Road Bike Maintenance for Beginners at Home

Modified at: Jun 16, 2022

Posted at: Sep 30, 2020

We have compiled a list of road bike maintenance that even beginners can start with tools they have at home. The menu emphasizes maintaining road bike performance and early detection of problems.

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Road Bike Maintenance for Beginners Summary

The road bike maintenance for beginners presented in this issue includes the following

Item Frequency Parts Tools
Frame cleaning daily frame waste, cloth
Tire and wheel cleaning daily tire
rags, cloth
Chain and sprocket cleaning and lubrication every 400 km crank sprocket
rear sprocket
waste, lubricant
Tire pressure adjustment at least once a week tire inflator with air pressure system
Adjustment of brakes every time brake
brake shoes
Allen wrench
Wheel runout adjustment every time wheel nipple turner, wheel stand

The menu focuses on safe riding on road bikes.

Tools to be used

This maintenance has been designed to be done with tools you have at home, but the following four tools are at a minimum necessary, so please have them ready.

  • Phillips/flat head screwdriver
  • Hexagonal wrench
  • Air bottle with pressure gauge
  • Wet cloth

As for the hexagonal wrench, check the size you need, as the size you have at home may not be enough to maintain all parts of your road bike.

Cleaning Your Road Bike

As long as road bikes are ridden outside, it is inevitable that dirt will adhere to the chassis. Therefore, it is recommended that you clean your bike once every week or two.

Frame Cleaning

Frames are subject to not only mud and sand from the road surface, but also rain and one’s own sweat. Such dirt can lead to paint bald spots on the frame and rust in bald areas, so it is important to clean the frame regularly.

You do not need to use a special cleaner to clean the frame, just a quick wipe with a cloth such as a rag is better than no cleaning at all. If the frame is stored indoors and cannot be cleaned with water, it can be wiped dry, and a quick wipe down after returning home is fine.

Tire and Wheel Cleaning

Road bike tires are thin and high-pressure, so the slightest dirt or pebble can lead to a flat tire or tire deterioration.

Clean the entire tire with a wet cloth, even a rag. At that time, you should also clean the rim parts of the wheels to improve braking.

Chain & sprocket cleaning and lubrication

The chain sprocket gets very dirty because it is a part close to the ground & in contact with shoes that bring mud. Even just cleaning it thoroughly is a good idea, as it is a part that attracts sand with its lubricating oil.

Cleaning is best if you use chain cleaner, but even if you don’t, just wiping it down will clean it quite well. Remove the chain and clean the sprockets as well.

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Adjusting a Road Bike

As you ride your road bike, you will inevitably need to adjust every part of it. According to a professional road bike maintenance specialist, “most bicycles in the world are poorly maintained,” so make adjustments to keep them in top condition.

Tire pressure adjustment

This is a “must before every ride” for road bikes. If it is difficult to do this every day, try to adjust the air pressure at least once a week.

Brake Adjustment

Brakes are the lifeline of a high-speed road bike. Failure to stop while riding at high speeds can result in a serious accident.

In this sense, the brakes should be properly adjusted. The main points to check are “brake shoe wear” and “one-sided braking.

When brake shoes are worn out, it is time to replace them when there are no more grooves on the shoes. They are not that expensive and can be easily replaced by a beginner with an Allen wrench, so don’t be afraid to try it.

One-sided braking refers to a condition in which the brake shoe is “leaning to one side” in relation to the wheel. Strictly speaking, this is a condition where the caliper portion of the brake has moved out of its proper position due to stretching of the wire or shifting due to vibration from initial maintenance.

In this condition, when the brakes are squeezed, they do not grip the wheel rim correctly, resulting in poor braking performance. If the condition is bad, the brake shoes may rub the rim and “squeal” while riding.

To avoid such a situation, check for “one-sided braking” every time you ride. If you do experience “one-sided braking,” don’t worry. It can be easily adjusted with a Phillips screwdriver or an Allen wrench.

Wheel runout adjustment

This is a bit more difficult maintenance for beginners, but even if you cannot do it yourself, you should at least check the wheels to see if there is a problem.

Wheel runout” refers to a condition in which the wheel does not rotate in a regular circle. When the wheel is displaced to the left or right, it is called “horizontal runout,” and when it is displaced up and down, it is called “vertical runout.

This is a state of imbalance in the “tension” on the lines called spokes that support the frame, and is not necessarily a malfunction. It is said that even a normal bicycle will have some wheel runout after a year of riding. However, if this is left unattended, the wheel itself will become distorted, so early detection and early treatment is best.

Strictly speaking, wheel runout removal requires specialized tools and a nipple turner. If you cannot do it yourself, you can ask a bicycle shop to do it for you. The important thing is to properly check for runout.

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Know how to prepare and use tools.

Let's start self-maintenance!

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