bike cleaning

  • Bike Maintenance Tips

    Folks, proper routine bike maintenance is important. Here are nine tips and a video to help you with performing safety checks and keeping your bicycle in good condition.

    1. Keep it clean. Want to prolong the life of your bike? Clean it! All you need is a bike repair stand, some soapy water, rags and a soft brush. Oil and grit can be tough to remove from your chain and gear sprockets, but a decent degreaser will help break down this gunky build up. No time post-ride? Use a baby wipe for a quick clean up job.

    2. Inflate tires properly. Poorly inflated tires are prone to issues like flats or punctures. Get a good floor pump with a pressure gauge to do the inflation job. Do you know what all those numbers on your tire are for? Check your tires before every ride.

    STOP! Let's talk about brakes. Their job is important, so you need to be sure they are up for the task of stopping the momentum of your bike (and YOU) in any situation.

    3. Squeaky brakes? Noisy brakes are often dirty brakes, or at least dirty wheel rims. Clean and dry both properly and most of the time, problem solved. If that doesn’t work, they might need adjusting. See Vilano Bikes' knowledgebase for help.

    4. Check your brake pads. Worn brake pads mean they should be tossed.  If you can hardly see the grooves any more, they're worn. Fitting new brake pads is a cheap and easy fix. All you need is a set of Allen wrenches and a little patience.

    5. Tighten and adjust (caliper) brakes. If your brakes seem "sluggish", meaning if you squeeze the brake lever and it moves more than halfway towards the handlebars – they should be tightened. Just twist the barrel adjuster by the brake lever for a quick fix. If that does not work, grab the Allen wrenches and open the brake nut to free the brake cable, pull it taut and close the nut again.

    6. Lube it up! Grab some bike lubricant and use sparingly on any parts of your bike where metal touches metal. Be sure to clean it well before lubing, or lubing will be a waste of time.

    7. Check your wheels to see if they are “true”. Turn your bike upside down and spin your wheels. Do they wobble from side to side? If so, they need “truing”. This is a quick fix, but not one for an amateur, as you need special equipment. Your local bike shop will do this for a small fee.

    8. Adjust your saddle for the best fit. If you find you are sore after a ride, try experimenting with your saddle. You can raise or tilt it to suit your riding style. If your saddle is too low, it may cause your knees to become sore. Keep in mind your legs should be nearly straight on the downwards revolution as you pedal.

    9. Go see a pro. Once a year may be fine, especially if you keep up with routine maintenance yourself. However it is a good idea to periodically have a professional bike mechanic look at your bike.

    Take care of your bike, and it'll take care of you.

    Check out this routine bike maintenance video from Vilano Bikes:

  • How to Clean Your Bike

    Cleaning your bike is simple and a crucial part of bike ownership.

    All those moving parts are constantly exposed to the elements, road debris and dirt. To keep your bike working correctly and safely, a regular cleaning routine is a must. If your bike is kept clean, it will be easier to spot potential issues before you get out on the road or trail.

    While it may be tempting to hook up the power washer and shoot the bike with a jet stream of water, this is not a great idea. Along with the dirt, you’ll also blast away the grease that should be there, which has the all important job of lubing the bike’s various components. You will also risk damaging the bearings systems.

    All you need for a good basic bike cleaning are a few fresh rags or sponges, a couple of different size brushes, a degreaser like Simple Green, diluted dishwashing detergent or a bike specific wash, a bucket or two, and a chamois cloth or towel for drying.

    Set your bike up on a repair stand or even your car’s hitch mount bike rack so you don’t have to hunch over it. Pour water from a bucket on or wet the bike with your hose (lightly, just a dribble). Remember-no blasting! You merely want to wet the bike to loosen any stubborn caked on dirt or grime so you don’t scratch the frame when you begin wiping it.

    Fill a bucket with detergent and water, grab a sponge or rag and get cleaning. Wipe the bike with sudsy water. Use a brush for hard to reach places like around the fork, brakes or hubs. Does your bike have standard brakes? Then clean your rims well; this is your braking surface after all!

    Rinse the bike with a bucket of clean water. Or if you decide to hose it down, spray it lightly. Dry the bike thoroughly with an unsoiled towel or chamois cloth.

    Once the bike is clean and dry, if you want the job to be a little easier next time, use some silicon spray on the frame. It will make your bike look pretty and shiny, with the added bonus of repelling dirt and water. Be sure to spray only the frame, though; take care to stay away from the wheels, rims, brakes and chain. Relubricate your chain with a good bike chain lube (there are many fine products available, ask your local bike shop for their recommendation).

    You are now ready to set out on your clean machine!

    Get into a good bike hygiene regimen. Repeat these basic cleaning steps as often as necessary. This is an easy and essential part of owning a bike. On a dirt free bike, it is easier to see potential maintenance problems and get them straightened out. Plus your bike will look great as you ride off down the road.

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