Get Your Bike in Shape

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"Looking to get your bike fit for the start of the season and wake it from its well-deserved winter slumber? Then you’d do well to give it a thorough tune-up before going on your first big ride. To help you get started, I’ve put together a list of the most important points. This overview will provide you with my essential tips and tricks for every area of your bike. I have also linked to our detailed how-to guides that cover more complicated topics, which will help you further master these tasks."

Pascal, Workshop

Pascal's Tips for Tune-Ups:

  1. Always start with a clean bike
  2. Proceed systematically and work your way gradually, for example, from the back to the front
  3. A work stand makes the whole process much more relaxed
  4. Check all screw and bolt connections with a torque wrench
  5. Lube up your drivetrain when you’re done.

Brakes

"If you brake late, you go faster for longer, but if you can't brake at all, you'll seldom be happy. In this aspect, the brakes are sometimes the most important components on your bike and therefore deserve your full attention."

Pascal, Workshop

Pascal's Tips for Tune-Ups:

  1. Ideally, you should inspect your brake pads before every ride.
  2. Check the brake hoses completely from the lever to the caliper for possible leaks.
  3. Check the pressure by pulling on the brakes when stationary - if it doesn't feel good and crisp, and you’re able to pull the brake lever to the handlebars, then a bleed session is definitely in order.
  4. If you use brakes with DOT, I recommend changing the brake fluid completely at least once a year.
  5. Brake rotors also wear out. Use a caliper gauge to check the thickness. The respective wear limits differ depending on the manufacturer.

Spare Parts & Accessories for Brakes

Tyres

"The tyres are the points of contact between your bike and the ground. At the start of the season, it is especially worth taking a thorough look at them. You should change old and worn-out tyres right away to save yourself unnecessary headaches with flats or poor grip on tours."

Pascal, Workshop

Pascal's Tips for Tune-Ups:

  1. First, check your tyres for external damage by examining them all around. Foreign bodies, cracks or porous areas will immediately stand out on closer inspection.
  2. Of course, you can also check the condition of your treads during a visual examination. With road bike tyres, the often-embedded indications of wear on the tread are very helpful in deciding whether the tyre is still good.
  3. If you use tubeless on your bike, always check the condition of the sealant. This can not only age, but also dry out, which can happen especially when the bike is sitting unused over long periods of time. Of course, dried-out or old tubeless sealant is hardly effective, so my recommendation is to check the level of sealant and refill if necessary or replace with new sealant.

New Tyres & Accessories

Drivetrain

"No ride is fun without a functioning drivetrain. A chain wear gauge can help you keep an eye on the condition of your drivetrain. It’s a simple-looking tool with a huge impact, as it helps to determine with relative precision when the chain needs to be replaced."

Pascal, Workshop

Pascal's Tips for Tune-Ups:

  1. Check the wear of your chain with the help of a chain wear gauge.
  2. If the chain is worn, take a look at the cassette and chainrings as well, and check them for signs of wear. Worn teeth on the cassette or chainring are more like shark’s teeth, and even a new chain won't help.
  3. For cleaning the drivetrain, especially the chain, I personally am very reluctant to use aggressive cleaners, as you often run the risk of washing off all the lube. Therefore, my preferred remedy is very often Ballistol universal oil. Note to all wax fans, though: using an oil for cleaning is obviously counter-productive.
  4. If the drivetrain is clean and not worn-out, I shift through all gears once to test it. This way, any shifting problems or unpleasant noises can be quickly detected.
  5. Derailleur pulleys are an oft-overlooked part of the rear derailleur. If they are worn out, however, this has a negative effect on the shifting performance. It won’t hurt to have an extra look here either. In any case, derailleur pulleys are not very expensive or complicated to change. However, when assembling and disassembling, make sure that the upper and lower pulleys are correctly assigned.
  6. If the gears don't want to run smoothly despite properly adjusted shifters, the problem is often due to old and corroded cables and/or cable housings. Check them once over the entire length and fit new ones if the condition requires it. You can often solve the problem by lightly lubricating the cable, e.g., with chain lube or universal oil.
  7. If replacing the cables hasn’t helped, it’s possible that your derailleur hanger is bent. The rear derailleur can no longer pass the cassette at the correct angle, resulting in poor shifting performance or chain rattling that is noticeable either in the upper or lower cassette area. 

Spare Parts & Accessories for Your Drivetrain

Bearings

"Depending on the component, you will have to check various ball bearings in different ways. However, you can always look out for common symptoms that will indicate whether a bearing is still OK or if it should be replaced. "

Pascal, Workshop

Pascal's Tips for Tune-Ups:

  1. Do the bearings still run smoothly when you move them by hand? Or do they run rough, have a noticeable degree of resistance and make scratching or even grinding noises? Do the bearings have some play when you wiggle them?
  2. These are easily detectable signs of worn-out bearings that you should replace.
  3. If the bearings are still in good condition, it is best to clean them thoroughly and apply a new layer of grease to protect them from water and dirt.

Spare Bearings & Accessories for Your Bike

Suspension

"Suspension forks and shocks will give you optimum service if you care for them properly. I can only recommend that you clean them after every ride and adhere to maintenance guidelines specified by the manufacturer."

Pascal, Workshop

Pascal's Tips for Tune-Ups:

  1. Thoroughly servicing suspension parts before the season begins is not a bad idea. If you take care of it now, the servicing wait period should fall within a reasonable time frame.
  2. If you want to perform maintenance yourself, I recommend having a look at the servicing instructions provided directly by the manufacturer. These are nowadays very detailed and give a very good insight into the procedure with step-by-step pictures.

Spare Parts & Accessories for Your Suspension

Frames

"When giving your bike a tune-up, you should also take a look at the condition of your frame. Sometimes, you have to look for fine cracks in the paint or on weld seams. Make sure to take your time and proceed with appropriate care."

Pascal, Workshop

Pascal's Tips for Tune-Ups:

  1. Make sure the lighting is good when you check the frame.
  2. Since some damage is easier to feel than see, use your hands to search for defects.
  3. Check places where cables from the shifters or brakes are laid. In these areas, the surface is often affected by friction. In this case, frame protectors are a good option for protecting your frame from unsightly abrasions.

Spare Parts & Accessories for Frames

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