Your bike is many things: transportation, a platform for fun, and a utilitarian tool. If you ride your hybrid bike frequently, the miles, bumps, and wear can be hard on its components.
Luckily, good hybrid bike maintenance can help you keep your bike in great shape for years to come. But what, exactly, should you do in the way of cleaning and maintenance? Here’s your monthly “to-do” list.
Why Bike Maintenance Matters
Your bike is a complex assortment of moving pieces. As you pedal it down the road, your chain rotates, metal touches metal, and the various structures of your bike work to absorb shock and impact.
Just like cars need tire rotations and oil changes to stand up to their daily wear-and-tear, bikes need cars need tire rotations and oil changes to stand up to their daily wear-and-tear, bikes need routine maintenance to avoid rust, damage, and failing components. The better a bike is maintained, the longer it will last.
10 Monthly Maintenance Tasks for Your Hybrid Bike
Whether you use your bike to commute, or simply ride it for pleasure, these monthly maintenance tasks will help you keep it in tip-top shape.
- Clean it After Every Ride
While it may seem overkill, cleaning your bike after every ride is the only way to truly remove grease, grime, and dirt that can damage sensitive components.
You don’t need fancy bike cleaners – just use some warm water and a gentle detergent. An old toothbrush or microfiber cloth is ideal for removing buildup and keeping your bike clean and functional.
- Check Your Tire Pressure
Did you know that under-inflated tires are more prone to pops and punctures? With this in mind, check the tire pressure regularly and ensure it’s up to par. If it’s too low, fill the tires to their designated pressure level.
If the tire pressure is too high, deflate them until they’re in range. Don’t know how to check your tire pressure? Check out this instructional video for some tips:
- Check and Clean Your Brake Pad
Your brakes are inarguably one of the most important components of your bike. When they’re new and fresh, they make emergency stops and sudden maneuvers possible. When they’re old and worn-out, though, they can put your safety at risk.
With this in mind, check your brake pads each month. If they’re worn to the point where you can’t see grooves, purchase new brake pads and replace them. It’s a fast and easy fix that can have a dramatic impact on the functionality of your bike.
- Clean Your Brakes
If your brake pads are in good repair, but you still notice sound when you apply the brakes, the culprit is likely dirty pads. Fortunately, this is a simple fix.
All you’ll need to do to remedy it is to clean your brake pads. Remove them from the bike and use a soap and warm water solution to give them a good cleaning.
Allow them to dry completely before you put them back on the bike. If this doesn’t repair the problem, you may need to replace them, after all.
If you’ve never cleaned bike brakes before, don’t fear. You don’t have to be a bike repair expert to make it work. Here’s a simple video to walk you through the steps.
- Tighten Your Brake Lever
One of the easiest things you can do to keep your bike in excellent working order is to tighten your brake lever. If you squeeze it and the lever comes more than halfway back to your handlebars, you can bet that it’s in need of a service.
To tighten the lever, you’ll want to tighten the barrel adjuster up by the brake lever. You can also use an Allen key to open the brake nut and pulling it taut again. Here’s a video to help you master the process:
- Lube Your Chain
Your chain drives the rest of the moving components of your bike. As such, keeping it lubricated is essential.
For best results, clean the chain before you start lubing it. Otherwise, you’ll just be pushing dirt and grime deeper into the burrs of your chain.
You can also use a high-quality lube to grease any part of your bike where metal touches metal. This is a simple tip, but it will go a long way to prevent dust and grime from seeping into your bike and causing rust.
- True Your Wheels
“True” wheels roll fast and straight, rather than wobbling from side-to-side.
Over time, though, things like rocks, potholes, and daily use knock your wheels out of true and make for a bumpy and inefficient ride.
To check if your wheels are “True,” flip the bike upside down and rest it on its seat and handlebars, as shown in the picture to the left.
From there, spin the wheel. If it wobbles, it needs to be “Trued.” While you can DIY this, it’s not a job for amateurs. You may want to take it to a bike shop, instead.
- Fix Your Saddle Height
The height of your seat makes a significant difference in the comfort of your ride. To get it right, experiment with different seat heights and tilts until you find the perfect one.
Keep in mind that most seat posts slip a bit, so you may have to keep adjusting the height of your saddle, even after you’ve found it once.
- Replace Your Grips
Your handlebar grips are subject to dirt, grime, grease, and oil from your skin. Make sure they remain comfortable and attractive by replacing them regularly.
You can purchase high-quality grips at your local bike shop for a few dollars and either install them yourself or ask the bike techs at the shop to help you.
- Take the Bike for a Professional Tune-Up
No matter how good you are at at-home maintenance, all bikes need professional love now and again. Take yours to a professional mechanic for a tune-up at least once a year, or every month if you ride it frequently.
This will keep it in excellent working order, and ensure it remains comfortable and functional for years to come.
Better Hybrid Bike Maintenance Starts Here
While learning to maintain your hybrid bike can be difficult, these ten monthly “must-dos” can give you a great place to start.