If you’ve recently been clocking in the miles on your bike then you may be wondering whether it’s time to go and get it serviced or not. Unlike cars, there is no set time frame in regard to how often you should get your bike serviced so it’s tricky to know when the right time is.
Today, we’ll be looking at what factors you should consider when weighing up a bike service and looking at what happens during the service process itself.
How often should a bike be serviced? The simple answer
While there aren’t rules and regulations in place that say your bike should be serviced after a certain period of time, it is generally considered normal to get a bike serviced once every six months. However, you should also take into account the condition of the bike and how often you use it.
For example, if you’ve been noticing issues with your bike such as faulty brake pads or rigid gear changes then you might consider taking it to the bike shop for immediate service. On the other hand, if you only use your bike every now and then and you enjoy a smooth ride on each occasion, then you could be wasting your money by taking it in for a service.
Key signs to look out for
If you are experiencing certain things while on your bike or noticing certain faults when looking at it, then it’s time for a service. These include:
- A rusty chain that you are having to clean regularly
- Grinding or squeaking noises while riding
- Weak brakes
- A rattling sound while riding
- Your chain falling off the sprocket for no reason
- The feeling that you’re not going as fast as you should be in relation to how fast you are pedaling
All of these issues require a once-over from a professional who should be able to get to the bottom of the issue(s) at hand. From there, you will be given the opportunity to either pay for repairs or purchase or new bike altogether.
What happens during a bike service?
While the specifics of a bike service will vary from place to place, they will all generally follow similar procedures. They can usually be completed in a day and the following checks will typically be made:
- Gears will be checked and reindexed if necessary
- Tires and brake pads will be checked over for signs of wear and tear
- The cables will be tightened
- A thorough inspection of the whole bike for major and minor damage
Some bicycle servicing places will also offer you the option of having your bike thoroughly cleaned for an additional cost. This will leave you feeling like you’re getting a brand-new bike when you go to pick it up.
When is the best time of year to service your bike?
The best times of year to service your bike, providing you have no pressing issues, is at the start of spring and/or at the end of Autumn. If you are committing to two services per year then March and September are good times to do it.
By having one in March, you can ensure that all of your bike’s parts are working properly ahead of the cycling season. By having one in September, you are ensuring that your bike gets a thorough inspection immediately after the cycling season ends.
What can you do yourself to keep your bike in good shape?
It is important to get your bike serviced by a professional as and when you need it, however, there are many things that you can do yourself to keep on top of your bike maintenance. Not only will this save you money down the line, but it can also be quite therapeutic.
One of the most important things relating to bike maintenance is all to do with storage. If you are leaving your bike outside or in a damp shed then you are running the risk of rust developing on your bike. Instead, keep it in your house or in a well-insulated garage.
Another thing that you can do yourself is tire pressure checks. An easy way to do this is to simply squeeze both tires and if you feel like there is any give then it means they need pumping up a little bit. If you notice that there is significant give each time you go to ride, then you may well have a puncture.
You can also test your brakes out yourself. The obvious way to do this is to cycle down a quiet/empty road path and time your stopping and braking distance. If you feel like the brake pads are slipping then it is too risky to take the bike out on the road.
To get a closer look at your brake pads, unscrew the lug nuts and remove the tire from the bike completely. This will allow you to inspect the brake pads for any major or minor damage. If you spot any wear and tear then you will need to get some new ones fitted.
You must keep your bike chain lubricated at all times to help prevent it from rusting. A rusty bike chain can be a major problem because it can cause more friction when changing gears, and make the chain more likely to break.
To prevent this rust from appearing, apply wet lubricant to the chain if you are preparing your bike for a ride in wet conditions, and apply a dry lubricant if you are preparing your bike for a ride in dry conditions.
To conclude, there is no fixed time frame that you should abide by when it comes to getting your bike serviced. Instead, use your knowledge of your bike, and how it should perform, to help make your mind up. If things are going wrong or if your level of performance has dipped then it may well be time to take it in for a service.