Basics Maintenance To Keep Your Mountain Bike Working Properly and Yourself Save
If you ride a mountain bike, it’s a good idea to learn some basic mountain bike maintenance. No, we are not talking about repairs when parts break. You don’t have to know how to uninstall and reinstall a headset but knowing how to do some simple maintenance will keep your bike from break downs on a trail, increase your overall enjoyment of riding and save you money in the long run.
By performing some basic bike maintenance, you will prevent some of the common breakdowns you are likely to experience on a ride. You will feel more confident about your bike and be more willing to go on longer and more remote trails.
Knowing how to do some basic maintenance on your own mountain bike means you don’t have to rely on your local bike shop for routine maintenance; regular maintenance will stop some problems before they ever develop; the parts on your bike will last longer and you will save money in the long run.
Regular maintenance of your mountain bike is worth the time and effect. Here are some basic maintenance that you should do to keep your mountain bike running like a well-oiled machine.
Check your tires pressure – Properly inflected tires will last longer and give you a better ride. Avoid under inflating and over inflating the tires. An under inflated tire can result in pinch flats and damage to the rim. An over inflated tire can result in broken spokes and damage to the rim.
The proper pressure range for a tire is always stamped on the sidewall of the tire. Try using a tire gauge when inflating a tire. I you don’t have a tire gauge you can guess the pressure by feel. The correctly inflated tire should not be rock hard. It should give and flatten somewhat from your weight when you are on the bike.
You should check the tire pressure from time to time during the days before a ride and periodically during a ride. You should learn how to repair a flat and change a tire, and carry an extra tube, a patch kit and tire changing tools on every one of your rides that is not within walking distance from home.
Check your brakes – An important maintenance is to check your brakes to make sure they work properly. It’s not a good feeling to discover when you are barreling down a hill that you don’t have brakes to help stop the mountain bike. Regularly check the brake pads. Pads wear out fast as you use your brakes. Make sure there are enough pads rubbing against the sides of the rims. Check the alignment of the brake pads against the rims. Nothing should be rubbing against the rims until you apply the brakes. Otherwise, you risk blowing the rims apart and risk seriously hurting yourself from a crash. The next things to check regularly are gear and brake cables as they stretch over time and become less effective. They should also be replaced every 6 months or so, depending on how often you ride.
Keep you chain lubricated – A basic but important mountain bike maintenance is to occasionally lubricating the chain and after certain rides. This task is essential to keep the chain functioning properly and to prevent putting stress or damaging other parts. A dirty chain not only makes peddling the bike more difficult but also makes shifting harder, putting additional stress on shifting cables and shorting their useful lives.
Get into a routine of applying extra lubricant on the chain the night before a ride to allow the lubricant time to works into the links of the chain.
After riding your mountain bike in the rain or muddy conditions, the bike chain should be cleaned, dried and lubricated. The quickest way to clean the chain of any mud or dirt is to hose it down. After most of the dirt is off, spray the chain with WD-40 or a similar liquid and use a rag or an old toothbrush to physically remove the reminding dirt and grime. Dry the chain of any reminding WD-40 or cleanse and apply a very small amount of bicycle grease. Don’t over do the grease; otherwise, the grease will attract too much dirt.
Clean your bike after each ride – This may seem extreme and time consuming, but the practice will extend the life of your mountain bike. Don’t use a garden hose to wash the bike. The high pressure will drive water and dirt into places where they shouldn’t be. Instead, get a bucket of soapy warm water and wipe the whole bike down with a rag or sponge.
Don’t put away a wet mountain bike – After riding your mountain bike in the rain or any wet conditions, dry it off before storing it away. Periodically check your bike for rust, especially if you own a steel frame hard tail.
There are two kinds of steel rust: black and red. Black rust is good rust. It actually protects the steel from further corrosion by forming a coating on the steel and prevents oxygen from reacting with the steel. Red rust is bad rust that spreads. Red rust expands and puffs up exposing bare metal underneath to the air and spreading the corrosion.
Rust on your steel frame can be removed with sandpaper or emery cloth. After sanding away the rust, the area of the frame can be touched up with spray paint, model paint, or even fingernail polish. Rust on exposed cables can usually be controlled by applying a coating of WD-40 or grease.
Listen for signs of potential problems – Take notice of any rattles and noises coming from your mountain bike and locate the sources of the noises or rattles. Rattles or noises usually mean something is loose or about to come off from the bike. Don’t ignore these signs or you risk damaging your bike or get seriously injured. You should periodically check your bike for loose part by picking it up a few inches off the ground and bounding it off the ground. Tighten or adjust any parts that are loose.
Remember breakdowns will always happen, even to the best riders and the most expensive bikes, it’s just the nature of mountain biking. But with a little preventive maintenance as part of your routine toward mountain biking, you’ll be able to catch the little problems before they develop into big problem that may result in damage to your bike and serious injuries to you.