While riding a bike is as common as it gets, knowing the mechanics of a bike isn’t exactly public knowledge. Sports Garage offers bike maintenance in Canmore, Alberta and we’re happy to help you get your bike tuned up and ready for the road or the trails. But, let’s not stop there. We want to share some quick tips with you to help you feel more confident in your knowledge and more aware of what’s going on with your bike when you’re out on a ride. So, here are a few things to keep in your back pocket. If you’re ever in doubt, you know where to find us.
How Often Should I Tune Up My Bike?
The answer to this question is different for everyone. The length you can go between services depends on the type of bike you have, how old it is and what type of shape it’s in, the type of riding you do, how you store your bike, and how often you ride. Your bike tech can help you determine how often you should be coming around. Or, if you’re an avid biker, you may have learned how to do some basic bike maintenance yourself.
Regardless, a good rule of thumb is that every bike should be tuned annually. Once a year is an absolute minimum to make sure you’re safe and that your bike is well looked after. If you ride your bike multiple times a week, you’ll want to get a tune-up every few months.
As we said, there’s no single answer because everyone’s situation is different. In between your regular tune-ups, there are some key signs to look for to indicate you should probably take your bike in.
How Do I Know When My Bike Needs a Tune-Up?
In most cases, you’ll know when your bike needs maintenance. There are some tell-tale signs that you can look out for.
- If you are experiencing difficulty when shifting gears or it doesn’t feel smooth
- If you are experiencing difficulty braking or they are feeling loose
- Your bike is squeaking or making strange noises
- You see any signs of decay like cracks in the tires, rust, worn teeth or treads, etc
- Your chain keeps slipping
- Your seat post is stuck or won’t stay in place
- Your tires are flat
- Your pedalling feels off
- Your steering feels off
These are just a few of the signs that a good tune-up is on order. Of course, if anything feels off or different, it’s always a good idea to get it checked out. These issues can be really dangerous and routine service will help ensure your safety.
Simple Bike Maintenance You Can Do Yourself
You don’t need to lean on professionals for every little thing when it comes to keeping your bike in great shape. If you’re handy and you want to learn more about tuning your own bike, there are a few things you can absolutely handle on your own. That said, you’ll want to be very careful and be sure you know what you’re doing so you’re as safe as possible on your next ride. If you’re looking to do some maintenance yourself, here are some places you could consider starting:
- Cleaning your chain and lubricating your chain.
- Cleaning your bike. Keeping your bike clean is a key part of maintenance to ensure it doesn’t get rusty or damaged under residue.
- Replacing your tubes and fixing flats. Not only is this something you can do yourself, but it’s a super important skill to learn so you can get yourself out of a sticky situation without worrying.
- Wrapping your handlebars. This doesn't apply to most mountain bikes, but if you have a road bike or any other bike with drop-style bars, you can absolutely learn to wrap them yourself.
- Adjusting your seat. This is another one that’s good to know! A simple skill that can come in handy.
When to Get Professional Bike Maintenance
When in doubt, ask a professional. If you’re dealing with any high-level maintenance like fixing your breaks or gears, it’s best to lean on a professional bike tech. Moreover, if you feel like you’re in over your head with a DIY repair, it’s always better to ask for help up front than having to deal with more damages after the fact.
It’s a good idea to look to your local bike tech for your annual repairs and anything that you don’t feel equipped to take on yourself. At the very least, they can tell you what you can and cannot handle yourself the next time around.
If you’re looking for bike repairs in Canmore, head down to Sports Garage to get a custom quote.