Although road bikes are fairly easy to maintain, most cyclists gloss over a majority of the maintenance and only focus on a few things. Most cyclists only focus on cleaning and lubing their bike, but there is more to it then that! The downfall of not properly maintaining your bike is that parts will eventually break if not kept in good condition.
Here are 10 things that should be looked after with normal maintenance:
Prevent spoiled headset bearings by removing your stem and drop the fork out of the frame. These bearings will get old with regular wear and tear, especially with sweat dripping on it. Newer frames will have sealed bearings, which just need a thin coat of grease on the surface.
Overtime gear cables will get kinked and fray, and this will effect how precisely you will be able to shift (if you are able to shift at all). If you see a bend or fray in your cables check out how to replace them here: http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/how-to-replace-a-road-bike-gear-cable-43055/
If there is no bending or fraying then go ahead and use some dry chain lube on the inner cable and work it through the housing segments.
Watch out for loose bearings and worn cleats. A worn cleat surface on the pedal body cannot be fixed, and this can potentially cause off-axis movement in the pedal which can lead to knee problems.
Not all freewheeling noise is a good thing. If you have noticed your freewheel has gotten louder, it's likely that the bearings are too dry or dirty and they need some work.
Everyone knows that you should keep your chain clean and well lubed as it is crucial for the longevity of the componentry. However, remember to measure ever so often for chain stretch, no matter how clean you keep your chain it will begin to stretch and eventually need to be replaced.
It's easier than you think to bend the derailleur hangers on modern road bikes. If you can't figure out why your shifting is not perfect and you have tried other solutions then it may be that your hanger is bend.
You may be able to avoid roadside punctures just by checking your tires before a ride. Look for cuts, tears, and wear in the tread and sidewalls of your tires. Protrusions must be removed and if your tire is getting bald it may be time to replace.
Brake pads have wear indicators, this makes it really easy to see how much life they have left in them. However, if the pads aren't wearing evenly you may have to readjust them to get more life out of them.
Loose and Rattling Parts:
Creaks and rattles can be avoided, but they are a pain to find. Most of the time it's not what you expect to be causing the noise. If you attempt to find the loose part located it by general region, then rule out any detachable part that is not making the rattle in that area. Loose cassettes, hubs, headsets, pedals, crank arms, bottom brackets, bottle cages, and many other things make a racket when they are loose.
It's nice to give your cockpit an overhaul with a nice new set of bar tape, but that's not the only reason to replace your bar tape regularly. You can also check your handle bars for any damage hidden by the bar tape and it will give you a chance to replace your cables.