How To Service Your Bike At Home

08 April 2020


As a result of the Covid-19 advice issued by the government, you're probably finding yourself at home and unable to leave the house as you normally would. Whilst bike shops are classed as essential retailers, it may not always be practical or convenient to visit your local Giant retailer if you want your bike serviced. But that doesn't mean you’re not going to be able to ride! We've outlined below the things you should be looking for to carry out your very own home bike service.

There are 10 simple steps to follow and by doing this regularly you can ensure that your bike is safe to ride. By keeping your bike in good condition, the components will last longer and it can save you expensive repairs in the long run.

For any significant repairs or replacement parts required contact your local Giant retailer.

  1. Wheels

Both wheels should be tightly fitted and the quick release lever should be securely in the closed position. However, not all wheels will have quick release levers, this is usually the case if you have a bike with disc brakes. If the wheel is not quick release, check that the nuts on both sides of the wheel are secure / the thru-axle is tight.

  1. Spokes

These should be of equal tension and not loose. Pluck each spoke with your finger. The sound from each spoke should be very similar. Remember that Giant wheels use a technology called DBL (Dynamic Balanced Lacing) meaning each individual spoke is tensioned very specifically. Don’t attempt to tighten any spokes if you do have Giant wheels, instead contact your local Giant retailer who will be able to do this for you.

Don't attempt to tighten spokes on your Giant wheels as they use DBL technology. This work should be done by an authorised Giant retailer

  1. Tyres

Squeeze your tyres and if they are soft, then attach your pump to the valve and pump up. Note: There are two types of valve fitting – Presta (long and thin), and Schrader (thicker and slightly shorter - like that found on your car tyre). The recommended tyre pressure is usually written somewhere on the tyre - ensure you don’t exceed the maximum pressure and never let it drop below the minimum! Click here to read a guide on the optimum tyre pressure from Cycling UK. It's also worth checking the tyre for any debris that may be stuck in it or any significant wear.

  1. Saddle

Check your seat post isn’t loose and that you haven’t exceeded the torque limit marked on the seat post. Once you have checked these, ensure your saddle is in the correct position and secure. Use an allen key or torque wrench to tighten the saddle clamp if not.

It's important to ensure your saddle is in the right position and secure. 

  1. Chain and Drivetrain

Your chain should be clean and lubricated. Keeping your chain clean and oiled is important for the smooth running of your bike. Note: Don’t use too much lubricant as this will pick up more dirt and make the chain more difficult to clean. Make sure it is tight (you can use a specific chain tool to do this but if you don’t have one, try and lift the chain from the big ring on the bike - if you can do this easily, you may need a new chain) as an older chain can cause damage that can get expensive to fix or can snap when out on a ride which is far from ideal.

Take the time to also check the cassette and chainrings. Make sure the teeth aren’t worn (they’ll look rounded if they are) and again, make sure they are clean and free of debris. Also ensure the jockey wheels (the parts below the cassette at the back) are running smoothly.

  1. Pedals

Make sure your pedals spin smoothly and that your cranks are on tight, spin smoothly and don’t creak. 

  1. Stem

Check that your front wheel and stem do not move independently of each other and that your handlebar clamp bolts are tight. Perform this check by standing in front of the bike, holding the front wheel between your knees, and twisting the handlebars. You can prevent any movement by tightening the stem bolts and the handlebar clamp with an allen key or torque wrench. Take the time to also check that the stem is completely in line with your front wheel.

  1. Headset

Check if there is any rocking or clicking in the headset. Perform this check by firmly grasping the head tube with one hand and applying the front brake with the other hand. This will steady the front of the bike so that you can shake the headset to establish any rocking or clicking in the bearings. If there is movement ensure the headset and stem are tight, but don’t over-tighten them as you will restrict handlebar movement.Check out this video from GCN if you need assistance on tightening the headset.

Ensuring the stem and headset are tight and straight is important as this affects steering

  1. Brakes

Ensure that the front and rear brakes are working properly. If the brake lever pulls against the handlebar grip, the brake cable needs adjusting. This is done by loosening the brake cable anchor bolt at the caliper, pulling the cable tighter, and tightening the anchor bolt again. Both sides of the brake mechanism should move at the same time and meet the rim together - if this doesn’t happen consider centralising the brake caliper itself.

The brake block must have plenty of wear left (you can check this by looking at the minimum level on the pad itself) and it should pull flat to the wheel rim. If this is not the case, use an allen key to tighten the block in the correct position. Check out the advice from British Cycling on replacing brake blocks here.

If you have disc brakes, again, you need to ensure the pads are not worn by removing them and checking them. Cycling Weekly have published a video on how to do this here. If you find that your disc rotors are catching, you can centralise the brakes by unscrewing the caliper slightly, holding the brake and whilst holding the brake, tighten the caliper back up. Bleeding hydraulic disc brakes can be done at home, but we would recommend asking your local Giant retailer to do this for you.

  1. Frame

Check the entire frame for any cracks or damage. This check requires particular focus on the area where the frame joins the head tube and around the bottom bracket.

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