After the first few weeks of use, the whole bike will settle down. As a result, the gears may need tweaking, some nuts and bolts may need tightening and you may well need to check the adjustment of the saddle and handlebars.
Cable stretch tends to occur shortly after a new bike has been ridden a few times. A rear derailleur that we have tuned to hit every gear, nicely and quietly, may now not be making each shift causing a sensation and sound of “being in between gears”. Generally you may have to shift up, or shift down a couple times to quiet it down and settle the derailleur into a “happy gear”. A front derailleur may no longer want to shift all the way onto the big ring or will require a much firmer push to get it there.
It is advisable to get the cable tension adjusted as soon as this happens either by your local bike shop. This tune up is considered a necessary part of any bicycles maintenance schedule and as such should not be ignored.
Your brakes will also be affected by cable stretch (provided of course that they are NOT hydraulic in which case this does not apply). The symptom here is that they usually start to feel quite loose. i.e. you have to pull the lever much further back or harder in order to get the same stopping power you once had. This is partly why new bikes come with a first free service. If your brakes start feeling a little spongy after a few weeks, you can adjust them at the barrel or the clamp or ask a mechanic at your local bike shop to do it for you.
New disc brakes won’t deliver their full power until the rotor and pads have bedded in.
SRAM has a really good guide for bedding in disc brakes:
“Accelerate the bike to a moderate speed and then firmly applying the brakes until you are at walking speed. Repeat this process 20 times. Then accelerate the bike to a faster speed and apply the brakes until you are at walking speed. Repeat this process ten times. It’s important that during this process you never come to a complete stop or lock up the wheels at any point.”
Doing this process should drastically improve the performance of your brakes and prepare them for many happy rides.
Check the cranks and crank bolts or nut for tightness; grab a crank arm in each hand and try to wiggle them to check for looseness. If there is play in the cranks, the nuts or bolts may need to be tightened. Cranks should be checked after every ride for the first week.
A loose headset can be diagnosed by turning the front wheel to point left or right, holding the front brake on, and then rocking the bike backwards and forwards. Hold your fingers between the stem and the frame. Any movement indicates that you need to tighten the headset.
Check your seat post is not loose and that you have not exceeded the limit marked on the seat post. Once you have checked these, use an allen key to tighten the seat post clamp. Check the seat is secure by giving it another check once you have finished.
Check that your front wheel and stem do not move independently, 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.
Keeping your mountain bike’s suspension maintained is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting all the performance you can out of your bike. Plus, giving your fork and shock a few seconds of attention here and there can prevent costly repairs or even replacements.
Dirt is the number one enemy of suspension. After every ride make sure to wipe the seal area and stanchions of your fork and shock. Wipe in a horizontal motion, not vertical as you don’t want to force any debris towards the seals.
Every few rides double check that your suspension sag is correct, as well as your rebound and compression adjustments. If something has changed, or the adjustments aren’t working as before, some maintenance is likely due. Working on your bike at home can seem daunting, and we'd always recommend you take your bike to a qualified mechanic if possible. FOR FURTHER ADVICE ON LOOKING AFTER YOUR NEW BIKE SEE OUR KNOWLEDGE CENTRE. knowledgecentre