Maintaining your bike is an important part of keeping it functioning and fun for the long run. How often and what type of service your bike needs depends on many different factors (what type of bike, what type of riding, frequency of riding to name a few). We recommend some type of maintenance every year and here are some options.
The Regular Maintenance Schedule
Bikes all require a certain amount of regular attention. Here are a few things you can do to get to know your bike and keep it happy:
Before every ride: make sure nothing is loose (a quick check for this is to lift the front wheel of the bike a few inches off the ground and then let it bounce down. You will hear rattling if anything is loose). If anything is loose, secure it with the proper tools to the proper specification. Check tire pressure and pump up the tires (tires naturally lose pressure and proper inflation makes a huge different in ride quality and durability. Do this at least once a week). Give the brakes a tight squeeze to make sure they feel right. Check any quick release mechanisms.
After every long ride: Clean the grime off of the chain and derailleurs. Clean and lube the chain (every couple of weeks).
After every 10-20 hours of riding: check that all components are moving freely but without play. Check brake pads for wear. Check cables for bending, kinking or fraying. Check tires for wear and damage. Spin the wheels and see if they are running true. Stop in and ask questions. We know bikes and we want you to be happy when you ride yours, so stop in if you have any questions about the best way to care for it or the best products to help you do so.
Every Day Bike
(Bike commuters, performance and fitness riders, enthusiasts)
Riding your bike often translates into caring for your bike often. Your brake pads will wear down, your cables will collect grit, your bearing systems will come out of adjustment and an annual tune-up is just what you need. Your drivetrain will take its share of wear and tear as well. Frequent drivetrain cleanings will help improve performance and increase the lifespan of your components. Plan on getting the bike overhauled every 3-5000 miles or so. Grease breaks down and bearings systems need attention.
Recommended maintenance for this bike: Annual deluxe tune-up. Overhaul every 3-5000 miles. Repairs as needed. “Regular maintenance schedule”.
(Recreation riders, occasional low-mileage riders, nice weather only)
It is a good idea to have your bike checked up on after pulling it out of the garage before your first ride of the season (industry secret: bike shops are busy in the spring, so if you bring your bike in for an annual tune up in the winter, it will be ready to ride as soon as the weather gets nice). These bikes benefit from an annual tune-up to make sure everything is in adjustment, make sure all the bolts and fasteners are securely mounted, wipe the dust off and top off the tires.
Recommended maintenance for this bike: Annual complete tune-up. Repairs as needed. A good cleaning before putting into storage at the end of the season. “Regular maintenance schedule”.
Off-Road Mountain Bike
(Performance off-road, off-road enthusiasts)
Serious off-road riding requires serious attention to your bike. The parts on your off road bike work in harsh conditions. If you want your bike to carry you through all that you should take care of it. Annual overhauls will keep everything in fresh, catch issues early before they turn into expensive problems and leave your bike in tip top shape.
Recommended maintenance for this bike: annual deluxe tune or overhaul (depending on the amount of riding). Repairs as needed. “Regular maintenance schedule”.
Work Horse Bike
(Aggressive riders, professional rider, heavy loads)
Hard riding is hard on your bike. Riding a lot is hard on your bike. If you have a long commute, if you load your bike with heavy loads or if you ride your bike for a living as a messenger or delivery rider than you are going to require frequent maintenance.
Recommended maintenance for this bike: annual (or twice a year for high mileage bikes) deluxe tune or overhaul (depending on the amount of riding). Repairs as needed. Custom hand built wheels for bikes carrying heavy loads. “Regular maintenance schedule”.
(Commuter or recreational winter riding)
Minnesota winter is harsh. It’s harsh on us and our bikes. When you ride in the winter your bike is going to need to be pampered. Keep your bike clean from snow, ice road salt and sand. Get it prepped for the winter and have an annual overhaul to keep winter from getting the best of your bike.
Recommended maintenance for this bike: pre season weather preparation. Annual overhaul. Repairs as needed. “Regular maintenance schedule”. And don’t forget to clean it well before putting it away for the summer.
What if I have issues between tune-ups?
Pay attention to what your bike is saying. Strange noises, poor performance, poor handling, changes in the way the bike responds; these are all signs that something needs to be adjusted, overhauled or replaced.
What about my internally geared hub?
Internally geared hubs are great, but they don’t last forever without the proper care and attention. Oils and greases break down and grit can enter the system. Listen to your hub. Strange noises and poor shifting are signs that something may need to be adjusted or cleaned. As always, any changes in the way your bike feels or responds is worth looking in to.
Recommended maintenance for internally geared hubs: regularly clean the outside area where the axle enters the hub to keep grit away from these entry points. Overhaul every 1500 miles or so to keep the greases and oils inside fresh. Have cable tension and hub adjustment checked a couple times per season or if performance degrades. Repairs as needed.
What about my hydraulic disc brakes?
Hydraulic brakes are well protected against a lot of the grit and grime that’s on the roads and trails but regular maintenance will flush the system of anything that shouldn’t be in there and will be an opportunity to catch any problems before they arise. Manufacturer recommendations vary so check your owner’s manual.
Recommended maintenance for hydraulic brakes: to keep fluid fresh and catch any issues before they become problems; bleed once per season (or if your brakes get squishy). Service as needed.
What about my suspension components?
Suspension components must be clean to function properly and the fluids inside must remain uncontaminated to have a long service life. Regular maintenance will ensure that your investment will last you a long time. Recommended maintenance varies from manufacturer to manufacturer so be sure to read your owners manual and ask questions if you want some clarification. There are a few things that apply to almost all suspension components and top on the list is to keep it clean! Most manufacturers recommend that you clean your suspension fork and rear shock after every ride and have the oil changed as often as every 50 hours of riding.
Recommended maintenance for suspension components: to keep oil fresh and allow a chance to clean away all the contamination that accumulates during use; have an oil change every 50 hours of riding, clean fork legs and seals after every ride and follow the owners manual instructions for maintenance.
How do I get this work done?
The Hub Bike Co-op is open year-round to help you out. We can perform any of these maintenance procedures plus many more too numerous to talk about here. So stop in and talk to our mechanics.
We have our “Do It Yourself” room set up at our 3016 Minnehaha location where you can use our tools to perform maintenance on your bike. The D.I.Y. shop is open whenever we are. See store for more details.
The Hub Bike Co-op offers several different classes designed to give you the skills to perform your own maintenance on your bicycle. See our Classes Page for more details.