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Breakaway Cycles have a fully-equipped workshop to repair and upgrade all types of bicycles, and can help keep your riding as trouble free as can be.

A couple of things to bear in mind to make sure your bike doesn’t have any major hassles in between servicing:

A bicycle is just like anything mechanical, it needs care, tune ups, and a bit of upkeep to lengthen it’s life, and remain as good as the day you purchased it, or as close as possible to the shiny new bike you got for christmas / birthday / etc etc…the problem is usually time, or lack therof, to spend looking after the bike,but I can give you some easily done basic care steps that’ll rejuvenate most well-ridden two-wheelers. And the same tips can keep a new bike running and looking new for as long as you want.

Pump It Up
Probably, the number one reason bikes fall apart is because people ignore the tyres. Here’s what happens: Bicycle tyres have very little air in them. And bicycle tubes, which are made of butyl rubber, are porous enough to allow air to seep out. The result is tyres softening over a period of about a week for road bikes and about a month for mountain bikes (though it depends some on tire size).

When the tyres get soft, bad things happen. Some folks decide to stop riding the bike because they think they have flat tires and they put off getting the flat fixed because it means loading the bike in the car and dragging it down to the bike shop.

Others (and this is more common) don’t realise that the tyres have softened and ride the bike anyway. Unfortunately, if you ride with soft tyres, there’s a risk of rim and tube or tyre damage should you hit a pothole or rock. The impact compresses the tyre, allowing the object to smack into the rim, possibly bending the rim and puncturing the tube. Besides this, it’s much harder to pedal a bike with soft tyres, and the tyres wear quicker when used underinflated.

These reasons ought to be enough to convince you that it’s best to regularly inflate the tyres. Road bikes should be checked before every ride and mountain bikes at least weekly. Use a good pump that has a built-in gauge and follow the manufacturer’s recommended pressure, which is written on the tyre sidewalls.

Lube It or Lose It
A bicycle is made up of a bunch of moving metal parts, many of which are meshing with each other. In order to keep these parts from grinding each other to dust as you pedal merrily along, they should be lubricated.

Spinning parts containing bearings, such as the wheels, pedals, bottom bracket (what the crankset is mounted to), and headset (the mechanism that connects the fork to the frame and allows steering), come from the manufacturer packed with grease. About once a year, these components should be dismantled, checked and regreased. But, because special tools are needed and the work is required only occasionally, you may prefer to leave this job to a bike shop mechanic.

What you can do quite easily is lubricate the chain and pivot points on the brakes and derailleurs. Use a light lubricantbut don’t apply too much, because that will only attract dirt and grit that can actually accelerate parts wear.

You can tell when a chain needs lube, because the links will appear bright and shiny, and when pedaling you’ll hear squeaking. But only apply enough lube to put a light coat on the chain. Any more than that and grime and gunk will build up. One good technique is to apply the lube (pedal backwards while the bike is leaning against a wall and put some paper down to catch drips), let it sit a bit and then wipe off the excess.

When we say lube pivots, we mean the places on the derailleurs and brakes where things move. For example, on a sidepull brake (as found on most road bikes), the brake pivots on bolts and you can apply a couple drops of lube at these points. Don’t get any lube on the pads!

For derailleurs apply the lube where the body of the derailleur moves. Here too, be sure to wipe off the excess.

Clipless pedals often develop creaking noises. Sometimes this comes from the shoes rubbing on the pedals and dabbing a bit of grease on the cleats will quiet the noise. If the racket is coming from the pedals, apply a few drops on the jaws and spring. Just be sure not to walk into your house in your cycling shoes or you’ll leave greasy prints on your carpets.

Keep It Clean
Mountain bikers, especially those who ride in the mud, should keep a cleaning kit in the corner of the garage ready for use at ride’s end. All that’s needed is a bucket with some sponges and dishwashing detergent and a nearby hose.

When you return from a ride, prop the bike up and spray off the majority of the mud and muck with the hose. It’s crucial to not blast the water sideways at the bike. Doing so may force the water into the pedals, hubs and bottom bracket, which may compromise the grease and bearings inside these components. Instead, spray water only from above and don’t ever direct it toward greased parts.

