Excited to conduct some bike maintenance all by yourself, but worried that your DIY might go haywire? Check out the following for our top things you shouldn’t do when working on your bike:
Things not to do during bike maintenance
#1 Don’t over-tighten fragile bolts
Modern bikes are full of lightweight carbon components and tiny 5mm titanium Allen bolts. So, it’s important to be sensitive when you need to tighten them. Be careful never to over-tighten small bolts. You don’t need a lot of effort to tighten them. A decent torque wrench will do the task just fine.
Remember to apply grease to the threads and base of the bolts as well as on either side of washers before fastening.
#2 Don’t tighten your headset in the wrong direction
A loose headset will make it difficult to handle your bike. Teach yourself how to adjust the bike’s headset properly and ensure you fully understand how it works.
Don’t tighten the top cap unless you loosen the stem bolts. Otherwise, you’ll damage the star-washer/expander plug and cap which is inside the steering tube.
#3 Don’t forget to check the wear limits on rims
Forgetting about the wear limits on rims can be dangerous if your bike has rim brakes. Most rim manufacturers usually plant wear gauges on the rims such as a shallow groove that runs throughout the entire circumference of the braking surface.
Some manufacturers drill small shallow holes at strategic locations that are marked by a sticker. Locate these indicators and inspect them consistently. When you don’t see them, replace the rims.
#4 Don’t rush
Never hurry. When it comes to bike maintenance, don’t rush to get things fixed and get hurt in the process. When loosening and tightening any bolts, be aware when your hands and knuckles might strike in case the tool or thread suddenly breaks loose.
Also, always position your body in a manner where you pull the tool towards you with your arm, instead of pushing it downwards with your body weight.
#5 Don’t forget to wear protective gloves
Consider wearing some protective gloves or some sort of mittens when busting yourself into getting those tight bolts or threads loose.
#6 Don’t ride with loose wheels
This is an important bike maintenance tip. Before riding, be sure to inspect your bikes axles for tightness. Riding with loose wheels is extremely dangerous.
#7 Don’t forget to inspect your seatpost
Many of us tend to leave our seatpost unattended for a long time. For a long time, we are saying neglecting it for three to six months. Keep your seatpost greased. If it is made of carbon fiber, then use a carbon grease.
A glued-shut seatpost will make it difficult if not impossible for you to adjust the height of the saddle or sell it unless you get it repaired by a technician.
#8 Don’t ignore tire pressure
Riding with soft tires is not only inconvenient; it will also drag down your speed as well as your spirits. So, check the air pressure of your tires before heading out on your bike.
You can easily check the pressure of the tires by squeezing the wall of the tires with your thumb. You can ping them with a strong flick of the finger. If the tires are perfectly inflated, they’ll feel very hard and give off a drum-like hollow sound.
#9 Don’t ride with a poorly maintained/installed chain
Bike chains can be damaged during the installation process either by the bicycle manufacturer or the mechanics. They’ll insist that it will function “normally”, but that’s not true.
Bike chains are highly abused components in bikes, and a poorly installed or a worn out unit can cause catastrophic accidents. Therefore, inspect your chains periodically or consider a replacement after every 2,400km or so.