How To Maintain A Bike (Bike Maintenance Guide)
A bike is a good item to invest in as it can be used for multiple purposes. A bike is not just something you purchase for the sole purpose of enjoying a relaxed ride around the block; nowadays, you can use your bicycle for exercise purposes, for sports, for transporting items, or for commuting purposes. If you do not have the means to purchase a car, a bicycle can come in handy;
if you live in congested areas, a bike can help you move about easily. Keep in mind that even with regular maintenance; it is important for you to take your machine for a yearly tune-up by a bike mechanic and know how to maintain a bike. This is to ensure that features such as derailleur’s, spokes, and cables are inspected and serviced.
In this article, we shall talk about the importance of maintaining your bike and we shall also give you a step by step guide on how to clean every part of your bicycle to ensure that it lasts and performs the best it can for a long time to come.
Importance of Bike Maintenance
Every bike needs some TLC to ensure that you get a smooth ride at all times. But why is it so important to ensure your bicycle is well maintained at all times? Let’s take a look on how to maintenance a bike portion ;
– It is an investment
Just as anything else you spend money on, you want your device to provide you with the best value for your money for as long as possible. This means you need to store it in a cool and dry place when it is not in use. This way, your device will not get rusted or lose its strength. If you have a habit of leaving your machine lying in direct sunlight, this will undoubtedly affect its frame, bolts, wheels and many other key aspects that make up a bicycle. Your tires will become weaker and more prone to getting punctures, your frame will wither and break down after some time, your bolts and other items will become rusted, and all this will lead to an overall decrease in your bike’s performance.
When items start breaking down, you will be forced to spend more money for replacement parts as well as labor costs for mechanics. At the end of the day, you will discover that the better cared for your machine is the more durable it is going to be.
– For Performance Purposes
A well maintained bike will always perform as was built to. When all the wheels are turning as they are suppose to, you will have smoother and more comfortable riding experience each and every time you go for a ride. If your machine lacks proper care, its performance will deteriorate as well.
– To Ensure its Durability
A well cared for device can service a generation of families for years to come. When well cared for, a bike can be handed down from father to son, mother to daughter, etc. Since bicycles are made from highly durable materials such as steel or aluminum, chances of them breaking is very low. Granted that you will have to replace a few specs here and there, your bicycle will remain intact and can be handed down, giving you an entire lifetime of wonderful memories.
Necessary Bike Maintenance Tools
There are some key basic supplies that you need for your cleaning and lubing tasks. They include:
Brushes – It is best to have several brushes of different shapes and sizes. This way, you will be able to clean those hard-to-reach places and remove any grime that might be lodged up there. Rinsing alone will only remove dirt that is easy to reach. However, for proper cleaning, always have a few brushes as well. Actually, you can just use old toothbrushes instead of buying brushes.
Clean rugs – For oil, grease, and any wax related tasks, always have plenty of clean rugs at the ready. These rugs can also be use for general cleaning and drying tasks as well. You do not have to buy new rugs. If you have an old t-shirt, you can simply clean it and then tear it up to form different sized rugs.
Water – When cleaning, have a bucket of water at the ready. For best results, it is advised to dip a clean rug into water as opposed to spraying your bicycle with water as this can cause damage to sensitive bearing systems throughout your device.
Bike Cleaner or Soap – You can opt to either use soap or buy general bike wash cleaner solutions. If you are using dish-washing soap, remember to dilute it first before cleaning your device’s frame.
Chain lubricant – There are two types of lube: wet or dry. If you ride mainly in wet conditions, then wet lube is your best option as it is less likely to rinse off in rain. However, dirt tends to stick to it, so ensure that you wipe off any excess lube. Dry lube is best if you ride mainly on dry environments. This type rinses off easily and will most likely do so in wet conditions. However, dirt is less likely to stick.
Degreaser – This product is used to clean your bike chain. Look out for a bicycle specific degreaser and also one that does not harm the environment.
Bike stand – This item is of high importance as it allows you to access your entire bicycle. You will be able to position your device at a comfortable height and work on with without the risk of it topping over. A bike stand will also allow you to remove your wheels for a more thorough cleaning process. You will also be able to reach those hard places beneath your machine.
