How to make your bike last longer than you

By Ea Francisco | Photo by Sanwal Deen/Unsplash

Triathlon bikes are no joke. You need to know a few technical skills in order to make your bike last. And those expensive road bikes and mountain bikes? All require special care. Here’s a simple checklist of what you should do to make sure your bike outlives you.

Check and replace your chain

The chain is an important part of the bike and how you ride affects its longevity. As a triathlete, you’ll be facing different kinds of terrain, so dirt and rust can build up in the chain. When this happens, it decreases flexibility and performance. It would also wear down your derailleur and drivetrain. You have to regularly check and clean your chain and if it starts to squeak, you can lubricate it to maintain efficiency. Don’t wait too long to replace it because a worn-out chain can damage your other bike parts if neglected.

Grease your seatpost

One thing that people tend to do is leave their seatpost on for months. Around three months is fine but when neglected for around six months, your seatpost will seize up. When this happens, you won’t be able to adjust your saddle. To avoid this, grease it every three to five months. The grease would eventually break down and the bike would oxidize and let moisture seep in again. For carbon, use a kind of paste specifically made for carbon.

Checking and changing your tires

A basic skill that any triathlete or cyclist needs to know is changing a flat tire. Pinch and punctures can occur any time during a race or training, so it’s essential to know what to do about it. In the same sense, it’s also important to know how to check your tire pressure. Overinflated tires can be just as problematic as underinflated ones. It generally ranges from around 50 to 90 psi depending on the tires, but it’s best to consult with an expert on this one. Higher pressure usually means better performance, but that’s only assuming you have a perfectly smooth road, which never happens. Aside from the tires, there are a lot of other things to consider such as your weight and the terrain when finding the ideal bike pressure.

Bike maintenance is an essential part of being a triathlete and you can get into a serious accident if you neglect your bike too long. While you can always consult with a mechanic, it’s best to know how to handle your bike. Don’t wait until the last minute unless you want to spend more on repair and parts.

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