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A Simple Bike Maintenance Chart

How to care for your bike:

The maintenance schedule for a bike can vary somewhat on how often it's ridden and what condition it's in to begin with. Bikes that are ridden off-road or in the rain will need a little more TLC than one that ventures over the Brooklyn Bridge once per month.

However, using the following guidelines will help keep a bike good working condition - and help you know when it's time to bring it in to a mechanic.

These tips require a few basic tools:

  • -allen wrench set or multitool
  • -bike lube
  • -degreaser

We sell these in-shop if you need them. You can also purchase rags and brushes, or you can start by recycling old t-shirts and old toothbrushes. And don't forget that tires lose air over time, which can impace your speed and ride quality. You are always welcome to swing by the shop to use our pumps, but a good bike pump is also a great thing to have at home!

Bike care tips: 

  • Keep your bike inside; avoid storing it outsideRain, moisture, and dirt cause your parts to wear quicker and cost you more in repairs and service.
  • Bicycles ridden in rain and/or off-road typically require more frequent and extensive service. If you are a frequent commuter or distance rider, you may find that your bike needs service more often. (Probably because you're having more fun. Nice work!)
  • Don't use WD40 on your chain!! WD-40 is made for doors and things that move sometimes, not bikes - which have lots of pressure and movement. In fact, WD40 will actually strip your chain of oil, causing metal-on-metal grinding. Rather: Use chain lube!
  • If your bike has been crashed, or you purchased a used bike, we recommend bringing it in for a thorough check-up to ensure that it is functioning properly and safely. We are always happy to take a look at your bike - all estimates are free.
  • Enjoy it! The #1 goal of a bike should be to provide transport and fun. If these details overwhelm you, just focus on the "every ride" section in the left column! Our mechanics are happy to answer questions if you feel in over your head. If you want to learn more, we invite you to check out our maintenance and repair classes.

 

every ride
(a safety check)

monthly
(or every 500 miles)

every six months
(or 2,500 miles)

yearly
(or every 6,000 miles)

Check tire pressure.

If it's low (if the tire feels squishy), fill to the correct PSI - which is listed on side of your tire. 

Wipe down bicycle frame with a cloth.

Inspect frame and parts for signs of wear, such as cracks or dents.

Clean the frame to protect the paint/finish.

Once it's clean, inspect bike frame and fork for any cracks or dents.

Check all bearing systems: hubs, bottom bracket, headset and pedals.

Adjust and/or overhaul as needed, based on their condition.

Glance over the tire tread on both tires for embedded debris, to avoid getting a flat.

Wipe the chain and cassette cogs clean with a rag + earth-friendly degreaser.

Re-lube chain. 

Check tires for wear such as dry rot or areas where tread is too worn. Replace if cracks or wear are significant.

Check your spare tube and patch kit: make sure the spare still holds air and the patch kit has glue + patches.

Check all brake and gear cables + cable housing for fraying, breakage, rust, corrosion.

Replace if necessary.

If you have quick release parts (such as wheels or seatposts), check that they are tight and that the wheels are secure.

Check the wheels for loose spokes. If the spokes are loose, the wheels may have to be re-trued.

 

Check the condition of hubs, bottom bracket, headset. adjust and/or overhaul as needed.

Replace brake pads, and rubber brake hoods and handlebar tape if necessary.

Spin wheels to check for wobbles. If the wheel wobbles, this indicates that you need to have your wheel trued

 

Using a wrench, test the tightness of the moving and connecting parts: crankarms, pedals, chainring bolts, seat bolt, seatpost bolt, stem bolts, handlebar bolts and all accessory mounting bolts/screws.

Check all cables and housings for fraying, breaks, rust, and corrosion. Replace if necessary

Clean and check wheels carefully for signs of wear such as worn sidewalls or cracks where the spoke touches the rim or hub.

Squeeze brakes to make sure they're grabbing and that the pads touch the rims, not the tires.

Lube the pivot points of the brakes, derailleurs, and pedals.

Check for worn brake pads and replace if needed; also replace worn handlebar tape or grips.

Check the hubs, bottom bracket, and headset: adjust and/or overhaul as needed.

If you have a mountain bike, push down on and release the suspension to be sure that it's responding properly.

Lube the brake and gear cables to prevent binding. Check the cables for fraying and rusting. Replace if necessary.

Check for chain, cassette, and chainring wear and replace worn parts as needed.

Overhaul the pedals to check the bearings and add fresh grease (this can be tricky!).

Look over the bike chain. Add chain lube if it looks dry.

Check clipless pedals and cleats for loose screws/bolts.

Clean the drivetrain (chain, chainrings, cassette, front and rear derailleurs) with biodegradable solvent and rags.

Maintain and lube your suspension components according to the advice in the owner's manual.

Make sure you are prepared with tools (spare tube and/or patch kit, tire levers, pump), in case you get a flat while riding. (Or that you know where your closest bike shop is.)

If you have a mountain bike, maintain and lube your suspension.

If you have a mountain bike, maintain and lube your suspension components.

Check basket, racks and accessories - be sure attachments and bolts seem in OK condition.