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Bike Maintenance Checklist: What to Check and When

Bike Maintenance Checklist: What to Check and When

Whether you ride on the road, on a track, or through the mountains, a good bicycle maintenance routine is essential to keeping your bike in safe working condition. This bike maintenance checklist from The Complete Bike Owner’s Manual is a great quick reference to see what systems you should check, and when.

By scheduling regular bike maintenance sessions for basic fixes, you reduce the likelihood of wearing out parts prematurely or having an accident on the go. Have a read through the maintenance guide below, and refer back to it when you need to. For more bike maintenance and bike repair tips, as well as expert advice and unparalleled illustrations, pick up The Complete Bike Owner’s Manual.

Bike Maintenance Checklist: What to Check and When

The sample schedule below gives an idea of how often you should check over your bike if you ride often. A heavily used model will need much more attention, while a bike for infrequent, short journeys will require far less maintenance.

1. Bike drivetrain maintenance

As one of the most complex parts of a bike, the drivetrain needs constant maintenance.

Every week:
• Check chain for wear
• Ensure gears are shifting properly
• Inspect cables for fraying or wear
• Tighten crank arms and chainring bolts
• Oil chain and jockey wheels if bike was ridden in the rain

Every month:
• Check bottom bracket runs smoothly
• Oil chain and jockey wheels
• Tighten pedals if needed
• Check sprocket teeth on chain/cassette ring are not worn or missing
• Ensure rear derailleur pivots are fixed
• Spray derailleur pivots, cables and clipless pedal release mechanism with lubricant

Every six months:
• Check for play in freewheel, freehub body and rear derailleur frame bolt
• Ensure jockey wheels are not worn
• Oil hub gear and check pedals do not feel rough or notchy and are not worn
• Replace chain if used less regularly
• Replace cogs and inner and outer cables

2. Bike steering and wheels maintenance

Wheels and steering may require frequent attention if you are riding more on trails than on roads.

Every week:
• Check headset is correctly adjusted and allows for easy steering
• Check quick-release levers are functioning
• Ensure wheels are in true and have no broken spokes
• Inspect handlebar and stem for cracks and ensure stem bolts are tightened

Every month:
• Check hubs for any roughness, tight spots or play on axles
• Ensure there are no splits on rubber hub seals
• Inspect headset covers, if fitted
• Oil hub seals

Every six months:
• Inspect bearings in open-bearing hubs for wear
• Check for wear in bearings and bearing surfaces in headsets
• Grease open-bearing hubs and headsets
• Replace handlebar tapes and grips

3. Bike brakes maintenance

Brakes can prevent all manner of accidents so regular maintenance checks and repairs are crucial.

Every week:
• Inspect inner cables for fraying and outer cables for wear, then oil with lube
• Ensure pads are aligned and not worn
• Tighten disc and calliper bolts
• Check for cracks in brake parts
• Inspect hydraulic hoses for wear or leaks

Every month:
• Ensure discs are aligned and not worn
• Grease inner cables and oil inside outer cables
• Replace brake pads of frequently ridden mountain bikes

Every six months:
• Grease brake bosses
• Replace inner or outer cables

4. Bike suspension maintenance

Regularly checking suspension systems can prevent small problems from developing into larger ones.

Every week:
• Check over fork and shock exterior surfaces for cracks
• Inspect stanchions under shock boots for cracks
• Tighten top caps, crown bolts and shaft bolts
• Lubricate fork stanchions with wet lube

Every month:
• Eliminate any play in forks and shocks
• Check fork stanchions to see if oil line is visible
• Inspect fork and shock seals for cracks or slackness
• Ensure there is no fork or shock sag
• Turn bike upside down and store overnight so oil can spread through fork

Every six months:
• Remove headset to check fork steerer for cracks
• Replace fork oil
• Have suspension serviced by trained technician 

Safety tip: Bear in mind that regular maintenance does not replace the safety checks that you should undertake before every ride. You should also check your frame over for cracks and damage and lubricate it every time you clean it.


For even more expert cycling tips, watch the Changing Handlebar Tape Step-by-Step video below, and ensure smooth sailing and a safe grip all year round.


Looking for your next cycling adventure? Check out this great piece by our friends at DK Travel, and discover some of the world's best cycling routes.

Buy the book

Buy the book

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