A quick check of your bike before riding can help prevent those long walks home. It only takes about two minutes. Make it a habit and your chances of a breakdown are greatly reduced.

Check the quick release levers -- Make sure that your quick release levers on your wheels are installed correctly and are properly tight. A runaway wheel is a nasty surprise.

Bounce the Bike -- Pick up your bike 4 or 5 inches off the ground and bounce it once or twice. Listen for unusual rattles, they can indicate loose parts about to fall off.

Check the Brakes -- Check the front and rear brakes separately. Give the levers a good squeeze to make sure they are tight and the cable is securely fastened.

Spin the Wheels -- Lift the front of the bike of the ground an inch or so and spin the front wheel. I should spin freely with no brake rub and should be relatively true. Listen for grinding sounds in the hub that indicate the need for maintenance. Do the same for the rear wheel.

Check the Cranks -- Make sure that the crank bolts are tight and the chain rings are true and are not missing any teeth.

Check the Headset -- Hold the front brake down and gently rock the bicycle forward and back. Loose or worn bearing will make a distinct click. Tighten or service if necessary.

Check the Tires -- Make sure your tires have the correct amount of air pressure and examine them for rips, tears or sharp objects stuck into the tread. Check brake and derailleur cables for fraying.

Check the Handlebars -- Make the handlebars and stem are securely fastened. Visually examine the handlebars for bends or crack. If you find any, replace immediately.

Monthly Bicycle Maintenance

Chain -- Use the “12 links equals 12 inches” rule. Measurements of 12 1/8”+ are grounds for replacement. Use one of our chain wear indicators for a precise measurement. A worn chain will quickly wear your chain rings and cassettes.

Chain rings/Cogs -- Inspect for straightness, bad teeth or small chips. Excessive chain suck with a new chain usually indicates that you need a new chain ring. Check chain ring bolts for tightness using a torque wrench for accuracy. Do not over tighten.

Crank/Bottom Bracket -- Check for looseness/smoothness. Remove the chain and spin the cranks around. They should spin freely. If tightening crank bolts doesn’t solve the problem, rework bottom bracket (cartridge or cup-and-seal).

Handlebar -- Check for bending or looseness. If it’s bent or if there is any indications of cracks or stress areas, replace it.

Pedals -- Check for axle play by wiggling the pedal. Clean and repack bearings once a year at least. Tighten clips and check straps/clips for excessive wear. Clipless folks check release entities for wear/lubrication.

Saddle/Seat post -- Look for saddle rail deformities or cuts in the upholstered material. Lube seat post liberally with white lithium grease for proper operation. Use electrical tape on small tears.

Wheels -- Check rims for cracks, dings, dents, loose or broken spokes or other deformity. True wheels - if you can’t do it yourself, take it to a shop-a trued wheel is a strong wheel. Check hub bearings for smoothness/lack of play.

Disclaimer: All information supplied is for reference only. Have all installations and repairs done by a factory trained professional mechanic at Ontario Cycle!