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Learn to Love These Pain Free Bicycle Maintenance Intervals

By Captain Dondo at PerformanceBike

Unlike in your four-wheeler, there ain’t no fancy dashboard light to indicate that your bike needs service. What’s more, there are no hard-and-fast rules, either. Bicycle maintenance intervals depend on how much you ride, the conditions in which you ride (dry, wet, dusty, sandy, paved, unpaved, etc.), how hard you ride, and probably several other factors that haven’t been discovered.

So, for the sake of setting some kind of parameters, lets assume you ride on the order of six to eight hours a week in generally dry conditions and that your cycling talent falls midway between Lance Armstrong and Leonardo DiCaprio (or Karen Kurreck and Katie Couric, if you prefer). If you consider yourself above these median values or find yourself riding in sandy/dusty/muddy/rainy conditions, do the following more often. You Leonardos and Katies can let a little more time slip between tech sessions (except for tire inflation, cleaning water bottles/reservoirs, and changing batteries).

Weekly Bicycle Maintenance

Road Bikes

  • Air up tires (even the best seep a few psi per week)
  • Lube chain
  • Check tires for casing cuts, excessive wear, embedded objects
  • Scrub water bottles and/or hydration system reservoir/tube

Mountain Bikes

  • Air up tires
  • Wash bike
  • Lube cables
  • Lube chain
  • Lube pedals
  • Lube fork dampers (the place where inner legs insert in outer legs of telescoping forks) or pivots (link-type forks)
  • Inspect brake pads for glazing or wear
  • Check tires for casing cuts or deformities (big bulges)
  • Scrub water bottles and/or hydration system reservoir/tube

Monthy Bike Maintenance

Road Bikes

  • Wash bike
  • Lube cables
  • Lube pedals

Mountain Bikes

  • Check headset adjustment
  • Inspect tire treads for wear
  • Check fork pivots (link-type forks) for excessive sideways play
  • Check chain for wear
  • Evaluate shoe cleat condition

At Least Twice Yearly Bike Maintenance

Road Bikes

  • Reglue tubular tires (unless you don’t know what this means)
  • Remove and grease handlebar stem (quill type)
  • Lube seatpost (grease for alloy posts into metal frames; anti-seize for Ti posts into Ti frames; nuttin’ for carbon posts)
  • Check chain for wear
  • Evaluate shoe cleat condition

Mountain Bikes

  • Check all bearings for dirt/wear/adjustment
  • Touch up paint (steel frames especially)
  • Lube seatpost. (see above)
  • Check chainrings for wear
  • Inspect rear derailleur pivots and pulleys for wear
  • Reglue grips

Annual Bike Maintenance

Road Bikes

  • Check all bearings for dirt/wear/adjustment
  • Retape handlebar
  • Remove and grease handlebar stem (quill type)
  • Lube metal seatpost
  • Touch up paint (steel frames especially)
  • Inspect brake pads
  • Check chainrings for wear
  • Replace cyclometer/heart rate monitor battery
  • Replace all cables and housing
  • Inspect rear derailleur pivots and pulleys for wear

Mountain Bikes

  • Overhaul fork
  • Replace all cables and housing
  • Replace cyclometer/heart rate monitor battery
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