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Every bike needs a little tender, loving care. Proper bike maintenance is a must to make sure your bike stays in good shape. It will prolong the life of your bike, so it can serve you for the coming years. Unfortunately, not everyone who owns a bike knows how to properly take care of it.
Every bike owner wants to make sure that his or her bike stays in tip-top shape. But whether we like to admit it or not, there are times when we put our bike on the sidetrack. Ignoring maintenance may ruin some components and may lead to costly repairs.
Here’s a list of some bike maintenance mistakes most cyclists have committed. In fact, even experienced riders commit these errors at some point. Avoid falling prey to these mistakes as they can ruin your bicycle.
Not washing the bike after a ride
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Nothing is more exciting than taking a brand new bike out for a spin. The frame is sparkling in the sunlight and every component is functioning smoothly and efficiently. If you are serious about pursuing cycling, then you need to give your bike the care and attention it needs. As such, we highly recommend that you wash your bike after a ride. This is especially important if you get caught in the rain or if you are an aggressive trail rider.
Washing your bike may seem like a chore, especially after a long bike ride. But this simple step can go a long way towards extending the life of your bike, as well as its components. Plus, it will help keep your bike looking as good as possible.
Washing your bike is an easy, straightforward process. All you need is a bucket of soapy water, an old toothbrush, and a rug. Avoid using a pressure washer as it may damage some components of the bike.
Tires are not properly inflated
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Tire pressure is quite complex. The air pressure in your tires is affected by the change in temperatures, how much you brake on the descent, rim width etc.
Pounds per square inch or psi is the measurement for estimating the air pressure in your tires. The recommended air pressure depends on the type of tires you have, the width of the tire, your body weight, and the added weight of what you’re carrying. To give you a good idea about the recommended tire pressure, you may want to check the tire itself. Tire manufacturers often print a pressure range on the side of each tire.
For a smooth, comfortable, and enjoyable ride, you shouldn’t go above or below the manufacturer’s recommendations. To ensure that you’re within the recommended range, we strongly recommend that you check your tire pressure every time you plan to go out for a ride. Most cyclists, however, fall prey to this bike maintenance mistake. By having the wrong pressure in your tires, you may end up sabotaging your cycling experience.
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Of course, you don’t want the bolts to be overly loose. Most bike owners are worried that the bars or seat post may slip, so they end up overtightening the bolts. This, however, may cause significant damage to your bike. When performing bike maintenance, make sure to keep things tight, but not enough to snap.
Often, overtightening results in rounded off bolts that may need to be drilled out. Worse, it may cause some components to crack. This is common in bikes made of carbon fiber. Bar clamps, steerer, and seat posts are bolts that are often overtightened. To accurately tighten bolts or screws, consider using a torque wrench. You may also consult one of the staff members in a bike shop to show you how tight it should be.
Not oiling the chain often enough
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Cleaning and oiling the chain regularly is an important part of maintaining your bike’s chain. It helps keep the chain from rusting or wearing down. It also ensures that the moving parts of your bike are moving smoothly past each other. Unfortunately, most cyclists fail to realize the importance of this step. Hence, it is one of the most common bike maintenance mistakes cyclists commit.
If your chain is too dirty, it may break or get stuck. To make sure that you won’t come across a broken or stuck chain while riding, we recommend that you clean and lube your chain before your next ride. This is especially important after a downhill ride since the chain will most likely be filled with mud and debris. The last thing you want is to have to deal with chain repairs in the middle of a trail.
When oiling the chain, make sure that you don’t use too much of it. Otherwise, it may splatter all over your bike. To keep the excess to a minimum, oil your chain lightly. Add about one drop per link and then wipe off the excess.
Stretched or damaged cables
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If your shifting stops working, feels sticky or is a bit rough around the edges, this could be a sign that you need new gear cables.
Replacing your gear cables should be a part of your bike maintenance. As a rule of thumb, you should have it replaced once a year. But for more aggressive riders, we recommend replacing them more frequently.
Your shifting can become less responsive as dirt and grime find its way to your cables. At this point, you should plan on changing the cable. Leaving cable replacement excessively long may eventually cause the cable to snap. The task may also end up being more complicated than usual if the filaments of the cable become too thin.