Bicycle maintenance and handling: extending the life of the bicycle

Bicycles are a great form of movement and a fun way to stay active. It is important to carry out regular maintenance to ensure that your bicycle is in good working order. This not only extends the life of your bike, but also ensures a safe and enjoyable riding experience. In this article, we'll cover the basics of bicycle maintenance and give some tips on how to keep your bike in good condition.

Drive-in service / first service

During the first hours of riding, the parts of the bike settle into place – the nipples of the machine-assembled spokes on the rim, the cables in their end bushings, the bearings are in place, etc. In this case, after a few hours of riding, your bike will not work quite as precisely as when it was brand new. If these deficiencies are not maintained and adjusted in time, they will only get worse. In the worst case, they can cause dangerous situations and even major damages, in which case the warranty for these parts will expire.

The recommended time for first aid arrives quite quickly, being approx 300-500km / 10-15 hours of use.

Maintenance of the bicycle transmission

The annual maintenance of the bike usually follows the time of the chain change. A bicycle chain, especially in a bicycle with external gears, is a sensitive part that wears out and is exposed to the weather, which should be replaced based on wear, i.e. the chain's elongation percentage. A new chain is about 0.00 – 0.25% in length, and a replacement chain 0.65 – 0.75%.

If the chain has worn too much, for example 0.75% and the intention is to change a new chain for the stroller, it will no longer be possible for the power transmission parts to function correctly, because the stroller has adapted to the over worn chain, in which case the new chain will fit on the worn stroller. The first symptom is that the chain jumps over the sprockets. This happens with an over-worn chain, as well as with a new chain-equipped bike with excessively worn sprockets. In this case, the stroller must also be replaced with new ones in order for the bike to work again.


Based on long maintenance experience, the chain normally lasts approx.

  • 800 – 1000 km on electric bicycles with external gears
  • 1000 – 1500km on organic bikes with external gears
  • 1,000 – 1,500 km on e-bikes with hub gears
  • 1,500 – 2,000 km on an organic bike with hub gear

There is a lot of variation in mileage, which is affected by the gears most commonly used on the bike, the bike's load, i.e. the weight of the rider and equipment, the cleanliness of the chain, the chain oil used, the road profile, the purpose of the bike, etc...

Note! You can also monitor the wear of the chain yourself, with a wear meter intended for this purpose. You can get them from all well-equipped bicycle shops, as well as from Emilia Sport's online store.

How can the service life of the chain be maximized?

The first and most important thing is the correct use of the bike's gears. Bicycles, and especially nowadays electric bicycles, are generally ridden with really high gears and slow rotation speed, i.e. cadence. This prematurely wears out the chain very quickly. The chain line of the bike, i.e. how straight the chain is in relation to the stroller, should be as straight as possible during riding.

Gears should be used in such a way that the rotation speed of the pedals remains the same, whatever the speed. The optimal cadence, i.e. rotation speed, is around 70-90 revolutions per minute depending on the pedal, i.e. a little faster than one pedal revolution per second. With this rotation speed, the muscles of the legs also stay in good rhythm with a little training

with locking shoes, and the power transmission is not "pulled", so the chain and sprockets wear much more slowly.
In this sense, using an electric bike is no different from riding a non-electric bike, even though the bike moves partly with the help of a motor.

Washing the bike and oiling the chain

In addition to the use of gears and regular maintenance, the durability of the bike parts can be significantly improved by cleaning the bike regularly. In daily driving, the external gear wheel transmission should be cleaned every week or two, or when it starts to look dirty and the chain starts to mess up places. The washing should preferably be done with a strong solvent intended for washing the bike's power transmission, by washing the chain and the sprockets completely clean, using an old dish brush, etc.

The simplest washing tools include a bucket, a sponge, a brush and detergents. With these, washing the wheel and transmission can be done well even outside, even in the conditions of an apartment building.

When the chain no longer gets black dirt on the fingers or the rag, the chain is lubricated with the appropriate chain oil for the season and time. Chain oils traditionally have their own for wet and dry weather. Oil in wet weather is not washed off the chain by rain, but on the other hand, it collects all the dust in dry air. Chain oil in dry weather, on the other hand, does not collect dust so easily, but is easily washed away in rain. There is also its own oil for severe frosts, because normal oil is no longer so fluid when you go below zero, in which case the chain no longer works normally.

Chain oil applied with an anvil should be avoided. The spray is also very easy to lubricate those parts of the bike that are not meant to be lubricated, such as the brake discs. If dirt gets on the disc, the brake may no longer work and this can cause dangerous situations. In this case, the brake disc must be cleaned of oil and the brake pads must be replaced with new ones. Chain oil is simply applied to the chain, the trolley does not need to be lubricated, and finally the excess oil from the chain is wiped off with a rag.

