The blog is back! Since the COVID-19 lockdown, we know a lot of you have been trying to get out on your bikes for your daily exercise, so we wanted to share with you a few essential tips to help keep your bike riding better for longer. As we are an essential business we are still open 5 days a week, so remember Glasgow Bike Hive is still here for you for your bike maintenance needs during these difficult times!
Here’s our owner and lead mechanic James’ top 3 essential bike maintenance tips that everyone should know!
- Watch your tyre pressure
Riding at the correct tyre pressure is really important to ensure your tyres are giving you their best performance and you have the best riding experience possible. The most common mistake we see is people riding with tyre pressure which is too low, and this can cause damage to your tyre and increases your risk of a flat tyre. Riding with low pressure also reduces the efficiency of your bike, meaning you have to work harder!
The correct pressure for a tyre varies depending on rider weight, tyre width, material, and whether it is front or rear wheel. You can find out the approximate correct pressure by checking the side wall of the tyre, which tells you the manufacturer’s recommended maximum and minimum pressures.
If you are heavier you will want to have your tyre pressure in the upper end of that bracket, whereas if you are lighter you can have your tyre pressure in the lower half of the bracket. In general, tyre pressure should be marginally higher in the rear compared to the front.
- Lubricate your drivetrain
The drivetrain consists of the chain, the chainset (at the front), the cassette (at the back), the front derailleur (if you have one) and the rear derailleur. Lubricating the appropriate parts of your drivetrain will help to prevent corrosion and reduce mechanical friction, which will extend the lifetime of your parts (and might even make your bike ride smoother!).
When lubricating your drivetrain, you only need to lubricate the chain, and occasionally the front and rear derailleurs. Select a suitable chain oil – the most appropriate chain oil for you will depend on your bike usage and riding conditions/weather – and place your bike against a wall making sure you can still backpedal it. Whilst backpedaling, trickle a small amount of chain oil on to the chain. You want a consistent amount of chain oil along the entire chain – it might take several revolutions of backpedaling to achieve this. Be careful not to use too much oil though, the oil on the chain should just be visible and should glisten slightly. Little and often is the key for good drivetrain lubrication!
- Clean your brakes and rims
This one is often overlooked, but an easy way to improve your brake performance and efficiency is to clean your brake pads and rims regularly (obviously this only applies to rim brakes!). The brake surface on the rim of your wheels naturally attracts dirt and sludge as you ride along, particularly in Glasgow weather! But as you brake, the material from your brake pads also wears off on to the rim, and can add to the debris on the brake surface.
Thankfully there are no special tools required to clean your brake surface, just grab some kitchen towel and a degreaser of your choice (normal washing up liquid will do!). Use the kitchen towel to rub the rim of your wheels with soapy water, which will agitate the dirt and debris, then rinse off with clean (non soapy) water and wipe dry with a fresh piece of kitchen towel. Easy as that!
Hopefully you found these essential tips useful, let us know on social media what other bike maintenance advice you’d like from this blog next!