DO - IT - YOURSELF & when to find a technician for advanced repair service

You will often find yourself in a sticky situation where you'll need to have something fixed or adjusted quickly on your bike.

Learning basic bicycle maintenance skills will not only get you out of such situations but also save you tons of money. 

You don't need to be a professional technician to maintain your bike. Here are some simple DIY skills and tips that you can practice to keep your bicycle running smoothly. 

1. CLEAN AND INSPECT YOUR BIKE.

A clean bicycle will ride better and will have longer-lasting parts. A neglected bike collects dust and grime over time, resulting in catalyzed components' wear and tear.

When you clean your bike thoroughly, you will inspect it in the process. 

To clean your bike you will need the following.

  • Soapy water
  • Sponge and brush 
  • clean water for rinsing 
  • Degreaser for the drivetrain. 

CLEANING STEPS

Spray/ Sprinkle up some water on the bike frame and wheels to loosen up the dirt.

Using the sponge and soapy water, wipe excess dirt off the frame, wheel, and all other areas.

Use the brush to remove mud/ dirt stuck on tires.

Spray the degreaser on the drivetrain and using a brush scrub off the sludge on the chain and the cassette 

Rinse off the bike with clean water and let it dry.

Always remember to apply fresh lube on your chain after cleanup. 

When inspecting your bike, here are some of the things to keep an eye on.

  • Cracks - especially on the frame (Cracks are a danger sign)
  • Hidden dirt and grime
  • Damaged components
  • Wear in cables
  • Wear in brake pads
  • Loose nuts and bolts
  • Wear on tires 

2. WHEELS CARE

Ensure that your tires are up to standard and are not worn out or cracked; remember that the tires are your point of contact to the ground and therefore need to be in good condition. 

Pump your tires to the recommended tire pressure. Check on the side of the tires the recommended PSI and match it with the pump gauge. 

Check every spoke to ensure that they are correctly tensioned and non is broken. Both wheels should spin freely on their axels and shouldn't wobble from side to side. If you notice some wobbling, it means that your wheels will need some truing. For spoke replacement and wheel truing, you might need to consider FINDING A TECHNICIAN for advanced service. 

3. FIX A FLAT

Punctures are the most common problem on bicycles. Fixing a puncture should be at least among the first repair skills that you need to learn. To fix a flat, these are some of the items you need to equip yourself with. 

1. Tire levers

2. Rubber glue

3. Sandpaper

4. Patches 

5. Pump

Once you are ready with the items, follow these steps to fix the puncture

First, remove the flat tire and use the tire lever to pry the bicycle tire out of the rim.

Then take out the flat tube and pump it up to find the hole.

Once the hole is found, roughen the area around the hole with sandpaper.

Apply the rubber glue to the area around the hole and let it dry for 1 -2  minutes.

Apply the patch, press it down for several minutes, and you're done.

Before you put the patched tube back on your tires, you should carefully scan the inner tire casing for alien objects.

4. ADJUSTING BRAKES

Having your brakes working properly is essential. Lift the wheel off the ground, spin it and pull the brakes on each side – they should lock instantly.

Check the brake pads if they are making contact with either side of the rim at the same time and if they’re wearing at an even rate.

While you are at it check the rim for wear, looking at the braking surface for wear, marks, dents, and scratches.

Ensure the brake levers are not ‘sticky’ and the cables have enough tension in them. It’s worth checking all cables, not just the brake cables, and ensuring they are in good condition.

5. IRREGULAR GEAR SHIFTING

A number one annoyance and possible hazard are misaligned derailleurs and poorly indexed gears. A correctly adjusted front derailleur will bring you smooth shifting between the small ring and big ring and will stop the chain from rubbing on the mechanism itself.

A correctly indexed rear derailleur, meanwhile, will give you fast, accurate, and reliable shifting across the cassette. The exercise of adjusting gears on bikes might look complicated. if you are not sure of what you are doing, I'd advise that you FIND A TECHNICIAN

A dry drivetrain will also be a source of unwanted noise. Always have your bike properly lubed. 

CLICK HERE for a comprehensive weekly, monthly, and yearly maintenance guide.