It’s that time of year again when all good girls and boys start to despise the trainer (FU Zwift) and yearn for the glowing days of bike riding outdoors.
But for some, that old steed needs some refreshing before it can be seen in public and there are some easy ways to make it ride like new.
Obviously a thorough tune-up and drive-train cleaning will do the most for your ride but there are some other areas of your maintenance regime to take advantage of before the season starts that can elevate your riding experience.
The easiest and most often overlooked spruce-up is to replace the consumables on your bike. Your brake-pads, chain, tires and cables and houseings are all “consumables”, they’re not “parts” of your bike. Like the fluids in a car, these bits gradually wear over time and it’s usually the rider that fails to see the degradation in performance of these items the most, the change in their function is soooo gradual as to be invisible. Each shift just gets a little harder, chain just a little more worn, traction just marginally looser until there’s a catastrophic failure of one of the “parts” of your bike, or you, as a result. Change them all out and it’s an inexpensive “ounce of prevention” kind of deal.
Next up are contact points. Saddles, grips and cleats for those who clip-in are some other areas of your ride that go monumentally overlooked and your literal attachment to the bike is a crucial component of a safe comfortable ride, road, mountain or commute. Another plus in this area; you can instantly up up the cool factor of your bike with a sweet new saddle or coloured grips.
And lastly, for you mountain bikers, suspension service. As with the degradation in performance related to your bikes consumables, your suspension function happens, for the most part, very gradually with each compression of fork or shock. Each cycle moves a little dirt into and a little lube out of the system, it’s designed this way. After a while, depending on how often you ride, the system runs dry, stiffens up and you’re riding on borrowed time before significant damage to expensive components happens. Change out those seals and fluids and remember what active suspension feels like. Again “ounce of prevention” stuff. It’s a good time to look at some custom tuning as well for the perfect ride.
So there you have it; A few simple and often over-looked ways to get your mount back in tip-top form for the up-coming season that will not only help your bike function and ride better but increase the life-span of your investment and allow you to have way more fun on the roads or trails or both if you’re lucky.