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A bicycle mechanic tightening the faceplace bolts on a Burgtec Stem

Easy care tips to keep your bike in tip top shape

It’s been said that a Santa Cruz bicycle is like a good horse–strong, reliable, and fun to ride. But even a thoroughbred needs proper care and feeding to deliver top performance. Here are some guidelines to help keep your bike in good nick. Keep in mind that extreme conditions and high usage levels can significantly accelerate these service intervals.

A bicycle mechanic tightening the faceplace bolts on a Burgtec Stem

Easy care tips to keep your bike in tip top shape

It’s been said that a Santa Cruz bicycle is like a good horse–strong, reliable, and fun to ride. But even a thoroughbred needs proper care and feeding to deliver top performance. Here are some guidelines to help keep your bike in good nick. Keep in mind that extreme conditions and high usage levels can significantly accelerate these service intervals.

Black background with the Santa Cruz Bicycles Logo

EVERY RIDE

1. Check tire pressure and wheel condition - Ensure tires are inflated to desired pressure by checking with a gauge or pump. Spin the wheels and visually inspect the tires for damage and condition. While you’re at it check for wheel trueness, hub play, and brake drag.

Pumping up a tire



2. Wipe down and lube the chain - At minimum, you should wipe dust and grime off your chain every ride. Unless you’re going on shorter rides (less than two hours) you should also lubricate your chain each ride to both ensure smoother shifting and drivetrain longevity.

3. Clean your fork stanchions, and shock and dropper shafts - Wiping down fork stanchions, and shock and dropper post shafts before or after each ride keeps your suspension operating smoothly and helps extend the service interval of these components. Cleaning these parts is especially important in adverse conditions that include heavy mud, extreme dust, or wet weather use.

4. Check your thru-axles - Ensure that front and rear through axles are properly installed and secured.

5. Give your frame a little love - As long as you keep your drivetrain and suspension clean and lubricated as described above, your bike is gonna work pretty well. And while dirt, dust, and grime on your frame doesn’t affect performance, a clean bike is a dialed bike. A quick wipe-down before or after each ride helps keep everything pro.

E-bike-specific

6. Charge your battery - There’s nothing worse than getting ready for an e-bike ride only to realize your battery is low on power. Charge your e-bike battery in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations after each ride, so you’re ready to go at all times.

Black background with the Santa Cruz Bicycles Logo

EVERY RIDE

1. Check tire pressure and wheel condition - Ensure tires are inflated to desired pressure by checking with a gauge or pump. Spin the wheels and visually inspect the tires for damage and condition. While you’re at it check for wheel trueness, hub play, and brake drag.

Pumping up a tire



2. Wipe down and lube the chain - At minimum, you should wipe dust and grime off your chain every ride. Unless you’re going on shorter rides (less than two hours) you should also lubricate your chain each ride to both ensure smoother shifting and drivetrain longevity.

3. Clean your fork stanchions, and shock and dropper shafts - Wiping down fork stanchions, and shock and dropper post shafts before or after each ride keeps your suspension operating smoothly and helps extend the service interval of these components. Cleaning these parts is especially important in adverse conditions that include heavy mud, extreme dust, or wet weather use.

4. Check your thru-axles - Ensure that front and rear through axles are properly installed and secured.

5. Give your frame a little love - As long as you keep your drivetrain and suspension clean and lubricated as described above, your bike is gonna work pretty well. And while dirt, dust, and grime on your frame doesn’t affect performance, a clean bike is a dialed bike. A quick wipe-down before or after each ride helps keep everything pro.

E-bike-specific

6. Charge your battery - There’s nothing worse than getting ready for an e-bike ride only to realize your battery is low on power. Charge your e-bike battery in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations after each ride, so you’re ready to go at all times.

White background with the Santa Cruz Bicycles Logo

EVERY 3-5 RIDES

1. Check shock and fork air pressure - Over time, air suspension components slowly lose pressure. Use a shock pump to ensure your fork and shock are at the correct pressure. If you need help setting up your suspension, take a look at the setup guides on our bike pages.

2. Check brake pads - Look through the caliper with a white background to see how worn your pads are. Wet weather and/or downhill use will accelerate pad wear, so be especially diligent if those conditions fit your typical riding scenario. Spray rubbing alcohol on the caliper and wipe to clean. Look for any signs of fluid leaks.

3. Check bolt tension - Loose bolts can create big problems and dangerous scenarios. Perform a front-to-back check of your bike to make sure all your fasteners are properly torqued and tight.

A Mechanic tightening stem bolts

4. Check the battery level of your AXS components - If you have SRAM’s wireless AXS components (derailleur and/or seatpost), check to see the charge level by using the AXS app or by hitting the AXS button on any AXS component to wake the component up and display its state-of-charge.

See SRAM’s AXS guide here

E-bike-specific

5. Clean your sensors
- Dirt and dust on wheel and crank sensors can cause your e-bike to throw error codes. Regularly wipe down the sensors to help keep things operating smoothly. If you should happen to throw an error code while on a bike, try cleaning these sensors as a remedy.

White background with the Santa Cruz Bicycles Logo

EVERY 3-5 RIDES

1. Check shock and fork air pressure - Over time, air suspension components slowly lose pressure. Use a shock pump to ensure your fork and shock are at the correct pressure. If you need help setting up your suspension, take a look at the setup guides on our bike pages.

2. Check brake pads - Look through the caliper with a white background to see how worn your pads are. Wet weather and/or downhill use will accelerate pad wear, so be especially diligent if those conditions fit your typical riding scenario. Spray rubbing alcohol on the caliper and wipe to clean. Look for any signs of fluid leaks.

