Getting Your Bike Summer-Ready

Check your bike to make sure it is in good running order and safe to go on the road

• Check the brake blocks. Make sure there is still plenty of braking compound left on them. If not, the metal stud which the compound is bonded to will protrude and damage the rim. Also adjust them so there isn’t too much movement in the brake lever before they grip the rim or disc in the case of disc brakes.

• Check the inner cables. Make sure there is no fraying before the final clamping bolt. If there is, the inner cable will need replacing. Also do some basic lubricating. Check the outer cabling, making sure there aren’t any kinks which will affect the performance.

• Check the chain. A simple way to check for wear is to see if you can lift the chain from the chainrings. If you can do this, it should be changed before too much wear occurs. If you are not sure, have it checked by a bicycle mechanic. If it looks OK lubricate it with chain oil.

• Check the gears are set up correctly. If they are not it will cause problems in changing gears and also will cause wear and tear on the mechanisms.

• Check the wheels. Make sure there are no loose or broken spokes, plus make sure the wheels are running true. Also check the rims look OK, and are not bowing out, which could mean they are about to give out. If any of these faults are present, take your bike to a bicycle shop and have it fixed.

• Check the tyres. Make sure there aren’t any splits or tears that could lead to sudden deflation. Also make sure there is still plenty of tread on them.

• Finally check to make sure there aren’t any loose or missing bolts. If you find a loose bolt, tighten up using an appropriate spanner.

Bob Bristow

Get your bike summer-ready in 4 simple steps

Has your bike been holed up in the garage over winter? Maybe you run a different summer bike to your winter hack.

Either way, the mercury is rising and if you’re thinking about piling on some miles, it is time to ensure things are ship-shape. After all, is there anything worse than getting kitted up for a ride to find that your bike is unrideable?

Check over your bike with these simple steps…

1. Drivetrain

DriveTrainFirst things first. You won’t be going anywhere fast without a working drivetrain. Set up the bike so you can shift through the gears (a workstand is a worthwhile investment for this task alone!) to see if things are working as they should. If they aren’t, it’s best to conduct a full overview of your system.

Start with the cables. Check that they aren’t too stretched or too slack. Take a look at the connections as well as the whole length to see if they have splayed. Ensure the rear (and the front if you have one) derailleurs are correctly seated and haven’t been knocked.

Assess the chain, cassette and chainrings for wear. If any of these individual components are worn, it will mean that the chain can’t find enough purchase to catch on and provide drive. Sometimes drivetrains work differently under pressure, so if it is safe to do so, take the bike out for a quick spin.

Of course a cleaned, spotless and adequately lubed chain is also important! Check for signs of rust and grime.

2. Brakes

BrakesFunctional, responsive brakes are a necessity. Check both your callipers are moving freely and then move onto the pads. Most pads, whether disc or rim, have wear markers that give an indication of when a new set is on the cards.

3. Wheels/Tyres

Wheels/TyresAgain, with the bike in a stand, spin the wheels to assess how true they are. It’s also a good idea to check individual spokes for damage along with how worn the rims are.

Depending on whether you’ve ridden through winter or put your bike into hibernation over the colder months, tyres can get worn out or degrade.

Check the tread is good and perform a visual check of the sidewalls. The tyres will no doubt have deflated too, so get them back up to the required PSI.

4. Cleaning

CleaningSteps one to three complete, it’s time to break out your cleaning products. Perform a deep clean of everything, frame, drivetrain, brakes, wheels and contact points. We’re huge fans of frame shine or detailing products. Standing back and seeing the sunlight catch your shiny frame only makes you want to get out riding more!

Of course if the above is not for you, visit Cycle Republic Reading at 3 Apex Plaza, Forbury Road, Reading RG1 1AX, where we offer three levels of bike servicing as well as all manner of specific repairs. All work carried out is guaranteed for six months and a same service is also available.

10 checks for a summer-ready bike

1. Check tyre pressures as your tyre pressures will almost definitely be too low.

2. Check your chain, derailleur and cranks to see that they are not bent or not adjusted correctly. If they are not normal, either adjust them or replace broken parts.

3. Then lube your chain so you cover all the moving parts on your chain and cassette.

4. Make sure you wipe off all the excess lube, as excess lube will collect dirt and speed up wear of parts.

5. Have a look at the condition of your brake pads (disc or non disc). If there is plenty of life left in them, then don’t worry about replacing them. But if they are getting close to being worn out, then best to replace them now as you have a whole summer of riding ahead.

6. Check the condition of your tyres. If they are worn out (so there is no tread left) or covered in cracks, then it’s best to replace them so they don’t fail on you.

7. Check your wheel nuts/Q R skewers /through axles are tight and not damaged, as you need these to be working properly all of the time.

8. Check that all visible bolts/nuts are tight and not damaged.

9. Check that there is no bearing play coming from your wheels, cranks, headset or pedals. If there is, then tighten or grease the appropriate part, or replace it if necessary.

10. Finally lift your bike about 20- 30cm off of the floor and just drop it. It should sound solid with no noticable clunks or rattles with the exception of the chain. If it sounds normal then you’re ready to ride!

Lewis, Decathlon Reading mechanic, Decathlon Reading. Forbury Retail Park, Reading RG1 3HS. Opening times Mon-Sat 9 – 8; Sun 10 – 4:30.

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