A few weeks ago I noticed something up with my bike. It had this squeak that kept progressively getting worse and worse. I gave it a wash, and it still sounded like a mouse was stuck somewhere. Riding seemed like such an effort too. Perhaps it was time to get a bike service?
When I thought about it I realised that I’d owned my Liv Envie (Bullet) for about a year and hadn’t ever had anything serviced – despite having ridden over 5000km! It was definitely time for some TLC. Not knowing a huge deal about bike mechanics or what the source of the squeak was, I sent it off to the experts at my local bike shop.
While visiting Liverpool Giant to get my bike all sorted, I spoke with the mechanics about why getting regular services matters. Here’s what I found.
Why your bike needs regular services
Regularly riding your bike results in normal wear and tear. Regular services can help parts to last longer meaning they don’t need replacing quite as often. Take your chain for example. Over time it starts to stretch and get damaged. Worse case scenario is that it could snap mid ride and cause damage. Same goes for bike cables and pads. Leave it for too long and the repair job if something goes wrong could cost you more than a regular service.
They can also help improve your power output and watts on the bike. Before I got my bike serviced it was SUCH an effort to ride. I would have been losing so many watts! Great for training, but not so great for recovery. No wonder I was feeling so tired on all my rides!
How often should you get your bike serviced?
As a rough guide, it’s a good idea to get a service at least once or twice a year.
The distance you ride plays a role, but so does the weather and type of riding you do. Since the roads in the UK get so much salt and grit put on them over winter, it’s very worth getting a spring service on your bike to make sure any bearings aren’t secretly rusting away.
Obviously if anything starts to play up and making odd noises like my bike was, a little tune up may be called for. Getting into a habit of checking your bike over regularly to make sure it’s safe to ride, that the chain is clean of grease and lubed properly is always a good idea.
What are the most important parts to get serviced on your bike?
The parts of your bike that get the most wear and tear and need to be regularly checked, maintained and/or replaced are the chain, brake pads and bike cables.
Cleaning your bike regularly, making sure the chain is lubed regularly and brakes are working well are essential skills that all cyclists should aim to keep on top of. Liv has some great youtube videos on basic bike maintenance skills worth checking out – like this one below on how to perform safety checks on your bike.
What about DIY Bike maintenance?
When it comes to bike mechanics I definitely consider myself to be a beginner and prefer to trust the mechanics to sort it out! Of course there are many bits and pieces that you can do yourself should you choose or prefer to.
Many bike shops regularly hold basic maintenance classes or workshops to learn skills like tightening brakes, puncture repairs etc. If in doubt ask if you are unsure what to do! It’s on my list to learn how to use gas canisters to blow up a tyre. One day…