30 Day Self Maintenance Plan
A few minutes caring for your bike every day for a month, gives a pleasurable and smooth bike ride
We all know that there are no enough hours in the day, with work, family, socialising and endless TV time with your favourite series. All this makes it impossible to set aside any time to concentrate on bike maintenance. However, devoting at least 30 minutes a day for a month too your bicycle you will get a much more satisfying ride than if you only attended to your bike here and there on every second weekend. Following this simple 30 Day Plan will mean:
– Less “major” issues detected by the Revolution Cycles Dubai workshop team;
– And more enjoyable kilometres out on your bicycle
30 Day Plan:
1) Begin the month by giving your bike a light cleanup. A light cleanup merely consists of a damp cloth to remove dust and grime from the frame, rims, derailleurs, crank arms, brakes, stem and handlebar. Once the wipe down is done, take a dry cloth and dry off your bicycle.
2) Over the next two days, check your frame and wheelsets for any cracks or visible faults. You most likely will not find any faults on your frame and/or wheelsets; however on those rare instances that you do, identifying these faults would have just saved you from a few broken bones. On aluminium frames, the most common areas for cracks and/or faults are the welded joins, and most commonly on the underside down tube of the frame. On carbon frames and wheelsets however, it is a little trickier, where it is not so easy to differentiate between a scratch in the clear coat or an actual crack. If you run your fingernail over the blemish and your nail catches, it is likely to be a crack; however if you are uncertain, rather bring your bicycle in for the Revolution Cycles Dubai team to give you a professional opinion.
3) Take a day for some retail therapy, to ensure that you have all the necessary spares and accessories you may need during the course of the month, notably, spare tubes, spare tyres, a set of brake pads, a set of brake and gear cables and cable outers, handlebar tape, degreaser (White Lightning The Trigger Chain Cleaning System) and chain lube (White Lightning Clean Ride). You may not make use of all these spares within the month; however is good to have laying around for those in case situations.
4) To avoid your seat post bonding with your frame, mark your Seatpost height with tape or a pencil, and then remove your Seatpost for a wipe down. Once all dirt has been wiped from the Seatpost, apply a layer of FSA Carbon Compound Paste which is grease which prevents the post from bonding with the frame.
5) Inspect your tyres. You need to check for any cuts along the side walls, or whether the tread depth is not too smooth.
– While you are inspecting your tyres, take the time to also inspect your wheels as an entirety. Make that your wheels are running true by spinning them a few times on the axel disconnect from the bike. This will also give you an indication whether your axel bearings are still in good condition or need changing. Also check spoke tension by flexing them gently between your fingers. You also need to check that your spokes and nipples are not rusting or showing beginning stages or rust.
– Clean your rims with dish washing liquid and a clean rag then dry then properly. Dirt or dust on the rim will affect the braking efficiency.
6) Inspect your bottle cages (yes this is important too). Make sure that when you place your water bottle in and out of the cage, it is not getting damaged, and that it fits snuggly. You also need to remove the cage from the frame to clean around the thread to avoid rusting. When putting your cages back on, grease the bolts first.
7) There is nothing more annoying than rattles and clicks while on a ride, so lift your bike off of the ground (not too high), and drop it back onto its wheels, pay attention to any noises and make noted of where they are coming from. This will help our mechanics better inform you what is making the noises and the solution to get rid of them.
8) Time to check those brakes. On road bikes, if your brake pads have hardened to the point you are unable scratch them with your nail, or they have worn past the indicator line, it is time to replace them. If you are experiencing weak braking, remove your brake pads and us sandpaper or file to buff the pad to roughen up the pads a bit to increase the braking efficiency.
9) Chains have a limited lifespan and stretch over extensive use. Purchase a chain checker tool and use this to at least once a month check the wear on your chain. The ruler should sit perfectly between the links, with little to no slack between the start of the ruler to the end. Rule of thumb, if your chain is 70% worn, it is time for a new chain. If your chain is still fine, use your White Lightning The Trigger cleaning system to degrease the chain, and then apply new, clean White Lightning Clean Ride lube.
