For the smooth running, longevity and safety of your bike, regular checks should be carried out to ensure it’s running correctly. The harsh conditions of the winter can be severely detrimental to a bikes performance and both the moving and static parts can be effected. In the road riding spectrum, the increased wet conditions of the winter combined with the constant gritting of the roads mean grime can be driven into bearings, chains and brake pads. For the devoted mountain bikers riding through the winter, the muddy, sludgy conditions that the trails can turn to make the servicing of your bike a high priority if you want it to continue riding like new. The most important reason to keep your bike serviced (whatever your discipline) is safety – if your bike is maintained and regularly serviced, the less likelihood of a mechanical issue and the safer your ride is.
If you want your bike to ride smoothly and allow you to focus 100% on your technique and the ride itself, then you will want to keep your bike tuned and serviced. For this, you’ll be rewarded, as a well looked after bike will increase your motivation, increase your performance, and enable you achieve your end goal faster. Your bike is an integral part of your cycling experience which needs as much attention as your nutrition or training plan.
Keeping an eye on how your bike is riding and checking for any issues that might be making the bike unsafe to ride is imperative and should be dealt with as soon as possible. Perhaps the most important part of your bike is the brakes and should be checked before every ride to ensure they are working properly. For cable pull brakes (calliper, V-Brakes, mechanical disc brakes), checking for early on-set wear to the brake pads and cables is important for the best braking performance. If brakes pads are worn down or cables are fraying, book your bike in for a brake service as soon as possible. For hydraulic disc brakes, a spongy feel when you pull the brake lever can suggest that the brakes need to be re-bled.
If your gears are not set up correctly, they prove to be more of a hindrance than a help, so a well configured gear system is vital for the most efficient ride. Gears missing a shift (where the gear does not shift the first time the shifter is triggered) or slipping gears (where the gears slip onto a different ring) is a sign that your drivetrain is not aligned properly and is a good indication that a service is needed.