You can’t beat the feeling of riding your bike. However, once you’ve finished exploring the great outdoors, it’s important to keep your cycling equipment in top condition.
It’ll not only extend the life of your kit, but it’ll keep you safe too.
Here’s a complete guide on when to replace your cycling gear and how to prevent any unnecessary damage to it.
Keeping your bike helmet in top condition can keep you safe. You should always look to replace it every three years to make sure that the foam inside of your helmet, otherwise known as EPS, hasn’t eroded or cracked.
However, if you notice any cracks and dents to the shell, damage to the EPS, or the plastic interior liner (MIPs), replace it immediately. All of these things help to keep the helmet firmly fixed on your head and are built to reduce the sudden impact on your head in the case of a crash.
As a top tip to keep your helmet in great condition, don’t use any solvent on it, as products that contain chemicals can cause damage. Instead, use warm, soapy water to gently clean it after every ride.
Cassette and chainrings
No, we’re not talking about the Usher tape you used to listen to in your car, the cassette is the cluster of gears on the back wheel of your bike. Eventually, the bike chain will wear down the cassette.
To check its condition, have a look at the space between the teeth to see if there is any wear. They’ll take on more of a wave shape on one edge if it needs replacing. You should always replace your cassette and bike chain together.
To prevent this from happening so quickly, give your cassette a scrub using a cleaning kit.
You should also carry out the same process for the front gears, otherwise known as the chainrings.
Your bike chain is arguably one of the most important components on your bike, so it’s super important that you keep a close eye on the condition of yours.
As a general rule, you should look to replace your bike chain every 2,000 miles. However, some will naturally last longer than others.
Try carrying out the ‘ruler test’. To do this, draw the chain taut, align the end of a ruler at the zero-inch mark with the centre of a rivet, and see where the ruler’s 12-inch mark lines up.
If the rivet is less than a 1/16 of an inch ahead of the 12-inch mark, then your chain is in perfect condition. Anything more and you should think about replacing it.
Or for an easier way, the Bikehut Chain Wear Checker is great.
You should regularly apply lubricant and clean your chain as a dirty one will grind down the cassette and chain links.
Having healthy brake pads is vital if you don’t want to go riding into a bush! You can tell whether your brake pads are on the way out because you’ll have to pull more aggressively on the brake lever to feel the bike start slowing down.
In extreme cases, you might be able to hear an awful metal-on-metal screech when you brake, meaning the rubber has worn and the pad backing is striking the rim or rotor.
To keep your brake pads in good condition, use a medium grit sandpaper to clean them.
If you use clipless pedals, you may find that the cleats can become worn down and your foot will move around in the pedal a lot. While there’s no time limit on how long these last, a big sign to look out for is a squeaking noise when you peal or if you don’t hear that satisfying click when you clip your shoes on.
Like any other cycling equipment, you should make sure your cleats are clean. Avoid walking in your shoes as well as this could wear down the component needed to fix them onto your cleats.
Trying to work out when to replace a pair of cycling shoes depends on a number of variables. For instance, a cheaper pair might not have the quality fabrics to withstand ongoing use, while if you do a lot of mountain biking and forget to clean them, you could also be heading to the shops sooner than you thought.
As a starting point, check the closures (seals) and the soles of the cycling shoes. If you see significant wear, you might need to get a new pair. However, with some cycling shoes, you can replace certain parts, which will help extend the life of them.
To help reduce damage, always clean them and avoid walking in them.
Enjoy reading this post? Then you might find this post useful: ‘The 7 best traffic free UK cycle routes’.