Improve your ride (part 2)

How much servicing does a bike need?

Regular servicing of your bike is essential and necessary to keep it in good working order. Many riders only consider the initial investment when it comes to owning a bike, while completely ignoring the essential regular maintenance. If the brakes start squeaking and the gears not shifting – don not rush to buy a new bike. Regular bike servicing will keep it running smoothly and save you money in the long run.

Gears

Gears may need regular service

Most bikes we see in the workshop have some kind of gearing problem. The gears may not be selecting correctly, making a horrible noise or the chain might be dropping. Any of the above symptoms and your gears will benefit with a service.

Why whould the gears go “bad”? Well, multiple reasons – could be a crash or unintended push or shove of the bike into a tight shed. Or it could be even the way the bike is transported at the bak of the car.

Rear derailleur hanger can be bent

If your bike is equipped with electronic shifting, it may be less prone to gear problems. Yet we find that these type of gears also need regular servicing. The firmware needs regular upgrades, the limit screws may need adjusting and last but not least – the derailleur hanger may need straightening. So there are some improvements which can be had here too.

Getting the gears to work correctly will give you the correct gear ratio when you need it and save you from stalling or spinning out.

Brakes

Rim brake servicing

Rim brakes work due to friction between the brake pads and the wheel rims. The brake pads are made from softer material and require regular replacement. Rims on the other hand wear out a lot less. In order for the rim brake to operate effectively, the rim has to be true. Even the smallest buckle will make the rim rub intermittently on the brake pad.

Disc brakes work in a similar way, but use a rotor attached to the hub instead. The advantage of this system is that the brake is away from the road, thus reducing wear and tear. A good quality hydraulic brakes will feel sharper and more powerful than rim brakes. Yet, they are heavier and may fade when overheated. Servicing is also a bit more expensive.

Hydraulic disc brakes use hoses and hydraulic fluid to operate the brake. The fluid used in the brakes will not compress, so the transfer of braking power from the brake lever to the brake pads is without power loss. Often water and air will seep into the hydraulic system, thus causing the brake to feel “spongy”. A brake bleed will usually fix this. The brake pads and rotors also need regular replacement as they wear down with use.

Brake squeal (or squeak) is a common problem for both types of brakes and it’s caused by contamination of the braking surfaces. The contamination may be from the road, oil from the chain, or even from accidentally touch with bare hand. A good clean of the brakes will often resolve this.

You should never compromise on your safety – keep your brakes in top condition.

Transmission

Bike transmission includes all bike parts used to transfer the power from your legs to the wheel and requires as regular servicing as any other part of the bike. Many bike owners think that spraying the chain and cassette in lubricant is the only think they need to do, but this will often create more problems than solve.

Transmission servicing is essential too

Bicycle chain is one component that is replaced as often as the brake pads and tyres. It is a consumable and it is important to keep it clean and well lubricated. Even the smallest wear on the chain will stop it engaging fully with the cassette and chainrings. Keep your chain clean and well lubed in order to avoid quick wear.

A worn chain will start wearing down the cassette and chainrings. This will make the chain slip when you apply power to the pedals. This can be rather dangerous if it happens when climing on a busy road.

A common mistake with chain maintenance is not cleaning the chain and just adding more and more lubricant. This is a sure way to attract more dirt and grit on the chain, which will continue wearing it down. The dirt will also absorb the lubricant, instead of letting it seep to the parts where it’s needed. So if you would like to keep your chain in good condition – clean it first and then oil it regularly. A clean and well working transmission will make you go a bit faster and you will feel less tired at the end of a ride.

Bearings

Different size sealed bearings

Hubs, headsets and bottom brackets – all have bearings inside and they need regular maintenance. This type of work requires a bit of skill and some specialised tools. If your wheels are not spinning freely, your headset feels a bit crunchy or the bottom bracket is making unusual noises, than it is definitely time to look at the bearings.

Most modern bikes use sealed bearings which come in many shapes and sizes. This is why when servicing a hub or headset we need to remove the bearings and measure them before ordering the correct replacements. Bearings can be so stuck inside the frame that they often require special tools for removal. Installing the new bearings has to be done with precision in order to make sure that they are aligned well against each other and the other components in the frame.

Servicing your bike at Fulcycle

Regular servicing is essential and will save you a lot of money and time in the future. We provide three levels of service – Bronze, Silver and Gold, depending on the level of work needed. The service interval will depend on how often you ride the bike and how hard you ride. In general we recommend to service the bike with us at least once a year or more often, if you are a regular rider. A small service before a race will also give you a piece of mind during the competition.