Regular Bicycle Maintenance
When you purchase your new bicycle, there are some regular maintenance items that you will need to do as you ride to keep it in good working order. Based on our years of repair experience and the thousands of bicycles we've repaired, here's what we recommend:
Tire Inflation: It sounds like common sense, but it's overlooked more often than you'd believe! Tires should be inspected prior to each ride. Road bikes usually need inflating every 3 days or so, Mountain Bikes, once a week.
- Here's Why: Inflating your tires to the proper pressure not only creates a comfortable and efficent ride, but it also helps to prevent you from getting pinch flats. Pinch flats are caused by an obstacle depressing the tire hard against the rim and catching the tube between the two. The pinch actually causes a small split in the tube and causes it to go flat. Proper inflation will prevent this!
- Road bikes: Clean when dirty, lube your chain every 500-800mi. Use a light lube that won't attract much dirt.
- Mountain Bikes: Clean your chain more often as it gets dirty while riding in the woods. Lube whenever it gets noisey (squeeking).
DO NOT PRESSURE WASH YOUR BICYCLE! - The force of the hose acutally pushes grease out from where it needs to be and causes parts to degrade earlier than usual.
Shimano/SRAM Chains: Bikes equipped with Shimano 10 speed chains should have a new chain installed every 1200-1500mi.
- Here's Why: Bicycle chains, chainrings and cassette cogs all wear together as you pedal your bicycle and will eventually need to be replaced. (the 10 speed chains are much thinner and more flexable than traditional ones). This wear is commonly refered to as "chain stretch", although chains don't actually stretch. The rings and cogs wear out the rollers of the chain, making them appear to elongate. As the three components wear together, they retain a "memory". If you install a new chain on a worn out drivetrain (chainrings, and cassette), the bicycle won't shift properly (worst case scenario) or the old parts will wear out the new ones in no time flat (best case scenario). By replacing your 10 speed chain every 1200-1500mi, you're not completely wearing out your drivetrain. You should be able to get 2 chains of use out of your cassette/chainrings by using this method, before you have to completely change out your drivetrain.
Shimano 10-Speed Shifters: Replace your Shimano 10 speed shifter cables every 1500mi or once to twice a season, depending on your riding style.
- Here's Why: Certain vintages of Shimano 10 speed shifters pull the cable inside the shifter causing a kink in the cable. That kink creates a weak point in the cable and eventually causes a break. Once that cable breaks, it lodges the head inside of the shifter. They are mostly impossible to remove, and renders your shifter totally useless. By changing them at the recommended intervals, you are saving yourself upwards of $200! If you're not sure how much mileage you have on your cables, play it safe, replace them and get a cycle computer to start tracking your mileage!
Check Your Cleats: Cleats on clipless pedals should be checked yearly. Different brands have different recommendations so be sure to read your owner's manual when you get new pedals. Speedplay cleats should be lubed every 500-800mi with some sort of waxed or teflon based lube. We like to use White Lightning here at the shop.