The bike M check is a thorough bike check which is taught during the Bikeability course. It consists of checking through the major components on a bike prior to setting off.
The bike M check derives from the letter formation one makes during the check. Starting off with the back wheel, going up to the seat, going down to the pedals and back up to the handlebars, finally coming down to the front wheel.
The bike M check is there as a chance to correct any issues with the bicycle before setting off on a journey as opposed to getting stuck on the side of the road.
During the Bikeability course students are taught how to carry out a bike M check before the course begins. A bike M check should be carried out if a bike has been parked up for a period of time. If the bike has been used recently, then an ABC basic bike check will suffice.
Bike M Check in Detail
- Rear wheel – Check tyre for any thorns or nails as well as wear and tear and tyre pressure (should feel like a firm apple and not a “squishy” banana. Check for any side movement and check there are no broken spokes. Have a look at the chain, make sure that it is either a nice clean silver or black colour and not a rusty orange colour. If the bike is fitted with quick release skewers check that they are tightly closed.
- Check the seat post and seat to make sure it is the correct height and for tightness (no movement).
- Rear brake check – Apply the rear brakes and try rolling the bike backwards, it should not roll back.
- Down to the pedals; make sure the pedals spin freely and there’s no play in the cranks. Cranks should rotate freely and not move side to side.
- Next on the checklist are the handlebars. They should be firm and there should be no play. Simplest way to test this is by standing in front of the bicycle and hold the front wheel with the knees while trying to move the handlebars. Any accessories such brake levers, bells or mirrors should be tight and not move around freely.
- Finally down to the front wheel. Check tyre condition as well as thorns and nails as well as pressure. Have a look for any broken spokes as well as for any side movement. Check the front brakes by applying the brake and trying to move the bike forward. If the bike is fitted with quick release skewers check that they are tightly closed.
Better Safe than Sorry
All parts of the bike M check are very simple to go over and should only take a few minutes. It is always much easier to detect and correct any issues before setting off and ending up stranded on the side of the road. If you’re interested in learning more about looking after your bike, contact your local bike shop as they may run maintenance courses. Alternatively, there are companies who run bike maintenance courses.