For many of us, when the days start getting longer, the temperatures start to slowly rise and the first rays of warming sunshine appear, it’s the perfect time to wake your bicycle up from hibernation. Regardless of whether you’re an urban cyclist, a racing bike rider or a mountain biker, all bike owners should give their bikes a thorough check-up before going on their first ride of the spring. But what does that involve?
Very few cyclists ride their bikes all winter long. That means the vast majority of bikes spend the colder months indoors for the most part – hopefully well prepared for winter storage. But now it’s time to get out and about again. The first thing to check is the tyre pressure, because this can drop over the winter break. This is easy to fix: pump in some air, wait for a while and then check the valve and inner tube for any leaks. The proper pressure can normally be found on the side of the tyre. Minimum and maximum values are listed in bar and/or psi. Recommendations vary according to tyre size and intended use. A general rule, however, is that the thinner the tyre, the higher the pressure. To inflate the tyre, you should ideally use a (floor) pump with a precise pressure gauge, rather than testing the pressure with your thumb, which isn’t reliable.
To avoid breakdowns and to reduce the risk of a flat tyre, the outer tyre mustn’t be porous or have a worn tread. And while you’re checking it, try spinning the wheel. Are all the spokes firmly in their place? Does it spin round smoothly or is the wheel rim askew? If in doubt, a mechanic at the bike works will be able to repair a slight “figure of eight” motion.
The next step in the new season’s inspection is the “spring clean”. Just cleaning it up a bit with some warm water, soft cloths and cleaning brushes lets you take a good look over the frame and fork and quickly identify any loose components. Once your bike is nice and dry, BIKE SHINE will give it the perfect sheen and protection. This BIKES’ BEST BUDDY from the MOTOREX range wards off dirt, is water-repellent and antistatic. The practical 300 ml spray can makes it very simple to apply a protective film. The best way of doing this is to spray BIKE SHINE onto a normal household cleaning cloth or microfibre cloth and rub it all over the bike.
Safety is always the top priority – and the brakes play a major role in this. Do the front and rear brakes work equally well? Damaged brake cables and worn-out brake pads should definitely be replaced. Can the brake lever easily be squeezed down to the handlebar? One way to solve this problem is via the screws on the lever for rim brakes. By contrast, if hydraulic brakes are out of action, they will need bleeding. That’s best seen to by a professional.
Before you set off on your first ride of the season, it’s definitely advisable to inspect the quick release levers and tighten any loose screws. The wheels must always be mounted correctly and securely in the frame’s fork ends, and the handlebar stem, handlebars and saddle must always be firmly in place. In the case of carbon components, you should be particular exact with the tightening torque on, for example, headset bearings, the saddle rod and the handlebar stem. The gears should always work smoothly, so that there are no problems or noises when changing gear. If necessary, they can be readjusted using the corresponding screws on the derailleurs.
Once you have thoroughly cleaned all dirt and grease from the chain, it’s going to need new lubrication. MOTOREX has an entire range of CHAINLUBE products for precisely that purpose – and they come as bottles or sprays and for dry and wet conditions. Chain oil is always applied to the interior and exterior of the chain and the chain tensioner. Then you distribute it over the chain with a few rotations of the crankset. One tip for sports use in particular is the CHAINLUBE with PTFE. This high-end chain lubricant reduces friction between the chain and interlinking components significantly and is designed to facilitate consistently smooth motion. CHAINLUBE with PTFE is only designed for use in dry conditions.
Even when the days are getting longer, seeing and being seen are vital when cycling. So do your lights work? After visually checking the front and back light housings, the cables, connectors and, if necessary, the dynamo, you should replace all defective parts and use the brightest means of lighting available. Whether you’re on tarmac or rougher terrain, an attachable set of lights will keep you safe when cycling. A front light with fully charged batteries will light the path ahead of you reliably in twilight and darkness. At this time of year, all it takes is a little bit of maintenance to cycle carefree and happily into the new season.
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