As we head into good weather, I am always an optimist, you may be thinking about bringing your bike back out of the shed. As such you would like to know that it is safe to ride. You just do not know how to do this.
Well, we here at Single Speed Co. we want you to be safe, so we have compiled a handy little guide for you.
It should be stated that the bike used in the photographs has never got put away for winter and as such, it is still covered in traces of winter. I would also like to state that I am in no way a professional photographer, I am all about bikes but you should get the idea.
The 8-Step M Check
The M check is a great way to check your bike over. It gets you into a routine and eventually, you will start to complete this check automatically. It may become an issue when you start checking your friend's bikes, automatically and without asking them.
1. Rear Wheel
Your rear wheel should be tightly fitted and the quick release lever should be secure in the closed position. Place your hand on your tyre and try and move your wheel from side to side. If it moves from side to side you have issues in your hub. It may either be needing to be tightened or your bearings may need to be replaced.
Your wheel's spokes should be of equal tension and not loose.
If you have rim brakes, check your wheel rim for wear. Your wheel will have wear marks if you can not see these and the rim is concave to touch, do not pump your tyre up, get a new wheel or rim. This is highly important, as wheel rims do explode if not replaced when they should be.
Check your tyre for cuts and slices. Check your tyres pressure.
Make sure your brake is still bolted in place. I am constantly surprised by how many people miss this.
2. Saddle and Seat Post
Check your seat post clamp is not loose.
Rock your saddle to make sure it is tight.
3. Bottom Bracket Area
Place one hand on one of your cranks arms, give it a wave. If you felt movement you could have one of two problems. One could be that your crank is loose and the other is that your bottom bracket may be worn.
Use the correct size Allen key or crank tool and see if your crank can be tightened. If it is tight, then your bottom bracket is worn. If you can tighten your cranks, give them a wave afterward. If nothing moves you have fixed the problem. If they still have play, then it is time for a new bottom bracket.
Check your chain for wear, the only way to do this is with a chain checker. They are a useful purchase.
Make sure your chainring is tight against your crank arm.
Make sure your pedals can spin freely and easily.
Make sure that they are also tightened against into your crank arm. Remember the left-hand pedal is oppositely threaded.
5. Stem, Handlebars, and Headset
Place your hand on your headset spacer, try and spin them. If they spin you have a loose headset. Give it a tighten.
Place your front wheel between your knees and turn your bars side to side Can you feel movement or grittiness, your headset will need adjusting or replacing.
Check the torque on your stem bolts. A slipped handlebar is not a fun experience and only your dentist will be happy about this.
6. Brakes and Gear Levers
Sometimes we have to stop in a fast and efficient matter.
So pull your brake lever. Does it have a lot of travel? If so your cable may need to be adjusted or you may need new brake pads.
Look at your brake pads, are they ok? If not replace and if they adjust your brake cable.
If your brakes are seized, make sure that is fixed before you ride again.
7. Front Wheel
Funnily enough, this is pretty similar to the rear wheel but at the front instead.
Check your frame for cracks, dents, and bends. If needs be, look at getting a new bike.
Now that you have completed your M check, you have 2 options if you have found any issues. You can fix them yourself or you can take your bike to cycle mechanic and have it fixed. Whatever you do, do not leave issues unsorted. This will cost you a lot more in the long run or may leave your bike as a danger to ride.
If you are not sure if you have an issue, comment below and we will do our best to help you