ABC Checks

Pre-ride bike checks will help to detect any potential problems with your bike

It’s worth getting into the habit of completing a pre-ride ABC check every time you are going out for a ride, even if your bike, at first glance, looks to be in perfect condition. The check will take less than five minutes to complete and can save you a lot of unwanted hassle and expense that can be caused by failing to maintain your bike. 


A is for Air

  • It is important to always check the pressures of your tyres before riding. A psi pressure between 90 and 110 is preferable (closer to 90 if you are light or the roads are wet, closer to 110 if you are heavier or the roads are dry).
  • Check tyres for small pieces of debris or flint that may have lodged in the tyre and remove them as they may well work their way further in to the  tyre and puncture the inner-tube.
  • Check the wheel quick-releases are tightened properly
  • Spin each wheel in turn; wheels should spin smoothly and quietly. Any noise or wobbling could indicate a potential problem that should be checked by a trained bike mechanic.

B is for Brakes and Bolts

  • Check your brake pads to see if they have enough wear left in them for the journey (most modern brake pads will have wear indicators)
  • As a rule brakes should be fully applied by the time the brake lever has been pulled halfway to the bars. If this is not the case brakes can be easily corrected by adjusting the barrel adjusters (turning clockwise will decrease tension, turning anti-clockwise will increase tension)
  • Check that brake levers spring back smoothly; if not there may be a problem with the brake cable or caliper.
  • Check the condition of the brake cable itself and lubricate if needed
  • Check the brake pads contact the wheel rim at the same time to ensure even wear on the brake pads
  • Check that the bolts on the handlebar, seat, cable clamps etc are all tight

C is for Chain and Controls

  • Controls include your handlebars, stem, headset and gears. Check for signs of wear and serious surface damage
  • Fully apply the front brake and try to rock your bike back and forth. Any play indicates a loose or damaged headset and it will need adjusting
  • Check the Cranks by making them parallel with the ground and holding each one. If you can push or pull them to the left or right (when looking from above) this will indicate wear in the bearing of your bottom bracket
  • Check your pedals for any movement and make sure your chain rings are not bent
  • Check for smooth gear changes. Gear cables should be clean and without signs of corrosion and the pivot points on your derailleurs should move freely.

Useful tools:

Multi-tool (with Allen keys, flat and cross-headed screwdrivers)
Pump (with a pressure gauge if possible)
Chain tool
Chain lube (dry Teflon types are best for road bikes)
Disposable gloves



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