Regardless of what the thermometer says, spring is here! If you’ve been dreaming of a new bike all winter, but it’s just not in the budget, there are some easy things that can be done to make your old bike feel like new again.
Have you been riding inside on a trainer all winter, sweating all over your bike? Or did you put your bike away after your last ride in the fall and haven’t looked at it since? Either way, a tune up will go a long way to keep you riding trouble free this year. Many items on your bike are what we call consumables, you use them for a season and then replace them when they are worn. These include the chain, cassette, shift and brake cables and their housing. Replacing these items regularly will keep your bike shifting and braking like it did the day you got it.
Where Rubber Meets the Road
Another great way to make your bike feel like new is to replace the tires. Nothing has a bigger effect on how a bike feels than the tires, so this is one place not to skimp. Look for a tire with a high TPI, or thread per inch count to get a smoother, faster rolling tire. If you commonly ride on roads that are less than smooth, look for a tire that has a puncture resistant belt made out of Kevlar or Vectran to help prevent flats. If you really want to make your bike more efficient you can also look to upgrade the wheels. Depending on your riding style you can go with a deep-dish wheel to make your bike more aerodynamically efficient or if you frequently accelerate and decelerate during your group rides or do a lot of climbing then a light weight wheel can make you faster.
Last but certainly not least, do not forget about where you touch the bike. New bar tape will have your bike looking and feeling like new. Our staff favorite is the DSP 2.5mm bar tape from Lizard Skins, which adds a nice grip with a bit of cushioning. Most riders don’t realize that saddles have a life span. If yours is more than a few years old it has already begun to break down and is not giving you the same support as it did when it was new. A new saddle will keep you more comfortable as you log those long miles this summer. Finally, how old are your shoes? If you can’t remember then it’s time to replace them. One, they probably smell so bad no one will want to ride behind or next to you. Two, they are no longer holding your foot secure and that is robbing you of the precious energy you are putting into your bike! That goes for worn cleats as well.
So pull that bike off the trainer or out of hibernation and let’s get ready to hit the open road!
If you have any questions about bike maintenance or upgrading, please stop by either Running Away Multisport location and we will be more than happy to talk bikes with you.
By: Brian Jacobson – Running Away Bike Expert