BMX Tune-Up and Maintenance Guide

Any BMX rider knows that practice is the only path to being amazing. While this might sound like a motivational poster, it’s true!

But you can’t practice on a bike that’s broken. Like a car, general maintenance of any bike is required. Especially BMX bikes, which tend to take on a little more wear and tear. The Don’s Bike Shop crew are experts at maintaining and upgrading all types of bikes, especially BMX rigs.

Today we wanted to go over a few of the basics steps in a BMX tune-up. Some of these tips will also apply to non-BMX bikes so even if you’re looking for a starting point for bike maintenance this is a great article to keep in mind.

Nut / Bolt Safety Check

Just as the name implies, one of the best starting points ensures that all the critical components of your bike are securely fastened. You’ve probably seen the videos of some unfortunate schmuck pulling a wheelie and having their fork and front tire fall off leading to a spectacular headstand.

Areas to check include connection points on the top tube and the chain stays. For this, you’ll probably want to stock up items for your BMX tool kit.

A hex key is a critical piece, but also consider the following:

Chain Maintenance

The chain is literally the main power converter for the bike. Power is generated from your legs to the pedals and the chains transfer that kinetic energy to the wheels.

Being so close to the ground, your chain will collect dirt and grime. A nasty chain can slow you down and decrease the lifespan of the chain. Keeping a chain clean and lubricated is easy, but probably one of the first things you should consider during a BMX maintenance session, but it can probably go about a calendar year between each cleaning (depending on the conditions where you ride).

Using lightweight oil specifically for bikes is advices here, motor oil for automobiles is generally too heavy and can attract more dirt and grime. Also, leave the WD-40 out of the mix, we generally don’t recommend this as a lubricant.

A professional bike stand can really help if you’re one of the DIY types.

Brakes/Gear Adjustment

Having a clean and lubricated chain can help you get up to speed quickly but stopping is just as important in BMX.

Brakes need lubrication, specifically the pivot points because these are vulnerable to dirt and grit. The cables can also get rusty or seize from a lack of lubrication. Similarly, the brake levers can use the occasional drop or two of oil

The brake assemblies, which are mounted on the frame at the front and back wheel in most cases also need a few drops of lubrication from time to time – as a rule, you can consider areas where metal parts move against one another to be candidates for lubrication.

You should also inspect your brake pads, which can be the source of a variety of problems that you don’t want to realize as your attempting to brake check some speed after a landing. Ensuring that the brake pads are hitting the rims evenly and are “toed in” is important.

A “toed in” brake pad will have the leading edge of the brake pad touch the bike rim first when you pull the brake lever on the handlebars. Also, be sure to remove and debris embedded in the brake pads.

Tire Pressure

This almost goes without saying, but a properly inflated tire will make pedaling easier, it will protect your rims from damage and ensure that you get the maximum lifespan out of your tires.

Additionally, a properly inflated tire can help ensure fewer flat tires. Less time repairing a flat tire means more time perfecting those transitions on the halfpipe. The “proper” PSI for your tire will depend on the brand of tires you’re using and what you commonly use the bike for – ask a specialist for advice. 
It’s always a good idea to have the tools and the knowledge to provide some fixes on your own, in your home or garage. But knowing when to delegate BMX maintenance is also an important skill.

Don’s Bicycles has been in the game since 1959 and we offer comprehensive BMX bike repair and maintenance services for riders all around Rialto and Redlands.

We’re happy to answer all questions about BMX bike maintenance and even more happy to take that off your “to-do” list so you can get back on the trail more quickly.


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