With a new riding season upon us comes the opportunity to make sure you are prepared to enjoy your rides by undertaking a few things prior to hitting the trails.
This is great time to start by getting your bike tuned up at your local bike shop, DIY, or for members of our club you have access to Northern Spokes (Don Green).
If you are willing and able to do some stuff on your own, then here is what we recommend;
1) Clean the bike. You have to start somewhere so if your bike has been sitting in the garage or shed all winter with last years riding dirt, then it is time to bring it out and clean it up.
Use a good mild soap to wash the bike and use only garden hose pressure (power washers are not recommended).
On the chain and cassette use a degreaser to ensure you get all of last years lubricants off. An old toothbrush goes a long way here to get the hard to reach spots.
We recommend using rubbing alcohol to clean your discs for the brakes. Just wet a spot on a clean towel and rub the disc on both sides to get any grime off. As far as the brake pads go, a little fine sandpaper can be used to clean off the grit on the pads. This is also a good time to check the brake pads to make sure they do not need replacing.
2) Lubricate the chain and cassette. Use a good chain lube for starters and apply it generously while you are circulating the pedal to get full coverage. Once you are satisfied that you covered the chain, use a clean rag to lightly remove any excess lube on the chain.
3) Check the shifting. By propping up the back tire and spinning the pedals with your hand, click through the gears and make sure that the chain is moving up and down freely with each click. If there is any hesitation with the gear shifting or it takes multiple clicks to shift a gear, then you may need to make some adjustments with your deraileur.
4) Check the brakes. You may have already checked the brake pads when you gave them a cleaning which is great. Now you simply want to make sure that the brakes work when they are applied. If you fully squeeze the brakes and the tires still rotate, then you may require some adjustments or new pads. If the brakes squeal or rub, then they still may need come further cleaning or minor adjustments.
5) Check your Tires. Check for tread wear and cracking on the rubber as this may be signs to order some new rubber for the upcoming season. You will also want to check your tire pressure and ensure it is not too soft or too hard.
Another good check to do would be to make sure that your spokes are all tight. This can be accomplished by simply pulling on each spoke with your hand to ensure they are not loose.
6) Check your Suspension. Always make sure that your stanchions are clean and free of major scratches. You can use a teflon dry lube on your stanchions to provide some lubrication. Forks and rear shocks should be serviced at least every two years.
These checks represent the key things you can do to get your bike ready for a great season of riding the trails. The more proactive you are with your bike maintenance, the more time you will be riding on the trails problem free!
As I mentioned earlier, if the DIY is not your thing then you should take your bike to a local bike shop and have them complete a tuneup. For members of Bikes and Beers, you are able to use Don Green at Northern Spokes. If you need his contact info send us a note and we will put you in touch.