Spray the cleaner on the bike and let it sit for a few minutes before washing it. It is important that you do not use high pressure, as it can remove the essential grease from the most delicate connection points of your machine. clean bicycle Here are some bicycle cleaning accessories that can make your job easier:
  • A clean cloth. Have a few on hand for each of the most routine tasks: cleaning, drying, greasing, etc.
  • Cleaning brushes. It is used in different shapes and sizes so that you can access the most hidden parts of your bicycle and thus eliminate all traces of dirt. A toothbrush can also be very useful.
  • Chain degreaser. Use a specific degreaser for bicycles and avoid substances such as turpentine or kerosene, as they can corrode the paint on your machine.
  • Bicycle cleaner or soap. Ideally, a bike-specific cleaner would be preferable; but a diluted dishwashing detergent is also a good option.
Alternatively, you can buy a bicycle-specific cleaning kit with different types of brushes, cleaner, degreaser, and even cloths.

Clean and lubricate the transmission thoroughly

Drawing a parallel, we could say that keeping the transmission clean is like changing the oil in a car engine. In any case, lubricating the chain and cleaning the transmission prolongs the life of the bicycle, ensures frictionless gear shifting and allows for a smoother ride. The frequency with which you should do this work will depend on the conditions of your routes, the weather, the performance of the products you use, etc... If you are a sunny weather cyclist and ride only on the road, you may be able to afford less frequent cleaning. But if humidity and mud are a constant on your routes, it will be essential that you clean and lubricate the transmission after each outing. Never forget to reapply chain lubricant after this job. Cleaning the transmission can be a somewhat tedious process. There are specific tools that can make your job easier, such as the popular Park Tool chain cleaner or similar. A utensil that allows you to trap the chain in a watertight compartment filled with liquid. Alternatively, if you've only ridden a few miles, you can use a rag to quickly clean the chain. Wrap it around the chain and turn the pedals back. That's better than nothing, of course. [irp posts="5635" ]

Check the tire pressure

[caption id="attachment_6387" align="alignnone" width="744"]Cyclist repairing puncture Image: Depositphotos[/caption] Check the pressure of your bicycle tires every three or four days. You'll be surprised at how much air some tires can lose in just a few days, whether they have tubes or tubeless fluid. Riding with inadequate pressure affects grip, braking capacity and tire wear. A common mistake is to inflate the wheels by eye until the wheel is hard to the touch. Use a pressure gauge to check that you are inflating the tires to the correct pressure. The ideal is to have a foot pump with a pressure gauge of proven quality. It is one of the best investments you can make. Tire pressure depends on many factors, such as driving conditions, terrain conditions, tire size and type, body weight, etc. The wider the covers, the lower the air pressure necessary for them to perform their function perfectly. Likewise, a slight difference in tire pressure can drastically affect handling and comfort on the bike. When in doubt, keep your pressures between the numbers recommended by the tire manufacturer, which are usually included on the tire's sidewalls. [irp posts="4232" ]

Make sure nuts and bolts are tight

The parts of your bike are held together by dozens of bolts and nuts. It's a no-brainer. For this reason, there is nothing worse than a bicycle that falls apart while you pedal. Keeping a bike tight is crucial, as loose or improperly tightened nuts and bolts can cause severe wear, reduce performance, and create a hazard while riding. The easiest way to keep your bike parts intact is to do a quick weekly check. You can bounce the bike lightly on the ground and keep an eye out for loose or poorly tightened joints. When tightening these items, consult the manufacturer's manual for the correct torque (force applied to make something rotate) specifications. Under-tightening could cause squeaking when pedaling, while over-tightening could damage the bike. If you have a carbon model, remember to always use a torque wrench and set it to the correct torque levels.

Check the brakes

Repair of brake discs Making sure your brakes work as expected is important for your own safety and the safety of cyclists around you. It is even more important if your route has many descents. You don't want your brakes to fail when you're flying into an open grave at 70 km/hour. To avoid problems, we invite you to follow some recommendations, especially applicable if you install disc brakes on your bicycle:
  • Test the brakes. Squeeze the levers and make sure the brakes work properly.
  • Monitor the wear of the brake pads. Most of them have a wear indicator. Make sure you don't go beyond the indicated line.
  • Check the alignment of the brake pads with the disc.
  • If you use disc brakes, avoid contaminating them. That is, make sure to keep the discs clean so that braking performance is not diminished. You can use disc brake cleaners like those from Muc-Off, but never conventional multi-purpose products.

Replace worn and damaged components

Does your bike make strange noises? Is the transmission not as fine as before? Do you feel that braking is less effective as time goes by? Here are four bike components that you should check and replace instantly if you confirm that they have reached the end of their useful life. Your safety and comfort is at stake, don't forget.


The chain is arguably the most common bicycle component that needs replacing. A typical bicycle chain is designed to cover between 3,500 and 7,000 km. Yes, we already know that it is a fork that is too wide, but it is true that it depends on the terrain, the cyclist's pedaling style, the weather... There are too many aspects to take into account. But what is clear is that it must be replaced when it already suffers significant stretching or wear. Cleaning your chain regularly will allow you to get more miles out of it before requiring replacement. You can quickly check chain wear with a simple metal wear gauge. A utensil that accurately measures the distance between two links. If the chain stretch is more than 0.75%, it's time to change. A worn chain will in turn wear out the cassette and chainrings, which could lead to much more expensive replacements.


The cassette is another standard bicycle component that suffers from wear and tear. As a general rule, you will usually need a new cassette for each chain replacement. In other words, a cassette will last you two chains. Sometimes, with proper care and maintenance of the drivetrain, the cassette can last up to 3 chains. If you feel the gears jumping after switching to a new chain, it's a sign that the sprockets are worn. The downside is that even if just one of the sprockets is worn out, you will need to replace the entire cassette, as manufacturers do not sell sprockets separately.


Tires are direct victims of wear. Depending on the type of tires, they can wear out faster than chain and cassette. This is especially true for tires used for racing, which offer a soft compound, high grip but low durability. They generally last between 1,500 and 3,000 km, maximum. High-end tires have a wear indicator that is very useful. In other cases, you will have to track and/or inspect them visually.

Brake pads

It is not necessary to change brake pads frequently. Precisely for this reason, many cyclists ignore its wear and do not worry until the system starts to squeak. You can find wear indicators on most brands of brake pads. Try to replace them before they reach maximum wear.
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