Single Speed bikes give you a purer ride than a gear bike. A single speed is lighter and simpler, this is why so many cyclists love them. One of the advantages of such a bike is that it requires less maintenance than a geared bike. Less maintenance does not mean no maintenance, so we have created a handy interactive guide on how to maintain your single speed bike.
The old fashioned way to clean your chain is with a bucket of warm water, a scrubbing brush and the tiniest amount of washing up liquid. Today there are a number of truly awesome chain cleaners to choose from which are far superior. Once your chain has been cleaned it’s important to lubricate your chain with a good chain lubrication product. Make sure your chain is fully lubricated; instruction can always be found on your chain lubrication product.
A good detailing and claw brush will make this easier. A Detailing Brush is ideal for reaching hard-to-shift dirt on sprockets, hubs and other tight areas. A Claw Brush features with a high quality construction has triple brush heads with tough nylon bristles and an integral scrapper for mud de-clogging. It’s ideal for chain, cassette and sprockets.
Use a good product with your brushes, the brushes make all the difference so don’t feel you have to use the most expensive product.
Cleaning your wheels will improve your braking experience. It’s also a great opportunity to inspect the rims and brake pads for wear or damage.
Use a clean rag, a good wheel brush with your chosen wheel cleaning product. It’s easiest to clean wheels with the bike off the ground. You can put the bike upside down on its seat and handlebar (be careful not to damage your seat or brake/shifter levers). You can take wheels off if you like, but it’s not necessary.
Spray the rim with your cleaner of choice and scrub with your brush. While you’re wiping take a close look at the rim and brake pads. Make note of the rim profile; does it feel flat or concave? Look closely at the spoke/rim interface; do you see any tiny cracks? How do the brake pads look? Can you still see the grooves in the pad? If the rim feels concave, looks cracked, or the brake pads have worn past their grooves, something could be worn and should be looked at by a mechanic.
When clean use a clean piece of cloth and wet it with rubbing alcohol. Give the braking surface one last wipe down to get all the solvent residue off the rim. (Residue on the rim encourages brake squeal).
Dirt and grit can build up on your brake pads and on the rim – this will make your brakes less effective. Take your wheels off and then pop the brake pads off with an allen key if required. Then clean the brake pads with hot water or bike cleaner and a scrubbing brush. Remove the excess water with a clean cloth. When replacing your back wheel remember to put it back on your preferred cog.
Oddly enough, the most important thing to know about washing bicycles is how not to do it. Do not hook up the high-pressure nozzle on your garden hose and blast your bike clean. Though it may seem like a short cut, using car-wash power washers at your local garage are typically so powerful they can strip decals and paint off frames! Some domestic cleaning products can have abrasive salts, which could contribute to corrosion, so specialist cleaning products are safest to use.
Using too much water and cleaning agent can have the nasty side effect of removing the grease that’s lubricating your all-important bearing components, such as the headset, bottom bracket, hubs, cassette and pedals.
Choose a good bicycle frame cleaner or use a bucket with lukewarm water and a small amount of washing up liquid. Use the water sparingly to remove dirt and grease from the frame.
Keep your tyre pressure up to the guidelines set by the manufacturer. You will usually find these on the side of the tyre, e.g. 80psi. A properly inflated tyre will improve the speed, comfort and control of your bike and can also reduce the chance of getting a puncture. Invest in a pump with a pressure gauge so you can accurately get your tyre to the right pressure.