25. How to Tune Up Your Bike
No matter how often you ride you should give your bike a tune-up at least once a year.
Today we’ll learn how to tune up your bike, which I’d recommend doing at least once a year, or even every few months if you ride every day. Since I can’t demonstrate every step of the procedure while keeping this video short, I’ll give a general overview and cover each step further in separate tutorials. You’ll notice below that I’ve written out all of the steps and included links to related tutorials. I’ll be adding new links as future videos are uploaded.
Depending how much work is needed you’ll need a several tools for this job. Most importantly you’ll need:
First disconnect your brakes and remove both wheels. This makes it easier to clean the bike frame and tune-up the wheels. Clean between the sprockets of your freewheel or cassette using a rag or a proper cleaning tool. Using a dry rag, wipe down the hubs, spokes, and rims on both wheels. If they are difficult to clean dip your rag in some mildly soapy water and try again. Never use harsh cleaners or a water hose to clean your bike. Check both hub adjustments to make sure they aren’t loose and that they spin freely. Adjust or overhaul them as necessary.
If you have a truing stand, deflate the tires and check the alignment and spoke tension of both wheels and adjust them as needed. Inflate both tires to the recommended pressure and set them aside.
Now wipe down your entire bike frame and components. I usually start at the handlebar and work my way to the rear derailleur in order to keep my rag clean as long as possible. Again you can dampen your rag with soapy water if needed to loosen up any tough grime.
Once clean it’s a good idea to carefully inspect the entire surface of your frame for any hairline cracks or damage. If you notice anything you should take it to your local shop right away for further assessment, as it can be dangerous to ride on a cracked frame. Inspect all of your components as well, paying particular attention to the brake and shift cables. If they are frayed or have damaged housings, now is the time to replace them.
Now apply a few drops of some light lubricant to the inside of your cable housings and all of the pivot points on your brake and shift components. Avoid getting any oil on your brake pads, and wipe off any excess so that it doesn’t collect dirt. Here’s a video that demonstrates cable lubrication.
Inspect all of your brake pad surfaces and carefully trim away any wear ridges with a razor blade. Resurface them with rough sandpaper to clean up road grime. You should replace the pads if they are worn past the indicator line, or if you can see metal poking through the surface. Watch the brake tutorials.
Now check all of the bolts on your bike to make sure they’re tight, but be careful not to over-tighten. If they already feel tight enough don’t force them any tighter. Important areas to check include your handlebars, levers, shifters, stem, seat, seatpost, brakes, derailleurs, cranks and pedals.
Here is a bicycle torque specification guide from Park Tools.
Now reinstall the wheels and reconnect your brakes. Adjust the brake pads and cable tension as needed. Clean the chain, check for chain wear, and then lubricate it with chain oil. Then adjust the rear derailleur first, and the front derailleur second. Now place the bike on the ground and adjust your handlebar and seat position if needed.
The last step is very important. Take your bike on a thorough test ride, running through all of the gears and testing the brakes. Most of the time you’ll have a few minor re-adjustments to make before your bike is fully ready to ride.
Ok, I live in a city that doesn't have a bicycle shop and I only see bicycles around once in a while. I want to start a very small bicycle business out of my home for starters. I don't want to spend a fortune on tools, even though I can write them off as a business expense, I don't have that kind of cash flow for something that I'm not sure will completely take off. It will be more like a part time thing.
Right now I don't have a whole lot of funds to get it going and I don't want to take out a small business loan. I was looking at a couple tool kits for starters, and I'm getting... Read more >>
I just took on a project for a sick friend, I want to refurbish his old Schwinn Varsity, Im not to sure of the year, off the top of my head I can say it is a red road bike with the four brake levers and the gear shift is located where the handle bars meet the frame.
So what Id like to do is replace gears, tires, saddle, and brakes, also remove a set of the brake levers.
Any help would be very awesome,
thanks... Read more >>
So I found an old Ross bike, a cruiser, basically in total disrepair. I cleaned and repainted the bike and now I cannot put it back together. Pieces seem to be missing, the handlebars wont go in and stay in, and Im frustrated beyond belief. Any help would be so appreciated. I'll include more details if needed.... Read more >>
Why does my bike make rumbling noises when it is on speed 1 on the front and speed 1 on the back?
I have a GMC Denali 700c road bike and it has 21 speed. It only makes the rumbling sound when I am on speed 1 and 1 on both the front and back. Also, this is only the case when I flip my bike up side down to fix/inspect it. When I am riding it it does not make any noise on that gear and it seems fine. Is this normal? Why exactly is it making that noise? Im afraid I might damage the bike if I just leave it that way and keep riding. Also is there anyway to possibly fix this at home? Please hel... Read more >>
After a year of being outside doing nothing, I would love to use it again.
