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Preparing Your Bike For Race Day

Be Ready For The Big Day

When you are preparing your bike for race day it can be quite a stressful experience, especially as there are many different things to think about; from booking a photographer to take professional photographs of the event and the bikes to make sure that the bike is in top condition. To combat the stress as much as possible, we’ve decided to outline a few of the main things to consider in this helpful article to ensure that you are completely ready for the big day.

Check Your Bearings

It’s important to check your bike bearings before heading to the race. It’s tricky to evaluate the condition of bike bearings and to know what to do about the issues, but it’s important to have a professional check them beforehand. Wheels can still roll and spin perfectly fine even when there is no grease in the bearings, or the bearings are dry and binding so bad that you can barely turn the axle by hand when the wheel is actually off the bike. Both of the things previously mentioned are great reasons to have your bearings checked before the big race, to stop you from failing at the first hurdle.

There are many ways that you can check your bike bearings, including:

  • The Valve Test – A quick way to check wheel bearings is to lift the bike so that the wheel in question is off the ground. Then place the heaviest part of the wheel (usually the valve or wheel reflector), at 3 o’clock. Now, you should release the wheel and see if the weight of the valve or reflector is actually enough to turn the wheel so that the heaviest portion comes down to 6 o’clock. It’s important to remember that this test does not always work as well on the rear wheel as it does the front, as the additional drag of the cassette bearings, but it’s still definitely worth trying!
  • Check For Bearing Play – Another easy and fast bearing test is to see if there’s any lateral play (side-to-side). You can test this by holding the top of the wheel while it is in the bike and carefully pushing and pulling sideways to feel for the movement of the wheel. In most properly adjusted hub bearings, there will be no noticeable play.
  • Feel For Bearing Issues – One of the best tests that you can perform is checking the condition of hub bearings by removing the wheels(s). When the wheel is detached from the bike, it’s easy to hold the axle and inspect its parts and turn the axle to feel the condition of the wheel bearings. To properly inspect the axle parts, you should try and turn them with your fingers to ensure that all of the parts are tightened against each other on the axle. Nothing should be loose, as this can cause play in the hub bearings and also lead to changes in the adjustment of the bearing itself, which can result in damaged hubs.

Clean And Degrease

By cleaning your frame and forks, you will have the opportunity to spot any visible signs of damage that might lead to issues later on. Cleaning and degreasing your bike before a race can ensure that it performs as well as it possibly can during the race. If you do spot any damage to the bike, make sure that you get it repaired as soon as possible. After all, who wants to lose a race due to a damaged bike?

Check Tyres and Air Pressure

It’s very important to check the condition of your tyres; you should keep an eye out for issues such as frayed sidewalls, wear to the main contact area of the tyre, and any large splits or foreign objects embedded into the tyre tread that could easily lead to punctures. You definitely don’t want to have to forfeit the race due to a punctured tyre.

When the tyre checks have been carried out, you should then check the pressure of your tyres. We would strongly recommend around 100 psi for road tyres, as this gives a good balance between comfort and rolling resistance. It’s usually best to go with the manufacturer-recommended pressures (they can usually be found on the sidewall of the tyres.).

There Are Many Other Things Too…

As well as the points mentioned above, there are many other things you should check before race day. Checking contact points, the headset, torque settings/bolts, the drivetrain and your breaks are all important things to consider. If you use all of the recommendations in this article, we’re absolutely sure that your bike will be ready for the race.