Know your bike buying guide

Know your bike

The better you know your bike the better your cycling experience will be - you know what things are, how they should work and will be able to fix them quicker when they go wrong. Below is an M-Check, which really is a very quick guide to help you check your bike. It will help you make sure that every essential part is working correctly and safely.

1. Rear gears

  • The derailleur should shift the chain between the sprockets smoothly.
  • There should be no grinding noises when the pedals rotate.

2. Rear wheel

  • The wheel nuts and quick-release mechanism (if fitted) should be tight.
  • There should be no broken or loose spokes.
  • There should be no 'play' in the hub (the wheel should not wobble once it's been tightened).
  • The wheel should spin freely and true.

3. Rear brake

  • The wheel should lock when the brake lever is pulled.
  • The brake pads shouldn't rub on either the rim or the tyre.
  • The brake pads should be firmly mounted.

4. Rear tyre

  • The tyre should be inflated correctly and free from cracks, punctures or any other damage.
  • The brake pads shouldn't rub on either the rim or the tyre.

5. Saddle and post

  • The seat post should be secure and not twist or go up and down when force is applied.
  • The saddle shouldn't wobble and must be at the correct height.

6. Chainsets and front gears

  • The derailleur should shift the chain between the sprockets smoothly.
  • No grinding noises should be heard when the pedals are rotated.
  • There shouldn't be any thread exposed between the pedal and crank arm.
  • There shouldn't be any 'play' in either the pedal or the chainset.

7. Frame

  • The frame should be free from dents or cracks.

8. Headset / stem

  • The headset should be tight and unable to turn independently of the wheel.
  • The handlebars should be tight and not rotate inside the clamp.
  • The position of the brake and gear levers should be comfortable for you.

9. Front tyre

  • The tyre should be inflated correctly and free from cracks, punctures or any other damage.
  • The brake pads don't rub on either the rim or the tyre.

10. Front brake

  • The wheel should lock when the brake lever is pulled.
  • The brake pads shouldn't rub on either the rim or the tyre.
  • The brake pads should be firmly mounted.

11. Front wheel

  • The wheel nuts and quick-release mechanism (if fitted) should be tight.
  • There should be no broken or loose spokes.
  • There should be no ‘play’ in the hub (the wheel doesn't wobble once it's been tightened).
  • The wheel should spin freely and true.
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