How to get your kid's bike ready for riding season.

If you live in a cold climate and your kiddo has been riding through the winter, their bike definitely needs some love after riding in snow, sleet and muck!

There is arguably no better time than February to get your child's bike tuned up and ready for the spring/summer riding season. Bike Service shops are not as busy this time of year, so you should be able to schedule a service/tune-up appointment more easily and without long wait times. Plus taking care of the maintenance this time of year is a good idea if your bike needs replacement parts as it will give you enough time to order them. Here are some common issues to look for followed by a few maintenance tips to ensure your kiddo's bike is running smoothly!

Wash the bike

Try to pick a warm and dry day to wash your child's bike. If your kiddo has a mountain bike, look for greasy dirt at the seals or bottom of the fork legs, to make sure the fork is not leaking oil.

Check the following:


Check the pressure and pump up to between 30-40 PSI, depending on bike and terrain. (Max recommended PSI is printed on the side wall of the tire). Look for signs of excessive tread wear and obvious cut spots. On mountain bikes, look for knobs that are worn down or ripped off altogether.

Brake Pads

If your kiddo's bike has V-brakes (rim brakes) check the pad alignment and then the brake pads for wear. Look for the vertical wear indicator. For bikes with disc brakes, the easiest way to diagnose that the pads are worn down and need replacing is if there’s less than one millimetre of pad material remaining.

Suspension (front + rear)

Check the air pressure and SAG (should be 25-30%). Shocks and forks should compress and rebound fully and smoothly, without looseness or a harsh rebound. For full suspension bikes, grab the rear shock and twist it side to side, feeling for looseness in the linkage, which means pivot bearings may need to be replaced.

Chain and Drivetrain

Inspect the chain (using a chain checker), chainring and cassette teeth, and look for bent /broken teeth and signs of excess wear.

Shifters and Brakes

If your kiddo's bike has a cable-activated drivetrain or brake set, shift through the gears and pump the brake levers. This should feel smooth. If braking and shifting require lots of hand force, or if the derailleur is slow to shift through the gears, it could mean that there is dirt/grime inside the cable housings. Check for frayed cables as well while you're at it.

Bolt Check

Bolts can loosen over time so it is very important to do a complete bolt check, ideally before each ride.