The wheels are one of the most important parts of a racing bike. For our bike to perform well, our wheels must not only be high quality but also undergo correct maintenance. Cleaning and maintaining are fundamental factors to increase the lifespan of your rims and improve the efficiency of your pedaling.
Taking care of your racing bike wheels does not only mean cleaning the rims and focusing solely on their aesthetics. The wheels on a road bike are made of various components which must be taken care of and maintained well if we want our wheels, and consequently our bike, to last longer and always be efficient.
Rims, hubs and bearings are three elements of a road bike wheel which need constant and correct maintenance.
Let’s see what the steps and the most important actions are to keep our racing bike wheels in good condition.
Keep wheels clean and well-inflated
We have already seen how to correctly clean your racing bike. Let’s now delve into the detail of how to clean the wheels.
It is good practice to clean the wheels after each ride, especially if you cycled on wet, dirty or dusty roads. There may be dirt residue on the rims and spokes which, if not removed, can in time bring serious damage to the wheel. This is why washing these components is fundamental. It is always best to remove the wheels for proper cleaning: take a cloth or a sponge soaked in water and perhaps a delicate detergent and wipe it throughout the rims and along each spoke. Then dry it off with some paper or a cloth.
For this procedure, avoid using power washers as their powerful jet can ruin the rims and the spokes.
The inflation of your racing bike wheels is also important for its maintenance. First off, paying attention to this detail can extend the lifespan of inner tubes and tires, as well as improving pedaling quality.
Remember to always keep your tires at the right pressure. There are various schools of thought on this, but as a general recommendation it’s around 8 atm for the rear wheel and 7.5 atm for the front wheel. However, don’t forget that the most important thing is to feel your bike, so only you will know the exact pressure needed for your wheels.
It is good practice to slightly deflate your wheels after each ride and inflate them again before a new ride. In addition, it is recommended to not keep your bike resting on the ground but instead to elevate it on a wall mount. This ensures maximum preservation of the tires. Finally, the tires also must be cleaned after every training session or race: for this operation, a water jet is the ideal solution.
Now let’s see how to carry out maintenance on bearings, quick release system, hubs and sprocket set.
Bearings are often used for their entire lifespan, meaning until they are completely worn out and need to be replaced. However, good, constant maintenance can extend their durability.
Keeping in mind that bearings must only be replaced by a qualified mechanic, let’s have a look at the procedure to follow for correct maintenance of the bearings on your racing bike wheels:
- Remove the cap
- Clean both the cap and inside the hub with some water and a small brush because there can be dirt between the cap and the hub.
- Lightly grease the front surface of the bearing: the lubricant is only to prevent dirt from entering
- Clean the caps with neutral soap
- Put the cap back
Despite its simplicity, the quick-release system to remove and attach the wheel to the frame must be used correctly to prevent any unfortunate setbacks. As with all racing bike components, it can wear out and therefore needs proper maintenance. Maintaining the quick-release system is a quite simple procedure and should be done at least once every two months.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Remove the release system from the bike
- Clean with a degreaser to remove traces of dirt and oxidation
- Check that the thru axle hasn’t oxidized or cracked.
- Check that the springs are intact and free of any corrosion traces
- Lightly grease the axle to protect it from water oxidation
- Put everything back together
Finally, it is vital to pay special attention to the rear wheel, especially the sprocket set, to properly clean it.
To clean the sprocket set, all you need is some neutral soap and a brush. After washing it with care, make sure you rinse it thoroughly.
As you can see, it is essential to always keep up with the maintenance of every part of your racing bike wheels in order to improve performance and, most of all, to extend the lifespan of each component.
Our suggestion is always the same and very important: if you aren’t familiar enough or if you feel unsure on certain procedures, please refer to the expert knowledge and care of a mechanic. This way, you can ride stress-free and your racing bike wheels will always be efficient.