Workshop 101 / Part 2

Welcome back to Bastien’s Bike Hacks and the second part of the world’s best Workshop 101! We’ve covered the tools you need and cleaning your bike, drivetrain, and brakes. Now, it is time to move on to two important topics: wheels and suspension. Once we get these sorted, we’ll top it off with few often overlooked details for dessert.

Wheel love

Your wheels and tires take a beating each time you go on a ride. Making sure you are hitting those trails with trouble-free tires is a sure-fire way of improving your ride. The secret? It is all about that wheel love.

  • Check your wheels are straight. Give them a spin and watch for any up-down or sideway wobbles. If they are a bit wonky squeeze the spokes in pairs to see if any feel loose. Tighten up any loose spokes until the wheel runs true again.
  • Your wheels don’t spin smoothly but your brakes aren’t in the way? It’s time to replace the hub bearings.
  • Unless your name is Thomas Del Gatto, you probably want some tread on your tires. Make sure there’s plenty of rubber where you need it. Also check the knobs and sidewalls for rips, tears, thorns, glass, porcupine spines or anything else that is a puncture waiting to happen.
  • Running tubeless? The sealant in the tire can dry out over time. When your tires spend more time flat than fat, it’s time to top it up with some fresh stuff. While you’re at it, check the valves, as these can get clogged up with sealant, making it hard to inflate the tire.
  • If you’ve used a tire plug to fix an on-trail puncture, check it when you get home. Depending on the repair, these are usually good for a while. But a plug near the rim is a time bomb and it’s best to replace the tire before things go trail… trail… boom!

Gotta bounce

Your fork and shock have a tough life. These precision components deal with all kinds of forces whilst being covered in dirt and often don’t get the attention they deserve.

  • Give your fork and shock a major service at least once a year (or according to the manufacturer’s service schedule). An occasional lower leg service is also a good idea to keep your suspension feeling factory fresh.
  • While you’re at it, get your dropper post serviced. Is there resistance at the lever? Depending on the seatpost, some fresh cables or a bleed might be in order.
  • Remove the shock from the frame. Then move the rear triangle up and down to test for excessive friction or worn-out bearings.
  • Wiggle the rear triangle from side to side to check for play in the pivots. If things don’t feel right, and everything seems tightened just right, then it’s time to service the bearings of your frame.

Grease is the word

The bearings on your bike are sealed and arrive greased straight from the factory. This makes them pretty low maintenance. However, regular cleaning and regreasing can help keep the water out, corrosion away and your bearings spinning smoothly for much longer.

  • Remove the bearing covers on your frame and get rid of any dirt or old grease. Apply a fresh layer of grease to the bearings and then re-install the bearing covers. Use a torque wrench to make sure they are correctly tightened.
  • Headset bearings get very little love. Drop the forks out, give the headset cup and bearings a good clean, grease them up and give them your number.
  • Apply a thin layer of grease to wheel axles to make wheel removal easier.
  • Remove your dropper post, clean it and apply a little light greasing to keep it from seizing in the frame.

Finishing touches

Awesome! You’ve checked the major parts of your bike! But there are a few little details that are worth paying attention to whilst you’re at it.

  • Replace your grips from time to time and always make sure bar end plugs are installed.
  • Inspect your pedals. If you run flats, check all your pins are present, correctly installed and tight. If you clip in, check the tension adjustment on the pedals is to your liking. Give your cleats a clean and if they look badly worn, fit new ones. Whatever the pedal, make sure there’s no play or resistance in the bearings.
  • If your bike has a stash box, check that it’s got everything you need for an on-trail emergency repair and replace anything you’ve used.
  • E-bike users should check that the system on point and no error codes are showing. All good? Plug the bike in and chill out.
  • If your frame protectors look tired, maybe it’s time to treat your bike to a refresh.

That’s it! We hope you’ve picked up a few tips and tricks. Maintaining your bike is something anyone can do. Bastien always says: “Look after your bike and your bike will look after you.”

Workshop 101 / Part 1

See Part 1