Flat Tire Co. Bike Shop
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Check out the Flat Tire Co. blog for recent news up dates, product reviews, and recaps on things we do.

Regular Bike Maintenance, What Should I do?

Kind of like when you got your drivers licenses and they told you, you should check your car before you get in it. There is the same principle with your bike. Basic things like cleaning your bike and checking the wear of your chain can prolong your drive train for seasons. Find tips below on how to maintain your bike going into spring. Don’t forget to stop by for a check up every three months with regular riding, assessments are always free!

Degrease your stuff.

Start by degreasing your drivetrain.  There are many commercial products available for doing so.  You can either use an old brush or purchase a drivetrain cleaning kit from the shop. Either work great!

Pro Tip: cut an old water bottle in half to hold degreaser and keep it in the bottle cage for easy access.  Use a small brush to apply to hard to reach places, chainrings, cassette and derailleurs.  Rinse off degreaser with water.

Products we use: Finish Line Citrus Bike Degreaser, Park Tool Cyclone Chain Scrubber.

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 Wash it all good.

Wash your frame and wheels.  Put together a cleaning kit of a bucket, soap, and brushes. Nylon brushes work fine, but horsehair versions prevent grease and dirt from accumulating on the brush.  Pro tip: Save your old toothbrush and use it.

Products used: Muck Off Ultimate Care Kit, Homemade Bike Wash Station.

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Inspect for dammage from gnar shredding.

Inspect the frame for any cracks, dents or damage that may have occurred last season and gone unnoticed over the winter.  Be sure to check often overlooked areas like underneath the downtube, bottom bracket and seatstays.  Check cable rub at the headtube, and apply frame protector stickers as necessary.

Products we use: Enduro bottom bracket pullers.

 

Make sure your wheels are still round.

Inspect the wheels for trueness and roundness.  This can done on the bike, eyeing the wheel relative to the brake pads, or by using a truing stand.  Check spoke tension by hand, looking and listening for loose, under-tensioned spokes.

Products used: Park Tools (truing stand)

Check there aren’t holes in your tires, or your plugs aren’t leaking.

Check your tires for tread and sidewall damage, and make sure there is no debris in the tread. Check out the knobs are still intact for mountain tires or that your slick tire isn’t squared out. This can be done with the tire on the rim, but removing the tire gives you peace of mind that nothing has penetrated the casing that could cause flats on a non tubeless tire. If you had to plug your tire with, make sure the plug is still holding.

Pro tip: determine the correct pressure for your tires, body weight and riding style.  Modern wider rims and tire combinations allow for lower pressures to handle a wider variety of terrain, grip better, be more comfortable and are actually faster than their higher psi predecessors.  If your tires are set up tubeless, check sealant levels and add or replace sealant as necessary.

Products we use: Pedro’s Prestige Bike Pump, Topeak digital air pressure gauge, Dynaplugs.

 

Get your Suspension Dialed.

Set the air pressure in your fork and shock, and check pre-load, compression and rebound settings, adjusting per manufacturer guidelines for your weight and riding style.  Visually inspect seals for damage, and make sure no oil is leaking.  If you’re running a dropper seatpost, check for nicks or crash damage that could compromise seals down the line.  

Pro tip: rent a ShockWiz from us that will you allow you to get feedback about your riding style.  After the ride, our mechanic can use the data to get your suspension adjusted perfectly.

Products we used:  Quarq (ShockWiz suspension setting tool), SRAM (parent company of Quarq)

 

New grips or tape make all the difference at little cost.

Spring is a great time to replace your handlebar tape or grips.  Dirty tape may be an eyesore, but loose grips can downright dangerous.  Nothing breathes life back into a wintered bike like fresh tape or grips, and the additional comfort and safety they offer make them a no-brainer.

Products we use: ODI grips, Deity Grips, Egon Grips, Lizard Skins.

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Check bolts for proper tightness.

Check all bolts for proper tightness, using a torque wrench and following the manufacturer’s specs.  

Pro tip: Don’t forget the chainring bolts; for some reason, these are the most often overlooked in a pre-ride check.  Check your seatpost and saddle clamps too!

Products used: Pedros allen and torque set.

Do the breaks work, does it shift right?

Run through the shifting and braking, making sure gear shifts are crisp and accurate, and brakes are balanced and have the desired amount of lever feel.  If the built-in or inline adjusters aren’t enough to fine tune shifting and braking, adjust the cables or visit your local bike shop to make sure chain and cassette wear aren’t a factor.  If you have electronic shifting, make sure the battery is fully charged, and your software is up to date.  If you’re running disc brakes and the lever feel has degraded, have your local shop replace brake pads and bleed with fresh hydraulic fluid.

Products we use: Homemade bike stand or Park Tool Home Mechanic Stand.

 

More lube, more lube.

Lube your chain with a product ideal for your riding conditions.

Pro tip: while pedaling backwards, drip lube on the rollers individually inside of the links, avoid coating the outer plates of the chain as this will only attract dirt.  After a few more backpedals, wipe off any excess lube with a clean rag.

Products we use: ATB or Finish Line Bike Lube products. Depends on type of bike and type of riding.

 

Ashley Reefer