A road bike is a relatively simple piece of mechanical device – no complicated and intricate components that can make it difficult to maintain. The problem is that most bike enthusiasts feel that a superficial maintenance routine will keep their bikes in roadworthy condition. This is not true. Just being fastidious in ensuring that the bike well cleaned and lubed and the tyres are in correct inflated condition is not enough. If you have a bike, do not wait to go to the repair stage when thorough maintenance practices can help you avoid a lot of potential major problems.
This is important for your safety on the roads. For cars, there are strict regulations regarding vehicle maintenance in Australia. If you are selling your car in Victoria, you must have a roadworthy certificate in Melbourne or from whichever State your car is registered in from a certified and accredited garage and service station. There are very strict norms in this regard which has to be followed by the certificate issuing body. The whole process is to ensure that only cars that are roadworthy should be on the roads for safety of all. Incidentally one of the top roadworthy certificate issuing service stations in Melbourne is Western Auto Services.
Here are a few tips on road bike maintenance that are often ignored.
- Gear cables – If gear cables get kinked and frayed, you cannot shift through the gears. The possibility increases if your bike has external gear cable as the cables get bent in the sifter and becomes weak over time. Delink the cable from the chain sprocket to release the tension and pull it free of the guides. If you find any kinks or signs of fraying, replace the cable instead of trying to straighten it out. If the cable is alright, drip dry clean lube in the housing before working the cable back in again.
- Pedals – This is the most disregarded area in bike maintenance. Some even have their old chapped pedals moved to their new bikes. Inspect the pedals for worn-out cleats and loose bearings. Most pedal issues can be fixed by simply tightening them or keeping them easily spinning. But with cleats that are worn-out it is not a feasible option as the resultant off-axis alignment of the pedals can make driving especially on inclines very painful for the knees.
- Free hubs – Is your hub having a freewheeling sound? Then in all probability you have to go through a hub cleaning exercise. It is a long and complex process and if you are not the DIY types it is always advisable to take your bike to a mechanic. However, if you do it yourself, make sure to use only the lube recommended by the manufacturer. Preferably, use a thin grease or thick oil as normal grease can cause a bit of drag due to its stickiness.
- Brake pads – Pay special attention to it as it is a key safety issue for any bike. Most brake pads have wear indicators so you can easily know if you have to replace them. If the pads are wearing off unevenly, you can file the pads and squeeze some extra life out of them. When fitting them back, ensure that the whole pad is in contact with the rim when braking. Your levers should need only a nice easy pull to slow down the bike and stop it.
Other areas of road bike maintenance that you should focus on are tyres, chain, derailleur hanger and bar tape.