March is here and it’s time to get your bicycle out and give it some love before taking it back on the road. This bike spring maintenance guide has some easy doable steps for anyone who wants to prep their bike for the next season.
Check if your brakes are in good condition – tighten the cables if needed. Simply roll the bike back and forth and press the brakes. If the lever comes closer to the handlebars than you would like then use the tightening barrel by the lever or by the brakes to tighten the cable. Once you’re happy with the adjustment, don’t forget to tighten the locking ring.
2. Bike chain
In the beginning of a new season, replacing a chain is almost a must. If you’re not super geeky about maintenance and don’t ride every day then once a year can be perfectly okay interval for changing a chain, and what better time to do it than in the spring when you’re brushing off the dust anyway. So before getting the bike out, pop by a bike store and get yourself a new chain, or if don’t have the tool to break the chain then simply get it replaced at a shop. Most shops will be happy to do it without scheduling a time beforehand.
3. Bike lights
Bike lights are useless if the batteries are dead or they are not blinking bright enough. Check if they are still fit to protect you in the next season. We have some good magnetic lights in the KP Cyclery webstore if you’re looking for a change. They attach to any steel frame and turn on once attached, shut down once removed.
4. Handlebar tape or grips
Check the condition of your handlebar tape. If it is leather perhaps it needs a touch up with some leather grease or you are in the mood for an entirely new tape. Either way now is the good time to decide and order the one that will cheer you up for the season to come. Brooks is a good choice for a classic look. For a super funky look, you might want to check out the stuff BTP bartape has. As far as grips go, I really personally like the foamy model called Feather by Prologo on my Nighthawk cargo bike.
Leather saddles need maintenance once per year. Spring is the perfect time to wax your precious saddle with some bee’s wax (or any other good quality natural leather wax) and tighten it. Find ways to do it in our Leather Saddle Maintenance & Care guide posted earlier on our blog. If your saddle is non-leather, then check if its cover material is still intact and there are no cracks.
Have a good look at your tyres, pump some air into them (you will find the required pressure on the wall of the tyre) and make sure they’re not punctured. A good idea is to do this a couple of days before you go riding for the first time as you might otherwise have a slow puncture and get stranded half way through the first ride of the season.
7. Bonus point – don’t get ripped off
If you’ve gone through the steps above then you shouldn’t really need professional help. Your bike is good to go. Of course a shop might tell you to come in every year for an expensive maintenance, but in reality, bikes have evolved a lot over the past decade. Only 10-15 years ago, almost all the bikes had loose bearing in the hubs and bottom brackets. These days all quality bikes will have sealed bearing, so there is really no need, or rather no way to take them apart, clean & lubricate them. So don’t get fooled by the much over-rated maintenance myth 🙂