Pre bike maintenance
You’re about to go bike packing, it’s a been a few months and you’re nervous as to what condition your bike is in. Not to worry – here’s our expert advice on what you need to do pre bike packing adventure.
- Clean your damn bike!
Although this is a fairly obvious thing to do, far too many people forget to do this or skip it. yes, it’s going to get dirty straight away, but giving your bike a deep clean pre-adventure ensures that all the parts will be running in great order and also gives you the chance to check over existing parts to make sure they haven’t worn out or broken. Anyway, no one likes a rider with a squeaky bike. In regard to cleaning your bike, we don’t mean just wash it off with some water, this requires a tub of soap or bike wash, a rag, brush, and some elbow grease. Douse the drive train in soapy water and attack it with your chosen brush, you don’t want any muck or grease left on it. Make sure to wash it off properly with water after you finished. After the chain has dried make sure to lube it back up with your fav lube. Be sure to use the right lube for the conditions of your ride. There’s no point using dry lube if you’re riding in the pouring rain.
- Inspect your brakes.
There’s nothing worse than starting a ride with worn-out brake pads, make sure they are in great condition. It’s always good to replace them fully if you’re going on a big adventure, make sure to also carry a spare pair with you.
- Inspect your tyres.
One of the most important aspects of pre-ride maintenance is inspecting your tyres. Check that the tread is still suitable for the conditions that are ahead of you. Check all around the sidewall for any nasty cuts or slashes. I would recommend having fairly new tyres for any prolonged overnight ride.
- Check the sealant in your tyres.
Over time the sealant that was once fresh in your tyres may dry out, this can be for a multitude of reasons. I won’t get into those here. It is usually said that sealant needs to be replenished every couple of months.
- Tighten bolts
It is usually best to do this with the aid of a torque wrench, especially when tightening with carbon involved. Go over stem bolts, crank bolts, and pedal bolts.
- Check the bottom bracket.
Check the bottom bracket by rocking the crank arm forward and back slightly, you shouldn’t feel any movement within the bottom bracket. If you do, take your bike down to your local bike shop to get it further assessed
- Check and lube your cables
Look over your cables, check the points where the cable is clamped or where it enters the shifter for fraying, cable fraying can lead to unwanted stress on the wire itself. Once this is assessed, use some Teflon oil and lubricate the housing points of where the cable enters.
- Re-grease important bolts
Re-grease hub skewers, seat post, stem bolts, and pedals to ensure that no annoying squeaks pester you on your ride. Use a normal bike-specific grease.
- Change your cleats if old
The last thing you want is for your cleats to fail on you when you’re 100’s of km’s from home, check the quality and life left of the cleats. If they look overly warn and have signs of stress on them, it will probably be best of replacing them.
- Tune your bike
Unfortunately for you, I won’t be explaining how to tune your gears and brakes here, if you don’t already know how to do this, it will be much easier to just take it down to your local bike shop.