Get Your Ride Ready to Roll: Spring bike maintenance tips from the pros
Posted on March 21 2017
Temps are warming up, things are getting a whole lot greener, and your favorite trails are finally starting to dry out. It’s just about time to get back in the saddle and plaster that dirt eating grin on your face again, but there’s just one little problem… your bike is still hanging in the darkest recesses of your garage, adorned with flaccid tires and a few cobwebs.
But don’t despair, SHREDLY ambassadors Jen Segger, Ann Miers, Sari Anderson, and Mia Phillips have shared their tips for getting your two-wheeled beauty trail-ready this spring.
Clean Her Up
So, maybe you were really prepared and got your bike squeaky clean before putting her to bed for the winter. Or, maybe you’re like us and you were hoping to squeeze in one more ride before winter clobbered your trails, and you never quite got that final clean-up done. Either way, the first step to getting your bike back in shape is a good rinse with the hose and a soft bristled brush.
Don’t spray directly at or into hubs (axles), headsets, bottom bracket and cranks, fork seals, dropper seals or pivots. Seals are meant to keep water out so help them do their job! And water and grease don’t mix well so even though the greasy parts are even more tempting to spray, grease where it’s supposed to be is your friend.
Jen Segger recommends that you “Give it a wash, lube it up and then see how it is functioning by taking it for a spin!” That sounds good to us.
Lubricate the Joints
Do your lips get all chapped and rough in the winter? Well, the same thing happens to your poor bike as it hangs-out through the off season. A good dose of lube will help her come back to life purring like a tigress. There are a lot of options when it comes to chain lubricants, so don’t feel shy about asking your local bike shop what works best in your climate and conditions.
Check your Pressure
It’s not unusual for things to feel a little squishier in the Spring than they were at the end of Summer (spare tires as well as bike tires). So get out your pump, and get everything back up to the right pressure. Aim for 20-30psi as a starting point and adjust from there depending on tire size, type of riding and rider weight. Tubeless tires can be ridden at a lower pressure than tubes without risking a pinch flat. This is also a good time to add 2-3 ounces of tire sealant if you roll tubeless.
If you have an air-sprung suspension, those might need to be topped off as well. A shock pump (very different than a tire pump) adjusts the pressure in your shock (rear) and your fork (front). Read the manual for your bike to learn how and where to adjust both. If you don’t already know your preferred settings, it’s absolutely worth getting fit and set-up by a professional. Keep a diary (or note on your phone) of your air pressure and rebound settings for the fork and shock after they’ve been set up properly. These settings can change how your bike feels, handles, performs, and ultimately whether or not you love it!
Know When to Call a Professional - and right now your bike shop might be closed but still operating their service department. Call them!
All of our pros recommend that when things are really nasty, or if you’re short on time, it’s best to let a professional mechanic at your local bike shop handle things. A tune-up in the spring will get everything running smoothly and hopefully avoid problems that might emerge later on.