Good question… and if you’re asking hopefully it means that you understand your bike does actually need to be serviced. Unlike a car where the engine is protected from the elements, the exposed drive train and lightweight components of your bike mean it needs regular servicing. Servicing not only improves your bike’s performance but will prolong the life of its components saving you money in the long run.
The major factors that influence how regularly you should service your bike are:
- How often you ride it, and
- How well you look after it.
As a rough guide:
- Daily riding = 6 monthly servicing
- 3 – 5 rides a week = 6 – 9 monthly servicing
- 1 – 2 rides a week = 12 monthly servicing
To extend the life of your components and the period of time between services, the following basic maintenance is what you should do yourself in between services:
First, keep your bike clean – wipe down the frame and wheels (including hubs) every couple of rides, particularly if you’re riding in wet conditions. This will prevent the build up of road grime and clean off sticky energy drinks. It’s a great idea to use a bike specific protecting polish on your frame to keep it looking fabulous and protect it from scratches and scrapes.
Next, keep your drive train clean and lubricated – by using a good quality bike specific lubricant that cleans and protects the drive train your prolong it’s life. If you give the chain and cassette a wipe down with your lubricating cloth after every ride you remove that wearing grit and grime. If your chain is particularly dirty, leave the lubricant on overnight to get all the gunk out (just remember to wipe all the dirt off and re-lubricate the chain before you head off on your morning ride).
Finally, keep your tyres inflated to at least the minimum pressure indicated on the sidewall. This will guard against punctures and protect your rims if you ride over rough surfaces or potholes. A floor or track pump will be the easiest method of maintaining tyre pressures.
All of these tasks are easy to do, don’t require specific tools, other than a pump, and will prolong the life of your bike, ultimately saving you $s. If you need a bit more instruction just ask your LBS (that’s local bike shop for the acronym phobic) to show you how.