Hey y’all. Spring is coming, and it’s time to start thinking about getting your bike ready. The savvy cyclist’s among us know that it’s wiser to get your rig taken care of before the sun comes out, because the whole city will be in our shop looking for a tune up on the first 70* sunny day. Today, we’re going to go over just what a tune-up entails:
Here we have today’s’ patient. As you can see, she still has a little bit of last cx season left on her, so we’re going to start with a thorough cleaning with Pedro’s Green Fizz. I’ll spare you the nitty gritty details about cleaning bikes, but the curious should check out Bike Cleaning 101.
Here we are nice and sparkly. Cleaning the grit off isn’t just about making things look presentable; while I am up close and personal with the bike, I am also giving things a close inspection. It’s better to locate any worn or damaged parts, missing hardware, or other potential surprises early on.
Once things are clean, we can start to lube all the key points. I am using Tri-Flow. Lubing the cables is one of the key lubrication points; I’ll never get a bike shifting right if the cables are crunchy. I’m also going to cover brake and derailleur pivot points, and the chain of course.
Now that the drivetrain is clean and lubricated, it’s time to make it shift smooth. First I reach for the derailleur alignment gauge. If the derailleur isn’t parallel to the rear wheel it will never shift right, so I start by checking the alignment, as you can see on the left. Once things are straight and true, I can continue on adjust cable tension and set-screw position.
Onto the brakes. The rear brake pads like to hit the rim square on, but it sometimes takes a little bike mechanic magic to keep the fronts from howling at you. It’s always good to take the glaze off the pads with a file, and check them for debris stuck in there.
Finally, I have to make sure all the bearings are tight and smooth. There’s the headset, the bottom bracket, and two hub bearings. All of these bearings quick inspected, checking for smooth operation and play. A gritty bearing will get overhauled or replaced, and a shaky bearing gets tightened. In this case, I have to tighten up the rear hub a little; the rest of the bearings passed inspection.
Finally, one last wipe to remove any greasy thumbprints (white frames are a bike mechanics nightmare), and then she’s ready to go back to momma.