While we originally wrote this post for breaking out the bike after a winter hiatus, we think that this advice is great to follow year-round, even if you’ve been riding for months! You’ll be amazed at what you find if you give your bike a thorough once-over – so what do you look for?
Just follow our 13 Point Inspection checklist.
If you need some reference for where to look for parts on your bike, check out our handy Anatomy of a Bike guide.
1. Inspect frame & fork for damage.
Look for cracks or frame separation. Gently lift your front tire off of the ground and let it drop. Listen for noise (beyond the sound of the chain bouncing).
2. Inspect racks, fenders, child seats & baskets.
Make sure all nuts and bolts are securely fastened.
3. Inspect rims and spokes for wear, damage and that the wheel is true
Look for loose or missing spokes (loose spokes will rattle when moved with your fingers).
Spin the wheel to see if it rolls smoothly. If not take it to a professional.
4. Inspect tires for cuts, wear & damage.
Check the tires for cracks, dry spots, visible tire threads, cuts, visible tire casing, or debris in the rubber.
5. Test brake levers and brakes are tight & secure.
Squeeze the brakes and move your bike. If the brakes are working your bike wheels should not roll.
6. Test headset for correct adjustment.
Squeeze the brakes and move your bike back and forth. Look to see if the fork rocks where it inserts into the frame.
7. Test seat and seatpost are tight & secure.
Try to twist the seat side to side. It should not move.
Click here to see how to adjust your seatpost
8. Test handlebar, stem, and pedals are tight & secure.
Try to twist your handlebar, while holding the front wheel securely. It should not move side to side or up and down.
Click here to see how to adjust your stem
9. Inspect cables & housing for cracks, kinks, rust or fraying.
10. Inspect brakes for correct adjustment.
Your brakes should squeeze the rim at the same time. If not, go and visit your favorite mechanic.
11. Inspect brake pads for wear.
Use the wear indicator marks on the pad to determine if the pads are still in good use. If you don’t see any, you can pick up some replacements here.
12. Inspect derailleurs for correct adjustment.
Take your bike for a short test spin or put it in the workstand and try to shift gears. Look to see if your bike skips gears, won’t shift to the selected gear or makes a rattling, skipping sound.
13. Inflate tires to sidewall pressure.
Tires have a range of tires pressures written on the side wall that is a useful guide. You should pump up your tires before every ride.
Click here to see how to inflate your tires
Need some new tubes? Stock up here.
Everything check out okay? Go pedal!
To find out what essentials you should bring on your next ride, check out our article here.