A Yearly Physical For Your Bike
These are the things to check that get forgotten during most regular maintenance routines. Visit your favorite repair professional to verify that your bike is in proper working order. Your local bike shop will be happy to help and make sure you can focus on the road ahead, free of distraction.
HIGH AND TIGHT (FREE) Verify all the bolts, clamps pedals and water bottle cages are tight on your bike. This includes the usually glossed over saddle rail clamp bolts. Make sure to use a torque wrench and verify manufacturer’s specs. Loosen the bolt to lift seat post up off the frame. (Make sure your spot is marked with tape or a scratch-mark before doing this.) Wipe down the stem then apply a light coating of grease before re-attaching. No torque wrench? LBS saves the day.
DERAILLEUR HANGER ($) The tolerances on today’s modern drivetrains don’t have much allowance for bent derailleur hangers. The item is sacrificial part meant to absorb impact to prevent frame damage. You’ll need a tool for this, even a 1/32″ of deflection in this piece will wreak havoc on STI shifting systems.
BOTTOM BRACKET ($$) An annual bottom bracket overhaul is good insurance against bearing failure – a potentially catastrophic problem that can leave you stranded, injured or both.
ROLLING RIGHT ($$) Start the season rolling right. Inspect your tires for bulges, cuts, cracks and flat spots. Replace as necessary. Both tires looking good? Pick up a spare and leave it in the trunk of your car. Everyone carries extra tubes – no one carries extra tires!
BRAKE CHECK ($) Whether you’re riding disc brakes or traditional, take the time to remove the pads and replace if necessary. Still good? Sand the surface with some 120 grit sandpaper and remove any grit that has become stuck in the surface with an awl.
CABLES ($$) Grit, grime, dirt, water, moisture and grease all mix together inside cable housings, making a tough time of shifting and can speed up corrosion of brake cables. Ensure your shifts are precise and your braking is steadfast this next year with a replacement of your cables and housings.
FRAME TIME (FREE) Do you remember the last time you inspected your frame top to bottom? Exactly. Now’s the time. You’re looking for bulges and cracks in the paint, common signs of an underlying crack in your frame. Find something? Take it to your LBS for a professional opinion.