In the grand scheme of things, bikes should be pretty easy to maintain and look after. They don’t have cam belts, they don’t need an annual certificate to prove their road worthy, and you can pretty much see all the moving parts.
However, bikes do need a little regular TLC to to keep them in smooth running order. Most of the regular work you need to do is pretty simple, but there are some common blunders that happen all too often…
Overtightening and rounding off bolts
A lot of the bolts you’re likely to regularly adjust – stem bolts, seat post clamp bolts – are pretty crucial to you maintaining your position on the bike. Therefore, it’s obvious that you don’t want them to be overly loose, as this can result in a sudden thud. However, far too often people over tighten these out of fear – and this can be just as bad.
At the worst case scenario, overly tight bolts can put too much tension through the components, causing cracks. Best case scenario, they can be so hard to remove that you’ll end up slipping, and rounding off the bolt.
Most parts state the required torque in ‘Newton metres’ next to the bolt. Invest in a torque wrench so you can always be sure you’ve got it just right – or ask a mechanic to show you what 5 Newton Metres feels like.