Just as a car requires periodic maintenance, so does your new cruiser. Keeping it clean and free from debris, oiling moving parts, checking the tires and taking it in for professional servicing every so often will help keep your bike in optimal condition. It will also protect your investment, extending the life of the parts and frame so you can enjoy your new cruiser for a long time to come.
Some maintenance needs to be performed more frequently, depending on how often you ride your bike and in what conditions. If you ride your bike daily on rough terrain or in wet weather, be sure to make this maintenance part of your daily or weekly riding routine.
Tires: Depending on how often you ride, you will need to add air to your tires on a regular basis. Riding on underinflated tires increases the risk of flats and makes your bike more difficult to ride. Check the recommended tire pressure on the side of the tire and keep the tires at that level. Check the tire pressure with a tire gauge regularly and add air as needed.
Brakes: For safe riding, a healthy breaking system is crucial. Test your brakes before you ride – apply pressure to the brakes with the bike on flat, dry pavement. When you push the bike forward, the wheels shouldn’t move.
Chain: Chains that are rusted are more likely or slip or even break, which can result in an unnecessary accident. Oil your chain regularly, and if it’s rusted, replace it.
Wheels: Check wheel alignment every so often by spinning the wheels. If they wobble, you should bring your bike to a repair shop so the tires can be trued. This kind of job should only be done by a professional.
Parts: Your bike is made up of many different parts that can become loose over time. Check for loose parts frequently and tighten them as necessary.
Your bike is exposed to the elements every time you ride. When dirt and debris builds up on moving parts, it can cause unnecessary wear and tear and lead to quicker deterioration of your bike and its parts. Keeping your bike clean and free from dirt and debris will keep it functioning optimally and prolong its life.
You have to be careful whenever you expose your bike to water. First of all, water can cause your bike to rust; secondly, pressure from a hose can damage your bike’s parts. It’s always a good idea to try to remove dirt and debris first with a dry cloth or brush – this should be how you clean your bike on a regular basis. On a less frequent basis, you may want to use a little water and some soap to make your ride really sparkle.
Clean your bike in line with how often and where you ride it. If you ride it every day in muddy conditions, you will need to clean it more often. If you only ride it around the neighborhood on the weekends, you probably won’t need to clean it as much. Keep the following products on hand for your cleanings:
Your bike’s parts are held together by an array of nuts, bolts and screws that can become loose or worn down over time. Loose parts can cause a variety of problems, from poor performance to serious safety hazards. Check your bike’s parts frequently and tighten nuts and bolts as necessary. Keep in mind that over-tightening parts can be just as bad as loose parts; try to achieve a balance between too loose and too tight and maintain this among all of your bike’s nuts and bolts.
Inspect your bike frequently looking for anything that wobbles, and keep your ears open when riding for signs of loose parts, such as squeaks and rattles. Perform a pre-ride inspection and make any necessary adjustments with a simple bike multi-tool.
Besides the regular maintenance and cleaning you perform, you should take your bike in to a trusted bike shop for a check up twice a year – especially if you ride regularly. A professional bike tech can spot complex or hidden problems that you may not have noticed, and will check all the components of your bike – bearing surface, spokes, derailleurs, cable systems – to make sure your bike is in optimal condition.
You may discover problems outside of your regularly scheduled check ups. Sometimes, it’s just a loose part that needs to be tightened. If you are unsure of how to deal with the problem, bring your bike into a trusted shop. It’s better to be sure the problem is repaired by a professional, than to take a chance on fixing it yourself.
Keep some basic repair tools on hand at home for simple adjustments and repairs. Shop BeachBikeOutlet.com’s selection of bike tools.
Remember the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz? When he wasn’t properly oiled, he stopped working. The same thing can happen to your bike. Lubrication prevents wear and tear on your bike parts caused by friction, and it stops rust and corrosion from eating away at metal parts. Choose the right lubricant for your needs:
Bicycle greases: Greases are thicker than oils and should be used on large-thread bolts and to lubricate bearing systems.
Bicycle oils: Use thinner oils on smaller parts like thin-thread bolts, moving parts in derailleur and brake systems and chains.
You also need to take into consideration the conditions in which you ride when choosing a lubricant. In rainy areas, choose a more durable oil that won’t wash away; in dry areas, a lighter oil won’t attract as much dirt. A professional bike mechanic can make recommendations for you based on your riding conditions.
Tips: Be careful not to over-lubricate, which can lead to decreased performance and damage to parts. Excess lube can attract dirt and debris and should always be wiped away before you ride. Also, when you lubricate your bike, do so in a particular order: Apply the lubricant and wipe off excess lubricant in the same order to give it time to absorb.
Brake and derailleur levers: You use these for shifting and braking. A drop or two on the lever pivots and barrel adjusters will do the trick.
Chain: The chain needs to be lubricated the most frequently because it is exposed to the most wear and tear. Take the chain off your bike every so often, clean it with solvent, and re-lubricate it. Spot-lubricate the chain on a regular basis and whenever it looks dry or squeaks. Apply lubrication after riding in wet conditions to prevent rust and corrosion. Do not over-lubricate.
Brake and derailleur cables: These connect the brakes and derailleur assemblies to the control levers. They should be checked often, particularly in wet weather, and re-lubricated so that they can continue to perform optimally.
Brake and derailleur assemblies: These contain lots of moving parts, including pulleys, arms and wheels, that need to be checked frequently to ensure they don’t become rigid. Apply a small amount of lubricant to the pivot points when necessary.