Most people love their bike. It gives freedom, fitness and provides the same head clearing-happy-joy it has given since childhood. However, there are dark, sinister, destructive forces which can kill your bike. Watch out for these seemingly innocent elements – protect your pride and joy!
Sodium Chloride (Salt) eats bikes. Sodium Chloride – is a proper chemical which gets delivered on trucks with a warning hazard sign on. So avoid it coming into contact with your bike. If it does, clean it off! Regularly riding on gritted roads through winter? It is really important to wash the salty gunk off your bike ASAP!
If you build a bike without using grease on key components, your are storing up trouble for the future. Smearing a small amount of grease on threaded parts will ensure that when they get worn out and need replacing, you will be able to do the swap. Get your grease on; Seatpost (aluminium), Headset Cups, Pedals, Bottom Bracket, Derailleurs, Stem bolts. For carbon components use carbon assembly paste.
WTF! Even energy drinks want to kill your bike? If your bike has external cables, with exposed inner cables, that lovely drink that keeps you riding can also kill your bike’s shifting. Those odd drops of drink that drop out and run down your frame can form a sticky gloop on the guide under the bottom bracket. The sticky gloop will cause gears to not change as crisply. It’s an easy fix though with a little post ride clean up.
Jaws of Doom?
Like a super-sinister (initially friendly) bad guy in a film… You think the workshop stand loves your bike, and likes helping to maintain it? WRONG! Clamp your carbon frame on the main frame tubes and your stand will try to EAT your bike. Yes EAT it.
Well actually, it is kind of user-error. Carbon frames are not designed to resist crushing forces on main tubes. Clamp your carbon bike using your seatpost, or if you have to, make some big foam rubber fads to protect the frame and don’t clamp too tight.
Riding a bike through winter and not looking after it at all is a sure-fire way to kill off your bike. The first thing to fail will be the gearing / transmission and cables. There is a far wider range of filth on the roads through winter and into spring and your bike needs your help to get through it!
Rack of Fear ?
Nothing can go wrong transporting your bike on your car can it? Wrong, unfortunately Youtube is awash with bike rack fails. From the classic ‘forgot the bikes were on the roof under the McDonalds barrier’. Or the horrendous ‘unsecured bike flying off at high-speed’. Always fit your roof bars / rack to manufacturers specifications and double-check everything is secure before setting off. If your bike rack clamps your frame tube – Be Careful, remember, carbon is very easily damaged – carbon frames are not designed to by resistant to crushing forces.
Regular repeated wet rides, without any degrease & lube on your transmission, will kill lots of bits of your bike at the same time. Gear cables, Chain, Cassette, front and rear Gear derailleurs can be ruined within days with the dreaded combination of daily rain and no maintenance.
If you live in a house which suffers from damp, be careful how your bike is stored. After living next a river a few years ago, my cleaned and safely packed away steel race frame came out of storage riddled with holes. I was absolutely gutted. If your house does suffer from damp, store your bikes with moisture absorbing crystals.
Pad Wrecker ?
Accidentaly spraying de-greaser on your brake pads is a sure fire way to wreck them. Try to mask-off your disc brake calipers with cardboard before spraying fast and loose with the degreaser or lube.
There are two issues with riding a bike on a turbo trainer. The first is sweat, which if you are training hard, can drop down and start corroding very quickly. Watch out for sweat on all the shiny bits (Bar / Stem / Brake / bolts / headset / spokes) and on carbon tubes & components. Cover over the worst effected areas to protect from your sweat and wipe down after every session.
The second issue would be potentially more catastophic. One major US manufacturer advises that their carbon bikes are not tested for use on a home trainer, doing so may void the warranty. However, there is very little actual evidence of broken frames as a direct result of trainer use.
If it is too late and you have already wrecked your bike, it could be time to move on. After giving your bike a decent burial (AKA Listed on Ebay with no reserve) Check out our awesome deals on new bikes here.
Now please, lets try to look after the next one…