5 Crucial Bike Maintenance Hacks

If you are like me and your bike is your best friend, you probably know much about bike maintenance.

In my opinion, bike maintenance is an important trait that every bike enthusiast should possess. I mean, why splash some extra cash on simple things as changing a brake pad when you can do it yourself.

You do not have to be an engineer or anything like that to maintain your bike. All you need is the right mindset and sheer love toward your best friend.

There are a lot of bike maintenance tips and tricks that you can learn. And yes, there are some hacks that make your bank account smile uncontrollably as well.

The top 5 crucial bike maintenance hacks are wheel maintenance, chain maintenance, brake pads maintenance, nuts and screws in check, and organized cable.

Bike Maintenance
Bike Maintenance (Source: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

In this article, I will discuss my top 5 crucial bike maintenance hacks that I believe every rider should know.

So if you want to ease your cash flow and help your bike cruise smoothly, follow me as I teach you these neat hacks.

Importance of Bike Maintenance

Just like how regular checkup is important to human beings, regular bike maintenance is crucial to bikes. You do not want your bike suffering from small issues with its brakes, chains, or derailleurs.

1. Safety

It is crucial to keep your bike maintained from time to time for safety reasons.

It is always best to avoid any unwanted and unfortunate pops in the middle of your cruise, as the repercussions could be catastrophic. Not just to your bike, but you as well.

Proper servicing now and then will ensure your bike is inspected properly, lubricated and any other issues are taken care of in time.

To summarize, you should always maintain your bike properly for safety reasons. You would not want your bike to stop out of the blue in the middle of the road as you are running late for your work.

2. Prolong Bike Lifespan

I see a lot of people riding their bikes in bad situations. This may sound cheesy, but I hear their sad sound and also feel their pain.

You should constantly check on your bike and give them a proper shower.

Similar to how you feel, bikes want to clean up nice and rest up. I mean, it is natural.

Cleaning your bike after long rides or now and then will not just make your bike look shiny but will prevent unnecessary wear and tear on bike components.

A work of 30 minutes can prolong the lifespan of your bike and help them stay in top-notch condition.

3. Maximum Performance

Keeping your bike in good shape will help your bike give its best performance.

Lubricating your bike’s chain from time to time, changing the brake pads now and then, keeping the tire pressure up to standard are some things you can do to keep in good shape.

Avid bike riders, especially mountain bikers, go on a long ride all day long and get back home tired. Well, so do their bikes.

Similar to cleaning your bike, as mentioned earlier, checking up on the status of your bike will maximize the performance of you and your bike’s next adventure.

Benefits of Learning Bike Maintenance

You might be thinking, why put in any effort when you can get the mechanic at your local bike shop to do the dirty work. I mean, no judgments here, by all means.

But if you truly love your bike, you would feel like external parties would not give adequate or proper care to your bike.

And hey, what if one day you are on your way to a nearby hill all by yourself and you get a flat tire. You will not find any mechanic personnel there. Better be safe than sorry, my friend!

Hence, the following are some benefits of bike maintenance hacks. Let’s go!

1. Cost Effective

The first and foremost benefit of learning bike maintenance hacks is, you guessed it, its cost-effectiveness.

Anyone can repair their bike within the four walls of their garage. All you will be needing is a set of basic tools.

Why rely on external parties when you can fix small problems like changing your brake pads, adjusting the brake, and some routine repairs.

If you learn to get some basic bike maintenances done at home, you will save a lot of money in the long run. Trust me; I have a friend who was very sorry for not taking my advice.

2. Ease of Mind

I started feeling very safe as I started maintaining my bike myself. I did not have to rely on others and not overthink if they did a good job.

Regular checkups of your bike will keep your mind at ease. And hey, if you get into some situation, you possess the skills to fix it yourself.

You will feel a sense of comfort and pleasure in riding your bike on top of feeling safe. That is one of the best feelings that I know.

Your bike will thank you by making you feel ecstatic when riding and not breaking down time and again.

One would feel truly at peace while riding a bike if they have done the work themselves.

3. Boost in Confidence

When you learn to fix simple things like a flat tire or changing brake pads, your confidence level shoots up.

I started small by constantly checking on my set of wheels and brake pads before a weekend trip with my group of friends. And it felt great!

