Keep Your Ride Smooth: Essential Tips for Basic Bike Maintenance

As cycling enthusiasts, we all know the thrill of a smooth ride, the joy of conquering challenging rides, and the satisfaction of reaching new personal bests. However, none of this would be possible without proper bike maintenance. Basic bike maintenance is often overlooked, but it is essential to ensure your bike’s performance, safety, and longevity. In this post, we bring you insights from the renowned bike mechanic Isma Lopez from Ravet Bike, who shares his expertise on maintaining your bike in top condition. Let’s delve into his valuable advice.

Always Keep Your Bike Ready

It’s normal. Often, when we get home after our rides, the last thing we think about is cleaning our bike or making the necessary adjustments to enjoy the next outing. But flip the story—maybe those five minutes of care will make the difference in the maintenance of your bike and the rides to come. Five minutes, that’s it. We don’t need much more.

Five minutes is all you need for bike maintenance

Which parts of our bike need special attention?

Our bikes have different components, all important, but some more than others when it comes to good maintenance. We should pay special attention to what is called “wear materials,” which include transmission components (chain, cassette, chainrings…), braking system (pads, discs…), and tires. If these elements are in good maintenance and conservation condition, we have ensured successful outings.

What do I do to make sure everything is ready for action?

Let’s start with the transmission.

The transmission needs special care. We can have the whole bike dirty, but if the transmission is spotless, everything will work great. 

For this, it is ideal to degrease the entire transmission and properly lubricate the chain

We can use countless products, but I always recommend using a neutral and biodegradable degreaser to avoid damaging any components of our bike and to be respectful of the environment. 

Keep your chain and transmission clean and ready

Applying the degreaser to the entire transmission with the help of a brush and then rinsing with water will have our transmission ready for lubrication. This process does not need to be done daily. Daily, after each ride, we can apply degreaser on a cotton cloth, wrap the chain, and gently pedal backward to clean the residue that has formed. 

Once the transmission is dry, we can apply the lubricant. There are many types of lubricants, and each has its mode of use detailed by the brand on its product. We simply need to follow this. 

Something to keep in mind is the following: if we use wax-based lubricants, the degreasing process will not have to be repeated as often as if we use oil-based lubricants.

The braking system

Brakes do not need daily maintenance but do need a check-up. Ensuring that the pads do not rub against the disc, that both touch the disc (or rim) at the same time, and that the feel does not change over time is something to consider. We should also look at the wear of the pads, something logical to avoid reaching the point of excessive wear and damaging the brake discs. 

Checking the braking system

A couple of times a year, we also recommend renewing the brake fluid if using a hydraulic system or changing the cables if using a mechanical system.

The tires

Just like the braking system, the tires simply need a daily check-up. Ensure they have no cuts that could affect us during the ride, and if using a tubeless system, that we have sealant liquid circulating inside the tire.

Checking the tires

Is this enough?

If we use electronic groupsets, don’t forget to check the condition of the batteries and charge them if necessary. 

And with this, it would be more than enough to give extra life to our bikes. 

It may seem like more than five minutes, but once you have it as a habit, we assure you that this process will take very little time. 

And all for a good cause—to greatly enjoy your rides! :)

Summary, tips and tricks

To sum up, maintaining your bike is not just about preserving its appearance but ensuring its performance and safety. Here are the key takeaways from Isma Lopez’s tips:

  • Tricks: Regular visual inspections, maintaining tire pressure, and proper chain lubrication are simple yet effective tricks to keep your bike in top shape.
  • Things We Underestimate: The importance of regular cleaning and checking the smaller components like gear shifters and cables.
  • Why Do Basic Maintenance: It prevents breakdowns, costly repairs, and ensures a smooth and safe ride.
  • Dangers of Not Doing It: Risk of mechanical failures such as brake failures, chain breaks, and frequent punctures which can be dangerous and spoil your ride.
  • How to Start: Begin with a basic toolkit, create a regular maintenance schedule, and follow the guidelines provided by experts like Isma Lopez.

By integrating these practices into your routine, you will not only enhance your riding experience but also extend the lifespan of your bike. Happy riding and stay safe!

Carles Carrera

Co-Founder, Product&Marketing

Carles' passion for Enduro MTB ignited the creation of AMS. Nowadays, you're more likely to find him speeding along scenic gravel paths, enjoying the thrill of his gravel bike.