How to Care for your bike wheels ?


How to Care for your bike wheels ?

In order to maintain proper braking, you should keep your wheels clean and grease-free. Regular washings with soap and water will keep grime from building up. If you have trouble removing residue, try using a solvent and a Brillo pad to clean the rims. Use rubbing alcohol to finish the cleaning and remove all solvents and residue off the sides of the rims.

Make sure you keep the solvent away from the tire — solvent will cause the tire to deteriorate.

Another aspect of care for your wheels is keeping the hubs properly lubricated. At least once a year, overhaul the hubs. Most hubs today have rubber seals that keep a lot of contaminants out of the bearings. If your hubs don’t have rubber seals or you’re riding in dusty, rainy, or muddy conditions, you’ll need to overhaul your hubs and replace the grease more often.

You can do a number of things to extend the life of your wheels and keep them in good working order:

Properly inflate your tires. Tires act as the primary suspension for a bike. They cushion the wheel from blows and grip the road as you ride. The most important thing you can do to protect your rims is to keep your tires inflated to the psi indicated on the side of the tires. The number- one cause of damaged rims is under-inflated tires. Keep your tires at the right pressure and, when you hit the next pothole or rock in the road, you’ll have a good chance of your wheel surviving it intact. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of not having to expend as much energy to pedal when your bicycle has properly inflated tires.
Make sure your spokes are properly tensioned. Wheels with spokes that are tensioned too loosely will have a shorter lifespan and could be dangerous. Loose spokes flex more than tense spokes do, so they fatigue more and are more likely to break. If several spokes give out, the wheel could collapse while you’re riding. A wheel with loose spokes will also flex and wobble, causing reduced steering control. At the same time, the answer to loose spokes is not to randomly or overtighten them. A wheel with spokes that over-tensioned can be dangerous as well. A wheel has a high risk of bending like a pretzel with under- or over-tensioned spokes. You want a wheel with spokes that are tight enough that they don’t work their way loose while you ride. Frequently pluck the spokes of your wheel. Spokes of the same tension will make a similar sound, allowing you to quickly identify which ones are loose.
Make sure you have the right wheels. Just as important as inflating your tires and properly tensioning your spokes is to pair the right wheels and tires with the type of bike and style of riding you engage in. For example, if you’re going off-road, you should have mountain-bike wheels and tires, which are designed to absorb the impact of riding on a trail and other rough surfaces. For touring, you’ll want wheels with a greater number of spokes in order to support the weight of loaded pannier bags.
Talk to the staff at your local bike shop and let them know what kind of riding you’re planning on doing. They can match you up with the right wheels.
Many riders keep an extra pair of wheels in their garage for specific purposes. If they’re hitting the trail, they can take off and exchange their road wheels for a mountain-bike pair.
Wheel sets are one of the best ways to upgrade your bike. If you have a racing bike, new lightweight wheels with fewer spokes can greatly improve performance. If you’re starting to tour, some road riders convert to 650B wheels in order to use wider, touring-type tires.
Take care when you ride. The way you ride can have a significant impact on the life of your tires. Avoid making contact with objects in the road as much as possible. If you need to cross a curb, think about getting off your bike and lifting it over the curb. If you do have to impact something with your tires, lift yourself off the seat, bend your knees and elbows, and, using your legs and arms as shock absorbers, let your bike rise up over the object.

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