Let’s face it. Nothing lasts forever. While some bike manufacturing companies offer lifetime guarantees on their products, we all know that they’ll break down and will need to be replaced eventually. But with proper care and mountain bike maintenance, you can make your ride last past its expiration date.
For many, cycling isn’t just a hobby; it’s a lifestyle. Their bikes are very dear to them, and even consider them one of their greatest possessions. They’d like to keep their bikes working for as long as possible.
With these mountain bike maintenance tips, you can prolong the life of your bicycle and keep them running like new for as long as possible.
Develop a pre-ride checklist
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Every cyclist should have a routine to go through before each ride. A regular, thorough inspection will help ensure that your bicycle is in good working order. Plus, it will help you identify problems at their onset.
Some things should be checked before you hop in the saddle and crank out some miles. Give your bike a quick once-over to detect potential problems and prevent unwanted incidents later on.
Air: Ensure the tires are inflated to desired pressure to prevent flats. While you’re at it, check for cracks, holes or signs of excessive wear on the tires.
Brakes: Brakes are vital to a safe ride. Check the brake pads. Make sure the pads have sufficient life left in them for the duration of your ride.
Chain: Check your chain for excessive wear. Also, keep your chain clean and lubed to allow it to shift better and silently. They should also be free of debris and muck.
Keep your bike clean
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This may sound like a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. Wash your mountain bike post ride – the sooner, the better. Sure, your bike will work just fine after one muddy ride. But if left long enough, mud will inevitably win the war and cause damage to your bike parts and components.
Did you know that mud is the biggest killer of mountain bikes? When mud and grit get into your bike’s moving parts, they are likely to wear out. If you don’t get the mud off soon, the drivetrain parts, bearings, and suspension seals may end up busted or creaky.
Regular washing will not only keep your bike looking good, it will also keep your ride running smoother. A few minutes of elbow grease is all it takes to to keep your ride shop fresh for longer.
Proper bike storage
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Factors like dirt, moisture, extreme temperatures, and insects can degrade the components and impact the bike’s longevity. Choose a storage location that is not subject to drastic changes in temperature. Also, avoid leaving your bike in damp locations for over a week as it can hurt your bike in the long term.
The garage, bike tents, bike sheds or indoors are a practical and great solution for storing your bike. If you live in a small apartment and don’t want to simply lean your bike against the wall, witty solutions like bike rack, bike stand or ceiling hoists can make it work for you.
Keep your bike protected from the elements and thieves. If your bike is very dear to you, make sure that you properly lock your storage unit. Spending more money on a sturdy lock always pays off.
Learn basic mountain bike maintenance skills
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Bikes have different components. These components experience wear and tear over time. If there is something wrong with one part, it will have a negative effect on your riding experience.
For some, maintaining and fixing a bike is as simple as dropping it off to the local bike shop. But the cost of servicing and parts replacement can add up.
Every cyclist should learn a few bike maintenance skills. You should be able to replace a flat tire, install a new tire, clean your bike chain, install new brake pads, as well as adjust the position and height of your saddle, seat post, and handlebars.
Learning a few mountain bike maintenance and repair skills will not only help you become a self-sufficient rider, it will also prevent premature wear on your bike. Most importantly, it will help you keep more cash in your wallet.
Don’t crash, but when you do, know what to do
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Crashes are a scary, yet inevitable part of mountain biking. Following a crash, assess your body and check yourself for injuries. Once you’re sure that you’re okay, it’s important to give your bike a once-over. This is to ensure that things won’t go awry once you start riding again. Plus, it will prevent you from doing further damage by riding with a damaged part.
Always fully check the frame and fork after any crash, no matter how minor. Check for cracks, deep scratches or any other damage that could compromise the structural integrity of the bike. This is especially important on a carbon fiber frame.
Don’t forget to check the wheels. Check that there are no broken spokes sticking out, the tires hold air, and that the brakes haven’t jammed up. Ultimately, give your components a once-over. Examine the chain. It is still in one piece? Are there any frozen links? Is it jammed? Then, check for a bent deraileur hanger before you shift gears. There is a good chance that it would snap as soon as you click the shifter. Also, check the position of the shifters and brake levers.
The average bike usually last for about 5 to 15 years. With proper care and maintenance, your mountain bike will last longer.
The moving parts of your bicycle wear out with regular use, and will need replacing eventually. It is impossible to determine how long each part or component will last. Typically, how often they will need replacing will depend on how you maintain your bike, how clean it is kept, what conditions the bike has to endure, and the amount of use it gets. To extend the life of your mountain bike, it is important that you examine your bike once in a while and make sure it is in tip top shape. Never ignore a squeak or rattle. This is a clear sign that something is wrong with your bike. By ignoring it, you are only letting the problem become worse. Ultimately, replace worn components before they fail.
Proper mountain bike maintenance will not only extend the life of your mountain bike, it will also reduce the chances of your ride breaking.