Step 6 – Keep Your Bike in Top Condition


All mechanical parts work better when properly maintained and cleaned so keeping your new investment (whether it is substantial or small) in top condition is advisable and important to the longevity of your bike and components.

There are a number moving parts on your bike so wear and tear will be a natural result of riding but a small amount of effort can go a long way, for instance a regular wash can be done easily at home. You won’t need any special soap or detergents, a normal dish washing detergent will be suitable.

A normal garden hose will work fine to wash your bike but you can also use a high pressure cleaner, however be careful to avoid getting close to any bearings with these as the force from the water can drive dirt and grime into the bearing casings.road bike washing

Lubricating your chain regularly will increase the lifespan of your chain, your chain rings and cluster but be careful not to over lubricate your chain. Make sure to always take a cloth and wide any excess lube off the chain as soon as you are done lubricating. Applying too much lube will cause the chain to become sticky, this will then pick up dirt as you ride and form a highly corrosive paste which will eat away your drive train with every pedal stroke. Always use a non-solvent lubricant as this will not remove any of the lubricants that were applied to the smaller working parts during manufacturing.

Depending on the mileage that is done on the bike I would recommend a minor service once every four months with a major service once a year. Most bicycle retailers offer a short maintenance contract with new bikes when they are purchased and you can often upgrade these for a small fee, it is well worth the little extra as services can become costly. bicycle service

When you do take your bike in for a service ask your mechanic to check the chain wear for you as replacing just your chain as it stretches could triple the life of your cluster and chain-rings which are substantially more expensive than the chain. If you feel the need to monitor this yourself then a $5 tool can be purchased from any bike shop and will give you an accurate read on your chain’s lifespan.

Wet weather can cause havoc with your drive train so if you are riding in the wet give your bike a quick rinse with clean water after your ride, this will remove any dirt and oil that gets picked up off the road. These corrosives will eventually get worked into the mechanical parts of the bike and are highly detrimental.

Only you know how your bike works and sounds, if something does not feel 100% correct then get it checked out rather than ignoring it. A bike that is not working optimally can be very frustrating to ride and might end up costing more if the problem is not attended to.

This small amount of maintenance can go a long way to keeping your bike working as it should, and the effort will be worth every dollar that you save.

Enjoy the Ride.

Step 5 – Get a Proper Setup Done
Step 7 - Nutrition and Hydration on the Bike

28 Responses to “Step 6 – Keep Your Bike in Top Condition”

  1. Carlos

    Nov 08. 2014

    Are there any specific detergents that shouldn’t be used on bikes?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tim

      Aug 14. 2015

      I would recommend detergents that are free from solvents and I like to be responsible so personally use biodegradable soaps.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Winifred B

    Nov 21. 2014

    Not only does your bike need looking after, keep your shoes and helmet clean, I dump mine in the shower about once a month.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Angelo

    Dec 12. 2014

    Just read the part about the lube, my chain and cluster are a black mess, I have been guilty of over lubing my chain. Time to clean.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Sammy A

    Dec 27. 2014

    I am fastidious about my bike and give it a wipe down after every ride, it takes me no more than 3 minutes and I never have to take my bike in for a clean.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Humfried L.

    Jan 08. 2015

    I am bike mechanic and please heed the advice the article offers, high pressure cleaners on bearings is a terrible idea as it push dirt right in.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Gannon L

    Jan 21. 2015

    I check my tires about once a month for glass as shards tend become embedded and eventually can cause punctures, a pair of tweezers will help you remove these.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Jose B

    Jan 29. 2015

    If you are maintaining your bike yourself you will need a torque wrench, over tightening bolts will eventually stress them and the component. They are not cheap but worth the expense.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Jamal

    Feb 11. 2015

    Not really a tip but anyway, if you have a good reliable mechanic then buy him pack of beers sometime to say thanks. He will put even more effort into your bike next time.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Robert

    Feb 17. 2015

    Simple tip, check your tire pressure before you go out for a ride.

    Reply to this comment
  10. John

    Mar 06. 2015

    I see this happen too often but make sure your skewers have been tightened properly after the wheel as been removed.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Sheldon

    Mar 11. 2015

    Staying on the subject of wheels and skewers, remember that the skewer tighteners should be on the opposite side to your chainwheel.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Nev F.

    Mar 24. 2015

    If you can then get yourself a bike specific toolkit, you don’t have to break the bank as you can pick up a decent kit for around $60.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Meier S

    Apr 05. 2015

    Many cyclists are hesitant to clean their bar tape, if the bar tape can take your sweat and the rubbing that it gets from your hands it will be able to take a good clean. Go on give it a good scrub.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Thomas

    Apr 11. 2015

    I made the mistake of replacing my brake blocks incorrectly, make sure the side that slides into the holder goes against the wheel direction. My brake blocks popped out because I installed them the opposite way. Silly mistake.

    Reply to this comment
  15. gun

    Apr 22. 2015

    If you are going to service your bike fully yourself always have a tub of grease and anti-seize around, you shouldn’t really service your bike without reapplying these.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Max

    Apr 25. 2015

    Easy tip this one, when taking your rear wheel of change gears down to the smallest cog at the back, makes taking and replacing the wheel easier.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Dennis

    May 11. 2015

    I never use the pin to join my chain but rather use a quick link, this makes the task of removing and cleaning the chain easier.

    Reply to this comment
  18. Theodor

    Jun 02. 2015

    You guys have too much time on your hands, I drop my bike off to be cleaned and serviced for me.

    Reply to this comment
  19. Robert

    Jun 29. 2015

    Haha, just picturing the guy with the comment above with the brake blocks coming out, face must have been priceless. That said if you are losing braking power, check that your blocks haven’t hardened under heat. A rub on a coarse surface will get that hard layer off.

    Reply to this comment
  20. George Benson

    Jun 30. 2015

    Such great advice coming out, thanks to everyone that is contributing.

    Reply to this comment
  21. arthur

    Jul 09. 2015

    This should go without saying but I came across a cyclist that didn’t quite agree but wash your shorts after every ride. This is just good hygiene and bacteria will breed in a sweaty chamois.

    Reply to this comment
  22. Steven

    Jul 14. 2015

    If your shoes get wet than take the inner sole out and put newspaper in, this will dry them out quickly and stop them from smelling.

    Reply to this comment
  23. Michael Mccrary

    Jul 20. 2015

    Clean your cleats and pedals regularly, the sand and grit that hides in them wears the clips and outer edges of the pedals down.

    Reply to this comment
  24. Graig

    Aug 12. 2015

    Okay I am feeling super guilty reading this as I have neglected my bike so badly, off to go give it some attention now.

    Reply to this comment

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