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How to Know When You Should Overhaul Your Road Bike

Taking your bike for a regular overhaul is essential to prevent damage. But how do you know when your road bike needs an overhaul? If you’re wondering the same thing, keep reading this article below as we discuss what to look for.

To find out whether your bike needs an overhaul, look out for stiff gear shifts and seat posts, rust, poor brake response, unusual noises, dents and cracks on the frameset, broken cables and cable housing, wobbly wheels, and bent rims.

As we go into further depth about these indications below, keep reading.

Signs Your Road Bike Needs an Overhaul

Here are some signs your road bike needs an overhaul.

Difficult Gear Shifts

The gearing system is arguably a bicycle’s most challenging component. Essentially, this is the mechanism that gives you control over how the chain changes gears. Because of how complex the system is, it might start to malfunction if it is not properly maintained. 

Most of the time, you will have plenty of indications that anything is off, though. Your gear changes ought to be seamless. Anything less than that indicates that you require a service. When you press on the pedals, problems frequently manifest as loud clunks or even unexpected gearshifts. 

Anyone who has encountered a gear slide like that knows how hazardous it may be, so you should service it as quickly as possible.


Any indications of rust should raise red flags for you. Despite being all too frequent, rust has no place on any moving parts. Rust is likely to become a problem if your bike spends a great deal of time in wet or near saline water. 

But it need not be with routine maintenance from professionals. Rust on your bike should be stopped with the proper use of water absorbents and replacement parts as needed.

Image depicting a dirty and rusty bike chain.

Poor Brake Response

Your brakes constitute the most crucial component of your bike, regardless of whether you ride on a bike path, a road, or a trek. You frequently have to put your life in their hands. You should thus service your bike as soon as you see any symptoms of wear or degradation. 

Most of the time, brake failure will manifest as a marginal rise in your total braking distance. The time to act is now if you’re starting to notice this sneak up on you. Get your brakes serviced and benefit from the assurance that comes with them.

Stiff Bike Seat

Not all bicycle depreciation is severe or harmful. At times, it is merely irritating. Your bike seat is one illustration of one such problem. It’s time for a check-up if you choose to try moving it for the very first time after a while, and it doesn’t move. 

Even though it’s not crucial, this might be an indication of how well-maintained your bike is generally. So do away with the guessing and have it serviced. At the very minimum, you may get your bike seat changed to your height.

Strange Noises

Last but not least, the common, unidentified noise is a fantastic sign that your bike requires some attention. A service will be helpful if you sometimes hear a clunk, a quiet squeak, or just have a funny feeling. You’ll probably be stunned by the change once the service is over. 

Many problems develop so gradually that you don’t even realize they exist until your bike has been serviced and is operating more smoothly than before. 

Cracks and Dents on the Frame

Your bike should only have dents that were intentionally placed there by the manufacturer. Anything else is not permitted.

Check the frame of your bike for dents and cracks regularly, especially after an accident. Although cracks might weaken the frame’s integrity, dents do not carry the same risk. If you see a crack, bring the bike to a shop right away, and they can determine whether the frame can be fixed. However, you will have to purchase a new frame if the crack is too large or in the wrong place.

Broken Cable Housing and Broken Cables

Cables on mechanical brakes and shifters have a risk of snapping if not changed promptly. Most of the time, severing the cables is merely an inconvenience, but if it occurs while you are moving downward, you can lose your brakes. Without brakes, you better believe that going downhill is one of the riskier things to do.

Periodically check to see whether the cable is frayed, strained, or rusty. It’s a pretty cheap method to keep your bike safe, so if you notice any issues, be sure to replace the cable as quickly as you can.

Every rider learns how to replace cables during his or her bike career. A new cable may be installed quickly with a few low-cost, basic tools. Most of the time, when you change the wires, you also change the housing. You shouldn’t have any issues with it because it’s an even simpler task than switching out the wires.

Wobbly Wheels

Move your wheel from side to side while holding it by the edges. It is a shaky wheel if it is moving. To prevent the wheel from rubbing against the brakes, it shouldn’t be able to move sideways. Additionally, it intensifies the rim’s bending. 

A loose hub is typically the cause of the issue. For a novice repairman, it presents a significant challenge since bearing damage may occur quickly. It is advised to let a trained mechanic do the job.

Image of an old bike wheel.

Bent Rims

Despite your best efforts, your rims will periodically bend. That is entirely normal. Take proactive steps and realign them as soon as you discover a bend in the rims. Most of the time, riding with slightly bent rims isn’t a problem, but it can cause the rims to bend even more.

Most bikers outsource truing or aligning the wheels to the experts. Most cyclists lack the time or motivation to put in the necessary amount of practice to get the sensation needed to rapidly turn them. 

Professionals have all the equipment necessary to do the task quickly. Considering how expensive those pieces of equipment are, purchasing them for yourself might not be worthwhile. Instead, bring the wheels to your neighborhood repair shop and allow them to do the work.

