Check The Bicycle

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Check the bike

Five minutes: the time necessary to check the perfect seal of our vehicle before an exit. Whether you are a road cyclist, fat-wheeler biker, long-distance cycle riders or urban cyclists dedicated to bike to work, checking your bike before getting into the saddle has countless advantages and is a good rule that can be transformed into a habit. Let’s see how.

Check your bike before using it is really a good habit. In fact, with the use of the bike tends to lose the adjustments, the components wear out, the bolts become loose and the overall efficiency decreases progressively. Checking the most important aspects of the bike allows us to increase our safety, as it ensures that everything is tight, lubricated and working at best and allows us to get to know our vehicle, what it can give us and what are its general conditions. It is also a preventive practice, because a quick and serious check like the one proposed in this article gives the opportunity to realize any problems or malfunctions before they occur or lead to the breakdown of a component.


The quick bike check step by step:

  • Step 1: check the steering Vibrations, humidity, dust, there are many aspects that can affect the correct operation of the steering and that is why it is good to check it before using it. Stand astride the front wheel and see if the stem is parallel to the wheel, then hold down the front brake and try moving the handlebars. If you experience games, noises or the steering is stiff, it means that the headset needs a regulated or a complete cleaning.
  • Step 2: check the gearbox The derailleurs allow you to climb the ratios of pedaling and for this it is important that they work properly. Try to trigger the gear shift lever and observe the derailleur response: do they move well? Does the chain rise and fall smoothly? Is the system silent? Position the rear derailleur on the smaller sprocket and turn the pedals: if the chain falls, then you need to adjust the limit switches. Repeat the operation also on the largest pinion. Here you will find our complete article on how to adjust the front and rear derailleurs.
  • Step 3: check the spokes Bumps, jumps, bumps, holes, the use of the bike itself is a considerable stress for the spokes, which can release tension and lose the centering of the wheel and for this you must always check the resistance. A broken beam will unbalance the wheel and create unbalanced tensions that will lead to the breaking of other spokes. With the thumb and forefinger of the right-hand grasp two crossed spokes (putting your hand on the triangle formed by the intersection of two neighboring spokes starting from the hub) and try to “squeeze” them: you will have to feel resistant but flexible. Then, with the thumb, pinch one by one all the spokes: they must emit a sharp sound otherwise they have lost the tension and the centering of the whole wheel has to be done.
  • Step 4: check the brakes Our safety is entrusted to the brakes and their control is a step that we can not neglect. Rotate the wheel and press the brake lever: how do you feel it? Is it too soft, too hard or does the wheel struggle to stop? Then you will have to adjust the tension of the brake cable, since it has been stretched. Then check the brake pads: what is their status? Are they clean and the braking paste still has a good thickness, or are they worn? If consumption has reached too high a level, then you have to replace them. If your bike is equipped with disc brakes, then you should also check the centering of the rotor on the pads, so that there are no rubs that would produce useless wear.
  • Step 5: Tighten all screws The vibrations tend to loosen and the bicycle screws, even those fitted with the thread locker. As for the brakes, even in this case there is at stake your safety, so it is always better to arm with suitable keys and review all the screws of your bicycle. Warning: you do not need to increase the tightness, because you risk stripping the thread, to break the component or to ruin the cut of the screw head, especially if you do not have a torque wrench, but make sure it is tight and not slow. Insert the key and try to force it slightly: if you already feel that the screw is tightened, do not add more torque but move on to the next one.
  • Step 6: check the tire pressure The valves of the inner tubes are not watertight, so the internal pressure slowly decreases. With your hand you squeeze the tire and feel if it seems swollen to the right point or not (you go to sensations, unless you have a pump with a pressure gauge that indicates the exact pressure or a digital meter). The hand pump you use along the way is sufficient to inflate the air chambers, as it will always be a few bars to add.
  • Step 7: check seat tightening Most of the sounds of a bicycle come from an uneven saddle. Unfortunately the frame is a sounding board and this causes the noise to propagate or appear to come from somewhere else. Grasp both ends of the saddle with both hands and try to move it, pulling and pushing: you must not move or make strange noises. If it moves, then tighten the clamping screws that lock the lower guides. If it does not move but makes a noise, the clamping bolts are probably too tight and it will be easier to loosen them slightly.
  • Step 8: check the quick releases One tells you that he has experienced on his skin what it means a quick release that opens (actually in my case has broken off) while you are cycling: ten points behind the ear and three weeks of head injury. Eh, the asphalt is hard, guys. For this reason, always check that the quick release levers are tight and that the wheel does not have strange games.
  • Step 9: check the suspensions If your bike has shock absorbents, then you have to try it. Release any compression blocks and compress the suspension. Look if you have a tendency to bag (to get to the limit switch) or if you work well. Then leave the socket and check whether the return is at normal speed or is too slow or fast. If one of these conditions occurs, then you will have to waste a few more minutes to adjust your suspension.


Our quick check up is finished. Seen? It took just five minutes but it was time well spent, because it allowed you to get everything under control, to increase your safety and fun. Let the quick check become a habit and you will see that the maintenance intervals of your bike will also be dilated considerably. Now you just have to get on the saddle and get on your bike and ride

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One Comment

  • terry lemoine

    Hi Luc……this is a very informative, and complete, article on general maintenance of a bicycle, with safety and performance in mind. I really had no idea that there so many things on a bicycle that needs checking, but I do now, and I will put it to good use. Thanks for sharing/

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