Prevention is better than cure. Stop a problem before it starts – or gets any worse – with this easy-to-do bike checkup. It features the word ‘lube’ a lot.
Some of these things a lot of you will know – and do – already but we reckon there’ll be a couple of “oh yeah” reminders in this list for everyone.
Your headset can a whole hidden world of brown mess. Clean out and re-lube your headset with a decent grease. Hopefully you’ll have caught it before your bearings or races get pitted or rusty.
Clean and re-lube your seatpost. If your seatpost – or your frame – is carbon fibre then DO NOT use normal grease. It can make the carbon swell up and never be the same again. There are specific carbon-friendly greases available.
Seized-in cleat bolts can sometimes be an expensive mistake to make. You’ll either need to buy a new drill bit to drill the bolt heads off or you may even need you shoes. Take the time now to remove your cleat bolts and apply the proper anti-seize to them.
Another potentially very expensive problem. Pedals seized into crank arms. This can mean you have to buy new cranks (and pedals)! Remove your pedals and apply a bit of anti-seize to the axle threads.
Another hidden zone that can secretly turn into rust-ville over winter. Remove your skerwers, give a clean, lightly grease and re-install. This will prevent annoying squeaks developing too.
Use a longer-lasting chain lube. If you’re going out on a really long, really wet ride then contemplate taking some lube with you. Your drivetrain will thank you for it.
Check your wheels for loose spokes. If you know what you’re doing, re-tension any loose ones. If you’re not confident with tweaking nipples, get a bike shop to do it.
Make the move to winter-friendly tyres. What makes a winter-friendly tyre? Channels and grooves for water to escape. Often the rubber compound is different too. Consider going up a size ie 23mm up to 25mm.
Water acts a lubricant for nasty bits slitting into your tyres and causing punctures. Bung another inner tube in your usual riding pack. Even if you manage to escape a dreaded puncture chances are someone else in your riding group will have one!
Check over all your important bolts. Tighten any loose ones. Ease-off and re-tighten any that are far too, damagingly, tight. If you’re looking for an excuse to buy a funky new tool, now’s your chance.
Check your brake pads. Wet rides can eat through pads so make sure you aren’t starting the winter with already worn-down pads. You can get wet weather specific compound brake pads. Moving from OEM or cheap brake pads to a set of premium pads will work wonders.
Sometimes you end up being caught out. Either through a mechanical disaster or just plain wanting to ride one-more-hill because you’re having such a good time (you’re having a ball). Stow a dinky LED light in your pack or pocket. Peace of mind.
Now you’ve checked it all, go for a spin. Winter riding rocks!
(And we didn’t even get to mention mudguards – phew)