How to easily maintain your bike

Moving Well | RACV | Posted on 14 October 2019

Keep your bicycle riding like new with these year-round maintenance tips.

Whether you’re a weekend warrior, beginner bike rider or regular cyclist, here’s how to easily maintain your bicycle in tip-top riding order.

Girl servicing a bicycle


1. Hose your bike down post ride

Grit is your bikes’ worst enemy. Wash down your bike after wet and soggy days and make sure any moving parts – in particular – are clean and dirt free. This will help to keep your bike running smoothly, every day. If you don’t have access to a hose, we’ve seen some people stand their bike in their shower as part of their get-home ritual.

2. Check your tyres and brakes

Poor conditions can quickly wither away your braking surface, particularly if you’re running carbon wheels. Cheaper, alloy wheels can provide a better braking surface (also see disc-brakes). To complement this, always ensure your tyres are in excellent condition, looking for wear on the sidewalls and through the centre of the tyre. Thicker tyres with more tread will help you maximise grip on the road and improve tyre life.

3. Clean your chain

Chain maintenance is a key component of bike health. Using a quality degreaser, a quick solution is to use a rag and wrap the chain with your cloth (lint-free), moving the chain backwards (using your hands), to wipe off the grit collected from your ride. Once the chain is clean, apply your chain lube and repeat the process until the chain is clean. For a more thorough clean, remove the rear wheel from the hosed bike and, using a paintbrush, brush degreaser over the chainrings, the derailleur, the chain and finally, the cassette. Follow this by rinsing the parts with a low-pressure hose (don't spray water into the bearings), then dry thoroughly with a clean rag. Finally, apply lubricant and reassemble your bike.

4. Say hi to your local bike shop

If something isn’t right, see the experts. Your LBS are experts in everything bike. It’s well worth the investment to have your bike stripped and cleaned regularly, more so in winter. They will often be able to pick up potential risks before they get to a far more expensive and dangerous point.

5. Quick tip: mudguards

If you want to keep your riding apparel clean, look at investing in mudguards. Most are easy to fit and can sit on any bike; road or commuter. They can be taken off when Autumn swings around and kept for the following winter.