Back 2 Basics

Joel Meintjes of spark bike review gets us race ready with these quick and easy bike maintenance tips that we should all know but often forget!


WASHING YOUR BIKE

STEP 1: Hose it off You can use a high-pressure hose but be careful to not point it directly at your headset or bottom bracket bearings. Find a good platform to stand your bike on and begin the spraying. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies of the frame to get any unwanted dirt out.

STEP 2: Apply bike cleaner Scrub your bike as much as you can, with a soft brush, focusing on any dirt still sticking to the frame or fork.

STEP 3: Rinse Once again, spray your bike down, rinsing off all the soap.

STEP 4: Clean the chain Get some degreaser and apply it to your chain. Give it a good scrub, or if you have a chain cleaner tool, now is the time to use it.

STEP 5: Dry it off Take an old bath towel or similar to dry your bike off nicely. Most of the time the components and such will be built with anti-rust material – but just to be safe dry your bike off thoroughly.

STEP 6: Apply the lube It’s always best to lube the chain directly after a wash, to prevent dirt from getting in between the links. If you have silicon spray, apply it to give the bike a clean shine. Just don’t get it on your discs! Another thing you can do to be extra thorough is to purchase some suspension lube and apply it to your shocks.


HOW TO GREASE HEADSET BEARINGS

Most headset bearings on modern bikes are sealed, but if by any chance you have some open bearings, then be sure to take care of those. In fact even sealed bearings require a little TLC every now and then. It’s important to note that you get grease for different areas of your bike, and you do get some that aren’t that wise to use on carbon fibre. So just be weary of that. Remove the bike stem and spacers using Allen keys and slide the top steerer of the fork out of the head tube. You will then see either sealed or open bearings, which you may remove, depending on your bike setup. Find a well trusted highperformance grease and smear it on the inner part of your headset bearing cup. Place all the components you removed earlier back on in the same order and tighten the bolts.

HOW TO CLEAN YOUR DISC BRAKES

Firstly, don’t use any random type of soap for this. Not only can foreign chemicals contaminate your brake pads, but they can damage your calipers and discs. It’s strongly recommended to use proper brake cleaner, to avoid squeaky and impotent brakes. If you have a spray-on brake cleaner, then spray a generous amount of it onto the calipers, but remember to first remove the wheel and disc, so you can get into the grooves of the caliper. Then wipe it down thoroughly with a cloth, and do the same on the disc.


HOW TO FINE TUNE YOUR DRIVETRAIN

Okay, so you’ve got the chain and derailleur cleaned and lubricated. But perhaps your chain is jumping between gears. The best and quickest way to sort this is with your barrel adjuster on your shifter. Turn the barrel until the chain doesn’t jump anymore. Try not to fiddle with the screw adjustments on your rear derailleur, as this is more for derailleur alignment than anything else. Then you can also check your cables – if they are frayed or worn out, replace them. You can rub some oil on them to create less friction between the housing and the cable itself

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