Creaking cranks, wobbly wheels or slipping saddles are the last thing you want, but our guide to basic bike maintenance will keep you rolling smoothly.

Whether you’re a regular commuter, a leisurely weekend rider, or prefer to tear it up on a serious MTB trail, signs of wear and tear might keep you off the saddle from time to time. Whilst we can’t promise to banish those roadside mishaps, we can help keep your bike tip-top with our top tips!

Toolbox Checklist

You might already have a toolbox full to bursting, but if you’re starting from scratch here’s what you need to keep your bike spick and span:

  • Allen Keys
  • Wrench
  • Track Pump
  • Chain Tool
  • Tyre Lever
  • Cable Cutter
  • Nylon Mallet
  • Two-Way Screwdriver
  • Spoke Wrench

Most of these are best kept tucked away for those weekend fixer-uppers, but you can carry a few basics in your pannier or saddle bag for when you’re out and about. Allen keys are great for quick adjustments, and a pump/lever will make those quick tyre changes or punctures a doddle when you’re miles from home.

Scrub up

Thanks to the unpredictable Great British weather, there’s a high chance of muddy splatters on your journey that’ll need cleaning up when your home. But here lies the love. After all, a clean bike is a happy bike!

You’ll need a little more than water for a proper scrub, so here’s what we recommend to get your two wheels back to their best:

  • Muc-Off Cleaner
  • Sponge
  • Brush
  • Chain Cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Degreaser
  • Disc Brake Cleaner
  • Cloth
  • Chain Lube
  • Bike Lube Spray

Blast off any stubborn mud first using your hosepipe, and start with a bucket of warm, soapy water. Then, using your Muc-Off miracle cleaner (trust, us!), spray evenly on the bike and leave to settle, why not make yourself a well-earned cuppa whilst you wait?

Give your bike a good once-over with your brushes and water, then use your favourite cleaner on the areas needing a little more TLC, like the chain and the disc brakes.

Keeping your bike clean might seem a bit of an effort after every ride, but this will help to stop the build-up of rust and in turn keep your components in good nick!

Up creek without a saddle

You’re heading out on your lovely clean bike, with a pannier packed with your essentials. A glorious route lies ahead, but then you run into a spot of bother! Most of the time there are handy hacks you can do to tide you over whilst out and about, and we’ve taken a look into the most common bike problems and solutions…

  • Clicking saddle? Check that the bolts connecting the saddle to the seat post are not loose. Tighten until the saddle is firmly secured using an Allen key from your trusty toolbox!
  • Squealing brakes? This could be down to dirt or oil on the brake pads. Give it a quick wipe down, then when you get home, take the brake pads off and readjust.
  • Squeaky derailleur? A little lube should help. Remove any excess.
  • Creaky pedals? Dry pedal bearings, loose crank arms or a worn bottom bracket could be the culprit. Once home, remove and lube the pedal bearings, tighten and lube the crank arms, or replace the bottom bracket if it’s still making a fuss.

Problem areas

It’s not often a quick fix from the toolkit that will get you back behind the handlebars. Some of the problems you find with your bike might need a closer look, and here’s where we can help!

Wobbling disc rotors, spongy brakes and rattling bolts needn’t be as pesky as they sound for long enough to keep you off your bike! Call and see us with your two wheels at your local Halfords, or with any other bike bothers you might have.

We Care

From as little as £15/€18 a year, we’ll take the labour out of looking after your bike. We provide free fitting on all parts and accessories bought from Halfords, and we even include an annual service worth £50/€60 as part of the plan!

Take a look at the different care packages we offer here.