Firstly, Happy new bike day!
Here at Billy Bilsland Cycles we love selling bikes however, we love our customers more. That’s why we have put together this simple guide on how to look after your new bike to try and avoid common, and sometimes costly, repairs.
First things first, Puncture prevention. The most common repair we get in the shop is a puncture, yes we understand that the Glasgow roads and cycle paths are somewhat different to the silky smooth tarmac that you find in Spain. However 90% of punctures we see are due to impact, this is caused by your tyres being too soft. We recommend pumping up your tyres once per week, the correct air pressure will be located on the side of the tyre. Having hard tyres will not only prevent you from walking home but also make your bike feel super fast! Riding with low tyres pressures requires you to push extra hard on the pedals, you wouldn’t drive around in your car with flat tyres, so why cycle with them?
There is a running joke in the bike industry, ‘if customers start maintaining their chain, bike shops would close down’. Basic drivetrain maintenance is so easy and can save you a hefty repair bill. As the chain wears on a bike it begins to wear into the chainrings and cassette, this means that if caught early enough you can get away with only replacing the chain. However if you continue riding without checking then you will have to replace not only the chain, but the chain rings and cassette as well. Usually you will get about 1000 miles out of a bike chain, although if you do not keep it clean and lubed then this figure will dwindle massively. We recommend washing your bike once per week (could be done along with pumping up your tyres), however if the weather is bad and/or your bike is looking pretty dirty then we would recommend that you wash your bike more frequently. In order to wash your drivetrain effectively you will need some degreaser and a chain bath or sponge. Apply the degreaser to your drivetrain and leave to soak for a few minutes (we usually wash our frameset and wheels in this time with bike cleaner). Then once you have let the degreaser soak in, get your sponge or chain bath and run the chain through by using the pedals with your other hand. Now rinse off any excess with water and then dry off your chain, only now can can you re-lube your chain. Please don’t make the mistake of adding more and more lube to your chain without cleaning off the old stuff. This will only attract more dirt and grime therefore causing your chain to wear even faster. To take the extra step to ensure you don’t ride with an excessively worn chain you can purchase a chain checker, once your chain reaches 0.75 then it is time to replace the chain. If your chain reaches 1.0 then unfortunately you will more than likely have to replace the entire drivetrain.
Lastly we have the derailleur hanger. This is a tiny part which attaches the rear derailleur to your frame and is designed to break off if needed, in order to stop your frame from snapping in a crash. However this piece is very fragile and if your bike is dropped or leant over on the drive side where the hanger is located it can cause it to bend. If the hanger is bent it is at a higher risk of snapping and also when you change into the easier gears the derailleur will become too close to the spokes in your rear wheel. Before you know it your derailleur will be in your wheel and you will be on your way to the dental hospital…We recommend checking that your hanger is straight before every ride to avoid danger to yourself and your wallet. To check if your hanger is straight, simply stand behind your bike and ensure that it is parallel to the frame and not bent to the left or right.
All bikes bought from us come with your first tune up service for free! We recommend coming in for this after 6 weeks or 200 miles of riding, which ever comes first. With all new bikes there is a settling in period where the cables and bearings will settle in and stretch. The easiest way to see if this has happened is if the brakes start pulling into the handle bars and shifting gear is not a crisp as it was when you first bought it. This is why we offer the first tune up for free in order to take care of the settling in process and any other issues you might be having. After this we expect to see you every three to 6 months depending on how much you use the bike. Please don’t wait until there is a problem to come back because more than often these problems could have been prevented by maintenance carried out little and often and will save you paying expensive repair bills.