A clean bike is a fast bike, even when it’s on the trainer. These bike maintenance tips for indoor training can make sure your bike is ready to work as hard as you do.
For more information on training check out Ask a Cycling Coach Ep 253.
Bike Maintenance Checklists
Wipe down your frame.
Check tires and inflate as needed.
Check drivetrain. Clean and lube as needed.
Wash your bike.
Dust off the trainer.
Check to make sure your bike is secured to the trainer.
Check your handlebar tape and replace it as needed.
Apply a thin coat of grease to stem bolt heads.
Bike Maintenance Tips For Indoor Training
Corrosion from sweat is the biggest indoor training bike maintenance problem. The good news is that corrosion takes time, and staying on top of bike maintenance can help you avoid costly repairs. The best bike maintenance advice is to regularly check parts. Here are some of the parts to keep an eye on.
Your handlebars and stem take the brunt of your hard work. The more you get in an aero position, the more likely that sweat will drip onto the stem bolts. The first place corrosion usually shows is the top cap bolt or the bolts that secure the stem to the steerer tube. Another location to check is your stem’s faceplate bolts. You can wipe on a very light coat of bike-specific grease to help and avoid putting grease on any threads that have a thread locking compound. As with any bolt, make sure to torque it to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Handlebar tape will soak up your sweat and will leave behind salt crystals. Over time, the salt will cake underneath the tape and can rust shifter clamps or even corrode aluminum handlebars. A regular bike wash can go a long way in helping. Even better, regularly replace your bar tape.
It’s easy to forget about your drivetrain, especially if you use headphones when riding the trainer. While your chain won’t get as dirty from riding outside, it will collect dust, and the lube will eventually dry up. If you’re training a lot, it’s a good idea to clean and lube your drivetrain weekly. Also, check for chain wear with a good tool and put some air in your tires. This is especially true if you run tubeless.
The best way to maintain your drivetrain is to clean it with a degreaser, rinse, and then let it dry. Once it’s completely dry, apply less lube that you think. One drop per roller is plenty. Backpedal for a few turns, then take a rag and wipe off the excess. Most lubes use a carrier that evaporates and leaves the lube where you want it. Just make sure to let that dry before you ride, or you may end up with lube on the floor. A dry lube is an excellent choice for indoor training.
You can go a step further and wax your chain. Waxing your chain takes a bit of prep work on the front end. But, once that’s out of the way, the maintenance is quick. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about greasy hands, but a freshly waxed chain will leave flakes on the floor. We like to use Molten Speed Wax.
In general, the paint on your frame does an excellent job of protection. However, any openings or places where parts attach provide an opportunity for sweat to get in. The upper headset cup and bottom bracket can collect both sweat and drink mix. A quick wipe down after your workout will help keep the build-up to a minimum.
It’s a good idea to regularly wash your bike with a bike-specific wash. Regular dish soap contains sodium chloride, something you want to avoid getting inside your frame. If you don’t want to wash, you can always use a bike polish and microfiber cloth to make things nice and shiny.
By spending a little bit of time on bike maintenance, you can save both time and money. It’s easy to forget about the little things when you leave a bike on the trainer, but these bike maintenance tips will help keep your equipment in top form.
For more cycling training knowledge, listen to the Ask a Cycling Coach — the only podcast dedicated to making you a faster cyclist. New episodes are released weekly.
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