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Maintaining your bike

An image of bike tools

A properly maintained bike makes riding a better and safer experience. To get the most benefit out of your bike, you need to maintain it regularly.

Have your bike serviced with a bicycle mechanic at least once a year and any time a serious breakdown occurs. Young or inexperienced riders might need help with maintenance.

The first rule when maintaining your bike is 'do no harm'. When cleaning your chain or lubricating any part of your bike, ensure lubricant doesn't get on your rims – it could prevent the brakes from working and might lead to a crash.

Use fixed-size spanners rather than a shifter to avoid burring the edges of the nuts. If you are straightening a warped wheel, use the correct size spoke tool for adjusting the spokes because the metal is soft and damages easily.

Don't over-tighten – most parts need to be tight but not overly-tight. For your chain, use a specialised chain lubricant, not household or motor oils, which get sticky, attract sand, and wear out the chain.

For daily, weekly and monthly maintenance requirements, print out the maintenance checklist and keep it near your bike to remind you of maintenance and safety checks. Find out where each part is and what it is called.

Remember: Rust can damage equipment so keep bikes under cover and away from being damp as much as possible. 

Half-yearly or yearly maintenance

Some of the half-yearly or yearly tasks are more complex. You might prefer to include these tasks as part of a regular service by a bicycle mechanic.

The tasks include:

  • remove, clean and re-lubricate chain and derailleur gears
  • check and re-lubricate brake and gear cables
  • dismantle, clean and re-grease headset
  • dismantle, clean and re-grease front and back hubs
  • clean cluster with cloth dampened with solvent
  • check head stem and handlebars for any undue movement.
Last updated
24 August 2017