Bikes aren’t cheap. In fact, high end mountain bikes are consistently topping the $10,000 range. What’s interesting is that recent survey revealed that keen cyclists are spending more on their two wheels as compared to their cars. Given that you’ve already spent thousands and thousands of dollars on your bike, it is imperative that you think about mountain bike maintenance. This way, you can get the most out of your investment and enjoy it for the years to come.
As we all know, mountain bikes don’t last forever, but they don’t have to die young either. Here are a few bike maintenance tips that will help you get the longest life from your bike.
Table of Contents
Keep it clean
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After a long ride with friends, the first thing you want to do is to take a shower, eat and then plonk down the couch. However, we suggest that you wash the bike first before you shower.
One of the most important mountain bike maintenance tips is to keep it clean. The best time to wash it is immediately when you come home after a ride. We understand that you’re eager to take a shower and wash the sweat off of your body. But if you do so, then you are less likely are you to come out and clean it afterwards.
Cleaning your mountain bike will not only help keep it looking like new, it will also keep it running smoothly. Your bike has put up with you getting it covered in muddy puddle water and hammering it through potholes. The least you can do is to give it a nice bath. Get the dirt off with a thorough scrubbing and store it indoors once you’re done.
A clean bike is a happy bike. Plus, there’s a better chance of you riding it again if it’s clean.
Check the tires
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Mountain bike maintenance includes checking the tires. Damaged tires are extremely dangerous. When your tires are damaged, they are more susceptible to bursting and may even lead to sudden loss of control. The more you ride, the more chances the tires get of picking up bits of sharp objects on the road. Make it a habit to check your tires for tears, cracks or split.
It is ideal to check your tire pressure before riding. Tires that are properly inflated are less likely to suffer from damage and punctures. It improves your riding experience as well. Although the ideal pressure varies depending on the terrain you’re riding, mountain bikes usually take 65 psi.
Clean and lube the chain
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Cleaning and lubricating the chain is one of easiest on the list. It is also one of the most important parts of mountain bike maintenance. Unfortunately, a lot of bikers tend to overlook this step. Chain lubrication helps keep the drive train in good condition, prevent rust and wear, and overcome mechanical resistance.
A dirty chain sounds as ugly as it looks. A squeaking chain is definitely a sign it needs lubrication. Start off by cleaning the cassette, chain, chainrings and jockey wheels. Then, apply a few drops of lube to each link. Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe off excess with a rag.
When it comes to lubricating your bike, little and often is the way to go. Be careful not to put too much or you’ll end up having grease build up on your chain or cassette. Using a lot of lube may also interfere with shifting. Also, make sure that you’re using a cleaner and lubricant that contains Teflon because they are designed to repel water and dirt.
Inspect your brakes
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The brakes are an important part of your bike. Unfortunately, they become loose and worn over time. As such, you need to make sure that they are properly adjusted and in good condition. Also, check to see if your brakes are tight and snappy.
Tight brakes allow you to stop in an instant. There should be very minimal delay between you wanting to stop and actually stopping.
Have it serviced
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Most people would take their car to a mechanic regularly to have it checked and inspected. Not only does this prevent breakdown, it also ensures that the vehicle will be running smoothly and optimally. Unfortunately, most mountain bikes don’t get the same amount of attention and care.
Getting your bike serviced can be time consuming, but it will make your bike much more efficient and enjoyable to ride. Since wear and tear on a bike is gradual, you may not notice right away that there is something wrong with your bike. A quick routine service will help you keep on top of things and prevent small problems from turning into a more complicated one. Don’t wait til you snap a brake cable before getting it serviced. Your mountain bike will be a lot safer and perform better if you book it in for a service as a preventive measure.
Just because your bike is cheap, it doesn’t mean it won’t require much attention. Mountain bike maintenance is a must to keep it up and running smoothly. Remember, your bike needs a lot of love, some attention and little lube. Treat it well and it will perform better and last longer. Neglect it and you risk mechanicals and crashes.