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Give Your Bike an 'M' Check

Follow these basic steps to make sure your bike is in safe working order.

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THE ‘M’ EXPLAINED

This is a simple way to check all the key parts of your bike are working as they should. Back to front, or front to back? It really doesn’t matter as long as you do it regularly. We prefer to start from the rear and work forwards, which also makes more sense when following the ‘M’ as pictured at the top of this page (i.e. from the drive side). An allen key set and pump are the only tools you might need for any ‘fixes’.

REAR WHEEL & REAR BRAKE

Quick-release skewer (or bolt-thru axle, or track nuts): check it’s tight and securely holding wheel in frame.

Tyre pressure: hard for road riding, a little softer for off-road and wet conditions.

Brakes: check the wheel is spinning freely in the brake caliper and not catching.

Gears: if your gears are clicking/slipping, try adjusting the derailleur barrel adjuster by one quarter turn at a time. Clockwise to loosen the cable, anti-clockwise to tighten. A tighter cable will move the derailleur up the cassette.

SADDLE & SEAT-POST

Saddle: grip the saddle at the front and back and rock it to see if it moves up and down, or side to side. If it does then you can tighten the bolt(s) on the clamp underneath the saddle (the part that holds the ‘rails’).

Seat-post: likewise check there’s no movement in the seat-clamp (the collar holding the seat-post in the frame). An allen key tighten should resolve any issue.

PEDALS, CRANKS & CHAIN

Pedals: hold the crank arm with one hand and wiggle the pedal with the other. If it’s loose, tighten with a pedal spanner or allen key.

Cranks: if there’s any play when tugging the crank arms, the crank bolts might need a tighten. Don’t overdo it, the cranks must spin freely.

Chain: spin the pedals backwards to check the chain moves freely and there’s no seized links. Lube if needed.

STEERING & CONTROLS

Brake/gear levers: check the shifters move freely. Brake levers should not be too firm or pull to the bar.

Bars/stem: grip the bar in all the usual positions and pull up and down. If it moves, the stem clamp bolts might need a little tighten.

Headset: check there’s no rocking by pulling the front brake lever with one hand, while the other holds the upper headset/headtube.

FRONT WHEEL & FRONT BRAKE

Quick-release skewer (or bolt-thru axle, or track nuts): check it’s tight and securely holding wheel in frame and not rocking.

Tyre pressure: same as the rear tyre. Squeeze the side of the tyre (not push the top) to see if it needs more/less air. All tyres have a suggested pressure range on the side.

Brakes: same as rear brake. Also check both sets of pads aren’t worn.

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