Once you’ve knocked off most of the dirt, fill the bucket with warm water and enough detergent to raise some suds and go to work on the bike with the sponge. If there are lots of nooks and crannies on your rig, consider getting various brushes, which will speed up the cleaning process. When you’ve scrubbed the bike fully, rinse off the soap by dribbling water from above. With a little practice, you ought to be able to turn a filthy mud monster into a sparkling wonder in about 15 minutes. And it’ll save the finish and help keep the parts running nicely because you’ve gotten rid of all the dirt and grime. Don’t forget though to relube things after the bath because if you leave the parts wet with water, they’ll rust.

Store It
We tell everyone to store bike(s) inside. It’s the best way to keep them running and looking like new. And it doesn’t take much in the way of space or supplies. The only item needed is a bike hook. These are shaped like question marks and coated with vinyl so as not to scratch the wheel when you hang the bike on the hook. Install the hook in a stud in a wall or a rafter or beam; anywhere where the bike can hang vertically is fine. I’ve seen bikes stored in stairwells, bathrooms, bedrooms’anyplace you can find dead space is fine. It’s also possible to use two hooks and hang the bike horizontally, one wheel on either hook.

It’s not the hanging that saves the bike. It’s keeping the bike out of the environment. You might think it’s okay to leave it on a porch or deck as long as there’s a roof covering it. You’d be wrong. Moisture in the air will attack the metal parts on the bike. Especially caustic are areas close to the ocean where the salt in the air will quickly corrode components. You can avoid these hazards by simply storing the bike indoors. If you don’t like the idea of bike hooks in your walls or rafters, consider a bike storage stand. These provide convenient storage while displaying the bike like a work of art.

Baby It
Bikes are tough but you greatly increase the chance of problems and rapid wear if you beat them. It’s much better and you’ll enjoy the riding more, if you learn how to ride smart to protect the bike. The key skill is to learn to constantly scan the road or trail ahead and try to avoid the things that ruin a bike such as potholes, ruts, roots, rocks, glass, oil spots, etc.

Some of these things can’t be avoided. And riding off road, you have to ride over obstacles all the time. But there are ways to do it, and still save the bike. Learn to get up off the seat and bend your arms and legs the same way a jockey sits on a racehorse. If you do this every time you spot objects you can’t ride around, you’ll protect the frame, fork, wheels and components.

If you enjoy jumping a mountain bike, learn to do so professionally. Good jumpers rarely land hard. They work on their technique so they land softly; you barely hear the impact. Ditto for riding wheelies or hopping over logs and things. The lighter your technique the better chance your bike won’t take a beating. It’ll save you money in replacement parts, greatly reduce the chance of injury, and ensure that your bike keeps running trouble free.

Inspect It
All machines wear, and a bike is no different. Expect changes in your equipment if you ride a lot and prevent failures by staying on top of things with weekly or monthly inspections (depending on how much you ride).

Scrutinize the brake pads to see if they’ve worn out (most have grooves in them; when the grooves disappear, replace the pads). When the pads shrink from use, you not only lose braking power, the chances of the pad diving into the spokes or striking the tire and popping it increase.

Operate the brake and shift lever and look closely at all four cables both at the levers and at the derailleurs and brakes. Also inspect along the frame. If you spot any signs of fraying or rusting or even if you see cracking in the cable housing sections, have the cable and housing replaced by a shop. That’s much better than getting stranded miles from home with no brakes or a bike stuck in a super-hard-to-pedal gear.

Check the tightness of key component by putting a wrench on every important bolt and snugging slightly to see if it has loosened. Check the seat and seatpost bolts; the wheel quick releases; the stem and handlebar bolts; the brake and shift lever bolts; wiggle the spokes to feel for loose ones; tighten clipless pedal screws; and don’t forget bolts holding on accessories, which can loosen too.

And thats it! If you follow these simple guidelines to bicycle care, your bike should last you a lifetime.

– Happy riding from the Breakaway Cycles Team

65 Dora Street, Morisset NSW 2264 Ph: 02 4973 4446 Fax: 02 4973 4136