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Do-It-Yourself: Must Do Bike Checks Before Every Ride

Ride We often head out cycling without doing a bike check-up that ensures we are ready to take on the road and the hurdles on the way. Below are a few tips that will keep you safe and ensure that you avoid a roadside malfunction so you can enjoy your ride-

Ride

Tires:-

Before you go out for a ride, it’s always a good idea to check the tire sidewalls for any sign of wear and tear. Also, ensure to keep the tyre pressure at optimum (as mentioned on the tyre) to reduce the chances of getting a puncture or a pinch flat.

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Quick release:

Imported bicycles usually come along with a quick release system that lets you open the tyres with ease. As they hold your wheel on the bike, getting into a habit of checking whether the levers are tightly locked can boost your confidence a lot.

Brakes:

Finding out in the middle of your ride that your brakes are not working can be fatal. Hence, checking them before you go cycling is a good precaution. Make sure you elevate the front wheel and spin it. Apply the front brake and ensure that the calipers and brake pads squeeze on each side of the wheel evenly.

Repeat the same process with the rear wheel.

Chain:

Always keep your eyes on the chain. See to it you always clean it and lube it. Every chain only last between 1500 to 10,000miles. This is due to several factors such as riding style, gear choice, weather condition and more.

Tail Light batteries:

If you ride early mornings or late at night, a taillight is a must. Next time you go out to ride, ensure it is fully charged. It is also a good idea to carry spare batteries in your saddle bag.

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Helmet:

No matter what bicycle you ride, wearing a helmet that fits properly is a must. Keep an eye out for cracks and check the straps buckle beneath the chin. A good helmet will only serve its purpose in times of an accident.

And if you’ve already damaged the helmet in an accident, it’s time to replace it.

Bolts:

It is always a good idea to check the bolts of your stem and the handlebar of your bikes occasionally. This will help you avoid major accidents. Also, if the bolts need to be tightened, do not over-tighten them. Especially if you have a carbon stem, handlebar and seatpost, as they are likely to crack. If you are afraid to tighten the bolts, you can always take it to a nearby mechanic.

Toolkit:

Even if your bike seems to be at its best after ever check, carrying a toolkit is a must. Do read our recommended list of bike essentials to get a better understanding of what you should be carrying in your saddle bag.

If there are any other check-ups that you think we have missed out, do comment and let us know!

7 Ways to Achieve the Perfect Bike Tyre Pressure!

Bike When it comes to enhancing your performance on the bike, we always consider upgrading to carbon wheels and better groupset. Well, some of us even upgrade to carbon frames, electronic shifting and what not!

Bike

Little do we realise, there are easy ways to boost your output on the bike. One of the most affordable and fastest ways to increase your performance and comfort is by achieving the right bike tyre pressure. The ideal tyre pressure will also reduce the cause of flats and roll like a pro!

So here are our expert tips for finding the perfect bike tyre pressure-

Pump it:

There’s nothing better than a bike that feels smooth, rolls quickly and doesn’t get punctured at all. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Keep in mind, narrow bicycle tyres need more air pressure as compared to wider ones.

Road tyres typically require 80 to 130 psi (pounds per square inch); mountain tyres, 25 to 35 psi; and hybrid tyres, 40 to 70 psi. Now that you’re familiar with the tyre pressure for different types of bike tyre pressure, start in the middle of these ranges, then factor in your body weight.

Remember, the more you weigh, the higher your tyre pressure needs to be! For instance, if your body weight is around 75 kgs, consider filling tyre pressure up to 100 PSI. If your weight is around 90 kgs, consider filling 120 PSI. Also, never go above or below the recommended bike tyre pressure given on the sidewall by the manufacturer. 

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Check your tyre pressure regularly:

The most common mistake that we all do is fail to check the tyre pressure regularly. Over time, tyre leaks air. For as little as a few PSI a week to drastic drops overnight, tyres leak air. Even a 2-degree change in the temperature outside will cause the bike tyre pressure to drop.

Get into the habit of checking your tyre pressure before going out for a ride. If you fail to do so, your pressure is probably wrong most of the time you ride. 

Find the sweet spot:

Finding the right tyre pressure as per your body weight is important. Over inflate the tyres and sacrifice your riding comfort and speed; under inflate them and become a victim of pinch flats. The right tyre pressure will also ensure that shocks and bumps are absorbed. 

Also, keep in mind, on a new road/pavement your tyres might feel great at 100 PSI, however, on a rough road, they might roll faster at 90 PSI. In wet conditions, you might want to drop the bike tyre pressure down by 10 PSI for enhanced traction.

That being said, if you’re a mountain biker, your bike rolls well at 40 PSI on the road, but on a single track, 30 PSI is what you should be looking at. Three Things You Need to Know About Getting Your Bike’s Tyre Pressure Right!

Overinflate and you’re dead:

The maximum tyre pressure limit on your sidewall is too high. So, overinflating your tyre is not always the best idea.  If you’re filling the air in your tyres, you also need to consider other factors such as the terrain, rider size, wind resistance, temperature and so on.  So follow step three and don’t over-inflate your tyres. 

Under-inflate and you’re calling for trouble:

Now that you know why you should not over-inflate, don’t under-inflate as well. With lower pressure, rolling resistance does increase, however, it only makes up a small fraction.  There’s not much of a difference in the rolling resistance caused due to tyre pressure, it depends largely on the actual tyre you’re using.

Adjust according to tyre volume:

Those of you who are switching their tyres from 23mm to 25 mm or 28mm, or from a 2.1-inch mountain bike tyre to a meatier 2.3, you’re significantly increasing tyre volume. Hence, you have to adjust air pressure downwards.

Beware of the floor pump:

Enough talks about the air pressure, let’s emphasis on the equipment we use to fill the air- Floor Pump There are plenty of floors pumps on the market for every purpose and budget. These floor pumps come with a gauge that’s probably not accurate. Yes, you read it right! “NOT ACCURATE”! 

The secret of floor pumps: We often buy a floor pump with a gauge and fill the air in our tyres. We also assume that the floor pump gauge shows the correct reading.  But…Did you know, the floor pump is measuring air pressure inside the pump, and not inside the tyre?

Needless to say, these floor pump gauges are off by a few PSI or as much as 10-12 PSI. However, the good news is, most of the floor pumps are still consistent inspite of their inaccuracy. 

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So how can you fix this issue?

Get a separate gauge, that lets you measure tyre prelude accurately. 

Play around with tyre pressure:

Whether it’s a motorbike, car or a bicycle, we are used to filling identical tyre pressure.  But do you realise that our weight is not divided 50-50 front to rear, especially on a bicycle?

According to a study at the University of Colorado, in most cases, for road cyclist, it’s more like 40% on the front and 60% on the rear wheel.  However, the range can vary from 33-67 to 45-55 across the athletes they tested.

So what does this tell us?

Tyre pressure depends on a number of things such as your riding style and the tyres you choose to install on your bike. However, one thing we are certain that we shouldn’t run both the tyres at the same pressure. 

Start by experimenting with the front and rear bike tyre pressure and take note when you go on a ride.  Ideal bike tyre pressure will give you a comfortable ride and feel confident while cornering. Also, do keep in mind that the perfect tyre pressure is likely to change wit