The bike was a joy to ride. You pounded miles and miles of the road with it and it responded faithfully to your move, transforming every pedal stroke into ferocious speed. You dressed the trim aerodynamic frame with the latest and trendiest fashion in the form of a top end gear set and an ultra-light cockpit made of materials meant for spacecrafts. And you finished it with a pair of slippery deep rimmed wheels. To you, it was flawless.
A few thousand miles later, it started to squeak whenever you cranked too hard. You no longer feel the same, and it no longer rides the way it was. Something has changed. A lot indeed. The chain, having been punished a few thousand miles on the road, has been over-stretched. The lubricant has dried. The bearings in your bottom bracket which took the chunk of the beating whenever you push your pedal needs to be rehabilitated. The cables that used to react so faithfully to your shifting command is now no longer responsive. A click on the shifter levers no longer translate to a single gear shift at the derailleurs. It is time to send it for an overhaul service.
A bicycle requires maintenance. Though this may not be apparent to all, a bicycle is, after all, made up of a system of moving parts. These parts will eventually get worn and needs to be repaired or replaced. Those who treasure their investment in a good bicycle may even want to carry out maintenance procedures beyond the simple lubrication of the chain. Approach any good bicycle workshop and you will be offered a suite of bicycle maintenance services.
This blog offers a pictorial guide to highlight what goes on during a comprehensive maintenance of a road bicycle. The process may vary from one bicycle workshop to another. But this process is what we, at Bike Stop, feel as comprehensive enough to restore the performance of the road bicycle to its glorious days. If at this point you already feel compelling enough to send your bike for a service, click here to find out the services packages we offer. If not, read on.
The maintenance process involves a complete strip down of all the assemblies from the bicycle frame. Namely
- Front and Rear Derailuers
- Crankset and Bottom Bracket
- Fork and Headset
- Cogs of a Cassette
- Brake Calipers
- Seatpost with Saddle
The Original Condition
The following 6 pictures show the original condition of a road bike that was sent in for a full bike cleaning service:
Rusty chain from years of neglect by leaving the bike parked at the balcony. Rain and sunshine are "toxic" enemies of a bicycle - rain causes some metal parts to rust, while prolonged exposure to UV can cause paint work to degrade.
Months of non-use has allowed a thick coat of dust to settle on the bike's frame, threatening to become part of the paint work.
Frayed cables and rusted cable housing increases friction, resulting in less responsive shifting and braking.
Grit and dirt accumulated at the rear derailleur and cassette can cause shifting problems and reduces the efficiency of the drive train.
The chain is checked for stretch using a chain-length checker tool. An over stretched chain can accelerate wear of the cogs and chain-rings.
The brake pads are checked or wear and tear. Although these are just small rubber pads, keeping it working in tip top condition can make a difference between stopping in time or crashing into the bumper of a brake-happy motorist.
The Strip Down
The following 6 pictures shows the strip down of the bike down to its frame for cleaning and degreasing
To ensure that the rider gets back to his/her original seat height, the seat post position is marked before it is removed for cleaning.
Headset bearings is probably one of the most overlooked part of a bicycle. Proper headset bearing maintenance is key to getting a stable and responsive steering. Here, the fork is being removed so that the headset bearings can be accessed for cleaning.
The crankset is being removed so that the chain rings can be stripped off the crankset to be degreased and brushed.
After prolonged usage, the bottom bracket bearings have been battered badly. Grit and dirt has found their way into it and only an extensive degreasing and cleaning will help restore the efficient function of the bearings.
Another important component of the moving parts - the jockey wheels (aka pulleys). Here, the jockey wheels are dismantled from the rear deraileur body for cleaning.
The small parts waiting in the box for their turns to be scrubbed and cleaned.
The Cleaning Process
After the components are stripped from the bike, they take their turns to be bathed in a shower of industrial-grade degreaser to rid it of the grit and dirt.
The interior of the cassette is bathed under a shower of degreaser.
Individual sprocket of the cassette is removed for cleaning.
The rear deraileur that has been disassembled now gets its turn under the degreaser shower.
Even the most greasy part of the bicycle component does not stand a chance under the intense shower of industrial-grade degreaser and the mighty brush.
After the components have been degreased, they are then rinsed to rid of the degreaser and then blow-dried using a high-powered air stream.
The components, fresh out of a bath, sitting on the drying mat and patiently waiting for their turn to be re-united with the frame.
The frame getting polished and a layer of protectant coat.
The polished frame, looks completely different now.
The BB shell has been completely rid of the grit and dirt.
The head tube has not been overlooked.
The Final Presentation
And now with the bike re-assembled, it is ready to meet its surprised owner.