We've all been in the situation on the road when we hear a creak, squeak or something on the bike feels a little wobbly. It's scary at worst, frustrating at best and it can all but ruin a perfectly good ride.
Luckily, many of these can be easily fixed by yourself, either with some basic maintenance or by replacing parts. Here we list 5 common maintenance problems which you might encounter on the bike and how you can fix them.
Creaky Bottom Bracket
When pedalling you might notice a creak or a squeak coming from the bottom bracket. It could just be when you're riding out of the saddle so more weight is on the pedals or it could be happening when you're spinning along on the flat, putting out little watts. This usually means the bearings are wearing down in the bracket, especially if it is in a consistent point in the pedal rotation or constantly happening when pedalling.
This usually means the bearings are wearing down in the bracket, especially if it is in a consistent point in the pedal rotation or constantly happening when pedalling. It's something that happens with wear and tear on the bike, which can be sped up if the bike is ridden often in the wet weather/left outside often.
Fix it by: Replacing bottom bracket or, if you know how, re-greasing the bearings inside to prolong its life.
Rubbing Brake Pads
Usually a sign that the bike has had a knock, which could come from an accident or if the bike has travelled such as in a plane or back of a car/van.
It causes an annoying rubbing sound as the pad rubs against the braking surface on every rotation. It's not only aesthetic either, it will notably affect your performance depending on how severe the rubbing is. It will also cause uneven wear of the pads meaning you have to replace them more often.
Fix it by: Loosening the brake calliper on the frame, align the wheel evenly between the two pads then tighten. Check often before ride.
Skipping gears is a classic sign of indexing issues. This occurs when you try to shift up or down a gear and the shift either doesn't happen until you shift again in the same direction, the shift moves up or down two gears, or the shift happens but then reverts after a few seconds.
It's annoying when this happens as it affects your gearing pretty drastically; again it could be an indication of a knock to the rear derailleur. This knocks it out of line and means the derailleur is trying to shift the chain to a position between gears, causing skipping to happen.
Fix it by: Checking the indexing of the gears - easily done by rotating the bolts on the derailleurs. If you're unsure consult LBS or YouTube.
The last thing you want when braking is for the brakes to not work, and over time the cables stretch in the brakes which make the levers loose. This means you have to pull harder on the lever to engage the brakes - never a good thing if left too long.
This is something that should be checked before every ride for safety reasons, but it is something that is easily fixed.
Fix it by: On the calliper, open the brakes and use some pliers to pull the cable tighter, then close the brakes making sure they're aligned with the wheel (see rubbing brake pads). If you can't do this then the cables may need replacing, consult your LBS or YouTube.
Is your ride a little bumpy? Having a problem with persistent punctures? Before you scrap the road bike and head off to buy a mountain bike with suspension, maybe you should check your tyre pressures.
Something that could have entire volumes written about it of its own accord, tyre pressure is important to keeping your ride comfortable and efficient. Too much pressure and the ride can be unbearably stiff and too little and the ride gets wobbly and you risk popping a tube.
Fix it by: Looking into the correct tyre pressure for your weight/tyre/bike size to ensure optimal performance. Invest in a track pump or a pump with a pressure gauge to check often.