Most people who buy and ride bicycles want to keep them in good shape, but first they need to know where to begin.
The following list of necessary maintenance items and recommended frequency of maintenance is designed to give a recreational or club cyclist or a commuter an outline for a schedule.
Those who often ride in rain and mud, or who put on very high weekly mileage, will need to perform routine maintenance more often to keep their bikes in optimal condition. Conversely, those who ride relatively little can use a somewhat more relaxed schedule.
Before Every Ride:
? Check tire air pressure
? Check brakes and cables
? Be sure your crank set is tight
? Be sure quick release hubs are tight
After Every Ride:
? Inspect tires for glass, gravel shards, and cuts on tread and sidewall
? Check wheels for true
? Clean the bike's mechanical parts as necessary. Once a week or every 200 miles: Lubricate chain (with dry lube; or every other week or 400 miles with wet chain lube).
Once a Month:
? Completely clean the bike, including the drivetrain if necessary
? Inspect chain and freewheel. Measure the chain for wear, check for tight links and replace the chain if necessary
? Inspect and lubricate brake levers, derailleurs and all cables
? Inspect pedals and lubricate SPD style cleats. Inspect tires for wear; rotate or replace if needed
? Inspect and check for looseness in the:
- Stem binder bolt
- Handlebar binder bolt
- Seatpost binder bolt (or quick release)
- Seat fixing bolt
- Crank bolts
- Chainring bolts
- Derailleur mounting bolts
- Bottle cage bolts
- Rack mounting bolts
- Brake and derailleur cable anchors
- Brake and shifter lever mounting bolts
- Brake mounting bolts
Every Three Months:
? Inspect frame and fork for paint cracks or bulges that may indicate frame or part damage; pay particular attention to all frame joints.
? Visually inspect for bent components: seat rails, seat post, stem, handlebars, chainrings, crankarms, brake calipers and brake levers.
Every Six Months:
Inspect and readjust bearings in headset, hubs, pedals and bottom bracket (if possible; some sealed cartridge bearings cannot be adjusted, only replaced).
Disassemble and overhaul; replace all bearings (if possible); and remove and if necessary replace all brake and shift cables. This should be performed at 6,000 miles if you ride more than that per year. If you often ride in the rain or mountain bikers who get dirty should overhaul their bicycles more often.
Dr. Edmund R. Burke was among the pioneers in applying scientific principles to endurance sports training, especially cycling. As an exercise physiologist, he was responsible for several advances in sports drink formulation and almost single-handedly developed the subcategory of performance recovery drinks. A former director of the Center for Science, Medicine and Technology at the U.S. Cycling Federation in Colorado Springs, he worked with the U.S. Olympic cycling team during the 1980 and '84 Games. Dr. Burke is the author of 17 books on fitness, training and physiology, including the best-selling Optimal Muscle Recovery.