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How to Do a Bicycle Tune-Up

Learn how to do a bike tune-up at home from Silk Road Cycles' Brendon Nicholas in this Howcast bicycle repair and maintenance video.


Okay. So we're going to talk about how to do a tune up at home. What you should do for a tune up at home and then also what's involved in a tune up at most bike shops. They vary according to the bike shop and according to which tune up you get, but for the most part they're pretty much the same.

So when you're doing a tune at home things that you really want to focus on is, you want to focus on cleaning your bicycle, making sure it's really nice and clean so the parts last a long time and work really well.

A couple of things that you really want to make sure you do all the time is every two weeks about, like one to two weeks, make sure you pump up your tires to the proper psi. It's located on the side of the tire. Make sure that you look over the tire to make sure that the tread isn't worn out and also that you don't have dry rot or a hole in the tire so you're not going to be stranded and also it's not dangerous when you're going down a hill and blows out.

Also, adjusting your brakes is really important to do at home. Another thing you can do at home is just make sure that all the nuts and bolts are nice and tight on your bike. A lot of times when you're riding along I see things fall off of their bicycles, that can be really dangerous for you and also for other people. So just make sure that you tighten down even small bolts like this, like for your water battle cage, just to make sure that they're not going to fall off.

Another thing you can do at home is make sure that your crank arms are nice and tight. So making sure that all the bolts are tight so when you're peddling your crank doesn't fall off. And also, you can, if you know how to adjust your gears, you can adjust your gears at home. That's a good thing to do every once in a while to make sure that you're shifting properly.

For doing a tune up in an actual shop, like I said most shops are pretty much it same, could vary a little bit. So what we do at Silk Road Cycles here, is we go through the entire bike head to toe, look over it first, and assess if anything is worn out. Then what we're going to do is we're going to start with the headset so we adjust the headset. And then we take off both wheels and we adjust the hubs. So basically this axle here, to make sure that they're running smoothly and they're not too tight and not too loose. Then we true the wheel on our truing stand here to make sure that it rolls nice and straight, basically adjusting the spoke nipples so the wheels pulled right to each side and it's tensioned to the right amount of tension on each spoke.

Then what we'll do, if you do have like a free wheel or something like that, we'll grease the free wheel threads, grease the quick releases, basically grease everything that needs to be greased, put it back on the bike. Then we adjust your brakes to make sure that the brakes are working properly, that they're hitting properly, that your brake pads aren't worn out and just basically look through the entire bike and make sure everything's tight and working properly.

So the idea of a tune up is that you want to make sure that you're doing a tune up according to how much riding you're doing. So let's say you don't ride too much, but you ride in season, like fair weather riding and you usually want to do about a tune up a year. If you're doing a lot of riding, like you're doing a lot of riding just in season, maybe two tune ups, maybe three tune ups. Basically, what it's for is to make sure that your bike is running properly and also catching problems before they happen, like your chain is worn out, your brake pads are worn out, something like that.

So it actually costs a lot less in the long run. You really don't want to be out in like a rain storm and have your brakes fail or something like that. It's better to get a tune up and make sure that everything's working properly before something catastrophic happens.

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