10) The crank set and rear cassette also need TLC where they need to be cleaned with a toothbrush and degreaser, and then dried appropriately. Check the teeth of your crank set and chain rings that they are not too worn, if the teeth on the chain rings are too worn, this will cause the chain slipping or problems changing gears. Again, rule of thumb, when your chain needs replacing, time to change at least your rear cassette.
11) Your derailleurs need to be cleaned regularly to avoid a build-up of muck and to rid any dust and sand particles that may get into the system. First use degreaser to get most of the muck off your derailleur, the take a wet rag and move it through any open spaces of the derailleur. You then need to dry off the derailleur and apply one drop of white light oil (Brunox) to each spring or pivot. Do NOT use WD40.
12) No one ever thinks that your pedals need attention, so take your pedals off, clean the thread on the pedals as well as the thread on the cranks, ensuring all grit is removed. Grease the thread, and reinstall your pedals. (You only require a torque wrench when installing your Look Keo Power Pedals).
13) Speaking about torque wrenches, it is a good idea to invest in at least a 15Nm Birzman torque wrench, where on occasion, you will need to tighten up crank bolts, chain ring bolts, stem clamp bolts, stem faceplate bolts and the seat post clamps bolt for proper tightness recommended by the manufacturer.
14) Checking that your Garmin or Louis Garneau iFlex bike computer functions is important for those Strava records. Ensure that all the settings on your computer are correct, that your sensors are mounted correctly, and that your batteries (if your computer is not USB rechargeable) are not flat.
15) Ensuring that your quick release wheel axels are in working order (the quick release open and closes appropriately). Remove the wheel axels and clean them, dry them and apply a thin layer of grease before reinstalling. When reinstalling, ensure that the springs are facing inward.
16) Closer to the end of the month, you need to give your bike a good wash down, washing off all dust and sand collected from your many hours of riding through our the month. This wash is more than just the wipe down give at the beginning of the month, where you will need a bucket of water with dish washing liquid, a clean rag, the appropriate brushes (White Lightning have an entire brush kit) and clean drying chamois cloth. Remember any grease or lube removed during this wash, needs to be replaced.
17) Nothing is better than that new bar tape feel. Spoil your bike and your hands by finding a funky new colour from the fi’zi:k Performance (3mm), Endurance (2.5mm) or Superlight (2mm) bar tape range. There are many ways that one can apply bar tape, but the easiest is to start at the bottom of the handle bar. Rotate the tape inwards towards the frame along the handle bar. Before taping all the way to the shifters, put the bar plugs in and continue up to the shifters. Once you reach the shifters do a Figure of 8 around the shift lever and continue turning it to the top, 3cm from the stem. Cut the tape, then use insulation tape to tightly secure the bar tape. Bar tape is not needed to be replaced every month, but find one new aesthetic part of your bicycle to change once a month to always give you that new bike feel (if you aren’t willing to buy a new bicycle every month)
18) End the month of by grabbing a can of Pledge furniture polish and polish your frame, to give it that new bike shine. (NB. If you get polish on your rims, you will need to wash it off)
Although you are following these steps to self-maintain your bicycle, you still need to bring your bicycle through to Revolution Cycles Dubai at least twice a month for a bit of a check-up, where our mechanics, with their professional eyes and ears, will be able to pick up on anything you may have missed. Also, it is during these check-ups and general services that things like cable inners and outers can be replaced and gears set appropriately. (and while you are in at the shop you can pick up on any bits and pieces that you might need to replace and try not leave the store without a water bottle, as you can never have too many of those in the Dubai heat J )
While you are waiting to collect your bike from its general service at Revolution Cycles Dubai, why not go out and purchase some Guinness to show your bicycle mechanic appreciation for giving your bicycle the TLC it deserves.