Fall Maintenance 101

The time has come for the days to get shorter, the leaves to change color, and the temps to start dropping. That doesn’t mean you have to stop riding, but it does mean it’s time to push reset on the condition of your bike and do a little seasonal maintenance.

In this journal entry, we’ll walk you through some simple steps you can take to keep your bike clean, safe, and working smooth after a long spring and summer full of riding. We’ll cover a general safety check, cleaning your frame and parts, and a simple chain clean and lube.

What you’ll need to complete this maintenance:

  • 19mm crescent wrench
  • Hex wrench set including 2.5mm, 4mm, 5mm and 8mm
  • Torque wrench with 4mm, 5mm and 8mm hex bits
  • Nitrile mechanics gloves, or your preferred protective glove
  • Eye protection, for spraying chemicals and high air pressure
  • Bike chain degreaser
  • Bike chain lube
  • Bike workstand or bike stand, to keep the bike upright while working

Start with a basic safety inspection of your bike using this list:

  • Check the stem faceplate bolts for tightness and proper torque
  • Check the stem steerer tube clamp for tightness and proper torque
  • Check the bolts attaching the grips to the handlebar for tightness
  • Check the front axle bolts in the fork dropout for tightness
  • Check the rear axle in the frame dropout for tightness
  • Check the crank bolt for tightness and proper torque
  • Check the chain for rust and deformities
  • Check the bolts holding your brake calipers in place for tightness and proper torque
  • Check your tire pressure. Tires should be inflated to 12psi up to 25psi. The stock CST tires are not to be inflated more than 30psi.

Time to clean and lube your chain

A clean and well lubed chain is important for both functionality of your bike and also the longevity of your drive train parts including the cassette, rear derailleur, and front chainring.

  • Using a mild degreaser and a rag, coat the chain with degreaser and let sit for 30 seconds. Then wipe away the degreaser with the rag until the chain is mostly clean and dry. You may use pressurized air to blow away the lingering degreaser and grime between the links and rollers.
  • After the chain has been degreased and is dry, it is time to apply chain lube.
  • An easy way to apply chain lube is to cycle the chain backwards using the pedals while lightly applying the chain lube. Then wipe away the excess. There should not be any lube dripping from the chain. It should simply be glistening with a light layer of chain lube.

Time to clean your frame:

  • Time for a little shine and polish of your bike frame.
  • You can use a purpose built frame cleaner like the Muc-Off Waterless Cleaner, or some warm water with a durable rag also works. For pesky grease stain, use warm water and a light detergent like dawn dish soap to remove.
  • Give your frame a thorough wipe down making sure to clean the dust and grime out of all the nooks and crannies. Use a clean rag to wipe dry when done.

Finally, check for any mechanical issues your bike may be experiencing.

As a general rule, if something doesn’t seem right, or is making a sound you don’t think it should, or isn’t performing the way it once did, it’s worth talking to a professional for more advice.

Is your shifting crisp? Is the braking power consistent and sufficient to bring your bike to a stop when you need to come to a complete stop? Does the functionality of the bike feel OK? If not, consult a professional for some next level assistance.

You can send us an email using this form, or you can call or visit your local bike shop for some additional service.

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