Here’s my BMX bike maintenance how-to after riding 20+ years.
If you don’t care of your bike, I mean, that’s just not OK.
There, I said it.
I always had a thing for having a clean bike.
Hey, the bike makes me feel good just sitting on it and holding the grips. So it always made perfect sense to me to take care of it because it’ll take care of me.
Sure, there were occasions when my bike was dusty – but only because I could not ride for longer periods.
And you may say, “But Trey Jones has his bike all rusty; he doesn’t care about his bike!”
That’s NOT true.
His bike might be rusty (because he likes the look of it), but it’s still WELL-maintained.
This post covers:
- Why You Need To Maintain Your BMX Bike
- Equipment You Need
- How To Maintain Your BMX Bike
- Conclusion: Keep Your BMX Bike Dialed!
Remember, you can maintain your bike at home, which I highly encourage everyone to do. (There’s no need to pay for professional servicing.)
Plus, you’ll know your bike better if you take care of it yourself.
Okay, let’s get right into it!
Why You Need To Maintain Your BMX Bike
The three core reasons for maintaining your BMX bike are: 1) longevity, 2) optimal performance and 3) safety.
But here’s some more:
- Longevity: Taking care of your BMX bike prolongs its lifespan. Well-maintained components last longer and require fewer replacements, saving you money in the long run. BMX bikes and parts aren’t cheap, so you can ride them for a very long time with good maintenance.
- Optimal performance: A well-maintained BMX bike performs better. Smoothly running components like the chain and bearings allow you to ride more flawlessly, maneuver more effectively and execute tricks with great precision. Plus, you don’t have to worry about whether something will break because you know your bike well. Which brings us to:
- Better riding experience: A well-tuned bike in good condition provides a more enjoyable riding experience. You’ll have more fun riding your BMX when it feels smooth, responsive and reliable.
- Safety: Regular maintenance ensures that all components of your BMX bike are functioning correctly. This reduces the risk of accidents and injuries caused by malfunctioning parts, such as brakes, chains, cracked bars (and other parts), or tires.
- Cost-effectiveness: Regular maintenance can prevent minor issues from turning into major problems. Addressing small repairs early on can save you from costly repairs or component replacements down the line.
- Resale value: If you ever plan to sell or trade your BMX bike or parts, regular maintenance will help maintain the resale value.
Equipment You Need
You may say, “Okay, Rok, you convinced me to take more care of my bike. But where do I start?”
With the right set of equipment, which includes:
- Allen keys
- 17mm deep socket
- 10mm & 15mm wrenches
- Spoke wrench
- Air pump
You might also need a chain breaker tool if your chain needs fixing.
One of the things I use all the time is a BMX multi-tool.
Instead of having all these separate tools, a multi-tool keeps it all organized for your convenience.
I recommend The Shadow Conspiracy Multi-Tool. (It even includes a hammer, tire levers and a bottle opener!)
How To Maintain Your BMX Bike
Are you ready to learn how to take care of your bike so it stays crisp for as long as possible?
Learn about the BMX bike maintenance steps, and you’ll thank yourself later.
(But you don’t have to follow these exact order.)
Step 1: Tighten All Bolts & Nuts
It happened just recently to me that I felt this weird “popping” when pulling my bar to do a bunnyhop.
This went on for a few sessions when I finally decided to tighten the stem bolts.
Boy, were they loose! I felt like the luckiest person alive because who knows what would happen the next session.
That’s why you should regularly check all your bolts and nuts and tighten them if necessary – your hubs, stem, cranks, pedals, and even seat post!
Step 2: Check Tire Pressure
Every inner tube leaks some air over time. And the more abuse you put your tires and tubes through, the more air will leak.
But the ideal PSI is a very personal preference – some prefer it high and some prefer it low. Some riders even ride higher PSI in the back and lower PSI in the front.
Frequency: Before every session (but at least once a week)
Step 3: Wash & Re-Grease Moving Parts
Washing, cleaning and greasing all your moving parts thoroughly is necessary every once in a while. This goes for all your bearings and axle and bolt threads.
Yes, chain, too!
Remember, if your bike has sealed bearings, they almost don’t need maintenance. However, if you ride on a lot of dirt or rain catches you, clean them with a cloth.
On the contrary, unsealed bearings need more frequent maintenance (weekly) because they are way more fragile and not really dust- and water-resistant like sealed ones are.
I use the same grease for all moving parts.
Note: You don’t really need chain lubricant for a freestyle BMX bike. I never did, and I replace my chain every few years.
Step 4: True Your Wheels
Whether your riding style is smooth or burly, eventually, you will need to true your wheels.
Friendly tip: If you get complete wheels, it’s always smart to test spoke tightness first before your first session.
Check for all the loose nipples and tighten them. And if you need to true them, either do it yourself with the spoke wrench (I highly recommend you learn how to do it because it’s very easy) or seek professional service.
In general, when truing the wheel, you always want to tighten the nipples of the spokes that are on the other side of where the rim wobbles to – to “pull” the rim back to the center.
But if your rim is semi-centered and you find a few loose nipples, tighten them, but not too tightly, because you may cause the rim to wobble.
Frequency: Every two weeks or monthly (depending on your riding style)
Need new wheels?
Step 5: Check Handlebar Alignment
If, for whatever reason, your bike doesn’t feel right anymore, it might just be that your bar’s position changed – it moved forward or backward.
However, it can also happen (less likely) that your stem moved to the left or the right because the bolts that make it clamp around the steerer tube loosened.
Most riders have their bars in line with the forks – the most common practice. But some (me included) have it slightly forward. In fact, some have it Chicago-style, like Dan Kruk and Charlie Crumlish.
Keep your stem bolts tight!
Step 6: Inspect Brakes
Even though more and more riders decide to ride brakeless, many still use them, either both or at least the rear one.
I’ve seen riders who maintain their brakes every session, but doing it weekly or every two weeks is sufficient.
Check cable tightness, the leaver, brake pads and other hardware, so everything is tight and on point.
When you do a fufanu or an abubaca, you want your brakes to STOP the wheel!
Frequency: Weekly or at least every two weeks
Step 7: Check For Cracks & Dents
Routinely inspect your BMX bike for any signs of wear, damage or corrosion. For instance, if you see a crack on a weld, regardless of the part, it’s time to replace it.
You better be safe than sorry.
Step 8: CLEAN Your Bike (!)
I think too few riders clean their bike regularly. I cannot stand a dusty and dirty bike.
But cleaning your bike isn’t only about keeping it clean; it will also help you find signs of wear, cracks and even loose bolts.
Not only that, but it also shows that you’re grateful for the bike you have.
Frequency: Every two weeks to a month
(Frequency depends on whether you ride only trails, only street, only park, a mixture of all three, etc.)
Conclusion: Keep Your BMX Bike Dialed!
By following these BMX bike maintenance tips and addressing any issues promptly, you can keep your BMX bike in top-notch condition and ENJOY a safe and exciting riding experience.
Also, don’t throw your bike around (it hurts my eyes seeing riders throw their bike) – you’ll damage it much quicker, even break stuff.
A cleaner and well-maintained bike rides much smoother and shows a level of respect you have for it.
Your bike is your friend, so treat it like that!