Since the nationwide lockdown began Matt (our superstar claims handler) has been answering your most common maintenance questions via Instagram live - to keep you on the road. He's been kept very busy, answering a whole range of questions since the 31st of March. So we'd thought we would delve into Matt's brain and bring you the answers to the 5 most popular maintenance questions!
Matt has worked in the bike industry for over a decade, starting in BMX, and then moving to an industry leading bike shop in central London. He knows everything about cycling, from bearings to bottom brackets, from nutrition to tyre choice! And he also has a cat!
1. What should I be doing to maintain my bike myself?
Maintaining your bike yourself will keep it running smoother and for longer. The most important thing you can do to maintain your bike is keep it clean. Keeping it clean will remove any debris picked up off of the road that will wear our your components. Focus on cleaning your drive chain, as well as any wearable components like brakes and tyres.
Whilst cleaning your tyres, it's a good idea to check the pressures as your tyres are the sole contact point between your bicycle and the road! Bike tyres can also leak air over time, so they'll need regular checking to provide maximum performance. If you're unsure how hard your tyres should be, there is a recommended bar or PSI on the side of the tyre.
Whilst checking for your tyre pressures, inspect the tread and sidewalls of your tyres. Look out for any wear, cuts or marks in the tyres, which may affect grip and puncture protection. Your tyres may have a dedicated hole known as a wear indicator, when this has worn down it’s time for some new rubber!
2. How often should I get my bike serviced?
This question purely depends on how often you ride your bike. If you ride your bike every day, in all weathers, then you might want to get your bike serviced every 4 months. If you ride your bike much less then you might want to get it serviced once a year or maybe once every 2 years.
The good news is that most bike maintenance can be done at home. By checking your bike over every week, you'll know when something isn't working correctly. If a component is broken and you cannot fix it, your local bike shop will be happy to take a look at it.
3. How do I index my gears?
If your once smoothly shifting gears start clicking or crunching whilst riding along, then it's probably time to adjust your gears. Start by adjusting the barrel adjuster, which determines the slack of the cable. Turning the barrel adjuster clockwise slackens the cable, turning it anti-clockwise tightens the cable. If your chain is struggling to move up onto a larger cog you need to tighten the cable. If the chain is struggling to move down onto the smaller cogs, you need to loosen the cable.
Putting the bike off the ground so you can pedal the bike will help with getting the setting just right.
4. How do I stop my disc brakes rubbing?
A common problem with disc brakes is them coming out of line, making a slight rubbing sound when the pad comes in contact with the rotor. A good way of seeing the rub visually is by turning your bike upside down. If you can hear or see the brake rubbing, you can use the pad adjustment screw on the side of the caliper to tune up your brakes.
It's often the inside screw that hugs too tight, which can be adjusted going through the spokes. Use a 4mm allen key to twist counter-clockwise until you have the clearance that alleviates the rub. Once the wheel is running smoothly and the brakes stop effectively and you're ready to go.
5. Whats the best way of storing my bike outside?
Storing your bike outside isn't the best option, but some times we don't have the choice. So a waterproof cover to protect the bike from any moisture will help keep your bike happy and healthy. If you want to give your bike some added protection, then a small bike shed might be a good choice for your garden. When out and about you should also look for sheltered bike spaces.
You'll also want to make sure you have a ground anchor or something to lock your bike to. For more tips and tricks, check out our blog post on how to keep your bike safe at home!
Tune in for more
Have a burning question that we haven't answered? Tune in to Matt's Instagram live session every Thursday at 6:30 on @lakahq. Drop us a DM or email Matt your question at firstname.lastname@example.org.