One of the worst things you can deal with as a mountain bike enthusiast is a total breakdown right in the middle of a trail run. Not only will your fun be cut short, but you’ll also have to do a full fix of the bike and maybe even walk it back to a place where it can get properly serviced. With that said, it’s a best practice to instead give your bike some regular maintenance so that it can perform as well as you need it to. In this post, we’re going to look at some easy maintenance that you can do to keep your bike riding smoothly.
1. Check the bolts
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One of the key things with dirt bike maintenance or even regular bike maintenance is that you need to check the bolts that are holding your handlebars to the stem of the bike. If you have four of these bolts, you should tighten them in a crisscross pattern that alternates so as to ensure that one side isn’t tighter than the other.
The gap between the bar and the stem should be totally uniform throughout, and the torque needs to be looked at as well.
2. Check the torque
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You’ll also want to make sure that the torque on your steering tube clamp bolts is level and that your steering is straight. The last thing you want is for your handlebars to be anything but perfectly centered. Few things mess with road bike maintenance more than a bad steering setup.
3. Check the brake levers
When you’re performing full suspension mountain bike maintenance or even bike chain maintenance, your brakes will play a large part in the overall health of your bike. The brake levers should be secured to the bars of your bike, and the shifter pods should be checked for dirt or anything else that could interfere with proper performance.
4. Check the fork
The fork should be checked over for any possible leaks that might have cropped up through normal operation. The seals need to be in good condition and not separated at all from the fork lowers. It’s a good idea to give the fork a shake to ensure that everything is working properly.
5. Check the brakes
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It goes without saying that brakes are essential to any bike. Considering how important it is be to be able to brake in time, this is the item on this list that’s most critical. Make sure that the bolts that hold the caliper are torqued to the proper amount to ensure that everything is running smoothly. If your brakes aren’t working right, the rest of your bike won’t be working right either.
6. Check the pivots and bolts
For maintenance on a full suspension mountain bike, both the bolts and pivots have to be checked with the right torque. Using the wrong instrument or applying too much pressure can permanently damage these essential parts, so it’s best to use a torque wrench and take it easy when applying pressure.
7. Check the rear damper
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No bike maintenance kit is complete without checking the rear damper for a correct amount of sag as well as any leaks that might have cropped up. Along with this, the bolts that hold the damper in place should be checked and adjusted for the proper amount of torque.
8. Check the rear derailleur
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This is perhaps the second most important part of bike maintenance next to servicing the brakes. Both the rear derailleur and the chain need to be checked for the proper level of oil. The stops need to be correct and not moved. You should run through all of the gear shifts on the bike in order to be sure that they’re working properly. If the shifting isn’t smooth, you’ll want to oil and adjust it to get it to where it needs to be.
9. Check the chain
Considering that it literally powers your bike to move forward, checking on the chain should be one of your highest priorities. If the chain has any bent or stiff links, it’s probably best for you to get a brand new chain.
While this list isn’t exhaustive, it should definitely get you well on your way toward having the best mountain bike experience that you can have. As with everything else in life, it’s best for you to experiment and see what works best for you. Once you’ve done some of these maintenance points a few times, it’ll be far easier for you to diagnosis and deal with a bike problem.
When it comes to maintaining your mountain bike, a fully comprehensive approach is best. There’s not one part that holds a bike together but rather a multitude of them. By keeping them all in proper working order, you’ll have a good bike for years to come.