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If you are an avid cyclist, you appreciate the importance of proper bike tire and pump maintenance.
How To Maintain Bike Tires
To get the most out of your bike, you have to take proper care of all functional parts with the tires being the most important.
Your bike’s tires determine the performance, comfort and safety of your ride hence the need for proper maintenance. Whatever type of bike you are riding, the condition of tires will determine how good your riding experience will be.
Here are some tire maintenance tips to consider:
1. Maintain The Correct Air Pressure
The most important factor in determining quality of a ride is tire pressure. Proper tire pressure not only determines how comfortable and safe a ride is but also goes a long way in maintaining these tires in great shape. Properly inflated tires don’t suffer flats unnecessarily. More importantly, you will avoid low pressure situations which ruin the tubes.
Over/under inflating bike tires can also lead to tire damage while on the road and it is thus advisable to correctly measure the tire pressure before getting started. There are many pumps with an accurate pressure gauge which not only indicates the current tire pressure but also the final pressure levels after inflation. You should always check the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure on the manual or on a tire’s sidewall.
It is important to appreciate the importance of correct tire pressure especially not only for longer life of your tires but also for your safety. The recommended tire pressure ensures proper grip on particular riding conditions which helps in better bike control. If you are riding a mountain bike on a rough trail for instance, you need to balance the tire pressure very keenly not only to enhance bike control but also protect tire tubes.
If you are a cycling enthusiast, you should make it a habit to regularly check tire pressure preferably before and after a ride. You will never get a low or flat tire surprise while on the road. This also protects against tire damage by riding on low tire pressure/volume. If you are checking tire pressure, do this in the morning when pressures are more stabilized and you will get a more accurate reading.
2. Clean The Tires Regularly
Most cyclists don’t see the need to clean their rides; after all, they will be back on the road in no time. This is the greatest blunder in tire care that you can make. Tires collect all types of debris along the way some of which can cause damage to the tire and tubes.
Flat tire emergencies are sometimes caused by particles embedded on the tire grooves and as you continue riding, these items eventually penetrate through to the tube. Such damage can be avoided by proper tire cleaning.
Cleaning the tires also gives you a chance to check the treads and determine if you need a replacement. You will also discover any other form of damage to the tires which needs to be repaired. Some materials which stick on the tires including grease can cause gradual deterioration of these tires rendering the construction of the tire weak.
To clean the tires follow these steps:
- Use only the recommended bike wash or a regular household cleaner with a soft rag for this purpose. Start with the rims before proceeding to the tires. This ensures grime and dirt on the rims doesn’t spoil the good job you will do on the tires.
- Avoid using a high pressure washer because it might end up damaging other parts of the wheel including the hub and bottom bracket. Instead, wipe down the tires slowly while checking for anything out of the ordinary. Look for worn out threads, severed sidewall cuts or damaged casing while at it. Any signs of these should tell it is time to replace your bike tires.
- Once you are done scrubbing the tires, wash away the dirt using clean water and leave your bike to dry but not in direct sunlight.
3. Use Tires Suitable For The Terrain
It is important to use the correct bike tires for specific terrains. Whatever the type of bike you are riding, the tires you choose determine how well you control the bike and how comfortable your ride feels. Proper tire choice for different terrains also enhances safety of your ride.
Tire treads determine which terrain you can comfortably and safely ride on and include:
- Slick bike tires: Almost smooth and ideal for smooth slick rock and groomed single track and asphalt surfaces.
- Semi-slick bike tires: Designed for minimal rolling resistance and feature aggressive treads for better cornering and fast acceleration. These are designed with a smooth center and are perfect for smooth surfaces but they come with added grip for off-road application.
- Inverted tread: These are designed for the best grip and more rolling resistance. They are ideal for rough surfaces and can be used if you want to start with smoother surfaces before riding out onto rougher trails.
- Knobby tires: There are various knobby tread styles designed for different trails. Small knobs are suitable for faster smooth trails while taller knobs offer more grip on technical terrains. You will also find wider knobby tires for soft trails among others.
- Front- or rear-wheel specific treads (for mountain bikes): MTBs require front-end traction for cornering while rear tires require more power transmission. Look for treads which facilitate such functioning.
How to Maintain a Bike Pump
A bike pump is an essential tool in enhancing the quality of a ride. This important tool guarantees you have a solution in case of a flat/low tire emergency. As such, you need to take proper care of your bike pump to guarantee a longer life. The most important aspect of bike pump maintenance is routine greasing to keep the pump in tip-top shape.