Preseason Bike Check
The birds are chirping, the days are getting longer and the sun is starting to show its face – Spring is upon us! That means there are more and more opportunities to get in some longer rides without the darkness descending or the heavens opening up, what’s not to like? If you’ve been riding through the winter, your bike has likely been subject to plenty of grit and grime thanks to our notoriously mucky conditions. To get your bike tip-top condition for the new season, we’ve put together a checklist of our top tips that’ll have you up and running in no time.
Removing The Filth
We get it, there are only so many hours in the day – if your bike is still wearing the muck from your last ride, first things first; give it a wash!
It doesn’t need to be a complicated affair; a bucket and a couple of sponges or brushes with some cleaning solution like the Muc-Off Bike Cleaner will do the job just fine. Spray the bike, leave it to soak, give it a scrub and your frame will be looking as good as new. (Be gentle around the bearings if using a hose, they’re only sensitive!)
If you’ve been riding around in the winter, you’ll be well aware of the conditions your tyres are subject to! You simply can’t avoid it, and a full off-season of riding through grit can be hard on your tyres. To steer clear of any untimely punctures, give your tyres a thorough inspection before embarking on any big adventures. Look for imperfections in the tyre and remove any debris that you might find.
Whilst you’ve got the tyre off, now is a good time to check for any wear on the tread. If it’s seen better days, not only are your chances of puncture increased, but traction under heavy braking could be an issue.
If you do need to swap to some new rubber, don’t just throw the old ones away – we’re a proud Velorim recycling centre, so bring them down to us and give your old tyres a new lease of life!
Running mechanical disc or rim brakes? It’s very normal for the cables to deteriorate over time, especially in the winter as they battle with the elements, so if they’re feeling a bit squishy or aren’t quite as powerful as they once were, try swapping out the cables. It’s a cheap and simple fix, but you’ll be surprised how much your braking will improve.
For those running hydraulic disc brakes, squishy brakes and excessive lever pull are both signs that you need a rebleed. For the experienced bike tinkerer this is certainly something you can do at home, but if you’re not totally confident don’t hesitate to book in with our workshop here and we’ll have it done in no time!
Without brake pads, you don’t stand much of a chance of stopping, so make sure you check them over. For rim brakes, you’ll find a visible wear line on the pad telling you when to swap them out and for disc brakes; if there’s anything less than a millimetre of pad then it’s worth replacing to retain stopping power and prevent any air from entering the hydraulic system.
Your drivetrain is pretty well exposed to all the elements that the winter roads can throw at it. The mixture of salt, grit and dirt can do a number on your components and will result in a pretty sizable bill if it has worn through your chain, cassette and chainrings!
Give your drivetrain a good seeing to in order to prevent any further wear. Muc-Off’s Drivetrain Cleaner is a miracle worker, and paired with a bit of elbow grease will leave your components looking brand new and grime free. Once you’ve rinsed and dried everything, apply a fresh layer of chain lube and away you go!
Subject to all kinds of vibrations and grime from rough winter roads, your bearings go through a lot. If there’s some play in your wheels or you’ve got a stiff headset, a fresh set of bearings will go a long way in improving the feel of your bike.
Periodically regreasing your bearings will significantly increase their longevity and if done right will see you through a whole season without an issue. With so many different bearing standards and sizing from one bike to another, finding the right component can be an arduous task, let alone fitting them! If you’re having a hard time or want to save yourself the frustration, book in with our workshop and we’ll get things up and running for you.
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