Just like any other machinery a bike has to be checked before riding every other time. It will also require significant servicing every once in a while, to ensure that it is in top shape every time you hit the trail or track. It is crucial to understand that a bike can fail in more than one way if not well taken care of it causing severe injuries and in some cases fatalities. Some of the best times to do thorough checks include;
- Times when you have not used the bike for a while
- After long rides since these can take a toll on the bike parts
- After new installations
- Every time you are about to make long intensive trips
Replace worn out parts as opposed to repairing them. Here is a step by step guide on what and where to check for wear and tear for repair, service, and replacement.
The steering section of the bike also known as the cockpit is responsible for turning and charting the course of the bike. It also means that it handles a lot of pressure and force both from the rider and the track or trail it is one. This then leads to a lot of bending, breaking and loosening up of parts. One of the first things you need to do is to inspect all the bolts to ensure that they are well tightened using the right torque settings. Next, turn the handlebars while listening for any grinding and resistance. It will be a sign of worn out bearings or dry joints. Oil these and replace if necessary. Press the bars forward and align the bars to the front wheel. Straighten if they are out of alignment and straighten the handlebars if one is dropping. Hold the wheel by your knees and try forcing the stem to turn. Turning of the stem should not happen after a considerable amount of force is applied to them. Check and wear and tear on the handle rubbers and replace if they are worn out.
Start with the braking levers by ensuring that they are well secured, and the wiring has not frayed at any point. They should also move without much effort which means oiling the pivots where necessary. Follow the brake lines through the tube or attachments to the system. Rotate the wheels individually while braking to see whether they stop accordingly. Do the same while on the bike while applying emergency stops. The bike should be able to come to a halt with a full braking application without any slip-up. Ensure the braking pads are well adjusted to be clear of the rim while not braking and in full contact while braking at different levels. Replace worn out pads accordingly.
Framework and seat
The frame of the bike takes in a lot of force exerted when riding downhill or uphill. It also takes on the impact of the body as well as the weight. Inspect every joint that has been welded or screwed together. Ensure the bolts are in place by the use of a torque wrench at the right settings. The fittings should also not be chipped in any way. Wearing of paint at these points is an indicator that the joints are starting to weaken. Has the frame checked if you have any weak points by a professional and the part welded again to be safe? The framework should also be well aligned, and this is easy to tell if you compare the alignment of the front and the back wheel. Check the springs on the seat as well as the fabric or material used to cover it. Ensure that the position does not rock front and back as you ride no matter the amount of force placed on it. Replace the bolts and nuts if this is the case.
Wheels and tires
Faulty wheels and tires are some of the most common causes of accidents when it comes to riding bikes. These are repaired, but it is best if you take the time to replace them. Patches on wheels are never as good as a whole new tire. Check the wear on the threading and replace the tire if the wear is beyond 20% of the tire. The wheels should be well aligned, and this can be done by taking off the wheel and turning it on an alignment machine. Any wobble or skittle should be corrected to avoid accidents in the future. Inspect the spokes to ensure that none is bent or broken all along the wheel. Replace bent or broken ones and if the wheel is too damaged, chipped or worn, replace it.
Check your suspensions for bleeding and the stanchions for scratches. Excessive bleeding of oil as seen on the bolts should be checked and corrected if possible. A little amount is sometimes normal, but needs to remain under supervision. Solid suspensions should also be tested for bends or breakages and replaced when necessary.
The drive train is the power mechanism of the bike right from the derailleurs, chain, pedals, and gears and so on. A loose chain is an indication of stretching, and this should be replaced to avoid slipping gears. Ensure that the derailleur is moving as needed and adjusted if there are any skips through the gears. It is, however, best that you replace such a derailleur. The pedals should also have a good grip on them and turn without making any noise. Oil the joints and check for worn out parts. The gears should not be chipped or broken at any point and replacements are available in case you have such extensive damage. It is wise that you invest in a reliable drive train as this determines how hard or easy it will be riding your bike. The gear shift or switch should work fast and efficiently. Adjust the cable if there are delays till you get the desired effect.
Check the operation of your accessories including electronics, lights, and holders. Replace any that are broken as well as replace the batteries for those that are dead or slowing down.
Finally, ensure that you test your bike at extremes before taking it for a long ride. Tinkle with the parts, adjusting what you need till you get the perfect feel for it.