Note! A pressure washer is also a good tool for washing the bike, but you should avoid spraying it directly on bearings, hub gears, electrical parts and the bike's gear levers.


In a modern mountain bike, the maintenance time of the suspension components is determined by the hours of use. Quite usually, the first bow maintenance comes in front of most brands at 50 hours of use. In this maintenance, the oils of the lower legs and the dust seals of the sliding tubes, which are visible from the outside, are changed. At 200 hours of use / after 1 year, a full maintenance of the bow comes up, where, in addition to the above, the oil and seals of the damper are changed, and in the case of the air bow, the seals of the air rod.

As a general rule, the rear rack is serviced a little less often, and the air canister of the air rack is serviced every 50 – 100 hours of use. A full service is performed in the shock absorber at 200 hours / 1 year, when the shock absorber oils and seals are changed.

In the case of air spring and bow, air spring pressures are maintained by a spring pump.

The harder the ride is, the more often maintenance has to be done on the bow and tailstock as well, and in some cases much tighter than the manufacturer's instructions recommend. 

Tire pressures

In a bicycle, tire pressure is the most important for the bike's travel on different platforms, if the rider is left out of the calculations. Tire pressures that are too low on asphalt significantly slow down the ride, and it feels like the bike doesn't want to move forward no matter how hard you pedal. In addition, pressures that are too low also break the outer tires quickly. Too high tire pressure, on the other hand, can break the tire and is very uncomfortable to drive, because all the unevenness of the road is then transmitted to the driver.

Recommended tire pressures are indicated on the side of the outer tire, and we recommend checking the pressures every couple of weeks. For this purpose, you should get an appropriate floor-standing tower-style bicycle pump with a pressure gauge.

In summary

Bicycle maintenance is an important part of extending the life of your bike and ensuring a safe and enjoyable riding experience. Follow regular maintenance intervals and maintenance instructions and make sure all parts are clean and lubricated. Professional help is necessary if you notice malfunctions in some parts. Careful maintenance will ensure that your bike works well even for decades.

Service intervals

To extend the life of your bike, it is important to follow regular maintenance intervals. With some manufacturers, maintaining the warranty also requires that the parts have been serviced regularly. The frequency of maintenance depends on how often you ride your bike, what parts your bike has and what conditions you ride in. A good rule of thumb is that a serviced bicycle is silent. So if you hear any extra noises from your bike, you know it's time for maintenance. Here are some general guidelines for different bike parts:

  • Tires and rims: Check the tire pressure before every ride. If you hear rubbing or clicking, it's time to put the wheels in the right position with the help of a professional.
  • Chain: Clean and lubricate your chain at least every 200km or every month, whichever comes first. Driving with a dirty chain wears out the sprockets and chain, so they need to be replaced earlier than the normal rate of wear. A dirty chain and sprocket also weakens the function of the derailleurs and the gears may not shift as they should. When riding on a dirty surface, the chain can get dirty much faster, so the chain may have to be cleaned and lubricated even after every ride.
  • Brakes: Check the degree of wear of the brake discs and brake pads regularly and make sure that the brakes are clean. If you hear squealing, rubbing, or the braking power is weak, it's probably time to replace the brake pads.
  • Transmission: Go through all the gears to make sure they work smoothly. Clean and lubricate the chain and sprockets at least once a month to prevent rust and wear.
  • Suspension: Check that the suspension works and is clean. Check the air pressure of your bow and possible rear suspension every few months and add air if necessary. If your bike doesn't have air suspension, make sure you keep the seals clean so water doesn't get inside the springs. If you notice leaks, i.e. traces of oil in the slide tubes and or suspension malfunctions, it's time to seek help from a professional. The manufacturers of different suspension solutions have their own maintenance intervals for their products, which must be followed in order to maintain the warranty. Check the maintenance interval of your own suspension on the manufacturer's website.

General maintenance instructions

  • Clean your bike after every ride and make sure all rust and dirt is removed.
  • Lubricate all moving parts, such as the chain. Also take care of the cleanliness of the bearings and add bearing grease to the bearings if necessary.
  • Make sure all screws and nuts are tight, but be careful not to overtighten the bolts.
  • Make sure all fittings are securely fastened and intact.
  • Maintain the brake discs and brake pads regularly, making sure they are clean and dry. A person who drives a lot of miles should do this about every month.
  • Make sure your bike is stored safely and protected from the weather when not in use.

These are just a few good maintenance tips to extend the life of your bicycle. Careful and regular maintenance ensures that your bike works flawlessly and is safe to use for a long time.