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A Few Tips for Bike Maintenance

Mountain biking and cycling are excellent means of transportation, as well as great exercise – all while being a total blast! Routine maintenance is crucial for a healthy bike, but it is also important to “know your stuff” when you walk into a bicycle shop to drop some dollars.

Here are few helpful tips for Bike Maintenance:

  1. The only bad bikes are the ones that you do not ride. If a bike puts a smile on your face, it is doing its job – it is a good bike.
  2. Most bikes need an overhaul. If you have a shop that actually provides a true overhaul service, your 20-year-old bike will be better than the day you purchased it.
  3. Suspension requires extra service. If something moves up and down it will eventually wear and start moving from side to side. Suspension should be fully serviced every 80-120 hours. (That is at least once a season).
  4. New rubber, such as grips, tires and cable housing, is the most inexpensive upgrade to make your bike feel and handle like a different bike.
  5. Great mechanics should be able to diagnose the issues while you wait to give you an accurate estimate. Bicycles are simple machines — no need to call you with a diagnosis.
  6. Great mechanics should be able to clearly explain to you how they are going to fix your bicycle. They are simple machines.
  7. Do not be shocked when your 20-year-old, $600 bike needs $300 worth of work. You did not spend the $15 a year it would take to maintain it, therefore it has now caught up to you
  8. “Well then, I will just buy another new $600 bike.” See #3.
  9. As technology increases, craftsmanship decreases. Technology changes, literally, every season. But true craftsmanship takes years to master.
  10. New bikes put the same smile on your face as your old bikes.
  11. Big seats do not make the ride more comfortable. Getting off the couch does.
  12. Explore your local bike scene. There are social rides at several bars in town for the “not Lance Armstrong” crowd.
  13. A $25 new chain every year keeps that $300 drivetrain fresh. Chain bushings wear and elongate the chain. The chain will then machine out your sprockets prematurely wearing the entire drivetrain out resulting in hefty repairs that cost hefty bucks. Shops can check chain length for you.

Photo: Bike SLO County

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