As time progresses, you can tackle some more challenging maintenances and checks. This will, again, make your bank account very happy in the long run.

You feel a burning sense of confidence within you, and not to forget, very proud of yourselves.

When you are filled with confidence, you can take on any challenge that comes your way. You can go the further mile or ride uphill the next hill or mountain.

My confidence shot up so high that it changed my biking lifestyle. With my independence, I can go anywhere. Literally anywhere!

Similarly, you will be able to brag to your friends about getting yourself equipped with some easy maintenance knowledge. I mean, why not, right?

There are groups of bike enthusiasts that host bike maintenance workshops from time to time. I suggest you get your learning gloves on and learn some crucial bike maintenance hacks.

Man Fixing His Bike Tyre (Source: Unsplash)

5 Crucial Bike Maintenance Hacks

Well, this is the part that you have been waiting for. The 5 crucial bike maintenance hacks that every bike rider should know.

So without further delay, let us get into it right away.

5. Organized Cable

No one likes seeing a bunch of cables dangling from one place to another. It can be not very pleasant.

A solution for dangling cables is organizing them neatly. It does not cost anything. A friend of mine taught me a neat trick on how to do so.

Like me, you can use a heat-shrink tubing and a heat gun to pull the cables together. Any other source of heat does the trick, too, like a hairdryer.

You would normally remove the ends of the cable while using any sort of heat to thread it on. A couple of pieces of the tube should be enough for each end of the cable.

It is important here to make sure that the heat source does not impede the cables from working. Lack of concentration and care here can result in unwanted bending of the cables.

Also, similar to your hair, do not use too much heat as the material can actually burn after a certain point.

I know; it does sound like a lot of work. I have another trick for you to skip all the hard work mentioned above.

 You can use housing hooks or simple zip-ties to keep your cables organized and neat.

Well, whatever you end up doing, it will work for sure to ease your mind from that unnecessary distraction.

4. Nuts and Screws in Check

Let’s face it; no one likes to hear noise when riding their bike. I know I do not.

If you hear your bike making some squeaking, squealing, rattling, or any other noise, it is time to give it a good check.

Some potential reasons for the noise could be a loose spindle, saddle, headset, mudguard, and rear-derailleur.

A simple tightening of the nuts and screws should fix the problem of noise in any bike. But be sure to not over tighten to screws.

And in the case of saddle and rear-derailleur, a few drops of oil or bike lubricant should do the trick.

A tip for bike riders looking to pick a new bike for themselves, ask your bike shop to give you a bag of spare nuts, screws, and bolts.

You should get them for free. If not, you can get them at a meager price.

But it is best to have a spare of bolts and screws as finding them later can be tricky.

3. Brake Pads Maintenance

Most bike riders are taught to use both the bike’s brakes very early in their learning journey. Do not get me wrong here; it is a great tip to begin with as you will be a lot safer.

Pulling both the brake levers is important in learning to ride a bike as the rider’s confidence starts growing. But as you grow up and learn more, you tend to avoid pulling both brakes.

Most experienced bike riders do not pull both the brakes. They use the front brake lever about 90% of the time.

In contrast to what a beginner rider learns, pulling just the front lever is the most efficient way of slowing down. However, it might take a while for riders to make the transition.

Now, the front brake pads of the bike are going to get worn out quicker than the rear ones as most avid riders tend to only brake with it.

If you do see some tear in the front brake pads, you can take them out and swap them with the rear ones. This saves you some money, and you do not have to throw out your brake pads unnecessarily.

However, it is important to check the condition of your brake pads before making the swap and zooming away.

Additionally, if you notice scraping noise when hitting the brakes, it is time to check on your brake pads.

Look for any tiny objects that might get stuck in the brake pads, thanks to bad roads. If you see some, get yourself a knife or a pick or something pointy and remove them from the compound of the brake pads.

Not inspecting and leaving small objects in your brake pads can wear out the bike’s rims quickly, which will leave you spending a lot of money.

2. Chain Maintenance

The chain will constantly be on the move that causes them to wear down and look filthy. Interestingly so, a dirty-looking chain is going to wear out quicker than a normal one.

All the grim and dirt stuck in the chains will act as a cutting paste within the links of the bike. This can have a big impact on the overall health of your bike.

