Your Bicycle Tune-Up Checklist

Most people think they buy a bike, pump the tires once in a while and they’re done. But the truth is, like a car, a bike needs regular maintenance.

The good news is, unlike a car, you’ll be able to do most of the work yourself. Here’s how to get the job done.

DIY Bicycle Tune-Up

The most important step in keeping a bike running is to keep it clean. That means setting your bike in an open space and then looking over every inch. Check out what the chain and the drivetrain look like, wiping off any dirt and using a degreaser like WD40. If necessary, use a small brush to clean between the links of the chain. Make sure you let the bike dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Lubrication is half the battle in keeping a bike in good working order. According to Bicycling Magazine, lubrication is an “unglamorous necessity”. It keeps everything moving properly. Yet, if you use too much, it can attract dirt and grime.

To apply lube, deposit a drop on the top of each link as you slowly back-pedal. Make sure to wipe off excess lube to that it doesn’t have a chance to attract dirt.

Next up? Check your wheels. Is the tread still good? Is the wheel warped or are any spokes missing? If so, that’s a job you may want to have done at your local bike shop.

Straddle your bike and check the alignment. Make sure the handlebars are at a 90-degree angle to the wheels. If not, loosen the stem and square things up. Check your saddle. Does it have any give? If so, tighten the bolts.

Brakes Bicycle Tune-Up

Pull on your break levers and see what it takes to engage the wheel. For safe biking, you want the brakes to engage at about 50 percent of their possible span. Tighten the cables on the brakes if necessary.

Take a look at your brake pads to make sure there’s plenty left. Also confirm that your brakes are stopping the metal part of the wheel, not the rubber tire. Use an Allen wrench to adjust as necessary.

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