“Breaking” in your bike sounds a bit ominous, but its something that will need to be done to every bike, with different components requiring break in at different points. The main components that require breaking (or bedding) in are the brake pads, gear cables and all bolts used across the bike, which should be checked routinely anyway.
Gear Cable and Brake Cable Stretch
As gear and brake cables are quite thin and are made up of a lot of different wires, they’ll stretch over a month, or maybe less than this due to the cable being pulled on when you shift. We do pre-stretch cables when we build bikes, but typically they will stretch again after some use.
Brake cable stretch only applies to mechanical disk brake and caliper brake systems, as hydraulic systems use fluid instead of cables to provide stopping force. The main symptom of cable stretch will be the brake lever coming further towards the bar to bring the bike to a stop. To remedy this, please follow our instructions on cable tension adjustment here.
Gear cable stretch will occur on all bikes with cable actuated drivetrains and will occur on both the front and rear derailleur. A symptom of this would be the shifting being inconsistent, usually when shifting up to easier gears. You may notice the chain won’t shift as quickly as before, or you may hear more noise than before when shifting. Please follow our guide on gear adjustment here to remedy this.
Bolt checks should be done on all components where they are used. Bolts may only loosen a little and may only require a ¼ turn to get them back up to the required tightness, some may have loosened considerably due to the vibrations occurring during a ride, which is why its really worth giving them a check before every ride ideally. If you can do this, your bike will function better for longer and will generally be safer also.
In line with the above, a torque wrench is a recommended purchase as mentioned in our Essential items guide, as it’ll mean you get the bolt to the correct tightness everytime. These are available on our site should you wish to purchase. Please find a list of recommended torque settings below.