How to Tune up Bicycles

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To keep your bike in tip-top shape, you have to do preventive maintenance. One way is to do a tune up on your bike at the beginning of summer and the end of fall. By tuning up your bike, you can spot potential problems before they disable your bike. This will also help you to stay safe.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Mild soap
  • Soft towels
  • Wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Pressure gauge
  • Lubricant
  • Bike stand
  • Wash the bike. A very important part of tuning up your bike is doing a deep cleaning. Make sure that you use warm water, a mild soap (car wash soap works well) and a soft cloth. Take your time and wash the bike well. Dry it completely.

  • Examine all the bolts and screws on the bike. Make sure that they are all in good condition and properly tightened. If you find any that are damaged, replace them immediately. If any are loose, tighten them using an adjustable open-end wrench or a screwdriver.

  • Look at the brake system. If your bike has hand brakes, check the cables and the brake pads. If you notice any signs of extensive wear, replace the components. These should all be available at your local bike shop.

  • Inspect the tires and check the tire pressure using a pressure gauge. The proper pressure will depend on the model of bike you own. Look for signs of dry rot or foreign objects in the tires. If the tread is worn or a tire is damaged, you should replace both tires.

  • Lubricate the chain after you check it for signs of damage. You can find an appropriate lubricant at your local bike shop.

  • Adjust the seat and pedals if necessary. This is especially important if you are tuning up a child's bike because they grow quickly. If you adjust the seat and/or pedals, make sure the bolts are secure.

  • Take the bike out for a spin. Pay attention to the way it feels. If you notice any wobbling or jerky movement, you should start the tune up over or take the bike to a professional to have it checked out.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a bike stand to keep the bike steady while you work on it.
  • Consider covering your bike when it is parked to keep it from getting dirty.
  • If you come to a point where you are unsure of what to do, take your bike to a bike shop or ask a friend for help.

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