Member Question: Essential Cycling Mechanical Skills

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What are the essential mechanical/maintenance skills that I as someone who rides a bike should learn how to do myself?

Member question from kaqphin
I love cycling and watching cycling but when it comes to the mechanics/maintenance I am completely clueless. What are the essential mechanical/maintenance skills (beyond changing a flat tire) that I as someone who rides a bike should learn how to do myself? And in the case of maintenance...how regularly/when should I be performing these tasks to keep my bike in good running order?

Answer
Beyond changing a flat tire, learning the following skills will come in handy and leave you more confident in your riding endeavors:

  • Install and remove front and rear wheels. Proper use of the quick release skewers and re-installing the rear wheel while making sure the chain is properly wrapped around the cassette

  • Cleaning and lubricating chain. A clean chain will run smoother, shift more easily, and last longer. A chain should be cleaned and re-lubricated every 300 miles of riding. Always clean and re-lubricate the chain and drivetrain components after riding in the rain.

  • Using barrel adjusters for derailleurs and brakes. Learning to adjust the tension in the brake and shifting cables will allow you to fine-tune your shifting and braking as needed. Occasional noises and clicking sounds can usually be addressed with the twist of a barrel adjuster.

  • Become familiar with the use of the allen wrenches for adjusting and tightening various allen bolts for the seatpost, stem, handlebar/aerobar, and other components.

Those basic skills, along with changing a flat tire, will allow a rider to confidently put in the miles on a routine basis. Always listen to your bike and if you notice a new sound that isn’t familiar, you’ll want to investigate and see if something needs to be adjusted. A routine tune-up is always recommended once or twice per year to keep the rest of the bike and components running in top order.

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date: November 5, 2008

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Fit Werx offers the most scientific and complete bicycle fitting services in New England, the Northeast and beyond. Regardless of where you are from (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Australia, Macau...) a Fit Werx' bike fit is guaranteed to be worth the trip.

avatarFitWerx

Fit Werx offers the most scientific and complete bicycle fitting services in New England, the Northeast and beyond. Regardless of where you are from (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Australia, Macau...) a Fit Werx' bike fit is guaranteed to be worth the trip.

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