‘This is how we maintain our bicycles’ is part of the series “This is how… by TwistingSpokes.com”. Cycling on a well maintained bicycle is a great feeling.

We give quite some attention to Mojo and Isaba as they are the main source of transportation. We really enjoy spending the time maintaining our bicycles, this does create a sense of accomplishment and a relationship with our bicycles.

Maintaining a bicycle is not rocket science and doesn’t require a lot of time. Moving parts are the most important parts on the bicycle and we do our best to look out for these parts.

Moving parts to take notice to on the bicycle:

  1. Chain
  2. Brakes
  3. Cassette
  4. Front sprockets
  5. Bottom bracket
  6. Free wheel – Hub
  7. Front hub- Dynamo
  8. Headset

This is a list of moving parts on our bicycle more or less in the order that we give attention to our bicycles. This is based on experience and the knowledge we got from the bicycle maintenance course we did back in The Netherlands.

We learned a great deal from this course and it gave us the background knowledge of the bicycles and what and where we should give attention. 

Again this is just how we maintain our bicycles and not always needed to do, but in general when you maintain your gear well it might last longer. Now for the details on maintaining our bicycles.

road bicycle repairThe chain is a really vital part of the bicycle and it takes a whole lot of beating. So as a small reminder we never want our chain to show rust, black oil or being dry of oil. How we prevent this and why we will explain along the way. We carry 2 extra chains and thereby are able to exchange the chains on each bicycle around every 1000-1500 km depending on the situation. This minimizes wear on both chain, cassette, front sprockets. As the chain wears down the distance between the links widen, to fit in the sprockets they need to wear down to match the distance between the chain links. When exchanging the chains every 1000km we extend the lifetime of the whole drive train.

Maintaining the chain and sprockets:

  • First of all oil is the key to the chain but too much is also bad as it collects dirt which wears down the chain.
  • We have used sewing machine oil and Shimano oil and although some people would say any oil is fine we found the Shimano one to last longer and lubricate better.
  • When we clean the chain on the road we use an old piece of clothing or what ever fabric we have handy. We then rub down the chain until it is shining and dry of oil. We then apply one little drop on each link of the chain.
  • Next we rotate the drive train so that the oil gets in to each link and lubricates well.
  • Finally we run the chain over with the cloth again to take off excessive oil.
  • Done in 7 minutes and we usually do this every 3 days on the road depending on weather and road surface.

When we have a longer stop in a town or city we usually clean the whole drive train very well, here we have used many ingredients but one that always returns is the WD40 a cleaning oil that does it. We clean the cassette, sprockets, derailleur, pulleys, chain.  This clean is more extensive and really cleans the drivetrain to make it shiny and last longer.

Maintaining brakes:

Brakes are a vital safety system on the bicycle. We have the Magura hydraulic brakes which really are good brakes. Although we have experienced some issues with leakage from the brake handles. We have then exchanged the oil and that helped one time. We are currently awaiting full replacements from Magura brakes.

We always make sure our brakes are clean and not worn out. This way we always know that the brakes are working when we come across a downhill or need to brake fast.

Rest of the bicycle is maintenance free the first few years maybe we will have to open up the hubs and regrease them. We are in the process of exchanging our bottom brackets because they are ticking at the moment.

Traveling Two also shared their knowledge on Bike Maintenance After Rain