Bike Tips

We have included some of our experiences here to help keep your bike running & out of the workshop so your hard earned cash remains in your pocket .

TYRES

Before you inflate your tyres, which is worth doing at least every week if you ride regularly, check around the tyre to see if there are any objects stuck into the tyre and remove them. Small fragments can penetrate any cuts already in the tyre so look into these to see if any glass, stones or other particles lie inside and remove them.

It is often easier to check a tyre for fragments when it is completely deflated so you can squeeze the sides together & reveal any debris stuck into the tyre.

Maximum tyre pressure is shown on the sidewall of the tyre and you should not exceed this.

Riding at near maximum tyre pressure helps the tyre resist debris attaching and causing a puncture. It also gives longer tyre usage. Mountain bike riders will use a lower than maximum pressure to cope with the nature of the terrain they ride over especially in wet conditions.

Experiment with slightly different tyre pressures to see what you find the most comfortable. Remember that using too low a pressure causes excessive wear and takes more effort to ride. You will have to replace your tyres sooner if you keep them under inflated and they will be more liable to puncture.

A floor pump makes inflating a lot easier than a normal hand pump and they have a gauge so you can see the tyre pressure.

On longer trips take a spare inner tube, tyre levers & a pump.You could also include a few small pieces of old inner tube than you can use as additional protection if the tyre is torn to help you get home. You must take any spanners needed to remove the wheel nuts if your wheel is attached to the forks by this means. If you have a puncture then locate the source of the problem on the tyre & remove anything remaining that caused the puncture before you insert a new inner tube otherwise you may puncture again as soon as you start off.

CHAIN

Inspect this regularly for any damage to links, build up of rust through a lack of lubrication, stiff links, or dirt accumulation through normal use.

Clean the chain regularly & keep lubricated with a teflon based lube. These are available for use in generally wet or dry conditions. If you use oil this will attract dirt to build up more quickly & require more regular cleaning.

If your chain comes off while riding along you can VIEW how to pop it back on by clicking here.

See the Cleaning section for more details of chain maintenance.

CABLES

Check all brake & gear cables regularly for signs of fraying and wear, especially at the nipple at the lever end of the cable. Replace a cable immediately if you spot any fraying.

If you ride most days then cables should be replaced every year, less frequently for reduced use but remember your life can depend on the reliability of your brakes so replace cables rather than take a risk with them

BRAKES

Check the brake pads every month to see if they are showing signs of excess wear.

Brake pads should contact the wheel rim squarely and be sufficiently soft that you can mark them with a fingernail. If your pads are hard then they can be filed down to a softer area or replace them.

If your brakes squeal, check first that there is no more than a little play in the caliper, then check the alignment of the brake pads with the rim. The front edge of the pad should make contact with the rim first; this is called "toe-in". If the rear edge of the pad makes contact first it is likely to cause vibration, audible as a squeal. Adjusting the angle of the brake pad depends on the design of the brake. You may need to seek the help of a cycle shop.

Check for excess movement of the brake levers - adjust as in the Repairs section.