Step by Step Instructions on How to Clean Every Part of Your Bike
Cleaning your device regularly does more than just removing grime. Frequent bike cleaning will:
- Save you money in the long run as dirt and grime damage bike parts
- Provide you with a smoother and more comfortable riding experience
- Provide you with great performance. You will be able to reach your destination faster.
Before cleaning your machine, it is best to have a cleaning checklist. This way, you will not have to go back and forth hunting for specific items that you forgot. Before you begin, grab yourself these following items:
– A bucket of warm water
– A clean rug
– A set of different sized brushes
– Bike cleaner (or soap), lube, and bike polish (if you have any)
– A low pressured garden hose
– A bike stand
Now let us get to the fun part. Allocate approximately 20 – 30 minutes to your cleaning process. Most of us look at bicycle cleaning as a chore and if we do it at all, we do it in a rush. However, this can do more harm than good as sometimes we do not rinse off all soap and when left on, it can cause your components to rust. Other times we simply spray our devices with water and hang them out to dry. This is not advisable as all you are doing is shifting some debris deep into those hard-to-reach places.
Step : 1
Using your bike stand, stand your device upright. Position it in a comfortable height that you desire. This will make it easier for you to access every single part of your bicycle.
Step : 2
Do your initial rinse. Most people skip this stage. Initial rinse is important because you will otherwise end up shifting around debris and scratching up your frame’s glossy finish. Initial rinse removes any debris that is on your bicycle’s frame. Do not use high pressurized garden hose – this is because high-pressure hose will force water into bearings. Instead use the light-shower setting on your hose and spray off your entire bicycle from top to bottom. This process does not require any soap, just water.
Step : 3
Next, add soap to your water to dilute it. Using your hand, swirl around the mixture and then dip your clean rug inside that mixture. Using your wet rug, run it across the frame of your bicycle and remove most of the dirt. If you are using a bike cleaner solution, then spray your bike cleaner onto frame and then use a clean wet cloth to remove most of the debris.
Continue this motion until you have cleaned every part of your bicycle. Remember to dip and rinse off your rug every few seconds. This will detach any debris that is lodged onto your rug to ensure that you do not simply spread it on to another part of your frame.
Step : 4
When you have removed dirt from frame, dip your brush in degreaser and scrub your gear cassette, jockey wheels, chain, and chain rings. You can use different sized brushed for this stage depending on how small or wide you need your brush to be in order to complete the task.
When cleaning your chain, clean the drive train first. If you want to use degreaser, remove rear wheel and angle it cassette-side down so that degreaser runs off.
Step : 5
Once you have degreased your gear cassette, jockey wheels, chain, and chain rings, use clean water to rinse off everything.
Step : 6
Next, spray your bike cleaner onto wheels and then use your brush to brush the braking area of your rims – that is if you have rim brakes.
Step : 7
Using clean water and a wider clean rug, rinse your bicycle again from top to bottom
Step : 8
Finally, dry your bike immediately after using a dry rug. If you have bike polish, you can then apply some of it to your dry bicycle.
Step : 9
After cleaning, drip or spray lubricant onto your bike chain and all degreased parts. This part is very important. You never want to use too little as your chain will quickly rust. However, you also do not want to use too much lube because it will cause your chain to attract more grime. Use just enough light coating and wipe off any excess lube using a dry clean rug.
- Do not rinse your brakes or gear too much because they need to have a small amount of grease afterwards
- Do not use high-pressure hose onto bicycle because it can force water into components and remove grease – this can be harmful to your device.
- Remember to wide off any excess lubricant. And keep this lubricant off your braking surfaces.
- Always work from top to bottom, front to back.
Simplified, cleaning your device is an easy task: Rinse, wash, rinse, wash, rinse. Dry with a clean dry cloth. Re-lube chain. It is as simple as that. Now you got how to maintenance a bike. Most people do not see the need of maintaining their bicycles but as you can see, it is of high importance. Just as you would maintain your car, there is no difference when it comes to a bicycle. Yes, a bike is cheaper but it is also an investment – and when well cared for, it will provide your entire family with tons of wonderful memories. If you have any questions about how to care for your device, do not hesitate to contact use by leaving a comment below. Now get out there and enjoy the feel of wind rushing past you on your well cared for bike.