How to get your bike fit for spring
A guide to bike maintenance
Every cyclist knows it well: When winter comes, their bike is stowed away in the cellar – well covered with old clothes – to burst into bloom in spring like a sunflower growing out of the earth. Doesn’t that sound like a romantic series of events? If only there wasn’t a time-consuming and often also stressful catch: The spring check.
There is a veritable multitude of advice explaining what you should bear in mind at the beginning of the new season. We spoke to our bike professional Marcel and can hereby clarify which measures really need to be taken in spring.
The good news first: Whether an e-bike or a traditional bicycle, the actions required to prepare your own bike for the upcoming rides are the same. After the bike has been standing around for a long time, particularly in winter, it is important to check it thoroughly from top to the bottom, or from the brakes to the tyres. The most important points to check are: Brakes, gears, lights, tyres.
First things first
Through everyday use, your bike is often affected. Oily roads, dirty and muddy paths or dust confront the bike constantly. Not only the appearance, but also the technology suffers. Dirt and rust cause an impeded sliding of the cables, which eventually affects the brakes and gears. It also significantly reduces the life of the bicycle chain.
Therefore, it is important to insert regular cleaning units. There are special bicycle cleaners for the frame, which are available in our stores. Simply spray on the frame, let it act for a short time and coarse dirt can be easily wiped away with a cloth. The hard-to-reach places are best cleaned with an old toothbrush.
In general, it is sufficient to clean the bike thoroughly every 200 kilometers. However, it is recommended to brush off coarse dirt after every tour.
Do the brakes, chain and gears work?
In traffic, the brakes are vitally important. If your bicycle has a backpedal brake, you don’t have to worry at all. This type of brake is virtually maintenance-free, but handbrakes are not. So you should check whether your front brake works properly.The best thing to do is to remove the dirt from the brake cables and oil them well. If new brake pads need to be fitted, it is advisable to take your bike to a professional.
Especially after the winter or after a long standstill, the chain likes to tolerate a little grease. Here applies - less is more! A few drops of oil in the chain or in a cloth by it is pulled through, are enough. You only have to be careful that no oil gets on the brake discs and the brake caliper, for this you would need a brake cleaner.
Whether the chain must be replaced the professional decides, because there are dedicated chain testers.
Ensure you check in which direction the lights are pointing. They should shine on to the road rather than lighting up the treetops or blinding the oncoming traffic. You should also check whether all the lights and reflectors are undamaged and working flawlessly. If the front or back lights do not light up, this is often because of a disconnected wire. This insider tip, Marcel promises, will prevent your nerves from fraying: “You can be looking for the cause of the problem for a long time and often it’s just a single wire or connect that’s become loose during winter storage.”
After standing for a long time, it is normal that the tires also become somewhat flat and need more air again. Not only the tire itself plays a role, the weight of the driver should also be considered. Usually one assumes an average body weight of e.g. 75 kilograms.
With the mountain bike one moves there in principle between 2 and 3.5 bar, however with the racing bicycle between 5 and 10 bar.
The thinner the tire, the higher the density. For every 1 kg of additional weight - this also applies to luggage - the tire pressure is increased by about 1% and reduced to the same extent for less weight.
However, these are only guide values! Therefore, you should always pay attention to the manufacturer's specifications on the tire casing. There the tire width, as well as the minimum and maximum pressure is exactly indicated.
Also the terrain on which one moves takes a large influence and should therefore be considered. An irregular surface requires more grip, which is generally achieved with lower pressure. This increases the contact area, but also increases the rolling resistance and you need more force to compensate for the counteraction. The tire suffers from low to too low pressure, as edges and rims can be damaged.
Thought of everything? Is your bike ready for spring? What should you leave to the professional?
- Clean the bike
- Check the brakes
- Oil the chain & brakes
- Check the lights (don't forget the wires and connectors)
- Check the tyre pressure and pump up the tyres
What should you leave to the professional?
- Check & adjustment of the circuit & brake
- Check of all screw connections
- Centering and tensioning of the wheels
- Removal and cleaning of bottom bracket and headset
- E-bike software update