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.

IMPORTANT: Nuts and bolts on your bike should always be tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.
How to Tune Up Your Bike
DVD Vol. 1 DVD Volume 1
This video is available on DVD

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:

Wheel Cleaning and Tuning

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.

Frame Cleaning

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.

Frame and Parts Inspection

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.

Lubrication

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.

Headset and Bottom Bracket

Check the adjustment of both your headset and bottom bracket to make sure they aren't loose and spin smoothly.

Brakes

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.

Tightening

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.

Final Adjustments

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.

Test Ride

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.

Tags

Related Links

Discuss this topic in the Help Forums

08/14 What is this part?

This was on the rear wheel of a recently purchased GT Aggressor.  I had to remove the quick release axle to take it off.  Can't figure out what it is.

[img][Image: IMG_20170814_133845363_zpsn2ighvhy.jpg][/img][img]
... Read more >>

08/10 Upgrading old SIS drivechain

I have brought an old Giant GSR200 (early 90's I would guess), as a hack to use to commute to the station in the morning, and leaved locked all day. I am happy with the condition of the bike, and for a tenner it was a bargin!

The only issue I have is that being so old it has Shimano SIS thumb shifters (the ones on the top of the bars). I would really like to change these as I find them awkward to use, so I started to search around on google for help but now I am confused more (I am very mechanically minded, but have little experience with bikes!).

So far I have esta... Read more >>

08/05 Chain link removal and repair

Hi. I am new to this forum and not a biker. I am 60 years old. Somebody gave me a mountain bike although it looks big for a mountain bike it has 9*3 gears. The chain snapped and in desperation I went to a you tube forum to see how to repair it. I bought a chain link extractor.

[Image: ChainLinkRemover.jpg]

The extractor was difficult to turn and the chain didn't sit comfortably in the device. The result is a knacked tool that appears to be cross threaded. and having removed 2 links and mad... Read more >>

07/06 How to apply restore stickers and decals?

I am in the process of getting one of my bikes restored. I have everything I need to get it set back up right (brakes, gears, reflectors,etc.) but I need to know how to apply make and model stickers and decals. If anyone has done this before, can they PLEASE guide me on doing it, as I've never done this before. Thanks!... Read more >>

06/30 Can a woman ride this???

Hi.

Ive seen this bike. The seller says its a boys. The frame is 16" which is what I need. However im a girl. So as its a males bike is it not suitable?

[Image: sdikqq.png]

Thanks... Read more >>

06/29 Opinions on my hubbys new bike

Hi.

So me and hubby want to start bike riding to start getting fit. We cant afford new so have been searching through second hand sites. We wanted to spend as littlw as possible at first in case we dont like it, then if we get into it we can upgrade! Anyway, Im yet to get mine but we got one for hubby today. By the sounds of it the seller said its been put together from different parts. So I have took a photo of the entire bike, the frame name, the handle bar, the wheels and odd bits. Let me know what you think please? Many thanks

Read more >>

03/11 Replacing parts

Something got caught in my chain, I think near the rear derailleur. Anyways, the rear derailleur is broken and I need to replace it, the chain too. Its a Walmart bike so i'm not sure what I should do for finding the measurements, but I do know its this. Its generally a really cheap bike so I want to find some new parts, or part specifications that are compatible. I thinks the gears are a 9x3 with twist shifts. If there's anything that could help performance like changing the ... Read more >>

10/28 Looking to rebuild old project bike :) Not sure how to find compatible parts

I made a post a long while back looking for info on replacing my derailleur and painkiller was wonderfully helpful in providing info about how serious the problem actually was with more than just the derailleur. Smile

Now I've finally arrived at a point where I've got the time and money to bring my old bike out of the garage and back to the road. I originally received the bike from my uncle in rough condition several years ago. It hasn't changed much since aside from b... Read more >>

09/29 Re-spray alloy Cannonade (US made frame)

Hi

I have an old Cannonade Bad Boy. Frame was made in the US. The paint has bubbled all over the place and the alloy has oxidised underneath it. I want to strip it - check the frames integrity and then re-spray it if it's not compromised.

Before anyone starts - I'm aware how about intensive stripping frames by hand is. I've done this with a couple of steel bikes.

Questions are:
What's the best paint stripper for an alloy bike? Nitromors? Is there something better?

What's the best primer for alloy? Have read this is good:

<... Read more >>

05/28 Hello Again! 80 Peugeot, 79 Gitane Mixte

Hello from NC!   Have been away a while....
Update of the 2 bikes I overhauled 1.5 years ago...

Peugeot got damaged during move, and Mayflower didn't cover it, even with my appeal...  So I dis-assembled derailleur, bent it back, and re-assembled it.. Rode it a few times..... Appears to be normal.... (I've had No issue with the ceramic bearings in Peugeot)

Gitane did not get damaged during move, but still throws chain on reverse pedaling (something that caused my mom to stop riding in 1980's).   My overhaul, steel bearings made chain issues better, but not p... Read more >>

05/10 Fixing up Dawes Discovery 201eq gents 2011

Hi all,
I have a Dawes Discovery 201eq gents from 2011 that I want to fix up after a couple of years without use. The goal is to get it into good enough shape that I can use it for commuting and some training. I know it's not ideal for training, but I can't afford a road bike at the moment. Also I need the Dawes bike for occasional family trips (with kid on the back) so that's why I want to fix it up rather than save up and buy a road bike right away.

Here are the original specs for the bike along with some status of them:

Frame type:             7005 al... Read more >>

04/30 Working on a Genesis V2100

I like the current frame of the V2100, its why I purchased it last June. Also, I am by no means a "serious" mtb'r and former dirt/vert rider, but being older now I generally ride in the city but dont care much for road bikes as sometimes I like to trail ride, so, that being said I do plan on upgrading everything on this frame, but not with any expensive components ofc.

My main question - Are there any decent BB/cranksets that will fit this frame...SRAM...anything other than the stock garbage, and yes I noticed that all hardware and components are junk.
I have seen other V210... Read more >>

12/31 shoes

About a year ago I bought a pair of Venzo road shoes on e-bay- most comfortable shoes I've ever owned.  The rubber inserts on the underside  have worn too low to keep the cleats from rubbing and squeaking,  The inserts are removable and have a screw securing them.  Does anyone know where I can buy replacement rubber inserts of this type?... Read more >>

10/19 Noise from rear wheel

I recently started having a clicking noise from the rear axle area of my bike. It is a Schwinn Link (City series).
It doesn't start until riding about 4 miles. It is like tak tak tak and I feel it in the pedals and frame. It has a frequency of about 2 clicks per second. It is like someone is lightly tapping on the rear axle with a piece of metal. It only happens when putting power to the pedals and gets more pronounced the harder I pedal. It comes and goes but after riding a long time stays. If I freewheel I can sometimes get it to go away. This bike has 7 gears on the rear wheel. it is ... Read more >>

10/03 Frame labels on Peugeot

As I start taking measurements of (What I believe is a Peugeot U09 from 1980) for the upcoming "thrift shop fork",
I came across something that I may have posted before, but thought, what the heck,  see if any information on this has changed.....


Believe it or not, the original Paper Tag on the bottom of the frame by the crank, is still there and legible!!!

On the Paper tag is the following:     5286275 038157

It also has a number stamped of the flange for the rear axle.

On the metal frame is stamped:  B0018618

... Read more >>

New Thread
How to Tune Up Your Bike
Repair Guide / Help Forums

Free Email Updates: