Bike maintenance for kids: How to keep their bikes in good shape
18 August 2023
We want to talk about bike maintenance for kids. Riding a bike is a great way for children to get exercise, explore their surroundings, and have fun. However, to keep the bike in good condition, regular maintenance is necessary.
Here are some tips to help your child keep their bike in top shape. We recommend your child carries these out along with an adult.
1. Keep the tyres inflated
One of the easiest things your child can do to keep their bike in good condition is to keep the tyres inflated to the recommended pressure. Low tyre pressure can cause the bike to be harder to ride, and it can also cause damage to the rims over time. Make sure your child knows how to use a bike pump and check the tyre pressure regularly.
Bikeability says “Have your tyres got enough air? They should be as firm as an apple.”
2. Check the brakes
The brakes are a critical safety feature on a bike, so it's important to make sure they are working properly. Encourage your child to check the brakes before each ride. They should squeeze the brake levers and make sure the brakes engage smoothly and quickly. If the brakes are not working properly, the bike may need to be taken to a bike shop to be checked over.
3. Keep the chain lubricated
Bikeability suggests checking your chain “Is it running freely? Have you oiled it recently?“.
A well-lubricated chain will help your child's bike run smoothly and prevent wear and tear on the chain and gears, so make sure to lubricate the chain regularly with bike-specific chain lubricant. Choose a wet lube if you tend to bike in wetter conditions and a dry lube for more arid climates.
You should also wipe down the chain after lubricating it to remove any excess oil. Once you get the hang of it you can routinely lube the chain in a matter of minutes. You can find all kinds of lubes at your local bike shop >>
4. Clean the bike regularly
A clean bike not only looks better but also functions better. Encourage your child to clean their bike regularly with mild soap and water or proper bike cleaner. They should pay special attention to the chain, gears, and brakes. Rinse everything down in the same order you cleaned it in and then wipe it over with a clean towel or cloth. A clean bike will also make it easier to spot any issues that need to be addressed.
Here’s what the experts at Bikeability recommend:
“Our top tip for cycling safety is to make sure you keep your cycle clean and in good working condition. Built-up dirt and debris can lead to damage, so it’s really important to make sure it’s clean. It doesn’t have to be spotless, a bit of mud on the frame isn’t going to hurt. But the important bits of your cycle, like the chain and the cassette, need to be looked after. One easy thing you can do is make sure your chain is oiled. This will stop any squeaking, keep it running freely and stop other parts from getting damaged.”
5. Store the bike properly
When the bike is not in use, it's important to store it properly. This means keeping it in a dry, protected area, such as a garage or shed. It's also a good idea to hang the bike up using a bike rack or store it on a bike stand. This will prevent damage to the bike from being knocked over or leaning against other objects.
6. Check the bolts and nuts
The bolts and nuts on a bike can come loose over time, so it's important to check them regularly. You should make sure all bolts and nuts are tight, but not over-tightened, to prevent damage to the bike. A bike-specific torque wrench can be helpful in achieving the correct tightness and an adult should always assist.
Bikeability says “Are your handlebars fixed on tight? Is your seat on tight and pointing forward?“ it’s best to check everything.
7. Check the wheels
Lastly, your child should check the wheels regularly. They should make sure the wheels are true, meaning they are straight and not wobbling. They should also check the spokes to make sure they are tight and not damaged. If the wheels are not true or the spokes are damaged, the bike may need to be taken to a bike shop for repairs.
By following these simple tips, your child can keep their bike in great condition and enjoy it for years to come. Regular maintenance can also save money in the long run by preventing costly repairs. We recommend that a kids’ bike should be serviced every 6-12 months by a qualified mechanic at your local bike shop.
At Frog Bikes, we want to encourage children to ride their bikes and stay active, and proper maintenance is an important part of that. Happy riding!