Maintaining your bicycle

Follow our tips on keeping your bicycle in good working order for safer riding. Regular maintenance schedules and repairs are important.

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Servicing your bicycle

You should carry out a 3-minute check every time you ride your bike. Do regular maintenance checks and have your bike professionally serviced at least once a year to ensure it's in the safest condition.

If you discover one or more of your bicycle parts is damaged or needs repair, make sure the repair has been completed by a qualified bicycle mechanic and is safe to use before you continue riding.

The 3-minute check

  1. Tyres should feel very firm to touch. The correct pressure is written on the sidewall of each tyre.
  2. Check the seat is at the correct height and the seat post is tightly inserted at least 5cm into the frame.
  3. Lift the handlebars, spin the front wheel, apply the brakes and check that the:
    • wheel is properly secured in the forks
    • quick release levers are secure
    • wheel rotates freely without rubbing on the brakes
    • gears and brakes operate smoothly and directly.
  4. Lift the seat, turn the pedals, spin the rear wheel, operate the gears and brakes, and apply the above four stage test again.

Weekly maintenance

  • Clean and lubricate the chain.
  • Check wheel spokes and eyelets for rust or damage.
  • Check tyre pressures.

Monthly maintenance

  • Check tyres for wear or splits in the rubber.
  • Check wheel bearings, chain, gear cluster (back chain wheels), chain rings (front cogs) and head stem (handlebars).
  • Check all reflectors and lights are properly fastened and functioning.

Annual maintenance

  • Check the frame.
  • Remove handlebar tape to check for rust and weaknesses.
  • When purchasing new tyres, make sure they are the right size.
  • When replacing the chain, also change the gear cluster as both generally wear out evenly.

Repairing punctures: the steps

Getting started

  1. With rear wheels, ensure the chain is placed on the smallest cog before removing.
  2. Unhitch the brake from the wheel.
  3. Ease the wheels out, never forcing it.
  4. Ensure the tyre is fully deflated by depressing the small pin on the tyre valve.

Next, remove half the tyre

  1. Pinch the tyre walls firmly together all the way around the tyre to work the tyre bead away from the rim.
  2. Use tyre levers to remove the tyre by hooking one lever between the rim and the tyre wall on one side.
  3. Hook the other lever in at the same point and run it around the rim to release the tyre. Make sure the levers do not pinch the inner tube. You can remove the tube with half the tyre off the rim. You do not need to remove the whole tyre.

Finding the puncture

  1. Lift the valve out of the hole, remove the tube then partially inflate it to find the puncture location.
  2. Feel around the tube for escaping air and listen for the 'hissing' sound. Alternatively, you can place the tube in water and watch for bubbles to locate the hole. Make sure the tube is dry before you continue the repair.

Making the repair

  1. Roughen the surface of the punctured area using the metal scraper provided with your puncture repair kit or use sandpaper.
  2. Glue the roughened area and leave the glue to cure for at least two minutes.
  3. Check inside and outside the tyre for the possible cause of the puncture and remove any debris. Also, check for cuts through the tyre.
  4. Take a patch from your repair kit and remove the metal foil backing. Firmly press the patch onto the glued surface.
  5. Check that the rim tape covers the spoke vents and is centred into the rim well.

Getting the tyre back on

  1. If the tyre has been completely removed, make sure that the tread pattern is facing in the correct direction. Place one tyre wall over the rim edge on one side, keeping the tyre tread in the correct directional pattern.
  2. Partially inflate the tube in order to unfold any creases and insert the tube into the tyre.
  3. Begin at the valve, rolling the partially inflated tube into the well of the rim.
  4. When the tube is bedded into the rim well, firmly push the tube valve to seat it properly.
  5. Starting at the valve, begin rolling the outside wall of the tyre onto the rim. Do not use the levers to do this. Keep checking that the tube is not being pinched by the tyre.
  6. If the tyre is a tight fit, start back at the valve and roll/pinch the rubber in a forward motion to increase the amount of stretch in the tyre.
  7. Once the tyre is on, inflate the tube then check the valve for any further air leaks and check that there are no bulges in the tyre.

Rear wheel replacement

  1. For a rear wheel replacement, place the wheel back in by making sure the skewer is between the top and bottom chain, and the top chain is engaging the small cog on the cluster. Flip the skewer over to lock.

Final checks

  1. Ensure the wheel is correctly centred in the fork ends.
  2. Finally, hook the brakes and spin the wheel to check it is rolling smoothly.
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