Bike Servicing: Why is it Necessary?

Whether you are looking to start the daily commute, increase your fitness or limbering up to your first sportive of the season, a service should be on the minds of every cyclist at this time of year to get the most out of their ride. We outline why regular maintenance and servicing is vital, how to spot the signs of early wear and tear and tell you the best cleaning products on the market to ensure your bike rides smoothly between services.

The Importance Of Bike Servicing

For the smooth running, longevity and safety of your bike, regular checks should be carried out to ensure it’s running correctly. The harsh conditions of the winter can be severely detrimental to a bikes performance and both the moving and static parts can be effected. In the road riding spectrum, the increased wet conditions of the winter combined with the constant gritting of the roads mean grime can be driven into bearings, chains and brake pads. For the devoted mountain bikers riding through the winter, the muddy, sludgy conditions that the trails can turn to make the servicing of your bike a high priority if you want it to continue riding like new. The most important reason to keep your bike serviced (whatever your discipline) is safety – if your bike is maintained and regularly serviced, the less likelihood of a mechanical issue and the safer your ride is.

Maintain, Retain and Benefit

If you want your bike to ride smoothly and allow you to focus 100% on your technique and the ride itself, then you will want to keep your bike tuned and serviced. For this, you’ll be rewarded, as a well looked after bike will increase your motivation, increase your performance, and enable you achieve your end goal faster. Your bike is an integral part of your cycling experience which needs as much attention as your nutrition or training plan.

Why Clean Your Bike?

Cleaning your bike after a particularly wet or muddy ride can seem like a laborious task and the temptation to just put it in the garage without cleaning it is high. However, taking pleasure in making your bike sparkling clean will deter excessive wear, prolong the life of your componentry and keep your bike riding as smooth as possible.

For the base clean, Muc-Off and Fenwicks both offer great spray on cleaners that can be used as a regular wash after any ride. If you need a more intense cleaner, a degreasing spray is a good idea to drive through built-up oil, grease and grime for an overall thorough clean. Bike specific brushes can be purchased very inexpensively and are designed to clean deep within the crevices of your drive train that are normally inaccessible with a regular cleaning brush. Using cycling specific products help protect and preserve your bike without causing any erosive damage. It is therefore recommended to use these products as cleaners such as fairy liquid and Brillo pads can damage your bike. Using bike specific brushes negates the need to fully strip down your drive train.  Making the whole process quicker. After the main clean, it is vital to dry your bike to prevent rust. Lube the drivetrain and other degreased areas as soon as possible after washing to prevent the deterioration of the moving parts and help them run as smoothly as possible for a great ride. If you’re going the whole hog, we recommend Muc-Off Bike Spray to keep your bike shiny and provide a protective, water repellent layer.

Recognising Issues That Need To Be Solved By a Mechanic

Keeping an eye on how your bike is riding and checking for any issues that might be making the bike unsafe to ride is imperative and should be dealt with as soon as possible. Perhaps the most important part of your bike is the brakes and should be checked before every ride to ensure they are working properly. For cable pull brakes (calliper, V-Brakes, mechanical disc brakes), checking for early on-set wear to the brake pads and cables is important for the best braking performance. If brakes pads are worn down or cables are fraying, book your bike in for a brake service as soon as possible. For hydraulic disc brakes, a spongy feel when you pull the brake lever can suggest that the brakes need to be re-bled.

If your gears are not set up correctly, they prove to be more of a hindrance than a help, so a well configured gear system is vital for the most efficient ride. Gears missing a shift (where the gear does not shift the first time the shifter is triggered) or slipping gears (where the gears slip onto a different ring) is a sign that your drivetrain is not aligned properly and is a good indication that a service is needed. 

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