Well, you are in luck as I will show you this pocket-packing bike maintenance hack.

You will need two empty jam jars, a funnel (or coffee filter mug), kitchen paper (or coffee filter paper), and a degreaser.

Steps to Clean the Chain

Gather the materials, and let us get right into it.

  1. Put the filthy looking chain into one of the jam jars.
  2. Pour the degreaser over the chains onto the jam jars, enough to submerge the chain.
  3. Put the lid back on and shake it thoroughly.
  4. Take out the chain, rinse the chain under tap, and let it dry somewhere.

You can get a clean-looking bike chain by following the 4 steps that I shared above. But if you want to go a step further and save some more money, follow me.

  1. Put the funnel or coffee filter mug over the other jam jar.
  2. Roll a piece of kitchen paper to the shape of a funnel and place it inside the funnel or coffee filter mug. You can also use a coffee filter paper here.
  3. Pour the dirty looking degreaser from the other jar onto the current jar through the funnel and filter.

You might be confused as to why you go through the hassle of pouring it over the funnel. Well, surprise!

You can use the filtered degreaser repeatedly by repeating the process, so you do not have to buy or use the new degreaser every time you need to clean the chain.

Normally, you would get about 15 to 20 uses from the filtered degreaser. However, if it looks very filthy even after filtering it, you can throw it away.

Lubricate the Chain

As you fit the clean chain back into your bike, remember to lubricate it. Well, lubricated chains give you a smoother ride than usual.

I would suggest buying a spray-on lubricant and using it before and after every ride. You can also buy lube and apply it.

Apply the lube onto the chain and rotate the crank simultaneously. Rotating helps the lube spread in the entire chain. Stop applying the lube but continue to rotate the crank. This, again, helps the lube every section and corner of the chain.

1. Wheel Maintenance

Have you been in a situation where you are cruising down the street, and suddenly your tire gives up on you? And you have to drag your bike to the nearest workshop? No more!

Grass Fix for a Flat Tyre

A great trick for flat tires is grass. Yes, you heard me right, grass.

Do you not believe me? Check this YouTube video.

Fix a Flat Type by Stuffing It With Grass (Source: GCN, YoutTube)

If you see grass around your periphery, remove the tire from the rim, stuff the flat tire with grass, and reattach it to your bike. Grass acts as a temporary fix until you get a permanent fix.

The intention of stuffing your flat tire with grass is to prevent the tire from flopping around, saving the tire’s rim and avoiding damaging it.

Another hack you can try is removing the tyre, locating the punctured part of the tube, and trapping that hole with grass.

I must warn you that the ride is not going to be smooth, but it gets you going until you find a permanent fix. Also, the speed of the bike will be languid.

Quick Fix for Punctured Inner Tube

Why replace the punctured tube with a brand new one when you can apply a quick fix, right?

You can also fix an inner tube of the flat tire by applying patches. You can buy these patches in a pack for about 2 dollars.

To fix it, simply take the wheel off the bike, remove the tube from the rim, find the punctured spot, and stick the patch.

Now, an inner tube with many patches will not give you the smoothest ride, but it can help you save some money until it is time to change the tire completely.

Applying this quick and easy fix will help you save a bit of money and, more importantly, save the environment.

Fixing the tube yourself instead of buying it will help you save about 200 odd something dollars. Pretty decent, right?

Rim Damage

Another situation that one might encounter with the wheel is eerie-looking damage to the wheel rim after a crash. Or at least, you might have seen it in the movies.

To fix this instantly, remove the wheel from the bike and roll it to find the biggest bend.

Now, you should place it at a 12 o’clock angle position making sure that your right and left hand are at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock, respectively.

Continue to fix the rim by thrashing it down on the ground. This should usually do the trick and straighten out the rim.

If it does not, repeat the steps, find other parts of the rim that might have been damaged, and repeat the process.

I am not saying that this is a permanent fix. It is a make-do solution until you can get to your destination or get it fixed properly.

Conclusion

So, there we have it. The 5 crucial bike maintenance hacks that I believe every bike rider should possess.

You might have to spend some cash on some of the fixes, but hey, it is an investment. Why not spend, say, 5 dollars if you can save a lot in the long run.

Get your educated with these simple, easy, and decent hacks and show off your biking skills.

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