The Most Useful Tips for Folding Bike Maintenance
Finding the right folding bicycle for your needs is only winning half the battle. Your folding bike may be spanking new, but without proper care, you might be shelling out a pretty penny to fix it up. Like all of the things we use, your foldable bike is prone to wear and tear too. Vibration, impacts, and even accumulated dirt can affect the more delicate parts of your folding bike. Get the most out of your foldie with these tips for foldable bicycle maintenance.
Table of Contents
Cleaning Your Foldable Bike
Most folding bikes are designed to sit closer to the ground. So they can pick up more dirt and road salt. Grime builds up faster in these kinds of bikes too. A regular cleaning schedule will go a long way to making sure your foldie run smoothly.
And you might be tempted to use a high-pressure washer. Because the high-pressure water jet can remove the external coating of the bike. It exposes the bike frame, the bearings, and folding parts to moisture, and rust will start forming. Rust is the last thing you want, especially if you use your folding bike every day.
Cleaning the frame
Folding bikes often have more points of entry in their design. That means dirt and debris can get inside the bike frame. To clean the folding bike frame, you can use a cloth or a sponge with warm soapy water to wipe away road dirt. If you find dirt caked on the surface, you can try to wipe it away with citrus degreasers.
And don’t forget to dry off your bike! You can simply use a dry towel or cloth to wipe the water away. Rust is your public enemy no. 1!
Cleaning the seat post
This is another important way to prevent dirt from entering your bike’s frame. Cleaning the seat post will also make it easier to raise and lower your seat because it’ll be free from dirt. A wet cloth is your best bet here, but be sure to dry your seat post once you’re done cleaning.
Cleaning the wheels
Depending on the type of foldable bike you’re getting, reaching all the spaces between the spokes can be difficult. But it’s important to clean those spaces thoroughly because grime tends to accumulate there. Folding bikes with smaller wheels can take a little more effort. So you’ll want to focus on the rim of the wheels to see that there’s no buildup of dirt because that might interfere with your brakes.
Cleaning the brakes
The brakes for folding bikes often consist of cables and calliper rim brakes. The simplest way to clean them is to first remove the cables that are holding them in place. Then, all you need is some light degreaser on a rag to wipe down the brakes.
Cleaning the drive train
The drivetrain is the component that you push (or pull) the bike to move it. It includes the cranks, chainrings, pedals, chains, cogs, and derailleur.
Cleaning the drivetrain is like cleaning the brakes. You can just wipe it with a degreaser. Afterwards, you need to lubricate the drivetrain after clearing away the dirt.
Cleaning the chain
This just might be the most challenging part, especially for beginners. But, over time, mud and other debris may accumulate inside the chain’s links. When the waste hardens, it can derail the chain. Not to mention, there might be abrasive particles that can wear down the teeth of the chainring.
So to clean the chain, you can run the water through the links until the mud and debris soften and fall. Then, use a wire brush and a chain cleaner to eliminate the remaining grime. After that, simply use a cloth to dry the chain. And don’t forget to apply some lubricant onto the chains too!
But some suggest completely removing the chain, then placing the chain in a jar with a mixture of cleaner, degreaser, and water. Leave the chain in the mixture overnight, or you can shake and repeat until the water turns clear. Or. if you want a deeper clean, you can get small brushes to reach the spots in between the links.
Inspecting Your Foldable Bicycle for Safety and Functionality
There’s a reason we mention cleaning your folding bike before inspecting it: because it’s much easier to see if the components are working properly. However, it’s no less important than cleaning the bike. Regularly inspecting your foldable bike is crucial for folding bike maintenance, so you can keep a close eye on the wear and tear.
Checking the tires
Make sure your tires have enough pressure since they will naturally leak out air. Riding with low-pressure tires can take more effort than usual, and you risk puncturing the wheels as well. So before you go for a ride, just do a quick squeeze. Then, you’re good to go.
Checking the wheels
It’s best to keep the wheels straight and spinning evenly. You can realign the wheels by adjusting the spokes. By tightening all the spokes, you can make sure the wheel is spinning at equal distances between the two brakes on your bike. That’s called ‘truing’, and you should be doing it once every six months.
Check the brakes
The brakes are often the most common bike component that wears out. Luckily, it’s easy to tell when it needs replacement. Whenever you hear that screeching when you use your brakes, that means it’s about time to replace it.
Your brake pads will wear out too. All you need to see is if there’s the telltale wear line. You should see it around a year from when it’s brand new if you’re mainly riding in the city.
Check the lights and bell (or horn)
Not all foldable bikes come with all the (literal) bells and whistles, but having them working properly can help you stay safe as you cycle.
Always make sure that nothing is interfering with the lights on your bike, and that its alignment hasn’t shifted from all the vibration. As you replace the lights, do beware if it’s still hot.
For the bells and horns, dusting them regularly will extend their shelf life. It pays to have all the bolts tightened, so they’re not loose and rattling around. If you hear a lower tone, it’s a sign that the bell is faulty and needs replacing.
For horns, you’ll need to pay extra attention to the wiring. If the problem isn’t with the connection, then it may be the fuse itself that needs to be replaced.
Lubricating the Folding Bike Fringe
It’s the whole point of getting a folding bike. So the hinges and joints would need a little extra TLC. As with the other components in your folding bike, all you need to do to keep it in proper working order is to regularly clean and lubricate them.
How to fix a stuck hinge on a folding bike?
One way to go about it is to loosen all the screws first, and then apply lubricant onto the hinge. If that doesn’t work, you can try a few drops of synthetic motor oil instead. If that doesn’t work, try checking the bike’s warranty and customer service options. There might be a bit of a wait if there’s a need to order new parts.
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