What We Look For When Checking Your Bike Over
Taking care of your drivetrain
We look at everything related to your drivetrain to ensure that your bike feels smooth to pedal and easy to shift gears. this is the gear hanger tool in operation, truing the gear hanger.
You’re in safe hands….
Consumable parts require regular checks and replacements to keep you riding safely. On the left of owen’s hand is an extremely worn rim brake pad, on the right is a brand new one.
We look for cuts in tyres —>
You can also see tyre ‘fatigue’ - tiny cracks in the tyre - another sign it’s ready to be replaced.
As you can see from the images above - nipples and spokes can pull through cracked rims. When this happens, we’ll raise this with you, and advise on options for new wheels or wheel builds.
Each customer that walks through the door has a different level of understanding about their bike. Some are very familiar with their bike, it’s components and what work they feel needs to be done. Other customers are unsure but have a feeling that, based on the age of the bike or the time spent riding it, that they should get it checked out.
Either way, we always provide a free full quote on your bike following an assessment of your bike. The assessment includes a thorough look over the bike while it’s in the stand and a test ride before we make any changes. This allows us to get a detailed picture of what your bike needs as part of the service. Then we provide a breakdown of the labour and parts needed to get your bike in good working order.
During our busy months, we are often asked if we can do the quote on the spot, and people are a little surprised when we say this is not possible. While we can quickly check the wear on consumables such as brake pads and chain, properly assessing your bike and building a quote takes a little time; as it’s important that we ensure we have examined all aspects of your bike to provide an accurate quote.
We wanted to make our customers aware of exactly what we look at when we are building a quote, enabling you to get a feel for the level of detail we go in to as our services as well as why it requires a little time to do it properly. So, here’s a list of just some of the things we’re looking for when preparing a quote on your bike:
Frame and Forks
We always take a look at the condition of the frame and forks before we start looking at the components. After all, the frame and forks are the foundation of your bike and if they are structurally compromised that needs to be addressed before we quote on any components that may need replacing.
Seatpost - We’ll remove your seat post to ensure it isn’t seized, and we’ll clean and regrease using the appropriate solution (grease or fibre grip) and make sure it is tightened to the correct torque setting.
Headset - We’ll also have a look at your headset bearings to determine if they are worn. In some cases they can be removed, cleaned and regreased. In others they may need to be replaced completely. We’ll check that your headset is compressing properly, and we’ll remove or add spacers where required to ensure safe compression.
Next we look at your drivetrain. This includes:
Shifters - We check to ensure that the shifters operate freely and that customers have access to their full range of gears. Some shifters may become sluggish and require a little cleaning and lubricant in order to operate properly.
Gear Cables - We check the stretch on your inner and outer gear cables. If they are tired we will look to replace as required. In some cases lubricant is all that is needed to get stiff cables operating more smoothly.
Front and Rear Mech - We check the operation of your mechs to ensure that they are operating properly. Some mechs become seized up and stiff due to a lack of use, while others show play after considerable use. We may adjust thes mechs to improve performance. We will also check the jockey wheels in the rear mech for bearing and chain wear, and advise if these need to be replaced.
Chain and Cassette - We’ll examine the wear on your chain and cassette. At certain levels of chain wear you can simply fit a new chain, but in cases where the chain is considerably worn you will need to replace the chain and the cassette and possibly the chain rings/chainset. We have previously written a blog post on the levels of chain wear. We check that the chain is the correct length and that the cassette has no play on the freehub. If a clean and regrease is all that’s needed that’s all we’ll do!
Chainrings / Cranks / Pedals - We check that your chainring bolts are all in place and we check the wear on your chainring teeth. On some chainsets you can replace individual chain rings, where as on others you have to replace the entire chainset.
Pedals - We’ll check your pedal axles to ensure they have anti seize applied and that the pedal bearings are not worn.
Bottom Bracket - We check the bottom bracket for any signs of wear, including gritty noises / clicking / side to side play and it’s ability to move freely.
Gear Hanger - We check that the gear hanger is true and not showing any signs of stress.
We check that everything on your drivetrain is secured properly - including your gear hanger, rear mech, front mech, cassette, chainring bolts and more.
While it’s important to ensure that your drivetrain is working efficiently it’s also crucial that your brakes are also working effectively! We check every aspect of your brakes, from your brake levers, down to the hoses or cables, to the calipers and pads.
Rim Brakes - We check the wear on the brake pads and ensure that the brake pads have been fitted correctly. We ensure that the operation of the caliper is smooth and has equal pull on both sides. We also check the brake cable and lever.
Disc Brakes - We check the wear on the brake pads and the rotors. We also check that the pistons operate smoothly and, in the case of hydraulic setups, ensure that the lever pull is operating as expected and that there is no fluid leaking from the caliper, lever or hose. We check that the pads, rotors and calipers are all properly fitted and secure. Where necessary we will advise on a brake bleed.
There’s more that meets the eye with your wheels, and there’s quite a lot that we look at when checking your wheels, including:
Tyres and Tubes - We check that your inner tubes are holding air and that your tyres are roadworthy. We look for fatigue cracking, multiple cuts, deep cuts or tyres that have been flattened off through wear.
Nipples and spokes - We check the condition of the nipples to make sure that they are not rusted or pulling through the rim. We also check the spoke tension to ensure that the wheel is running true.
Rim Wear and Condition - On rims where rim brakes are fitted we check the rim for braking surface wear and ensure that the rim is not becoming too concave. We also check the rim for any dinks or damage that may have been caused as a result of an off.
Axles - Whether you have solid axles, quick release axles or thru axles we check that the axles are in straight, all the pieces are there, that they are in good working order and tightened correctly.
Bearings - We check both axle bearings and the freehub bearings to ensure that they are running smoothly. When required we will look to replace the bearings.
Wheel true and dishing - We make sure that you wheel is running true and is dished correctly.
It’s important to check the little details that make up your bike as these can also make a big difference to safety and performance:
Saddle - We check to ensure that your saddle is fitted securely. In cases where saddles are fitted too far forward or back we will advise - as clamping on incorrect sections of the saddle rails can lead to them snapping. We’ll advise on ways to increase or decrease your reach more efficiently. In cases where the saddle is nose up or nose down we will advise and can level out the saddle if required. We will also check that any lights or saddle bags are fitted securely.
Handlebars/ Stem / Bar tape / Grips - We’ll look at your handlebars and tape/grips to ensure that they are in good condition and are torqued correctly. We’ll check that the shifters and brake levers are secured correctly, as well as any other accessories you may have fitted. If bar tape is worn we will advise that it should be replaced.
So many individual components make up the whole picture of your bike, and the relationship those parts have with one another means it’s crucial that we assess the bike properly to determine what parts and labour it requires. We often test ride a bike before we quote on it, to see how it is behaving both on the road and in the stand (some problems simply can’t be replicated while the bike is in the stand).
Our quoting process is comprehensive - but this is the only way to ensure that your bike is properly assessed and serviced. We aim to ensure that riders are aware of any issues that may be occurring with their bike, and we do all we can to remedy any problems, keeping you riding and smiling!