Bike Tune up Checklist

If you want to have lots of long, enjoyable rides you need to make sure your bike is working properly. Here is a checklist to go over while tuning up your bike.

1. Wash your bike

You can’t expect a dirty bike to function properly.  A bike needs to be happy to function at maximum efficiency.  Depending on what sort of terrain you ride this may be quick and easy or a lot more work.  But this should always be the first step to a tune up, make your bike happy.  Plus, everybody looks better on a clean bike.

2. Tires

Check the tread to make sure they are not too worn, replace if necessary. The tires connect you to the terrain and need to be properly inflated.  Here is a guide for inflation:

How To Properly Inflate Bike Tires – Frugal Average Bicyclist

3. Wheels

Check that your wheels are true, and spin freely.  Listen for any strange noises that may indication the hub needs service. 

Photo by Valeriia Miller on
How to straighten a bike wheel rim

4. Saddle

Make sure your saddle is properly secured.  It should be secured at the seat post for height and the rails, so it doesn’t move forward or backward.

5. Headset and Bars

Make sure your handlebars are moving freely.  Now check the headset is tight.  With the wheels on the ground hold the front brake and wiggle the bike back and forth, there should be no play in the headset.    

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6. Bottom bracket and Pedals

Check that both pedals are still fully screwed into the crank arm.  Pedals should spin without any strange noises.  Take the chain off the front chainring and spin the crank, make sure it moves without friction or odd noise.  Pull on one of the crank arms from side to side making sure there is no play. 

7. Shifting

Run through all the gears making sure you can shift into each gear without lots of clicking.  Here is our guide to indexing your shifting:

How To Fix Bike Shifting Problems – Frugal Average Bicyclist

You don’t want to be the guy with the loud bike that doesn’t shift well, embarrassing.

8. Bearings

Periodically you may want to clean and grease your bearings.  There are bearings in your pedals, headset, bottom bracket, and hubs.  How often they need maintenance depends on the bike, riding conditions, and miles.  If you feel friction or hear noise coming from them it’s a sign that they may need service.  Some bearings are just replaced when they go bad. 

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A properly tuned bike will deliver many miles of happy riding.


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