Its a Hawk Paradise, atleast thats what on the frame. When do you know when biting off more than you should? And hand the bike over to the rag & bone man. I'll be able to post photos tomorrow, when I get the weeds, grime off.
The chain will need to be changed, but how can you tell which to get on the gears, its got upto 3 on the left handle, and upto 6 on the right handle.
I have a basic knowledge of bike maintence thanks to my off-road bike loving ex.
Am I bitin... Read more >>
So before I start, understand that I'm new to bike terms and may sound dumb but I need some help!
I recently decided I wanted to buy a bike on Craigslist, it was only $30 (laughs) aand I knew it needed fixing up but after getting it and really looking at it I realize whoever "tried" to fix this bike had no idea what they were doing.
The only identification I have for it is a little duck looking logo sticker thing on the front of the frame that says Raleigh. I found serial number on bottom and one number that was P1013-5. The frame is still in good shape but its been ... Read more >>
Hi guys, I've just joined this forum having browsed here many times before for ideas and information. If I could cut to the chase, I'm the owner of a now-broken commuter/occasional touring bike, ran into the back of a Benz last month and the bike didn't survive.
I'm contemplating new frames to swap parts and rebuild a commuter. In the meantime, I've found an abandoned KHS Winner, looks to be a mid-80's product: its on the heavier side and not an inspiring frame but rides ok...if the sidepull brakes are repaired or replaced. Its 27" rims are steel and degraded and the bars kill my ... Read more >>
Hi i have a touring bike it is well looked after but after a routeen weekly wash that i do on the bike there seems to be a clicking noise everytime the rear wheel rotates fully onece. the noise is louder and more frequent the faster i go
I wondered if there is a simple fix or if anyone could hint to what it is
Thanks if you can
Also all i use for cleaning is soapy water and clean water degreaser and lube... Read more >>
Hi, I know nothing about bikes but recently inherited a harlem toscano mountain bike.
I took it into halfords for a brake & gears service to ensure it was safe to use. They replaced some cables and the break pads, so all good.
I noticed that everytime I went up hill when changing gears the chain would come off. So I took it back and complained and they checked it again and replaced the chain and the back gear cogs. However they said the problem was because its a 6 speed shifter for 7 speed cog. I dont really understand what that means.
There is s... Read more >>
First of all thank you for your advice in advance and I wasnt sure where the thread should go since it's neither cranks nor chainring. So I have been having a problem with my bic and I am determined to fix it myself. I have been riding the bic for a long time, so it's old. Sometimes when I put pressure on the pedals by standing up i hear a creaking sound, although it doesn't come from the gears or the chain ring. This morning I heard the creak again, and after ward the whole chainring and the two pedals started to move left and right horizontally, kind of sliding through the ... Read more >>
I pulled this old Murray Venom out from my garage, this was my bike in early high school I had upgraded to a new bike but someone stole it towards the end of high school (I biked to school) well I recently ended up getting a new job close to my house (About 2 miles) so I figured I would commute to work on a bike well my old bike still works but there are a few things wrong with it:
1. No Brakes, they are V brakes by the looks of them but the cabling is all shreded and the brake handles look all worn
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We both have Venture 2.0 bybrid bikes. We really like them, but my husband had to switch his seat and ended up with the one here:
This helped his underside greatly, especially the most sensitive parts, but he is finding that after an hour's ride, he has to start standing up for half a minute or so to give his behind a break from hurting before he sits back down. If we approach 2 hours, he has to stand frequently after about 90 min and can hardly wait t... Read more >>
It is my first post here on this great site. I currently have a reproduction Schwinn Grey Ghost. It is currently single speed, but I wanted to know if I could change to 3 or 5 speed? Do I have to buy a new rear wheel with a 3 speed hub or? I added two pictures of the bicycle.
Thank you in advance... Read more >>
The axle of my exercise bike (Colima Pro by Horizon fitness) broke into two recently. I'm attaching some pictures of the bike, to show it's current state. In image#..481, I have marked the broken area.
I received the replacement axle from the manufacturer, but have gotten stuck in removing the current axle. At this stage, I'm not really sure as to how to dismantle it and am looking for some kind assistance.
This is the owner's guide of the bike.
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So my father in law gifted me a Schwinn Woodlands 21 speed from 1988. It's been kept in the garage for the last 18 years. Looks good for its age. I was wondering what are some updates that I can make get it to be a more modern ride. Not looking for anything major, I know I'm going to need new wheels due to them dry rotting. Is there any other suggestions of things to swap out or replace? Thanks!!... Read more >>