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Crank arms are fairly easy to adjust and work with, provided you know what tools you need. Thankfully, Singletracks has published a guide listing tools, types of cranks, and how to work with them. If you feel any play when pedaling or if they click or shift around when you’re cleaning the bike, you’ll need to do a thorough service on the cranks.


If you have disc brakes or calipers, you need to clean and service them regularly to make sure your bike can stop when you need to. According to Bicycling Magazine, there are four simple steps to spot trouble with disc brakes.

Make sure to follow all four: A warped rotor can make braking impossible, and it’s easy to overlook. Caliper brakes are even easier. Look at the pad for wearing, then spin the wheel while lifting the bike and make sure it spins freely and stops when the brake is used.


Worn pads need to be replaced promptly. Calipers are fairly straight-forward: Unscrew the pads, remove them, replace them with new. Disc brakes may be a little more complicated. Remove them whenever they are less than 1 mm thick


Caliper and mechanical-style disc brakes both use cables to operate the brakes. Sluggish braking may be a sign that you have a frayed cable or a leak in a hydraulic system. Leaks can be fixed by bleeding, and worn cables should be replaced promptly.

Performance Bike published a guide to replacing brake cables and shifter cables, which isn’t too technical. According to REI, it’s a good idea to lightly lubricate the brake levers and pivot points of brake levers. Take note that sluggish braking may be a sign that you have a frayed cable or a leak in a hydraulic system.


If you have disc brakes, you probably need a bleed kit. Air in the line will make your brakes work poorly. Some brakes are easy to bleed, even on the trail, and others are more complicated. Every brake has its own routine, but here are some general tips on what not to do from Epic Bleed Solutions.

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