Saturday, May 7, 2011

7 Tips to ready your bike for the first ride of the season

Tires
Pump your tires as they will have lost a few PSIs over the winter, then visually inspect the rubber for any cracks or damage.

Spokes
Spokes require a certain amount of tension to support the wheels and ultimately the rider. Check for loose spokes manually by wiggling them. If you find any, use a spoke wrench to tighten, while making sure not to deform the wheel. If you are concerned about wheel deformation, use a wheel truing stand.

Drivetrain
Use degreaser and brushes to clean your cassette, chain, derailleurs etc. Rinse with low pressure water. Once dry, apply lubricant to all moving parts of the drivetrain.

Brakes
While little winter maintenance is required with brakes, you should still check for wheel rubbing and worn out pads. Adjust and/or replace if necessary.

Shifters
Mount your bike on a repair stand or go for a short ride down the driveway to gauge whether the cables have proper tension, as they tend to loosen over time. Tighten at lever and/or derailleur level if necessary.

Safety Checks
Check the following critical connections for loose parts: stem-handlebar, stem-steering connection, pedals-crank arms, seat post-frame etc.

Rider Checks
Check your helmet for cracks and shoes for loose cleats. Finally, as it is technically still spring make sure to take extra clothes for unexpected rain showers or colder conditions, especially if you're planning to ride early morning or after sunset.

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