What needs checking on your bike after a hard season's racing
Give it a thorough once-over to check for wear and tear before we get into winter
Now that the UK triathlon season has all but finished, now's a good time to do a general wear-and-tear walkthrough to make sure it’s as fresh and fast as possible for next year.
The fastest-wearing parts of any bike are the tyres, particularly the rear one. If the tyre’s tread looks obviously worn down (most slick tyres now have small dimples to indicate wear) or feels very thin under the crown, replace it.
Check for cuts, any embedded pieces of wire or stone in the tread and any nicks or bulges in the sidewall – all of these are shortcuts to punctures and a deflated start to your season.
If you’re likely to do a lot of work on the turbo trainer and/or rollers over the winter, don’t waste money wearing out a brand-new race tyre. Instead get a cheap, heavy-duty slick tyre (or even a specific turbo training tyre) that will handle the wear of the metal drum it will be spinning on.
If you’ve repaired any punctured inner tubes with patches or a tubular tyre with sealant then replace them too as the repairs generally won’t last more than a few months.
You’re unlikely to have worn through your wheel rims by now, but your brake pads may well be running low. Use the wear indicator line to see how they’ve fared and remove any abrasive junk that’s embedded in them.
You should also check for loose spokes, wobble in the rims or rough or rattling wheel bearings. Look at the bearings of your bottom bracket, pedals, headset and the jockey wheels on the rear derailleur. If any feel stiff, gritty, or there’s a loose ‘clunk’ when you rock them, get them serviced.
Heavy-mileage bikes might need their chain, cassette (sprocket block) and chainrings replacing too. If the chainrings or cassette are worn, replace them all as a worn chain will skip on fresh cogs and accelerate wear.