When Spring comes knocking, it’s time for those of us who put our bikes away for the winter, to dust them off and get ready to ride. And, when bringing a bike out of storage, regardless of the time that has passed, a quick tune-up is necessary.
When doing your tune up for Spring riding, there are four areas you must pay special attention to. Chain. Derailleur Components. Brakes. Wheels.
Of course, depending on the type of riding you do, and how long the bike has been stored, your spring tune up can take more or less time. Also, if you’re the type of rider who’s taking care of its bike before and after each ride, and always wash it thoroughly, your tune up might be shorter. But regardless, you will still need to do a quick tune up before going out to enjoy the ride. If only to make sure that all parts are in working order.
A new bike chain can be expensive, so you’re better taking good care of the one you have. If you’ve been using oil-based chain lube, you should remove the chain and clean it thoroughly with a solvent to degrease it. Then adding fresh lubricant. Depending on your typical riding conditions, you should use a solvent to degrease the chain once a year or more.
If you typically are mostly riding in the dry and have been using an oil-based lubricant, you should consider switching to a wax-based product. Indeed, the only advantage to an oil-based lubricant is that you need to apply it less frequently. For everything else, wax-based is superior. Also, oil collects trail dust and other things abrasive to the chain, while wax sheds abrasives. However, you should choose your lube as per your riding conditions.
The derailleur should, without any hesitation, be part of your quick tune up for Spring. so, lubricate the pivot points using a good petroleum-based lube. I use Finish-Line Dry or Wet, depending on the conditions. Furthermore, as they might have stretched over the winter, you will next want to lubricate and adjust the derailleur cables. By adjusting them so that shifting is crisp; you will increase your agility.
If you feel comfortable with doing your own maintenance, you should think about pulling the derailleur apart. So you can clean each piece thoroughly and check for wear. If you decide to do so, make sure to remember, or note, order of the pieces and orientation. By doing so, you make it easier to put everything back as it should.
Again, as with the derailleur, you want to lubricate the brake cables. Likewise, you can either use petroleum- or wax-based lube. Consequently, choose your lube as per how dusty the expected typical riding conditions will be. Once again, adjust the cables, which might also have stretched over the winter.
Above all, don’t forget the pads. Check if there is plenty of rubber. Also, do the pads hit the rim evenly? Make sure they do. And, if using fluid-actuated disc brakes, check the brake fluid level in the reservoir. Also, if you have disk brakes do not skip the disk inspection.
The quick and easy way to inspect a wheel is to spin it slowly checking for true. Firstly, the wheel should not wobble at all. For most of us, a wheel that wobbles means a trip at the bike shop. However, if it wobbles a little bit and you have the skill, you can make minor adjustments using a spoke wrench. But if there is substantial wobbling, take the wheel to a shop and have a professional true the wheel.
Secondly, you have to check tire pressure. After a winter in storage, it is sure to be low. Of course, it is advised to always inflate them to the manufacturers recommendations stamped on the tire. However, every experienced rider has its preference when it comes to tire pressure. So, I would simply say, adjust the pressure to your preference for the terrain you’re going to ride next. And don’t forget to regularly check the pressure and adjust it as required.
Once-over quick tune up
Now that you’ve checked all the major parts, it’s time to give the bike a once-over. Indeed, you want to check if there’s excess play or tightness in the bearings of the wheels? And, what about in the crank, the pedals, and the headset? Also, check the seat adjustment. Is it still a good fit? And if you have a bike with one or two suspensions, check the suspension joints. Furthermore, it’s also recommended to clean the bike entirely.
This once-over quick tune up, will tell you a lot. And you’ll be able to decide if it’s time for a more major tune-up. For instance, this can range from a few adjustments to replacing some of the parts. So, how often do you need to perform a major tune-up? This will really depend on how much you ride. And even more, on how much maintenance you perform yourself.
If you have the knowledge, you can do the major tune-up yourself. If not, you better take the bike to a reputable shop. Regardless, every now and then the following maintenance is necessary for best performance and safety. Repacking bearings and adjusting wheel axles, headset, crankset and pedals. Replacing cables. Truing the wheels. And, making overall adjustments, such as to the derailleur and brakes.
Remember, regular bicycle maintenance during your biking season is the best way to keep enjoying your bike for a long time.
Keep checking my blog regularly for more tips to enjoy your ride!