Quarterly Seasonal Maintenance
Seasonal services can address specific areas of bike maintenance for the average rider. The timing of such services also allows the rider to adapt the bike to seasonally different riding conditions. This may be optional for fair-weather and recreational riders, but is a must for riders who depend on their bikes for daily and year-round transportation.
The drivetrain basically includes everything that comes in contact with the bike chain. The chain is quite literally the conduit through which your own power is transferred to the moving parts of the bike, and makes it go. Because all these moving parts are exposed, they constantly pick up road dirt and grit, which can act like sandpaper on all the moving components. Even the relatively harmless debris your drivetrain will pick up on dry and sunny days can accumulate over time (winter grime can wreak complete havoc). In order to remove that residue, the drivetrain has to be periodically thoroughly cleaned, degreased and treated with a new coating of chain lubricant.
Daily riders need the drivetrain cleaned on a monthly basis, and those who ride in winter on salted roads may need to do it more frequently. (See also DIY drivetrain maintenance.)
Brake Pad Inspection
Both rim and disk brake pads should be replaced at least annually, but for daily commuters, seasonal inspection is a must. Worn brake pads will not only compromise your stopping ability, in the case of rim brakes, they can badly damage your wheels and create the need for much more expensive repair.
Brakes and shifting systems use stainless steel cables that should be replaced at least annually. However, it’s not a bad idea to have the cable inspected for fraying and corrosion seasonally and replaced as needed. Cables can become gummed up and sticky inside the housing, and replacing them will greatly improve the responsiveness of the shifting and braking.
If you use your bike during different season of the year, you may choose to swap your tires to adjust to different road conditions. Winter riders often run very heavy duty tires (or even studded tires) for more puncture resistance and better handling on sloppy, icy roads. In spring and summer, those tires may be unnecessarily wide or heavy. You can lighten up your bike and make it feel more zippy by installing lighter weight tires, or switch to tires that can handle longer summertime tours or competitive events, if that’s part of your plan.