A well-maintained bike makes for a safer, easier and more enjoyable ride, but even new bike will need a few adjustments before its set up correctly. Most bike shops suggest going back after a month to have the components rechecked. Follow these tips to help keep your bike running smoothly:
- We suggest carrying a basic toolkit and puncture repair kit. You can buy compact kits with allen keys and screwdriver heads from bike shops.
- Check your tyres weekly for splitting and wear, and ensure there is enough air in them. Make sure the tyre pressure is between the minimum and maximum pressure recommended (to find this, look at the side of each tyre.)
- Check monthly that your brakes work and that the cables are not fraying. Brake pads need to touch the wheel’s metal rim. If they hit the tyre it will make the pads less effective.
- Check that your wheel spokes are not loose and that the rims are straight. If the rims are buckled to the point that they touch the brake pads, you will need to get them straightened at a bike shop.
- Apply lubricant to your bike components, avoiding the wheel rims. Clean and lubricate the chain so it runs quietly and freely.
- Keep your bike out of the rain to avoid rust.
- Before riding at night, make sure your front and back lights are working and bright enough to be visible.
Visit or call your local bike shop for further advice on basic maintenance and servicing
If your bike tyre goes flat, don't automatically assume it is punctured - especially if the leak is slow. Rotate the wheel until the valve is at the top and then submerge the valve in a glass of water. If bubbles form, replace the valve. If the problem is a puncture, here is the recommended way to repair it:
1 - Release brake callipers
Release brake callipers and remove wheel by unbolting it, or loosening quick release levers. Rear wheels are easier to remove if the chain is on the smallest gear at both the chain wheel and the cogset.
2 - Remove the tyre
Remove the tyre by fully deflating the tyre, then carefully prising it off with tyre levers, or by squeezing the tyre into the rim's well and peeling it off at the opposite point of the rim.
3 - Remove tube
Remove tube, then check around inside of the tyre. If the sharp object that caused the puncture is still there, remove it. If puncture is on inside of the tube, check rim of the wheel and the rim tape for sharp edges.
4 - Check the tube for a hole
Check the tube for a hole. Do this by pumping it up and holding it underwater while looking for bubbles, or listen and feel for escaping air. Mark the hole.
5 - Roughen the area around the hole
Roughen the area around the hole using sandpaper or scratcher. Spread glue thinly on the tube, wait till it is tacky, position patch over the marked hole and hold firmly for 30 secs (new glueless patches are faster).
6 - Pump up the tube slightly
Pump up the tube slightly. Slip one edge of tyre into the rim. Push the tube's valve into the rim's hole. Then, starting from the valve, push the tube inside the tyre. Make sure valve stem is upright and the tube isn't twisted.
7 - Place the second edge of the tyre onto the rim.
Place the second edge of the tyre onto the rim. (75% of the tyre will go on easily, gently ease the rest onto the rim). For stubborn tyres, use a tyre lever to force the tyre on, making sure not to pinch the tube.
8 - Pump a bit more air into the tube
Pump a bit more air into the tube to check that it isn't caught and the tyre is properly seated on the rim. Once satisfied, you can inflate the tyre fully.