What is bike tune up? 7 Steps Guide

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What is bike tune up?

Whether you’re a regular cyclist or just an occasional biker, it is important to take care of your bike and keep it in good working order. As a biker you should know the basics of how to tune up your bike. After all, it’s the most effective way to make sure your bike is performing its best and staying in peak condition. A bike tune-up can help you keep your bike running smoothly and make sure you’re safe on the road. Let’s take a look at what a bike tune-up involves and why it is so important.

What Bike Tune-up actually Is? 

You can thought of bike tune-up as repair and maintenance of your bike. A bike tune-up is basically a series of maintenance checks that are performed on your bike in order to ensure that all its parts are functioning properly and that there aren’t any safety hazards present.

A basic tune-up can include simply an air and oil tune-up and can extend to cleaning the drivetrain, inspecting the brakes and shifting system, adjusting the handlebars and seat height, lubricating all moving parts, and tightening any loose bolts or components. It may also include more specialized services such as wheel truing or derailleur adjustment.

7 Steps for Bike Tune-Up process 

Bike tune-up depends on bike condition and usage. It ranges from basic tune-up to major tune-up or even major overhaul. Some bikes may just require a minor tune up just like adjusting hub bearings, checking tire pressure, lubrication the chain and fixing the breaks and nuts. While some bikes may require a major tune-up such as frame inspection and adjusting rear derailleur pivot alignment etc. Some bikes may also require a major overhaul such as complete disassembly of drive parts and installation of new parts. Below is a list of steps involved in complete tune-up of bike:

1- Cleaning & Degreasing

The first step in a full tune-up is cleaning of bike thoroughly. The dirt and grit on roads can adhere to the headset and bearings of your bike. Over time, this grime can build up and lead to an unpleasant riding experience if not properly taken care of. Grit and dirt in the headset or bearings can cause significant damage as it causes friction and makes it difficult for the fork to turn smoothly, leading to imprecise steering. To prevent any wear or tear on your frame, it is vital that you routinely check and clean the headset.

Cleaning and degreasing your bike is essential for keeping it running smoothly. This will bring your bike back in tip-top shape. Every nook and cranny will be scrupulously cleaned and degreased, from the chain, to the derailleurs, brakes, freewheel, rims, and more. Finally, to guarantee optimal performance throughout your ride, a high-quality lubricant will be applied to the main drivetrain components of your bike.

2- Wheels & Frame Alignment

Wheels and frame alignment is an important part of bike maintenance, this involves adjusting the external tension on the bearings of both wheels. Dishing the wheels involves an exact alignment of the rims in relation to the axle, while also ensuring symmetry between each side. Finally, a time consuming task is truing – where each spoke is meticulously tightened with a truing key until the rims are entirely straight and remain consistent over time. It’s no small feat to complete this process – sometimes it takes hundreds of turns with a truing key to get it just right! 

3- Gears and Breaks

The next part is to check gears and breaks. Gears and brakes are an important component of any tune-up. It’s essential to spend time tuning the gears so that they work in harmony with the chain to create a smooth shifting from one gear to the next. Of course, it’s equally important to make sure that your brake pads are aligned correctly and not making a bothersome squeaking noise when they come into contact with the rims. If your pads are worn out, it’s ideal to get them replaced. As for those pesky grinding noises, try sanding down your brake arms so the pads fit more snugly against the rim. 

4- Headset & Bracket Check 

Taking care of the bottom bracket is key to keeping your ride smooth and powerful. This is the point of contact between your bike frame and pedals, so it’s responsible for transmitting all your force to the wheels. If it’s not in perfect condition, you could be wasting a lot of energy while pedaling along. Timely maintenance is essential – renewing any worn parts, greasing and checking it over so that it always performs its best. During a regular tune up, the mechanic should check bracket and adjust it (or fix it) if needed.

