Before riding or purchasing a bicycle its a good practice to conduct an inspection. The following 15 steps are an easy how to guide for just that.
Step 1: Gather Inspection Tools
A. Bicycle pump
B. Pen and paper
Step 2: Tire Check
Check tires for air leaks by inflating and waiting a period of time to determine if
they deflate. Note weather tires hold air (indicate which tire front/back).
Step 3: The Set Up
On a hard flat surface flip bike upside down so handle bars and seat support the
bicycle for easier inspection.
Step 4: Crank It Up
Keeping hands clear of any pinch point or moving parts, slowly crank pedals to drive
rear wheel forward as if someone were riding it. Stop cranking and check for
easy of free coasting (free coasting-when the drive wheel continues to spin
under its own momentum, usually emitting a load clicking sound.) note weather
the bicycle can be cranked easily and if the free coaster is operating
Step 5: Smooth Moves
Keeping hands free of any and all moving parts, spin front wheel by hand, check for
smooth, a well lubed bearing will operate almost completely silently. Note if
the wheel has any deficiencies.
Step 6: No Weak Links
Check chain tension by pressing down on chain or slightly pulling up,
look for slight slack when pushing or pulling. Enough tension to maintain
proper alignment while being driven, but not so much so that the chain is
continually under tension.
Step 7: The Law of Motion
Brake test-Depending on the style of braking
on your particular bike braking can be tested by rotating the pedals backward,
this is known as a coaster brake, Pulling back on the brake lever (note; while
in the operators position the brake lever on the left side usually operates the
front wheel brake, and the right brake lever usually operates the rear wheel
brake.) If there is only or left side brake lever, or no brake levers your bike
should be equipped with a coaster bake.( note; a lever connecting the wheel hub to the frame is a god hint to presence of a coaster brake ) perform the following steps according.
A. While holding cranking the pedals backward use your free hand to try to spin the rear
wheel forward. If a coater brake is present the pedals should not move
backward, and the wheel should not rotate forward while the pedals are held
tightly in the rear position, also known as braking position.
B. While squeezing the left brake lever use your free hand to try to rotate the front wheel. (note;
most children are not capable to differentiate from left to right and or front to rear in an emergency, and thus are safer with only a rear brake) switch to the right brake lever, or rear brake and repeat the steps. Note if
brakes operate correctly or need adjusting.
Step 8: The Invention of the Wheel
With the wheels not rotating, pinch the spokes of the wheels above and below the
point the cross. They shouldn’t have any play or flex. Note weather spokes are
loose or bent.
Step 9: Let There Be Light
Check all reflectors, broken ones should be replaced. (Replacement and aftermarket
reflectors or lights can be purchased at your local bicycle store) list
reflectors needed to be replaced.
A. Pedals-1 amber or white reflector on each side, total of 4.
B. Wheels-2 one white reflector on each wheel attached to the pokes.
C. Seat/rear reflector- 1 red reflector, usually attached to the base of the seat or seat
post, visible from the rear. (A red light is a good addition, however, if it’s
not going to be ran at all times of the bikes operation a red reflector is
D. Handle bars/front-1 white reflector on the front of the bicycle when viewed from the
front. (A light is a good addition, however, if it’s not going to be ran at all
times of the bikes operation a white reflector is still required).
Step 10: On the Flip Side
Carefully turn bicycle right side up.
Step 11: Stiff Necks
Straddle bicycle as if you were about to ride it, holding front brake rock bicycle
forward, look for tightness the down tube (down tube; area of frame where forks
come through and meet the handle bars and goose neck assembly). If front brakes
aren’t present a curb or wall works well to keep the wheel from rolling and
allow you to complete this step. Note any deficiencies.
Step 12: Keeping Things Straight
Using the same process check that the handle bars do not move when forward or
rearward pressure is applied. Take note weather handlebars are secure or not. (Note
if handlebars need tightened.) In addition this is a good time to ensure the
riding position is correct to the ride of the bicycle being inspected. A proper
riding position is while seated and arms out stretched the rider doesn’t have
to reach uncomfortably forward, or that the elbows aren’t bent excessively due
to bars being to close.
Step 13: Staying in Line
From this position look slightly down and forward, ensure while the handlebars are
held perpendicular to the frame, the front wheel follows the same plain or
line. Note that an adjustment needs to be made.
Step 14: Great Seats
Safely dismount bicycle and face it from the side. Holding the bicycle upright with
one hand, check seat for alignment and that it is properly secure to the frame.
(This is also a good time to check if the seat position is comfortable for the
rider.) Note if any adjustments need to be made.
Step 15: Test Ride
After dawning proper personal safety equipment have rider ride bicycle, if the
bicycle is rideable without any serious repairs, a slow ride making both right
and left hand turns, braking slightly and to complete stops. Pedaling from a
dead stop, and checking for overall smooth ride. Note any issues found during
Step 16: Take It to the Shop
Using your list make all proper adjustments and repairs. Once list is completed, re inspect using the same above 15 steps, when the all 15 steps are passed the bicycle is ready for uses.