So, you got a bike as a winter holiday present. Congratulations! If you’re new to riding, you’re about to unlock a world of potential. And even if you’re an old pro at riding, a new bicycle still offers more to learn and discover. Besides the obvious cardiovascular benefits, biking can take you on incredible adventures — both literally and figuratively. But before you head out on your first trail, you’ll want to get to know your new set of wheels. Keep reading to learn the basics about your bike: breaking it in, basic maintenance and more.
Breaking in Your New Shiny Bike in 2022
Whether you’re talking about traditional mens and womens bikes, electrical tricycles or other models, they’ll require a short break-in period. Thankfully, this should be far more comfortable than trying to break in a new pair of shoes. Most bikes bought online come between 85% and 95% assembled, so you’ll have to do a minor bit of work to get yours into ride-ready condition.
Once yours is completely put together, your next step is giving your bike a test ride. This is not the time to go full guns and pedal at top speed — or crank the battery all the way up, if you’ve got an e tricycle for adults. What you want to do is pedal a little slower than usual or run your motor at a lower power setting.
During this test ride, you should travel around 5 to 10 miles and assess the bike’s performance. Take note of the bike’s geometry and handling, but also look out for any loose or malfunctioning parts. After this short trip, it’s adjustment time. Keep your tools handy to tighten, adjust and tune as needed. Pay special close attention to your bike’s cassette, crank, head tube and spikes.
Bike Maintenance Basics
Proper riding technique is just one aspect of owning a new bike. You should also learn some basic maintenance practices to keep it in top condition. Known as the “ABC Quick Check,” three practical steps can help you ensure it’s ready to ride:
- Air: Squeeze the tires. They should feel firm. Look for anything unusual–cracks, bald spots, punctures and the like.
- Brakes: Spin your wheels to make sure your rims don’t rub on the brake pads. Squeeze the brake levers and check for brake return. Visually inspect to ensure there’s at least one inch between the lever and the handlebar.
- Chain, cassette and cranks: Lubricate your chain every 100 miles. Rotate the crank and confirm that the bike’s chainrings are straight and not warped. Measure the chain once per year. Replace both chain and cassette when needed.
Cycling Adventures Await
Getting a bike can be a life-changing experience. But both traditional and tricycle electric bikes require proper care to ensure performance, safety and satisfaction. To get the most out of your new set of wheels, you’ll need to conduct a short break-in period and perform regular maintenance. With these smart practices, you can enjoy many years of blazing new trails no matter where you ride.