I just got a new bike and I want to make sure I’m able to keep it up properly. I am entirely new to this.

Edit: thank you all for your responses, I’ll keep these all in mind and I’m adding them to my reminders to make sure I remember.

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    1) Pump up the tires when needed (which means before you notice they are low). 2) Clean and oil the chain occasionally. 3) About once a year lube the cables. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 11 '18 at 1:58
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    Also before every ride do a quick "pre-flight" - brakes, tires, seat, bars and levers. You should get to the point this is automatic in the first 10 meters of riding (Unless its a steep downhill, then you check the brakes before mounting up. – mattnz Dec 11 '18 at 8:52
  • @mattnz one of my bikes is kept somewhere at high risk of vandalism sned careless knocks, and also getting litter jammed in it (an extra item to check). In that case the brakes should be tested independently; my habit is actually to test them as I get the bike out of the rack, and before I get up much speed – Chris H Dec 14 '18 at 20:18
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    @ChrisH I sometimes have to park mine where it’s not a good neighborhood so I tend to sit near where I can see it so I can check on it, but I tend to check the essentials before I hit the road after just in case – HelpfulHandGrenade51 Dec 18 '18 at 2:30

Know what pressure your tires should be at (range is written on the sidewalls). Check and re-inflate tires to proper pressure every ride, or every couple of days if you are riding regularly. You'll soon find out how often tires need some air.

Check and adjust brakes.

Clean chain, sprockets, idlers, chainrings; re-lubricate the chain. How often depends on how much you are riding and in what conditions.

Generally keep the bike clean.

Adjust derailleur indexing as needed. Check chain wear.

Periodically, check for rattles, and anything loose. Once a bike starts to get some miles on it you can check headset, bottom bracket, wheel bearings for play. Make sure pedals are tight in the cranks. Check wheel rims are true.

Eventually you start wearing things out: brake pads, tires and chain are the primary wear items. If shifting accuracy is suffering changing out cables and housings is necessary. Brake cables and housings can also be replaced.

There are plenty of guidance videos on YouTube to help you with specifics of all of the above. Personally I like the Global Cycling Network Tech and Park Tool's YouTube channels (and articles on their web site). I'd definitely recommend learning how to clean you bike properly as it has a substantial effect on how it performs.

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    There are also several years' worth of basic maintenance video guides on the main GCN channel, from before they started GCN Tech. – David Richerby Dec 11 '18 at 15:04
  • I understand what you said but a lot of the terminology I am unfamiliar with. I’ve just gotten into cycling for my commute and honestly I’ve loved it since it’s been great for my mental and physical health, as well as an excellent transportation method. Is there any particular websites you’d recommend for a newbie to get the lowdown on everything they need to know? – HelpfulHandGrenade51 Dec 14 '18 at 0:27
  • @HelpfulHandGrenade51 Just google "bicycle <term>" anything you are not familiar with; there is a glossary of bicycle components on this site; as mentioned above Global Cycling Network and Park Tool's YouTube channels; Bicycling Magazine; Sheldon Brown; Local bicycle advocacy groups (such as WABA in my area); hanging out in bike stores and joining group rides in your area. – Argenti Apparatus Dec 14 '18 at 1:07

Start by pumping up your tyres. If they don't inflate, then fix that first. With the tyres inflated, go over every bolt holding the bike together and check that nothing is loose. Next, check your brakes by spinning the wheel to see if they rub when not engaged (could need brake adjust or wheel true). When the wheel is spinning, pull the brake levers. You should be able to apply sufficient braking without pulling the lever through to the bar.

After that, you'll want to focus on the drivetrain. Start with the shifting at the rear. Ensure that the limit screws are correcty adjusted to allow shifting onto the smallest and biggest cogs without going any further (particularly not into the spokes). Check that the cable tension allows you to shift smoothly through the whole range. Repeat this process on the front, then move onto the chain. When spinning the pedals backwards, there should not be any stiff links causing more resistance or a bit of a jump forward. The chain should also not be squeaking if well lubricated. Using a chain checker tool (most bike shops will check this for free) see how worn the chain is. If the chain is worn, then it needs to be replaced. If it is very worn, then the cassette/cogs and even perhaps the chainrings might need replacing.

Once the drivetrain is running well, you'll want to check that the headset is tight enough and that the bearings there and in the bottom bracket are still smooth. This should cover just about everything but even eith all of this done, it can be a good idea to lift the bike 30 cm off the ground amd drop it to listen for any rattles that you would not hear in a well maintained bike.

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    +1 for the drop test. You do need to do it a few times before the rattles start to know what it should sound like. – mattnz Dec 11 '18 at 8:49
  • Start by pumping up your tyres. With a decent pump that has a pressure gauge. Learn what the proper pressure is for your bike - it's not "as hard as you can make them" for a lot of reasons, especially for off-road bikes with larger tires. Umm, "tyres". ;-) – Andrew Henle Dec 11 '18 at 10:22
  • Better have pump with a manometer. – Carel Dec 12 '18 at 10:02

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