Bicycle Tune up Check list

1. Tires - This is a cyclist's only contact with the road (hopefully) so you want to keep a watchful eye on your pressure before every ride. Inspect tires for any unusual marks, cuts or rips as these could lead to flats later down the road. Pay close attention to the side walls of the tire. Inflate to the proper PSI, which is also listed on the sidewall. You don't always have to inflate to the MAX pressure, you can be in the middle if you're expecting a bumpy route or some riders prefer to drop 5-PSI from front to rear to help with steering of the bicycle. Either way, make sure you're pumped up and ready for the road ahead!

2. Rims - As we brake the pads wear down creating a fine dust that stay on our rims and can impede braking performance. Before you ride clean and inspect rims. Keep an eye out for any unusual markings and for hairline fractures or chips in the metal that would cause stuttered braking. Wiping the brake surface with White Lightening Clean Streak or in a pinch cotton balls and isopropyl alcohol works fantastic.

3. Spokes - Inspect each spoke for tension. This is easily performed while the wheels are on the frame. Each spoke when plucked should make a harmonious sound similar to a guitar string. If any feel loose, or make a dead non harmonious sound consider taking the wheel to a shop to have it inspected and trued. Wheels that spin true and round are faster and provide more consistent braking.

4. Hubs - Clean around the hub shell and the spoke holes inspecting as you clean. Hold the wheel in the frame and push side to side, checking for looseness in the hub itself. This will be very noticeable and sometimes audible. Spin the wheel, listen for any noise of grinding. Place your hand on the frame while the wheel is still spinning and feel for any vibrations in the frame or clicking, small sounds from the hubs are magnified through the frame. If you hear anything, it could mean a bearing is going bad or in need of adjustment.

5. Rear Cassette/Ft Chain Rings - Clean the best you can. Sometimes it's nearly impossible to get all of the oil and grease off. A strong degreaser will help to cut through the really though stuff. Try using White Lightening Clean Streak for added power when a brush or towel isn't cutting it.

6. Chain - A little known fact, the chain does not need to be covered in oil to shift well. Actually the chain will perform better the cleaner it is with the least amount of oil/lube on it. You really only need to get into the rolling parts and the pins connecting the chain. Clean with degrease and a shop towel or cloth you don't mind getting greasy. Apply the degreaser/cleaner, grasp the chain with the towel and pedal the bike backward cleaning the chain and removing the degreaser. After chain is cleaner then you started lube the chain with your favorite lube, ours is White Lightening Epic for its endurance quality's. Wipe the applied lube off with your towel and don't worry, you won't be able to take too much off.

7. Derailleurs - Unless you are competent in adjusting derailleurs your best bet is to check cable tension make sure nothing has lost tension. Pedal the bike in a bike stand or flipped over and check for proper shifting and that no gears are clicking or dropping a chain in the front derailleur. If adjustment is needed take it to your local shop, minor adjustment will most likely be performed while you wait.

8. Brakes - Squeeze break levers and at the same time look at the pads. Are they hitting the breaking service? If so is there enough tension to make you come to a complete stop? If so great! If not, determine if the repair is as simple as turning the barrel adjuster out a time or two to add more tension, or if you need help from a bicycle professional. Check bolts on pads to ensure they will stay tight over the course of the season.

9. Torque all bolts - A torque wrench is a great tool to have in your bicycle repair area. Each bolt on your bike is designated with an exact spec of how much force that bolts needs to be fastened down correctly and safely. If you do not have a torque wrench make sure everything is snug tightened enough for safety. Handle bars and crank arms require special attention as they are the pieces that most frequently come loose and could cause a serious accident.

10. Now that our bicycle is clean and working fantastic let keep it that way. A cleaner bicycle is much easier to spot problems with components or cracks in the frame.

~A clean bike is a happy bike ~

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