Similar to cars and other mechanical equipment, bikes require routine servicing and maintenance to ensure their safe and proper use. Good news is that unlike cars, bikes are relatively simple!
Before your first ride there are some basic checks to perform.
Tyre pressure is important for comfort and bike handling. For your bike the ideal tyre pressure will often lie within the range 40-60psi (a bit higher for road bikes; typically 80-100psi). If your pump doesn’t have a pressure reading, a good guide is that that the tyre should hold its shape when you are sitting on the bike.
Your tyre will designate a range of pressures on the wall of the tyre; see below for an illustration.
Tubes use either a presta or Schrader valve (pictured), so if you require a pump you know what to ask for (most pumps work for both).
Checking both wheels are securely tightened
Note: This is done before dispatch, but it is sensible to double check after transit.
Adjusting a quick release skewer. To release open the lever on the left, pictured below. To check they are tight, gently hand tighten the adjusting nut (left side of Fig.3) while the lever is open, then finish off by closing the lever.
The difference between a safely and unsafely secured wheel can be a half twist of the adjusting nut, so be sure to tighten the adjusting nut (left side of Fig.3) until the lever offers firm resistance before closing.
For axle nuts (pictured) you will require a 15mm spanner, turning clockwise will tighten the nut (see below left). Spanner End 1 (pictured) is easier to use however a spanner with both ends like End 2 is fine too.
Fig.1 indicates where the 5mm allen/hex key will operate the internal fixing bolt, turn clockwise to tighten.
When you pull the brake lever, it should not go closer than a few centimetres from the grips, any closer than in the picture below, and your brakes should be readjusted.
Your braking surface should be clean, not overly worn and free from and any potentially lubricating liquids. IMPORTANT: When applying lubricant to components of a bike avoid the rim and brake pad area. Below is a picture (Fig.1) of a good condition braking surface.
Brake pads should not be overly worn, with grooves still visible as in Fig.2. For disc brakes there should be at least 1mm of pad left.
Not for before your first ride but…
Cleaning is an important aspect of bike maintenance and can be easily forgotten about, your bike will love you for keeping it regularly cleaned and it will make for a smoother and quieter ride.
The parts pictured below enjoy the most attention:
Clean with a light degreaser and firm bristle brush. These are available at your local bike shop. Household degreasers (e.g. WD-40) and an old toothbrush also work fine.
Rinse with water once scrubbed, the water shouldn’t be a high pressure, a drink bottle and a bucket can be handy particularly when there is no hose.
Once the parts pictured have dried, apply a little bit of chain lubricant to the chain. This is best done while pedalling backwards with your hand to spread it around. Chain lubricant is available at your local bike store and is reasonably priced at around £3-5.
The rest of your bike can be washed using hot soapy water (you can use fairy liquid) and a soft bristle brush.
Ongoing servicing is just as important as your initial checks
Just like we take our cars in for a service every 15,000 miles or so, our bikes require the same care and attention (well done if you’ve put 15000 miles on your bike!). Most bike mechanics recommend servicing a bike every 6 to 12 months, depending on usage.
We service and refurbish every bike when it is exchanged. If you keep the bike longer than 12 months we would recommend getting a bike mechanic to carry out a service. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team with any servicing queries and we will happily assist you.