It’s essential to make sure you adjust the external tension on the bearings inside both the headset and the bottom bracket. Not only will adjusting the tensions help ensure that your bike is running optimally, but it can also extend their lifespan overall. It’s worth noting that even newer sealed bear systems come with a wide range of adjustability and require some degree of servicing – essentially, having them properly and securely fastened down – no matter how well they are designed. Taking care of these tension levels ensures not only your safety but also the life span of all your bearings!

5- Adjusting Derailleurs


Over time and with continued use, the cables may become too stiff or the derailleurs might wear out. Not only does this put strain on other bike parts, but it could potentially cause serious damage like warping the frame or breaking other bicycle components. To avoid these kinds of issues, make sure to always keep an eye on your derailleurs and get them tuned up as part of your bike maintenance routine. A simple tune up should include adjusting the shifting cables, front and rear derailleurs for maximum precision and silent operation – something all bikers can appreciate in their bikes!

6- Fixing Bolts & Nuts

When you ride regularly on rough roads, your bicycle becomes subject to a lot of vibrations. Due to these vibrations, screws and nuts can get loose. This is why it’s so important to properly secure them before going out on any ride. Not doing so could lead to dangerous situations like detaching parts while in motion. Therefore, you need to make sure all the screws and bolts are tight enough both before starting off and while you’re out on the road, as they may need more frequent adjustments when using the bicycle frequently.

7- Test Drive

After all the tune-up, its time for test drive. Take a short trip on your bicycle and test its run. Make sure that all parts are tuned up and the bicycle is running smoothly.

It is essential to take a test drive as it is compulsory part after the bike tune-up. You don’t want to risk making it all the way through the tune-up process, only to find out there’s something still wrong once you take it for a ride! So before you call it finished and start tearing up the city streets, take a few laps around the block on your freshly tuned up ride. Make sure everything feels good, nothing is loose or broken, and that your shifts are nice and smooth. This final step will guarantee that your bike is good as new and ready to give you miles after miles of decent cycling.

The Benefits of Scheduled Maintenance 

Set a quarterly schedule to tune-up your bike. Getting your bike tuned up has many benefits. First off, properly maintained bikes last longer than neglected ones; you can expect years of reliable service from well taken care of bikes. Tuning up your bike will also make riding much smoother; if something isn’t working correctly or if there are any worn out parts, they can be identified during a tune-up and replaced accordingly before they cause further damage down the line. Lastly, scheduled maintenance ensures that all safety features on your bicycle are functioning properly; this means fewer chances of an accident occurring due to faulty equipment or worn out components.


Getting your bicycle tuned up is essential if you really want to keep it in good condition and runs smoothly and safely for years to come. It may cost you some money upfront but it will save your ample of time and money and you would be able to avoid expensive repairs due to wear & tear caused by neglecting timely maintenance checks. So don’t wait – set a schedule to tune-up your bike!


How much does a bike tune up cost?

If you are going for a minor tune-up it would cost you somewhere between $20 – $50. If you are going for a major tune-up , the estimated cost will range between $50 -$180 depending your various adjustments and the work done.

What Are the tools required for bike Tune-up?

1. A bike stand. This will make it easier to work on your bike and get at all the different parts that you need to tune.

2. A set of Allen keys. These are hexagonal shaped keys that are used to tighten and loosen bolts on bikes. You will need a variety of different sizes to tune your bike properly.

3. A screwdriver set. You will need both flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers to tune your bike. Again, you will need a variety of different sizes to reach all the different parts of your bike.

4. A set of wrenches. Wrenches come in a different sizes and types, but for tuning your bike you will need a basic set of metric wrenches. You will use these to loosen and tighten nuts on your bike.

Other equipment’s that is needed are chain brush, chain tool, locking pilers, lubricant for chain and wires, cable cutter, and a pair of gloves.

How often should you tune-up your bike?

Its hard to tell exact time when your bike needs a tune-up. As a bike enthusiast, I know how important it is to keep your bike in top shape. Too often, riders forget the importance of preventive maintenance and would rather wait for something small to go wrong. This can end up costing much more time and money in the long run! I strongly recommend getting your ride checked out after every 3 months.

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