How to Maintain a Road Bike

With the ever rising cost of fuel, more and more people are relying on road bikes as their primary source of transportation. Bikes are relatively cheap to maintain, and you can also get in shape while getting to a destination, which is also a plus.

Just as you should perform efficient safety checks on an automobile before traveling, you should also perform safety checks on your bike. By performing these checks yourself, you will increase your safety and decrease the amount of money you might have to spend in getting a professional technician to do the work for you.

First, you should inspect the frame for any defects. You should not see any cracks or indentations that are so severe that the frame may not support the ride. You should also check the tire pressure, as most flats occur from not maintaining proper tire pressure. The only way to accurately check this is with a pressure gauge. The correct tire pressure is usually printed on the sidewall of the tire. It is easy to run over something sharp on the road and flatten a tire, so for this reason, it is a good to keep a tire repair kit and a tire pump on hand. If you are unable to successfully repair the tire, you will need to purchase a new tire and change it. Many people find this much easier than changing the tire on a car.

Next, you should check the pedals. Everything on the pedals should be secure, and all of the bolts should be tightly screwed into the frame. The pedals should turn smoothly and be free of cracks as well. The gear cable should also be securely mounted through the cable stops on the frame. Over time, this cable tends to stretch, so you can fix this problem by turning the derailleur adjustment barrel 180 degrees counterclockwise, which will tighten the cable slack.

Besides the tires, the next biggest maintenance check is the chain on the bike. Every 100 to 200 miles, the chain must be lubricated. Most bike stores carry the best lubricants for bike chains, and Teflon bike spray works great. The best way to grease the chain is to manually turn the pedals backwards while spraying. It is not good to have too much lubricant on your chain, so you want to be sure to remove all excess grease with a cloth so that it does not build up or splatter when you head down the road on your bike. Also, be careful not to get any lubricant on any other portion of the bike, especially the pedals.

Finally, you want to ensure that the brakes are properly performing. You should check the brake tension by adjusting the brake adjusting barrel counterclockwise to make the brake cable tighter. This is located at the inside of the handle bar braking mechanism.

Just as it is important to do proper maintenance checks before you head out on the road on your bike, you should also maintain your bike when you return from your excursion. Most people keep rags to wipe off excess dust. It is okay to even rinse off your bike, as long as you do not use a high pressure washer that could remove paint, or harm key bike components. By keeping your bike in good shape, you will ensure that it is a safe way to get around, and it will last you a long, long time.


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