The Maya Pedal Beginners Guide To Fixing Up A Bike

Bikes come to Maya Pedal in all kinds of condition. In theory, we can give them a quick check over and sell them on. There are two problems with this, the bike will quickly deteriorate and you will learn very little about bike mechanics. Here's a quick guide to turning out a smooth riding, long lasting, safe bike.

Check The Bike Over

Are there any cracks in the frame or forks? Are there any damaged parts? Do the wheels rattle? Are they true or buckled? Does the headset move when the front brake is applied? Does the bottom bracket rattle? Does the crankset spin freely? If not, is there resistance the bottom bracket or the freewheel? Do the pedals spin freely? Check that the seat post is not seized in the frame. Check tires for wear and splits.


Do the brakes work easily? Rear brakes are often stiff and can benefit from a new inner cable. Fit a new outer too, if it's visibly kinked or rusty. Oil the inner as you feed it through. You can oil the front one now while you’re in the mood. Make sure the blocks are in good condition and do not rub on the rims.

Brake levers should be the correct type for the type of brake – canti, V or caliper. Otherwise they won’t be efficient. On the handlebars, they should point down at 45 degrees-ish from horizontal, in line with your arms as you sit on the seat.

Note: BMX bikes often have complicated split brakes cables for stunt riding as well as complex front cable routing. You can scrap all this clutter and give it simple, direct brake lines.


If they rattle (even a little), you’ll need to tighten the cones. First loosen them and feed in some grease to both bearing sets. As you tighten, try to hit the sweet spot, (wheel moving freely, but with no rattle). Check the condition of the rims because worn rims are very dangerous. If the wheels are buckled they can be straightened by adjusting the spokes. This is tricky and takes patience and practice. Read the manual or Google some advice.


This may need tightening. If so, loosen, check the condition of the bearings, if ok, feed in some grease both ends and tighten. Make sure it moves freely, but does not rattle.


Do they shift ok? Do they select each sprocket? Gears sometimes need careful adjustment. See the manual for more details. There’s no point in having gears if they don’t work. Stiff gear levers mean a new inner cable is needed. Oil it as you insert it. You may want to replace the cable outer that feeds into the rear deraliuer because it collects muck and is often a cause of stiff gears.

Handlegrip shifters are difficult to repair as well as uncomfortable to ride. If they get broken, replace with good old thumb shifters. Thumb shifters real appropriate technology.

Bottom Bracket

Some are “cup and cone”, some are a sealed unit. When the sealed type get loose or stiff, they get thrown away. The cup and cone type can be dismantled, bearings checked, re-greased and put back together. Try to hit the sweet spot – moving freely with no rattle. A fraction overtight is better than loose.

The Essential Test Ride

Now you can really see how well it works. Do the gears select? Does the chain skip? Are the crank arms bent? Would you be happy to bomb it down the big hill to Antigua? If all is well, put it upstairs.

And, if you don’t know how to mend something, ask the crew, look it up in the manual, or Google it.


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