4 Common Bike Repairs Every Beginner Should Know
Few things feel freer than riding your bicycle and enjoying the crisp summer air. However, it’s essential to make sure your bike is ready to hit the streets safely and securely. That involves knowing how to tune up your bike to keep it steady and trouble-free while helping you save money since you won’t have to go to a repair shop for the easiest fixes that you can do yourself.
As a beginner cyclist, you have an exciting journey ahead of you, with brand new places to explore and enjoy while getting good exercise out of it. By knowing how to troubleshoot your bike and perform basic repairs, you won’t break a sweat when you run into a problem.
Before You Get Started
Every cyclist must own a toolkit that will help them address mid-ride breakdowns, including a bike tire pump with a built-in pressure gauge, tire levers, spare inner tubes, a chain tool, a lubricant, and a few other tools. It may sound like a lot, but carrying them with you wherever you go will be worth it. When something goes wrong, be sure to clean your bike before you start working on it with your tools.
Now that you have your toolkit, here are some of the most common bike repairs that every beginner should know:
- Flat Tyres
One of your biggest worries as a cyclist is getting a flat while you’re out, so it pays to know how to fix it. Be sure to check your tire pressure before inspecting your tyres for holes. To ensure your tyres are inflated properly, look for the intended air pressure range for all tyres, often printed on the tyre’s smooth side. Then, use your bike pump with a tire pressure gauge to get your tyre back to the right air pressure. Do not use gas station air pumps, which can blow out your wheels!
However, if your tyres start to sag, then it’s a sign that they’re punctured. In this case, open the lever of your wheel’s quick release, remove the wheel, then open the valve to let the air flow out. Push the metal valve into the tyre, then wedge two or three tyre levers under the tyre’s edge until it dislodges from the wheel rim. Take the inner tube out, lift it over the valve, and inspect the wheel for the source of the hole. Inflate the new inner tube halfway, slide the inner tube onto the outer tyre and ensure everything is in place. Re-inflate your tyre to the correct pressure, and you’re good to go.
- A Slipped-Off Chain
Nothing feels worse than enjoying a pleasant ride and having it cut short by a slipped-off chain. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to put the chain back. To do this, put it back in the bottom groove of the rear cog, then arrange the chain over the teeth on the front chainring’s top. Once it’s in place, carefully turn the pedal forward, pulling the chain around the chainring and seating it correctly. However, if your chain keeps falling off, then it’s likely too long for your bike frame!
- Loose Bolts
Your bicycle is comprised of various parts, including nuts and bolts. Before you go on a joyride, be sure that all the hardware is firmly in place, but it shouldn’t be too tight. Bolts can loosen over time due to pressure and friction, especially with the vibration your bike experiences from rolling over various terrain. Overtightening the bolts will only ruin the bike threads and result in an expensive repair job, so it’s best to invest in a torque wrench. This tool has measurements to refer to when applying force, ensuring you secure the nuts and bolts. Once you’ve torqued the bolts, leave them alone until you start hearing rattling parts.
- A Stuck Seat
Every cyclist is on the seemingly endless search for a comfortable bicycle seat, especially when your seat gets stuck at a too high or low angle. If this happens, loosen the binder until you can remove the collar and bolt. Spray the entire area with WD-40 and leave it overnight so the spray can lubricate the tight spots. However, if the seat stubbornly refuses to move, grip the saddle and twist the post until it comes free. If all else fails, use a clamp and some pliers to pull the pieces apart.
Riding your bike is often an incredibly liberating experience. However, you’ll inevitably run into a few problems on the road, so it pays to know how to troubleshoot your bike. With our guide, you’ll be prepared for the most common bike issues without any problem!
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