3 Reasons Regular Bike Maintenance matters : Bunch Safety

3 Reasons Regular Bike Maintenance matters : Bunch Safety

Picture yourself riding when you hear noises echoing within the bunch ... It’s a “creak” on repeat, and it’s becoming more than annoying. It can be a symptom of neglecting equipment, threatening rider safety. Failing to regularly service a bike not only puts the rider at risk, but also jeopardise the well-being of fellow riders. In this article, we'll delve into three most common safety concerns when riding a bike that's overdue for servicing. You’ll also hear why keeping your bike in top-notch condition is imperative for both your safety and the safety of the group

  1. Brake Pads or Cables Affecting Braking Ability:

There are reasons why clubs and major ride events install rules for riders to prove they professionally service their bikes. Regulating safety by ensuring mechanical predictability is important when it comes to safe bunch riding practices. One of the most critical components of a bike's safety system is its braking mechanism. Over time, brake pads wear down, and cables may stretch or fray. This can lead to decreased braking power and compromised control, especially in emergency situations. Imagine trying to stop suddenly when your brakes are not performing at their best – it's a recipe for disaster.

If you notice any unusual sensations when applying your brakes or hear unfamiliar sounds, it's time to book a brake check and replacement. Unreliable braking can have serious consequences for both you and your fellow riders. In a tight bunch, a sudden braking failure could lead to a collision with the rider in front of you, potentially causing injury to both parties. Additionally, in emergency situations, being unable to brake effectively may mean you're unable to avoid obstacles on the road, putting yourself and others at risk.sydney road bike service brake pad installation

Brake pads require replacement to avoid limitations of braking force, but also wearing down rim or rotor surface.
Photo: Alison McGregor
  1. Wear and Tear Affecting Precision of Gear Changing:

Smooth and precise gear shifting is crucial for maintaining a consistent pace and conquering various terrains. However, wear and tear on components like cables, shifters, chain, cassette or chainrings and even pulleys and derailleurs can result in sluggish or inaccurate gear changes. This not only affects your performance but also poses a potential hazard in tight riding formations.

Don't wait until you're struggling to find the right gear. Book a gear adjustment and replacement service at Chainsmith to keep your shifting crisp and reliable. Imagine you're picking up speed, pushing hard to keep up with the group, when suddenly your chain drops. This gear mishap not only disrupts your momentum but can be a potential hazard for riders behind you. They may not have enough time to react, leading to a chain reaction of accidents. Ensuring your gear changing is precise and reliable is not just about your performance, but also about the safety of your fellow riders.

How to book a bike service

  1. Tyre Traction Reduced by Surface Wear or Deep Cuts:

Your tyres are the only point of contact between you and the road. Worn-out or damaged treads can significantly reduce traction, especially in wet or slippery conditions. Wear and tear of a tyre surface or sidewall can lead to unexpected blowouts or pinch flats, which can be catastrophic, especially in a group ride scenario.

Regularly inspect your tyres for signs of wear, cuts, or punctures. If you notice any issues, book a tire replacement service at Chainsmith for peace of mind on the road. A blowout or a flat tire during a ride can be a major inconvenience, but it can also be a significant hazard for you and your riding companions. I once witnessed the result of a rider's sidewall blowout, causing an abrupt loss of control and taking down two other riders in the process. It's a stark reminder that neglecting to check tyres pre-ride can have serious consequences. Regularly checking your tyres for signs of wear and potential issues can prevent these dangerous situations from occurring.

sydney road bike service tyre check alison mcgregor

Regularly check tyres for cuts, cracks, abrasions, and damage to side walls
Photo: Alison McGregor


Other Maintenance Factors to Consider

a. Wheel Bearings and Rolling Resistance: Worn wheel bearings can lead to increased rolling resistance, making it harder to maintain speed and causing unnecessary fatigue. Regular maintenance ensures smooth and efficient rolling. A mechanic will also ensure true wheels and spoke check to avoid mishaps if you run through a pothole.


Wheel servicing and repair

A quality mechanic should routinely check spokes and bearings when completing a bike service
Photo: Alison McGregor

b. Headset Bearings and a Loose Front End: A loose headset can compromise control, especially when steering through tight turns or descents. Properly adjusted headset bearings are essential for a stable and responsive front end.

headset bearing replacement bike repair and maintenance

Worn headset bearings won’t be identified by sound. Instead your handling will be compromised. This is something a mechanic will assess better than many riders.
Photo: Alison McGregor

c. Bottom Bracket Wear and Tear: Neglecting the bottom bracket can lead to inefficient power transfer, reduced pedaling efficiency, and potential damage to the frame. Regular servicing ensures a smooth and efficient pedal stroke.

servicing bottom bracket road bike sydney

When riders hear a creaking noise often the culprit is wrongly identifies as the Bottom Bracket (BB). Actually, there are many reasons for creaks, but worn BB Bearings are assessed when the crank is removed during a complete service. 
Photo: Alison McGregor

d. General Cleanliness and conditioning: For smooth shifting, it seems obvious a rider clean the drivetrain. However, we acknowledge some riders don’t have time or the inclination. Regular visits to your bike shops for periodical servicing and cleans are needed, alongside use of bike specific product such as frame protectant sprays and quality lubricant. Wear and tear of components are high risk when pushing your bike to extremes (sprints, hill climbs) during bunch rides.

Road bike servicing and repair sydney

Probably the easiest way a rider can maintain their bike is to regularly prevent the build up of road debri and grease in the drivetrain.
Photo: Alison McGregor


Riding in a bunch is a wonderful experience, but it comes with a responsibility – to ensure the safety of yourself and your fellow riders. Regular bike maintenance is not just a luxury, it's a necessity. If you've noticed any of the signs mentioned in this article – unusual sounds, changes in handling, or decreased performance – it's time to take action.

To book a comprehensive bike service at Chainsmith, visit our online bike service scheduler Our expert technicians Ben, Julian and David, are dedicated to keeping you safe and ensuring your bike performs at its best. Don't wait until it's too late – invest in your safety and the safety of your riding companions today.

sydney bike service and repair

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