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07 May 2024

How to Tune Up a Bike: Expert Bike Maintenance Tips

How to Tune Up a Bike: Expert Bike Maintenance Tips

If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to get outside, get active, and enjoy the beautiful summer weather, then it’s time to dust off your bike and get it ready for the road! 


Whether you’re a seasoned rider or you haven’t been on your bike in years, regular bike maintenance is a crucial part of owning a bicycle. Not only will it make your rides more enjoyable, but it will also keep you safe!


The great news is that with a little bit of know-how, you can do most of your bike maintenance at home! Whether you’re looking to know how to tune up a bike or how to repair a bike, we’ve got you covered with expert tips from our team at Westside. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything from the importance of bike maintenance to expert tips for tuning up your bike at home. 


Why is Bike Maintenance Important?

Bike maintenance is important for a few different reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that it will keep your bike in tip-top shape, ensuring that it’s safe and enjoyable to ride.


Bike maintenance is also crucial for extending the overall lifespan of your bike. By taking some time to care for your bike, you can avoid costly repairs and replacements in the future. 


Finally, bike maintenance is also a great way to save money on professional bike services. By learning the basics, you can tune up your bike and instead splurge on higher-quality parts, components, or modifications for your bike. 


How Often Do I Need to Perform Bike Maintenance?

Just like with your car, the frequency at which you’ll need to perform bike maintenance depends on how much you use it. If you’re an avid cyclist and you’re riding your bike every day, then you should be performing regular bike maintenance once a week. 


For more casual riders, we recommend performing bike maintenance once every month. 

The good news is that you don’t need to be a bike repair expert to perform regular bike maintenance. With some basic knowledge and a few essential tools, you can keep your bike in great condition for years to come.


What Tools Do I Need for Bike Maintenance?

Before we get into our expert tips for bike maintenance, let’s first cover the tools that you’ll need to get the job done. 


Here are some of the most basic tools for at-home bike maintenance:

- Cleaning brush

- Chain lubricant

- Chain cleaner

- Allen key set

- Tire levers

- Bike pump

- Bike grease

- Screwdriver set

- Chain tool

Of course, you can buy a million other tools. But, with the basics alone you can get a fair amount of maintenance and tuning done. Besides, for more complex jobs, you’ll want to enlist the help of professionals like our bike service team here at Westside


How to Clean a Bike

Before you start performing any bike maintenance, it’s important to clean your bike. Cleaning your bike will help to keep it in great condition and prevent any dirt or grime from causing damage to your bike. 


Here’s how to clean your bike:

  1. Start by rinsing your bike with water. You can do this with a hose or a bucket of water. The goal is to remove any loose dirt and grime from your bike.
  2. Next, use a cleaning brush to scrub the frame, wheels, and components of your bike. You can use a mild soap or a bike-specific cleaner to help remove any stubborn dirt or grime. 
  3. If your bike has a chain, you’ll also want to use a chain cleaner to remove any dirt and old chain lubricant. Once you’ve cleaned the chain with a chain cleaner, you can use a clean rag to dry the chain. 
  4. After cleaning your bike, it’s important to apply a chain lubricant to your chain. This will help to reduce friction and wear and tear on your chain. 
  5. Finally, dry your bike completely with a clean towel. Make sure to dry all the moving parts of your bike to prevent rusting and corrosion. 


How to Tune Up a Bike

Once your bike is clean, it’s time to start tuning up your bike. Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to tune up a bike at home:


Check your tire pressure

The first step in tuning up your bike is to check your tire pressure. Proper tire pressure is essential for a safe and enjoyable ride. Not only will it make your bike more efficient and easier to ride, but it will also help to prevent flat tires.


Most bikes have the recommended tire pressure printed on the sidewall of the tire. Make sure to check your tire pressure with a bike pump and adjust it to the recommended pressure.


Check your brakes

Next, you’ll want to check your brakes. Properly functioning brakes are essential for your safety while riding. 


For mechanical brakes, start by squeezing the brake levers to see how your brakes respond. Your brake levers should feel firm and responsive. If your brake levers feel soft or squishy, then you may need to adjust your brakes. 


You can adjust your brakes by using an Allen key to adjust the tension on the brake cable. 


*Hydraulic brakes should be serviced at your local bike shop.


Check your shifting

The next step in tuning up your bike is to check your shifting. Properly shifting gears is essential for maintaining speed and energy efficiency. 


Start by shifting through all of your gears. Your chain should shift smoothly between each gear. If you notice that your chain isn’t shifting smoothly, then you may need to adjust your derailleur. 


You can adjust your derailleur by using the barrel adjuster to adjust the tension on the derailleur cable. 


Check your chain

The final step in tuning up your bike is to check your chain. A dirty or rusty chain can cause damage to your bike’s drivetrain, so it’s important to keep your chain clean and well-lubricated.


Start by checking your chain for signs of wear. If you have a chain wear indicator, then you can use it to measure the wear on your chain. 

Next, use a chain cleaner to remove any dirt and old chain lubricant from your chain. Once your chain is clean, you can use a chain lubricant to apply new lubricant to your chain. 


Performing regular bike maintenance is an essential part of owning a bike. Not only will it keep your bike in great condition, but it will also help to prevent costly repairs and keep you safe while riding. By learning some basic bike maintenance skills and investing in some essential tools, you can perform regular bike maintenance at home. 


And, if you’d prefer to have an expert look after the maintenance of your bike, then our team at Westside is here to help. From basic tunes to maintenance and modifications, our service team will make sure your bike is ready for your next adventure!

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