ALine Top Tips: The bike M check

Happy New Year from ALine. We hope you all had a great Christmas and New Years break, filled up on mince pies and are now feeling energised with new drive and motivation to hit the trails šŸ™‚

This months ALine Top Tips is a simple one but one of the most important articles to date!

TheĀ bike M check.

We coach a lot of people here at ALine and we undoubtably start each session with a quick bike check… You would be amazed at what we find in this 5 minutes, even on new bikes! Some example include very loose spokes, pivot bolts half hanging out, loose headsets, missing brake bolts, snapped pedal axles – all of these things have the potential to negatively impact your ride, and potentially cause injury to yourself too.

TheĀ M CheckĀ is a great systematic way to work through the bike that just takes a couple of minutes and a few allen keys. In the long run this can save your body and your wallet!

As you can see from the picture, it is called the ‘M check’ because we work through the bike in a rough M shape, starting at the front and working backwards through the bike.

Follow these 5 quick themes to keep you rolling with confidence.

  1. Front wheel
    1. Tyre pressure
    2. Front axle is securely fastened
    3. All spokes are evenly tensioned
    4. Disk brake and calliper are securely fastened
  2. Cockpit bolt check. With allen keys check the following bolts
    1. Brake lever
    2. Gear lever and dropper post bolts
    3. Stem and Handlebar bolts are tight
    4. Headset – this can be tricky: the best way is to pull the front brake lever turn the front wheel 90 degrees and gently rock backwards and forward. If you get any ‘play’ it is likely your headset will need pinching up (if you are unsure of how to do this, please seek professional advice).
  3. Cranks
    1. Check both pedals are nipped up and secure – this is usually a 6mm allen key
    2. Check your cranks are done up tight by wobbling gently side to side. If they are tight, but you have play, it is likely your bottom bracket needs replacing, again seek professional advice is necessary.
  4. Frame / shock / linkage bolts
    1. Work through all frame and shock bolts, ensuring they are securely fastened – loose frame bolts can often void warranty so this is an important one
    2. Ensure your seat post is securely fastened
  5. Rear wheel and mech
    1. Start by checking that the tyre pressure is ok
    2. Check spoke tension – again you are looking for an even tension throughout the rear wheel. The rear wheel often takes a bit more of a hammering, so this is something that should be checked regularly as the odd loose spoke is common.
    3. Check the rear axle is securely fastened
    4. Ensure the rear cassette is securely done up, gently wobble the biggest ring left and right, you shouldn’t feel any play. If you do, this is a bit more of a specialist tool/fix, so consult a professional to get it sorted if you do not have the tools yourself.
    5. Finally, check the rear mech is securely fastened. This often comes loose due to vibrations and can go into the rear spokes if not fastened up regularly, so check this often.

This may look like a lot, but essentially it is 5 quick, easy steps to keep you rolling, a smile on your face, and you money in your wallet.

Have a great January everyone. If any of you have any questions on this, or any of the other ALine top tips, please do not hesitate to get in contact. We are more than happy to answer any questions.

Keep it rubber side down and see you on the trails.

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