You're ready to ride, but is your bike? Whether it's due to a long winter, bad weather, injury, or a global pandemic, sometimes our bicycles get neglected, sitting in the garage unused for months. Before you roll out to enjoy the warm summer months, here is a simple overview of how to check over your bike's basic component systems. This concept applies to mountain bikes, road bikes, gravel bikes ... anything with pedals and wheels!
Key bike systems to check
1. Shifting: Does your bike shift smoothly through the gears? Is there any hesitation in the derailleur? Does the shift lever feel sticky? Are the cassette teeth, derailleur pulleys, chain, or chainrings worn?
2. Brakes: Do the levers pull smoothly? Do the brakes drag? Are the brake pads worn? Is the brake lever feel soft or spongy (hydraulic disc brakes only)?
3. Wheels and tires: Are there any significant wobbles in your wheel when it spins? Is the tire tread worn out? Are there any cuts on the tire casing? Do the rims have any dents or damage? Are the hubs spinning smoothly and free of play?
4. Frame: Are there any dents or damage? Is the headset smooth and adjusted? Is the bottom bracket smooth and adjusted?
5. Suspension (mountain bike): Is the fork compressing and rebounding in a controlled manner? Is the rear suspension compressing and rebounding in a controlled manner? Are there any oil leaks? Is the dropper post compressing and extending easily? Does the dropper post have any sag?
6. Touchpoints: Are the grips/bar tape worn out? Is the saddle torn? Are pedals spinning smoothly and free of damage?
Remember this check-up is just a starting point to assess your bike's condition. If you find your bike needs maintenance, you might need help from your local bike shop before it's ready to ride.