How to do a pre-ride check
Do this quick five-step check every time you get ready to ride
It’s important to inspect your bike before each and every ride to avoid mishaps out on the road or trail. To make it quick and easy to remember the steps, we use the “M” method. Each of the five points of the letter “M” signifies a checkpoint in your inspection. You’ll start at the rear wheel, move up to the seatpost, down to the pedals, up to the handlebars, and down to the front wheel. Learn how to perform a pre-ride check by following along with our step-by-step video and the instructions below.
Step-by-step pre-ride bike check
“M” point #1
The first point of the “M” is the rear wheel.
Attach a pump and make sure your tire is inflated to the recommended pressure. You can find the recommended PSI printed on the sidewall of your tire. If the pressure is too low, inflate the tire to the recommended range.
Pro tip: If you’re running a tubeless tire setup, we recommend adding fresh tubeless sealant every 6 months.
Check the brake pads for wear, and spin your wheel to make sure it spins freely through the brakes with no rubbing. If they rub, and you’ve checked to make sure the wheel is seated correctly in the dropouts, you may need to adjust your brakes.
“M” point #2
Move up the seatpost to the saddle and twist your saddle from side-to-side. Make sure the seat post clamp is tight and holding the saddle and seatpost securely in place.
Then, with your bike on the ground, drop the rear of the bike from about ankle height. Listen for any rattles or other odd noises. This could mean that something is loose or worn out and should be taken into your local Trek retailer for service.
“M” point #3
Now move down to the crankset—the middle point of the “M”. Spin both pedals and check for any creaks or other sounds.
Next, grab both pedals and torque them from side-to-side, check for any play in the pedal or crank system.
Then spin the crank backwards, and listen for any creaks or squeaks in the chain or shifting system.
General chain noise could just mean that your chain needs to be lubed, but shifting noises usually need to be brought to a retailer for a closer look.
“M” point #4
Move from the cranks up to the handlebars. With your bike on the ground, drop the front of the bike from about ankle height. Listen for any rattles or other odd noises, just like you did for the rear part of your bike.
Be sure to twist the area to ensure the stem and handlebar are tight—see the video for a demonstration.
Then, give the brakes a squeeze to make sure they engage without pulling the lever all the way back to the handlebar. If the brakes are not working properly, replacement parts and service can be found at your local Trek retailer.
“M” point #5
The final point of the “M” is the front wheel. You’ll essentially repeat the same process you used for the rear wheel.
Attach a pump and make sure your tire is inflated to the recommended pressure. You can find the recommended PSI printed on the sidewall of your tire. If the pressure is too low, inflate the tire to the recommended range. If you have a tubeless setup, be sure to check your sealant.
Finally, spin your front wheel to make sure it spins freely through the brakes without rubbing. If they rub, and you’ve checked to make sure the wheel is seated correctly, you may need to adjust your brakes.
That’s it! Pretty straightforward, right? In addition to performing your pre-ride check and doing basic maintenance at home, like tire inflation and chain lubrication, regular maintenance at your local Trek retailer will keep components running smoothly and can catch issues before they become problems. You can find your local Trek Certified Service provider using our store finder.
About the Author: Trek
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