3. Check bolt tension - Loose bolts can create big problems and dangerous scenarios. Perform a front-to-back check of your bike to make sure all your fasteners are properly torqued and tight.

A Mechanic tightening stem bolts

4. Check the battery level of your AXS components - If you have SRAM’s wireless AXS components (derailleur and/or seatpost), check to see the charge level by using the AXS app or by hitting the AXS button on any AXS component to wake the component up and display its state-of-charge.

See SRAM’s AXS guide here

E-bike-specific

5. Clean your sensors
- Dirt and dust on wheel and crank sensors can cause your e-bike to throw error codes. Regularly wipe down the sensors to help keep things operating smoothly. If you should happen to throw an error code while on a bike, try cleaning these sensors as a remedy.

EVERY 3-6 MONTHS

Many of these items require proper tools and advanced training. Consider bringing your bike into your local Santa Cruz retailer for service

1. Service fork lowers - Change out seals and fork oil. See fork manufacturer manual for more specific instructions and service intervals.

2. Service hydraulic brakes - Flush and bleed hydraulic fluid brake fluid and check brake pads and rotors for wear.

A mechanic bleeding the brakes on a Santa Cruz mountain bike


3. Service dropper post - Much like suspension, dropper posts require regular service. Consult the manufacturer’s maintenance info for your dropper post for specifics.

4. Deep clean the drivetrain - Not just the chain, but cassette, derailleur pulleys, and chainrings too. Clean and lube freehub body as well.

5. Check tires for wear and sealant level - Check your tires for tread depth and condition—replace if necessary. Check tire sealant level, add more sealant if low. If you live and ride in a warm climate zone, expect to completely replace the tire sealant at this interval.

6. Check for chain wear and stretch - An excessively worn chain can shorten the lifespan of expensive drivetrain components like cassettes and chainrings. Use a chain checker tool to measure wear and replace the chain if necessary.


E-bike-specific

7. Clean contacts
- Remove the battery from your bike (if applicable) and spray electrical contact cleaner on connections. Wipe to clean.

Note: Because of their additional speed and mass, e-bikes create more wear-and-tear on components and tires. Expect all e-bike maintenance intervals to be at the shorter end of the service window, i.e. closer to three months than six.

EVERY 3-6 MONTHS

Many of these items require proper tools and advanced training. Consider bringing your bike into your local Santa Cruz retailer for service

1. Service fork lowers - Change out seals and fork oil. See fork manufacturer manual for more specific instructions and service intervals.

2. Service hydraulic brakes - Flush and bleed hydraulic fluid brake fluid and check brake pads and rotors for wear.

A mechanic bleeding the brakes on a Santa Cruz mountain bike


3. Service dropper post - Much like suspension, dropper posts require regular service. Consult the manufacturer’s maintenance info for your dropper post for specifics.

4. Deep clean the drivetrain - Not just the chain, but cassette, derailleur pulleys, and chainrings too. Clean and lube freehub body as well.

5. Check tires for wear and sealant level - Check your tires for tread depth and condition—replace if necessary. Check tire sealant level, add more sealant if low. If you live and ride in a warm climate zone, expect to completely replace the tire sealant at this interval.

6. Check for chain wear and stretch - An excessively worn chain can shorten the lifespan of expensive drivetrain components like cassettes and chainrings. Use a chain checker tool to measure wear and replace the chain if necessary.


E-bike-specific

7. Clean contacts
- Remove the battery from your bike (if applicable) and spray electrical contact cleaner on connections. Wipe to clean.

Note: Because of their additional speed and mass, e-bikes create more wear-and-tear on components and tires. Expect all e-bike maintenance intervals to be at the shorter end of the service window, i.e. closer to three months than six.

EVERY 6-12 MONTHS

1. Service rear shock - Have a qualified technician perform an air sleeve and seal service. If shock is making clunky or wheezing noises, it may need an internal damper service as well.

2. Linkage and frame service - Disassemble and clean all linkages, and check bearings for smooth operation. Replace bearings if necessary (they’re free, see info here), and check headset and bottom bracket, re-greasing all mating surfaces upon reassembly.

installing bearings on a Santa Cruz Bicycles Lower Link

EVERY 6-12 MONTHS

1. Service rear shock - Have a qualified technician perform an air sleeve and seal service. If shock is making clunky or wheezing noises, it may need an internal damper service as well.

2. Linkage and frame service - Disassemble and clean all linkages, and check bearings for smooth operation. Replace bearings if necessary (they’re free, see info here), and check headset and bottom bracket, re-greasing all mating surfaces upon reassembly.

installing bearings on a Santa Cruz Bicycles Lower Link
MY24 Pewter Heckler Lower Link Detail
MY24 Pewter Heckler Lower Link Detail

PERIODIC

1. Clean your bike - A clean bike is a happy bike, but don’t get overzealous. For the sake of your components and to conserve water, we recommend cleaning your bike using the dryest techniques possible. When you do use water, use only low pressure hoses and avoid spraying water directly at bearings and linkages.

Many Santa Cruz retailers offer tune-up services to take care of the above and additional maintenance needs. Check our dealer locator for local maintenance help.

PERIODIC

1. Clean your bike - A clean bike is a happy bike, but don’t get overzealous. For the sake of your components and to conserve water, we recommend cleaning your bike using the dryest techniques possible. When you do use water, use only low pressure hoses and avoid spraying water directly at bearings and linkages.

Many Santa Cruz retailers offer tune-up services to take care of the above and additional maintenance needs. Check our dealer locator for local maintenance help.

The Nomad 6 gloss gypsum frame with a Fox DHX2 Coil rear shock

Looking for information specific to your model?

The Nomad 6 gloss gypsum frame with a Fox DHX2 Coil rear shock

Looking for information specific to your model?

Looking for information specific to your model?