When is the Best Time to Service My Bike?

Is there a perfect time to maintain your bike if it is only done once per year? There is, indeed. Right before the riding season begins is the ideal time to maintain your bike. In this manner, when the sun shines, and you want to go for your first ride of the season, your bike will be prepared. Some contend that servicing your bike once your season is over is preferable.

If you service it following the season’s end and then park it for the wintertime, it’ll still require some upkeep before you can take a ride in the springtime. So why invest in maintenance in the fall if you need further work later?

Since it’s frequently warm enough for early rides in April, it is advised to overhaul your bike in March. You may wish to take your bike a couple of weeks early. After all, March is often when bike repair businesses are busiest because everyone wants to get their bike prepared for the season.

An extra service each year is strongly advised if you intend to ride during the winter as well. After speaking with a few riders, it was discovered that October is the ideal month for winter service because the weather begins to shift then. You need to safeguard your bike from the additional dirt on the road at that time.

How to Overhaul Your Road Bike

In this section, we’ll talk about some tips on taking your bike for an overhaul.

To learn more about how you can overhaul your bike at home, watch this video below

1. Get New Tires

When was the last time you had your bike’s tires changed? Are they beginning to develop a flat center and show little cuts all around?

Outside the apparent wear indicators, your tires’ rubber will harden over time. A new pair of tires breathes new life into a brand-new bike, particularly if you’re also switching to a better model.

Do you have adequate room to gain weight in your frame and fork? Why not try out larger tires for a smoother, more controllable ride? If you’re running tubes or rim strips, make sure they’re in good condition while you replace your tires. 

The feel of your bike won’t be significantly altered by them, but if you’re not stopping to change a flat, you’ll appreciate that old bike more.

2. Change the Contact Points

It’s a popular belief that new grips or bar tape instantly give a bike a fresh look. Even though this is true, it’s important to remember that you also have other ways to get in touch.


Over time, saddles wear down, and the foam and shell lose their original hardness, shape, and support. If your saddle is buckling in the middle or the cover has wrinkles where the cushion used to be, it’s probably time to buy a new seat.

If your previous saddle has always made you feel comfortable, seek a similar alternative. If not, think about going to your neighborhood bike shop and requesting to try a variety.


The pedals’ situation is comparable. The numerous moving elements of clip-in style pedals will wear out eventually. Another factor to take into account is the pedal’s surface. While the majority have grown somewhat more resilient in recent times, some older pedals are prone to have worn casings and can cause your feet to move in an unintended manner.

You can think about offering them a fast service based on your pedal system. This is an easy procedure using uncomplicated tools for Shimano users. Other pedals might not be as simple, but make sure you read the brand’s directions.


Let’s talk about cleats. When were they last changed? Are you even still able to remember what the wear indicators look like? If replacing, a good idea is to use a marker pen to trace the perimeter of your previous cleats. This will enable you to put your new cleats exactly where the old ones were placed.

Think of a worn-out, filthy, or rusty cable as a blocked artery for the bike. It won’t cost much to replace your cables and housing, and it will give your brakes and shifting a completely new finesse. 

No matter what adjustments you make, if your shifting is slow and unpredictable, the cables are probably to blame.

4. Change Your Worn-Out Chain

Chains tend to feel clumsy and sluggish when they are worn. However, it is more probable that a worn chain will encounter a powertrain that has been equally neglected and coated in mud.

Use the installation of a new chain as an excuse to inspect the drivetrain in its entirety. Never use your mechanical privileges to exploit them by installing a new chain on a filthy drivetrain.

Image of a shiny bike wheel.

5. Change Worn-Out Bearings

Don’t always be afraid of what you can’t see. The hubs, bottom brackets, and headset are where bearings are hidden.

The good thing is that many contemporary motorcycles feature cartridge bearings, commonly referred to as “sealed bearings.” If they begin to feel worn or have problems playing, it is best to replace them. Nevertheless, you could require some specialized tools based on how they’re implemented.

Most headsets are simpler, and accessing the bearings just requires a few hex keys. If you ride frequently in warm weather, you probably spend a lot of time dropping corrosive moisture and sweat directly into the headset bearings.

Knowing this makes preventative maintenance extremely simple. Simply removing the fork, unscrewing the stem, and applying fresh lubricant every so often will have your bike running smoothly.

The lower bracket comes next. Always check this whenever you remove the crank off the bike (generally when it’s time for a new chain). Although roughness is a symptom of wear, it’s also important to listen for play or creaking. Leave it alone if it’s a press-fit mechanism and isn’t causing you any of the mentioned problems.

Final Words

We can get reasonable estimates for routine servicing based on the calendar or mileage, but occasionally a bike must be serviced earlier. It’s critical to identify the signals your bike uses to request care. Some components could be damaged and require replacement if you don’t catch them in time, and that is never affordable.