M-check

Front wheel

Starting from the front of the bike check the alignment and tension on your quick release skewer it should be palm tight and pointing upwards or backwards. The wheel should sit centrally to the forks if the wheel does not align with the centre of your forks the quick release may not be seated properly and will need correcting.

Lift the front wheel off the floor and spin the wheel slowly. You will need to check the condition of the tyre and its tread. You’re looking for any cuts or foreign objects embedded in the tyre. The tyre should have tread or in the case of road bikes you should have a tread wear indicator. Look for small round dents in the tyre tread which are around 2-3mm in diameter. When these indicators disappear it is time to change the tyre.

Next you’ll need to check the spoke tension, the tension should be even over all of the spokes and should flex slightly when you grab and attempt to squeeze two spokes together.

Spin the wheel faster and check the true of the wheel. The wheel should be true the bearing should be smooth and the tyre should not bulge out from the rim at any point. Finally the rim should not catch on the brake pads as the wheel rotates.

Cockpit

Standing at the side of the bike apply the front brake and rotate the handlebars 90 degrees to the left or right of the bike. Rock the bike forwards and backwards and feel for any knocking or play coming from the headset. You should not be able to feel any movement.

Stand at the front of the bike and pinch the front wheel between your legs to support it whilst holding on to the handlebars. Try to move the handlebars from left to right. There should be no movement. Next check for rotational movement in the handlebars and levers. The handlebars should not move under rotational pressure there should be minimal movement of the levers and they should only rotate under excessive pressure to help stop them breaking in the event of a crash.

The handlebars should be symmetrical and have no visible damage such as fractures and dents. Finally check the ends of the handlebars to ensure they are equipped with bar end plugs.

Drivetrain

Crouch at the none-Drive side of the bicycle and grab the crank arms. Try to rock the crank side to side to identify lateral play in the bearings. Grab the pedals and try to do the same. You should not feel any play in these bearing.

Next select a gear on the front and rear derailleurs that gives you a straight chain line from the front cogs to the rear, once selected, rotate the cranks backwards. The cranks should rotate relatively freely without binding and the chain should not skip and catch on the sprockets.

Finally check that the sprockets do not have any missing teeth and that they are not twisted or bent and check that the front mech runs parallel to the chain rings and that it cannot be moved under pressure.

Frame

This is a visual inspection that can only be carried out effectively when the frame is clean Check along the head tube, top tube, down tube, seat tube, chain stays, seat stays, and around the bottom bracket feeling for dents and possible cracks. A cracked frame is a major safety issue and the bike should not be ridden if failures are found.

Saddle and post

Grab the bike by the saddle and first apply lateral pressure to ensure the seat clamp is properly tightened. Next apply vertical pressure to ensure that the bolts holding the saddle to the post are tight. You should not feel any play when carrying out this stage of the m check.

Rear Wheel

Check the alignment and tension on your quick release skewer it should be palm tight and pointing upwards or backwards. The wheel should sit centrally to the chain stays if the wheel does not align with the centre of your chain stays the quick release may not be seated properly and will need correcting.

Lift the back wheel off the floor and spin the wheel slowly. You will need to check the condition of the tyre and its tread. You’re looking for any cuts or foreign objects embedded in the tyre. The tyre should have tread or in the case of road bikes you should have a tread wear indicator. Look for small round dents in the tyre tread which are around 2-3mm in diameter. When these indicators disappear it is time to change the tyre.

Next you’ll need to check the spoke tension, the tension should be even over all of the spokes and should flex slightly when you grab and attempt to squeeze two spokes together.

Spin the wheel faster and check the true of the wheel. The wheel should be true the bearing should be smooth and the tyre should not bulge out from the rim at any point. The rim should not catch on the brake pads as the wheel rotates.

Make sure that the cage of the rear derailleur sits parallel with the rear cassette sprockets and that it is not bent or twisted.