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Whether it’s rising fuel prices, or a desire for adventure that has you peering at that bike that’s been in the back of your garage for far too long, knowing the basics of regular maintenance can save you time and hassle. Keeping your bike in good working order will save you money on repairs and make your ride more comfortable and enjoyable. Here are some simple maintenance tasks you can do yourself to keep your bike in great shape.

Check your bike’s “ABCs”

For everyday maintenance, beginning with a general inspection of your bike—sometimes referred to as the “ABCs” (or air, brakes, chain)—will address any minor maintenance needs your bike might have. For tire pressure, look at the sidewall of your bike tire for ideal air pressure and use a tire pressure gauge to make sure it’s within its recommended range. Next, check your brakes to make sure that they’re engaging and disengaging easily. Last, take a look at the chain and make sure it’s clean and well-greased, as well as being aligned with the gears. If needed, you can use a clean rag to wipe down the chain and some bike chain lube to keep it well-greased.

Maintain your bike seasonally and after big outings

For a seasonal or post-outdoor-adventure level of maintenance, making sure that all of your bike parts are clean and well-greased is important. Using a bike stand or rack to keep your bike upright, begin by wiping down all the parts with a clean rag. If there is dirt or buildup on the bike, you can use a solution of water and dish soap with a stiff bristle brush to scrub off the grime. To clean grease buildup and gunk off of your bike’s drivetrain, or the gears that connect to the chain and pedals to the wheels, use a small brush and some degreaser made for bikes. Once your gears and chain are clean, you’ll need to lubricate them and test them out to make sure they’re in good working order. This step can be repeated more often as needed to keep your bike gliding along smoothly.

Tighten up the bolts on your bike, as needed

To make sure that all of your parts are secured properly and haven’t rattled loose, check that all bolts are tightened properly monthly or bimonthly. Using the tools recommended in your bike’s manual (or in the case of an older model with no manual, properly sized wrenches), tighten up the bolts according to the manufacturer specs on torque. If you don’t know the specs, you should generally follow the rule of thumb that any structural parts should be tightened with a torque wrench made for bike parts. This will ensure that your parts are tightened enough to hold, but not so much that they can break or put too much pressure on parts.

Keep these basic bike repair tools on hand

It’s also a good idea to have a few spare tools and parts on hand so that you can accomplish basic repairs as needed, such as changing a tire. Having a spare tube and tire lever in your repair kit will allow you to change a tire if you get a puncture. It’s also important to keep a bike pump in your kit so you can inflate your replacement tube. You should also have a travel set of wrenches or a multitool in your kit for any emergency bolt-tightening that needs to occur while you’re out on a ride. You can also consider a travel tool kit that has a basic set of tools included.

   



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