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Must do before riding: help you ride safely

For the average rider, it’s a good idea to do a basic but comprehensive safety check on your bike before every long ride. Check it out at least once a week if you ride a lot.

The “M-Type” check outlined in this article can help you identify possible problems with your bike in an organized and easy-to-remember way. This method is equally applicable to road bikes, mountain bikes, electric hybrid bikes, newly bought bikes, bikes that you ride daily, and bikes that haven’t been ridden for a long time.

▲”M” inspection method

What is the M-check method?

M Inspection is a set of inspection methods designed for the basic safety and performance of bicycles. Start from the front hub, move up along the front fork, then move backward, pass the frame, and finally check one by one at the rear hub, draw the shape of the letter M, you can traverse the main working parts of the bicycle and complete the inspection of the whole bike.

This method can help you quickly check for various problems with the main components of your bike. Once proficient, it only takes a few minutes to thoroughly inspect a bike.

Below is a brief description of each step of our M-check.

Check front wheel, brakes and hubs

▲The typical quick release of the hub is like this

First check whether the wheel set is firmly fixed.

In recent years, the most commonly used wheel set locking method on bicycles is to use a quick release or a thru-axle.

If your bike uses a quick release, first loosen and open the quick release, then press down on the quick release lever, then turn the nut on the other side of the quick release until the nut is snug against the fork (or frame). rear fork). Then, open the quick release and turn the nut in about one turn. Now your wheel can be securely locked in the dropout of the fork (or rear fork) without over-tightening.

When doing this inspection and adjustment, placing the bike on the ground will better ensure that the wheel is centered, rather than placing it on a repair frame or professional workbench.

▲There are many kinds of thru-axles. Some of the thru-axles have a locking structure similar to a quick-release cam lever, and some are simply screw-locked like this, and their functions are the same

The thru-axle usually runs through the entire hub from one side of the fork and is threaded to the opposite fork or rear fork. Before riding, make sure the thru-axles are securely locked in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

After locking, shake the wheel set sideways to check whether the hub is in good condition, and whether there is any open space or sideways shaking.

▲Hydraulic disc brakes need to be filled with oil regularly

If you’re using a cable-pull disc brake and it doesn’t feel quite right, you may need to adjust the tension of the brake cable or replace the brake pads.

Check tires

▲ Check the tire edge in contact with the rim

The tires need to be properly mounted on the rim. Check the bead of the tire that is in contact with the rim. Make sure the tire bead looks uniform everywhere. If there is a problem in some places, then it needs to be removed and reinstalled.

After completing the inspection of the tire installation. Next we check for excessive wear and damage to the tread and sidewall of the tire in contact with the ground. It is dangerous to use tires that are excessively worn or have damage such as rips, and if you notice any doubts or uncertainties on the tires, we recommend replacing the tires.

Unlike car and motorcycle tires, bicycle tires do not have fixed replacement rules and obvious replacement indicators. So you need to judge for yourself whether you need to replace the tires. For road tires, if you notice that some areas have worn flat, or that some areas of the rubber are starting to come off, then you’re pretty sure the tire needs to be replaced. For mountain bike tires, the bumps on the tire will gradually disappear with wear. If the wear on the bumps is already severe, the tire is no longer usable for a mountain bike.

If you’re on a tubeless system and haven’t ridden the bike in a while. Then you need to open the tire a little to see if the self-rehydration fluid of the tubeless tire has dried.

Although it is said that the inner tube will slowly leak over time. But if you suddenly find that your bicycle tires are completely out of air one day, it is likely that the leak is caused by the puncture, not the time. Don’t go out again with a full fill of air, after all you don’t want to stop halfway through the ride and deal with a flat tire. So take some time to get this out of the way before you set off.

The tires need to be properly inflated before riding. Different models such as road bikes and mountain bikes, including the road you are going to ride on, will have different optimal tire pressures.

Check the suspension

Check your fork for hairline cracks or other forms of damage. If you use a suspension fork, check your suspension fork inner tube for scratches and oil leaks around the oil seal and seal lock.

A small amount of grease on the fork inner tube is normal and nothing to worry about.

If you are using a front/rear shock with oil and gas, you need to check the preload settings about once a month.

Check head tube and handlebars

▲Check whether the headset is open

Swing the fork back and forth with the front brake squeezed to check for any noticeable headroom. If the whole bike vibrates by doing this, you can determine if the vibration is due to the volume of the headset by placing your finger close to the connection to the headset frame.

Next raise the front wheel and turn the handlebar slowly. If there is obvious friction or resistance when turning, then your headset needs to be serviced or even replaced.

Pinch the front wheel with your knees and try turning the handlebars to check that the stem is seated properly and securely. If your stem is locked properly, you can twist the handlebar with considerable force without the stem spinning on the fork steerer.

Stand astride the top tube of the bike, twist the bars forward and back, and try to press down on the lower handlebar if your bike uses drop bars. A properly locked handlebar will not move.

At the same time, it is detected whether the components installed on the handlebar, such as brake levers, hand shifts, and dials, are reliably locked on the handlebars.

Check the frame

▲Inspect the frame for hairline cracks – if so, ask a professional to check it

Work your way down the frame to check that the various frame attachments (such as bottle cages, etc.) are installed correctly and don’t rattle.

Visually inspect the entire frame, paying particular attention around the weld if it is a metal frame. Even if you find even a tiny hairline crack, you need to have it checked by a professional before you ride.

▲Carbon fiber repair experts can detect and evaluate various dark injuries on used frames

If your frame has a rear shock, check the shock’s mounting screws to make sure the shock is properly and securely attached to the frame. Also test if the shock absorber is working properly.

Check crankset and pedals

▲ Check if the crank can rotate freely

Rotate the cranks back so that the rear wheels don’t turn with them. Determine whether the drivetrain is running smoothly, and also determine whether the bottom bracket and bottom bracket are in good condition.

Check the chainrings for damage, missing teeth, or excessive wear. Excessively worn teeth will resemble the shape of a shark fin.

Shake the crank to the left and right sides of the car to check if there is any resistance or openness in the connection between the crank and the frame. If it feels empty, you may need to replace the bottom bracket.

Rotate the pedals. Well-maintained pedals do not spin freely without damping, as thick grease can hinder pedal rotation. Check for gaps by rocking the pedals in the same way as before and checking the wheel cranks. If there is any problem in the front, it needs to be repaired or replaced.

By the way, check that the pedals are properly and reliably installed on the cranks.

If you are using pedals, check for excessive wear on the metal or plastic cleats of the shoe, whether the bolts are securely fastened, and whether the locking and unlocking force of the pedals match your settings.


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