Is your bike making a strange rattle or an irritating squeak? The first step shouldn’t always be to call up your local bike shop! After all, it could be something that you can solve with a simple home touch-up.
Learning simple bike maintenance will help reduce the number of trips that you make to the local bike shop, saving you a lot of money and ensuring that you squeeze a little more life out of your bike.
Here are 5 simple bike maintenance tips for Aussie cyclists.
Clean Your Bike Parts Regularly
This is perhaps the most basic and obvious practice that you can perform to ensure your bike lasts a lifetime – especially if you’re used to riding in muddy or wet conditions.
A good rule of thumb for bike maintenance is to clean and lubricate your bike after every ride, especially for those who own mountain or trail bikes.
Apart from keeping its shine and aesthetic value, maintaining the cleanliness of your bike parts also protects them from wear and tear, and helps to keep rust and grease at bay.
For best results, try using Diggers Wax & Grease Remover.
Simply apply the solvent to the bike chains, sprockets, and chainring and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. After that, wash away the solvent with water and wipe away any excess grease or grime with a lint-free cloth. By using a simple and effective solvent like Diggers Wax & Grease Remover, your bike will be good as new.
Note: A chemical solution like Diggers Wax & Grease Remover can potentially cause damage to brake pads, so refrain from using this product on or around your bike’s brake parts.
Keep Your Nuts And Bolts In Check
If you haven’t tightened your bike’s nuts and bolts in a while, you may be at risk of these fasteners coming loose. Improperly tightened bike nuts and bolts can also result in serious wear and reduced bike performance!
To ensure your bike parts stay intact, all you have to do is perform a quick, weekly check. You can do this by lightly bouncing the bike off the ground and listening for any loose nuts or bolts.
Before you tighten anything, be sure to refer to the manufacturer’s manual for the right specifications. Nuts and bolts that are too tight or too loose can cause serious problems during your ride.
Check The Brakes
Effective brakes are crucial for your own safety and those around you. The last thing you want is for your brakes to be malfunctioning when you’re descending a steep hill at 60 km/h.
To check the state of your brakes, stand next to your bike and squeeze the front brake lever and try to push the bike forward. The back wheel should lift and the brake lever shouldn’t touch the handlebar. Repeat this process to test the rear brake.
If you have to pull the brake lever until it reaches the handlebar and it’s still not functioning correctly, this may be a sign that you have to adjust the brake pads or bleed your brakes. For confident home bike mechanics, you probably already know how to do this, but if you’re new to the bike repair game, there are a heap of online resources and videos that can help you learn about basic home bike maintenance – Global Mountain Bike Network has a long list of video tutorials that demonstrate how you can maintain your bike for cheap!
If your brakes are housing grime or grease, give it some Diggers! Start by applying a small amount of Diggers Wax & Grease Remover to your bike’s brake pads and wipe away any grime with a lint-free cloth.
Pump It Up!
Perhaps the most important factor to a smooth ride is your bike’s tire pressure. If you don’t pay attention to inflation, chances are the amount of air in your tires is resulting in serious drop-offs in performance and comfort (to mention a serious case of the flats).
Your bike’s ideal tire pressure will entirely depend on what kind of bike you have. For instance,
Mountain and trail bikes usually require 25 PSI, Gravel bike tires 40 PSI, and Road bike tires 90 PSI.
Note: Be sure to never go above or below the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, which you can find on the bike’s sidewall.
Even if you’re not riding regularly, try to remember to always keep the tires inflated. If you’re finding it difficult to maintain your bike’s tire pressure, take the tires off completely. This’ll prevent your tires from cracking.
Sharpen Your Saddle
Whether you’re a diehard road cyclist or someone who just likes a relaxing ride around the park, one factor that makes for a comfortable ride is a good, stable bike seat. Let’s face it, we’ve all experienced an uncomfortable bike seat that squeaks with every pedal stroke.
If you’re experiencing this right now and looking for a remedy, we’ve got you covered. Simply remove the saddle from the clamp, clean the rails and apply a couple of drops of Diggers Wax & Grease Remover – before wiping away the grime. Then, reclamp your bike saddle. Voila!
Deep Clean every so often
Just like your kitchen and bathroom, your bike needs to be deep cleaned every once in a while to get into those hard to reach places.
Take off the drivetrain, soak in Diggers Wax & Grease Remover, clean with water and lubricate. Once you’re finished cleaning, wipe away the remaining fluid and let it dry.
Performing the occasional deep clean of your drivetrain also gives you the perfect opportunity to inspect and service other parts of your bike such as bottom bracket bearings and freehubs.
Preventing your bike chain from getting overly gritty and greasy by performing the occasional deep clean will also help to ensure you get as much out of your chain as possible before it needs to be replaced. Bike chains that fail to undergo proper maintenance usually only live to see 3,000km of wear – with regular cleaning, you can get as much as 15,000km from your chain!
To give your bike chain a deep clean, soak in Diggers Wax & Grease Remover and let it sit for 5-6 minutes. Once it has soaked thoroughly, wash away the fluid with water and lubricate.