In this section we are going to touch on a few of the common points regarding bicycle maintenance and what you can do to keep your bike in good working order. Regular maintenance is the key to keeping your bike working like new for years to come.
Keep in mind that bikes bought at All-Star receive the first year of tune-up maintenance free. We encourage you to take advantage of this free service before experimenting with your bike repair skills. If you tinker with it on your own, the free adjustment period will be void.
The reason for this is it takes longer to correct an incorrect adjustment and make it right than it does to just correct for normal wear and tear.
Please ask us first if you have a question about how to do a specific adjustment on your bike.
Tire Inflation and Dealing with Flats
The easiest way to keep your bicycle running well is regularly checking tire pressure. Properly inflated rubber rides the best, lasts longer and resists flats. For high-pressure skinny road tires, check before every ride. For fatter rubber, such as what's on most off-road bikes, once a week is about right.
Please DON'T head to a service station and use the car-tire compressor! They are designed to move a LARGE volume of air and can explode a bike tube in seconds. Do it with your "floor" (home) pump.
How to Fix a Flat on the Ride
We have all experienced that deflated feeling when we get a flat tire on our bike ride.
But don't dispair, you can fix it easily and get going again with just a few simple tools!
For about $30 you can outfit yourself with the tools you need to deal with flats on your next ride. With a little practice you will be changing tubes like a pro.
Make sure that your wheels are securely connected to the bike when you are reinstalling them.
Click here to find out more about how to properly use Quick Releases.
What do I do with these old tubes?
If you have a few tubes hanging around with small punctures, you can fix them and use them again! A small patch kit will run about $3 and will allow you to fix several punctures. Conventional patch kits that use Vulcanizing Fluid, such as the one shown here, can also be used to repair damage to the casing of your tire.
While you can patch a tube on your ride when you get a flat, it is so much easier to just install a new tube and get going and patch the old tube later in the comfort of your home. It is wise to carry both a new tube and a patch kit on your ride in case you have more than one flat.
At some point we have all looked down at our right leg and realized, wow, I really need to clean my chain! That greasy mess on your leg is both chain lube and dirt, which sticks to lubricants remarkably well. The lube is a good thing, but only if it is clean. When it is full of grit is becomes liquid sandpaper, which is not good at all for the durability of your drivetrain.
Regular cleaning and lubrication of your drivetrain will increase the useable life of the chain, which is the first part to experience wear. Regular replacement of the chain when it does start to wear will also prevent wear on the cogs, which are more expensive to replace.
Bathing Your Bike
When it comes to cleaning things up, you don't shouldn't stop at the drivetrain. The whole bike can benefit from a bath, especially when it gets really grungy.
When you're all done cleaning things up, you will need to re-lube some things. Lubing your bike is important to extend the life of the drivetrain. Picking the right lube for your riding style and conditions is not hard, but shouldn't be overlooked. Most household lubricants are not the best choices when it comes to your bicycle. A common misconception is that WD-40 makes a good chain lube. Since the WD stands for Water Displacement, WD-40 makes a fine solvent for cleaning your bike parts, but it does evaporate quickly, leaving your chain unprotected.
If you ride in wet conditions on or off road you want a lube that won't wash off too quickly or you will be constantly relubing your chain. If you are lubing a clipless pedal system you want a dry lubricant that won't gum up the works. If you ride a trainer indoors a lot over the winter you will want to stay away from 'self-cleaning' lubes that flake off and take the dirt with them, as these will eventually leave a waxy spot on the floor under the trainer over time.
As always, feel free to come by and ask us about the different lubes that are available. If you would like to learn a little bit more about the parts on your bike that can benefit from lubrication, click here.
Do-It-Yourself Bike Repair
For the cyclist who likes to tinker, having the right tools for the job means having more time to ride. A lot of these tools are specific to bikes and are not easily found at the hardware store. Park makes a fantastic selection of bike shop quality tools for the consumer that are inexpensive.
Come by and check out our great selection of tools.