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Bike Cleaning and Maintenance

Poorly shifting gears or malfunctioning brakes on your bike can take a ride from a dream run to nightmare material! Keeping the stead running smooth is not just important for maximising your enjoyment of the bike ride, but also saves you money by increasing longevity of bike parts and saves you time by reducing those frustrating trail side maintenance stops. More time and money for... apres bike ...what's not to love about that?!

If you are new to cycling then the machine that is the bicycle can seem rather complicated and you may have the feeling that you don't know where to begin. Don't fear! The experts at Outside Sports are here to give you some tips on simple bike maintenance and bike cleaning to get you started.

Bike cleaning and maintenance Outside Sports Buyers Guide NZ

Outside Sports Ride Centre, Bike Rentals and Workshop, Queenstown.


As your bike is made up of moving parts, grit and grime will cause an increased rate of wear and tear. We recommend keeping your bike clean with plain water. Avoid the temptation to blast your bike with high pressure water as this can force water into, and grease out of, bearings causing real damage. Instead, use a garden hose on low flow and a wet sponge, rag or soft brush. It is best to wash your bike immediately following a muddy ride before the mud has had a chance to dry. For doing battle against a chain caked in thick, black grease, a rag soaked in a gentle degreaser can be helpful. Chose one that is safe for you, your bike, and the environment. We like Simple Green. Once you are done washing your bike do your best to dry moving parts and re-lube your chain.

How often you need to wash your bike will depend on how often you ride and what kind of conditions you ride in. It would be unusual to need to wash your bike after every ride. And in fact, this should be avoided as you want to limit the chance of forcing water into bearings as mentioned above. It is however, important to keep your drive chain clean and lubricated as this will result in better gear shifting and longer life of your drive train. This can be done easily by wiping any dirt off your chain with a rag after every ride or two and applying a light coat of appropriate bicycle specific lubricant. Use a thin lubricant during summer months and a thicker wet lube during winter. Wipe any excess lube off your chain after a few revolutions of the pedals. If you do this regularly you may find that you hardly ever need to go the whole hog and clean your chain with a degreaser. Talk to your bike mechanic if you are not sure which lubricant to use.

Bike cleaning and maintenance Outside Sports Buyers Guide NZ


It is best to store your bike inside protected from the elements. Exposure to moisture can increase the risk of corrosion. Long term exposure to UV light can cause some paint jobs on your bike to fade.

Maintenance: The ABC of maintenance and pre-ride safety check.

A = Air

A good set of tyres with the right air pressure in them can really help your enjoyment on your bike. No all tyres are equal and you should pick tyres that are appropriate for the riding you intend to do. For example, wide tyres with knobs are best for off road use and generally require 20-40 psi of air pressure. Narrower tyres with a slicker tread pattern are best suited for on road or gravel track use and generally function better with 40 or more psi of air pressure. Air pressure is something that is highly individual and differs with rider weight, style, weather conditions and just personal preference. So experiment with it and have a bit of fun! If the knobs on your tyres are peeling or wearing off, the side wall has a worn patch and you can see the webbing or you are finding you are getting a lot of punctures then it is probably time to invest in a new set of tyres.

B = Brakes

There are lots of different types of brakes. Rim brakes are becoming less common and these days are mostly on road bikes. They are mechanically simple and it is easy to see if the pads are worn and reasonably easy to adjust them. Pretty much all mountain bikes come with disc brakes as these provide more braking power. Disc brakes are either operated via a cable or via a hose containing hydraulic fluid. Hydraulic disc brakes are the most common. It is good practice to regularly check how worn your brake pads are. They will wear out a lot quicker if you ride in wet or muddy conditions. You can check them by looking down into the brake calliper from above. It may be easier to see how much pad is left if you remove the wheel. Avoid touching the braking surface of the pads as the oil from your skin can affect braking performance. For this reason it is very important to not get any lubricant or hydraulic fluid on the brake pads or rotor. The other important thing to check before heading out on a ride is that your brakes are working well and the level is not pulling back to the bar. If it is then the lever may need adjusting or the hydraulic fluid may have air bubbles in it and need replacing or bleeding. If you need new brake pads or you need your brakes to be bled, the team at the Outside Sports, Ride Centre can help with this.

C = Chain

As mentioned above, one of the most important parts of bike maintenance is keeping the drive chain clean and lubricated. If your chain is clean and lubricated but it continues to function poorly, dropping off the chain rings or slipping, then the fix could be as simple as a derailleur adjustment or your drive chain could be worn out and in need of replacement. Talk to the expert bike mechanics at Outside Sports in Wanaka and Queenstown if you are having these issues.

Outside Sports Ride Centre, Queenstown is located at the base of the Skyline Gondola right in the heart of all the Queenstown biking action. With Queenstown Bike Park just a shuffle away, drop in for all your biking needs, test your endurance on our pump track or just chill after a hard days riding. There is also a Bike Workshop at the Main store, 9 Shotover street, Queenstown with Specialized BG Fit sessions and Qualified Staff members.

Outside Sports Bike Workshop, Wanaka is staffed by a team of bike addicts who are experts in fixing bikes.  We'll get you back on the trails again in no time.  From flat tyres to full bike overhauls. Our friendly team of staff can help you with anything from fixing flat tyres (we'll gladly show you how) to endurance racing tips, with Specialized BG Fit sessions and Qualified Staff members to ensure you are one with the bike.


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