Spring Cleaning

Bike Maintenance, Bike Tuning

Spring Cleaning

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Steve Bjorklund

Whether you rode all winter or left your bike in the garage, spring’s combination of water, grit, and mud on your drivetrain will shorten the life of your parts. Here are some easy steps for a longer-lasting bike.

1. Bathe your bike with soap and water, just like you would a car. Use a parts-cleaning brush or a toilet bowl brush, and do it while the bike is still wet or muddy.
2. Clean derailleur pulleys, chain, cogs, and chain rings with solvent and a toothbrush and rags.
3. Let your bike air dry; clean the frame and parts with Simple Green or a similar cleaner.
4. Lube all cables and housings for the brakes and derailleurs. Next, make adjustments and truing—you may want to leave these adjustments to your friendly neighborhood mechanic.
5. Check the tires and inflate them to the recommended pressure—you can run a little less in front than in the rear.
6. Give it a test ride. Make sure it shifts, in all gears, and does not “throw” the chain. Slam on the brakes—make sure it’ll stop in an emergency.
7. Finally, polish the frame and parts with Bike Lust or Lemon Pledge.

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