Essential Last-Minute Bike Checks for a Smooth Sportive

By Nas Karimi

It’s finally time to take on the Dragon Ride Challenge, with all the meticulous preparation you have put in, you should be feeling ready to fire on all cylinders. Here are some last minute bike and equipment checks to go through before the ride.

Bike Fit

Hopefully by now you are feeling good about your bike setup, whether you have done a professional bike fit, made some changes to your position or even bought a new bike you should be happy with the overall fit and confident in how it rides.

It’s not a sensible idea to start making any new changes to your riding position right before any big ride let alone the Dragon Ride.

This also applies to your equipment like cycling shoes, cleat setup, clothing and kit. All of this should have been well tested and prepped for the day. Pay attention to the weather forecast and dress accordingly carrying essentials kit if needed.

That all being said, a fresh new pair of cycling socks would be a nice addition to start the day.


Bike Safety Check

If you managed to get your bike serviced recently it should be running smoothly, gears shifting well and brakes stopping with confidence. It also has to be safe to ride and doing a basic safety check yourself is really important. Here’s a list of what to check.

  • Wheels/Tyres – Ensure the wheels are done up correctly whether they are disc brake or rim brake follow the frame manufacturer guidelines on doing them up appropriately. Check for any large wear on the tyres as this would make you more susceptible to punctures. Inflate your tyres to recommended pressure (read tyre sidewall for this). Tip. Wider road tyres are better suited for a lower tyre pressure eg. 30mm tyre – 65-75 psi.
  • Handlebars/Stem – Using a torque wrench if possible, tighten your stem and handlebars up to required setting (4-5nm) and also ensure they are straight. You can double check this by putting your weight on the bars and pushing on the bar you should get no movement. Also putting your knees either side of the front wheel and trying to turn the bars you should also get no sideways movement.
  • Seatpost/Saddle – Check the torque setting on your seatpost bolts and saddle clamp, you can also double check this by trying to move your saddle and seatpost side to side, back and forth if it’s got any play it needs tightening more. Be careful if you have had a bike fit not to make big adjustments when tightening the bolts.
  • Pedals/Cranks – Not always an obvious one as usually left for the mechanics but it’s a good idea to check your pedals and cranks are tight and are not going to fall off going up (Devil’s Staircase). Use recommended torque settings.
  • Chain/Cassette/Rotors – Again not an obvious area but checking your cassette and brake rotors are locked to the wheel correctly. You can do this by hand and if any play they need tightening. The chain should also be fitted properly.

Bike Performance Check

Bike – Giving your bike one final clean down and polish will help you feel ready but also look the part, a clean bike is a fast bike.

Gears – Your chain should be dry, clean and oiled correctly. Don’t apply too much chain oil as this can attract dirt off the road, just a little drop in each link will smoothen out the drivetrain and improve shifting. Also, for those running electronic gear systems … CHARGE YOUR BATTERIES!

Brakes – Whether you have disc or rim brake, a simple brake test is vital, pulling the front and back brake levers together, you should feel resistance and braking quite quickly, if the lever is travelling too close to the handlebar before braking you should get the bike looked at beforehand as braking may be compromised.

Tyres – Tyre pressure, sealant top up, valve core tightening, new inner tubes are all something that should be done prior. It’s typically best to pump your tyres the night before or morning of the ride.


It’s easy to feel stressed and worry that you have done enough to ensure everything is ready. The likelihood is you have, so don’t panic. Get your kit, equipment and bike out a few days before and lay everything out, this will help ensure you don’t forget something.

Most importantly enjoy it and conquer the Dragon Ride Challenge!