So now you have your new bike or you upgraded your old bike. So what are things that you can do or signs that, you know, you can look for, for maintenance? Key thing: always look at your drivetrain. What does that mean?

Well, you need to lubricate it. So get yourself a good chain loop, whether it’s a road bike or mountain bike. Mountain bikes like to have a little bit more robust lubricant, like thicker wax style and road bikes like to have a dry lubricant.

And it also depends on where you’re at. You know, if you’re on the East Coast, you might be riding in wetter conditions, so you want a wet lubricant. On the West Coast, we like to use dry lubricants, but you want to stay consistent with it.

If you start hearing that chain clanking around, not a good thing. All you’re doing is wearing components out. There’s things that you need to be looking for when you’re drivetrain starts to wear out. Let me grab one of our bikes and I’ll show you what to be looking for.

So let’s walk over to this Yeti ARC here we got. Things you want to look for. OK. First off, you can see this is a brand new cassette. But you want to watch it. If you start wearing things out and it starts skipping and you got a lot of miles on it, this may need to be changed. Chain, you always want to watch. You may even want to get yourself one of these little handy dandy chain checker tools. You can just put it on the chain there, push on it.

Right now, you can see this chain is nice and perfect because it’s brand new. But if it’s not, this thing will go all the way. It may even have some play in it. Means you got to change that chain. Otherwise, you’re just going to continue to do more damage to your drivetrain. Then your chain ring here. You want to watch it when that thing starts wearing out, if it gets too thin on material, it could be a risk to you. You could push down on that thing and you can throw your chain off. Next thing you know, you’re on the ground. So I have an example of a nice worn out chain ring here. Missing teeth here. The material is completely worn down and these teeth are becoming what’s called shark tooth.

So the material is very thin. This is unsafe. Brand new chain ring, material is nice and thick, and it’s going to hold that chain ring nice and tight. Something else you want to look for. And this one’s kind of important because on bikes you need to stop. If your brake pads are worn out, probably not a good thing. For mountain bikes, most disc brakes, once you start getting really thin on the material and getting close to these backing plates, you’re going to lose brake lever feel, at the same time, you have to change the pads and maybe you even have to bleed out the fluid to get the old nasty fluid out and put new in. Older brake pad right here, you can see the material is very thin on there. It’s getting really close to the backing plate. That guy right there. So that’s how you know you need to change that.

So this is a new brake pad. You can see the material is very fat on there and it’s going to stop and give you security in your braking. Another thing for maintenance: tires. We all want to stick to the ground. We don’t want to get flat tires and get stuck out there. On road bikes, there’s a little hidden secret that you can tell that your tires are getting really worn out. This isn’t go for all tires, but it goes for some. If you look right here, these are little where dots. When those wear dots are gone, you know, it’s time to change your tires. Now, there’s a lot of other brands that do similar things. And if you look for it, you’ll find them and just watch when those wear dots go, time for new tires. Also, dry rot. If the tire’s been in a certain environment, it dries out, next thing you know, you may be changing tires every eight months. You don’t know. Or if you’re riding very consistently, it’s very important to make sure that your tires are staying inflated. And they have good tread on them, as far as mountain bikes go. As far as road goes, just make sure they’re not drying out and make sure they’re not squaring off as well.

Bottom line, you can be a home mechanic, but the real things I stress, make sure you wipe your bike down.

Give it a little rinse, not a pressure washer. Maintain it with good lubricant on the chain and inflating your tires. But anything above that, it’s probably best to come see us at the shop. I do suggest that you bring your bike in every three to six months if you’re riding it consistently. If you’re not riding it consistently and you’re just doing family rides or you’re just going out for a leisurely ride at the beach, get it in here once a year. Let’s make sure it’s serviced and ready to go.

Take care.
Robb Stotts

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