Maintaining your Bike

Photo by Paul Hadgett

Maintaining your bike can require some effort and manpower, but lucky for you it requires no skill. Buy the right equipment and you can maintain your bike yourself. This means saving some money all year round, as well as extending the life of your bike.

Cleaning Products

Cleaning products are the first essential you will need. Giving your bike some TLC helps it ride better as well as extend bike life. Investing in some good products such as degreasers, water repellents and silicone sprays are beneficial. These products will help make the cleaning process quicker, easier and will get every inch of dirt off of your bike.

If you can’t afford anything fancy, don’t worry – a sponge, cloth and some soapy water will do. Although, this method won’t give the same result as cleaning products and it will require some extra elbow grease.

Water repellent sprays such as WD40 and GT85 are essential for spraying on your chain, cassette and derailleur hangers after cleaning. This will prevent rusting on these parts, but just be sure to remove any excess before applying lube.

Brush Set

A brush set is beneficial to have for getting into the hard to reach places on your bike. It’s great for getting excess dirt and grit that is stuck in the chain and cassette. A bigger brush works well for getting in between the brake callipers, in the jockey wheel cages and behind the front mech.

What Tools Do I Need?

Various tools are needed to keep the different bike parts intact. Below we have listed what you will need and for what use. Handy, eh?

Chain Checker

A chain checker is used to keep on top of the wear of the bike chain. They can stretch over time due to the amount of use, the type of riding that is done, the type of cyclist and the environmental conditions the bike has been through.

There are no specific guidelines on how to check your chain or when to change it. But you can check to see if your bicycle chain is worn by putting it on the big ring and pulling it directly away from the teeth.

But generally, the chain checker takes the overall guess away to whether chains need replacing or not. Not looking after and checking the condition of your chain can result in the cassette being worn down quicker and the gear changes won’t be as smooth as they should be.

Allen Key Set

An Allen key set is crucial for all types of work. Keys ranging from 4mm to 8mm are essential for any maintenance the bike needs. These keys are needed for bike bolts, as they have Allen key heads.

Chain Tool, Chain Whip, and Cassette Tool

The chain and cassette are parts of the bike that will need changing often. The chain and cassette usually wear down together at the same time.

These 3 pieces of equipment have different uses: the chain tool breaks the chain and assists with putting the new chain on, the chain whip holds the cassette into place, and the cassette tool undoes the lock ring.

Torque Wrench

Torque wrenches are clever, they prevent you from turning bolts on your bike too tight, which can lead to breakages. This piece of equipment is good for bikes with carbon parts, such as the stem, handlebars, and saddle rails.

Cable Cutters

Cable cutters are sharp and precise, helping leave cables with a clean cut that will prevent further fraying. It is strongly suggested that you do not use old pliers with a worn-out blade.

Replacing the cable on your bike can improve the performance of the bikes brakes and gears. Cables, in general, should last cyclists several thousand miles, but this is dependent on weather conditions.

Pedal Spanner

Occasionally, you will need to use a pedal spanner to take your pedals off. 9 times out of 10, only an Allen key is needed. Very rarely if that fails, you will need a pedal spanner to loosen them up. This will also help for any unfortunate times that the pedals get firmly stuck in the crank.

Derailleur Hanger

When you’re maintaining and servicing your bike, it’s always a good time to check to see if any parts need changing.

It is crucial to make sure your derailleur hanger is still fit for purpose, as this is an essential component when riding. If it is broken then it is a good time to order a replacement, otherwise, you’ll be damaging the frame of your bike as you ride.

You can shop derailleur hangers on the BETD website: