You should check everything on a regular basis and do complete tune-up once per year. Maintenance of mountain bikes is important because they tend to wear out sooner than expected, as they are subjected to all kinds of harsh weather and rough terrains.
Maintenance is the key to a bikes better performance and long life be it in the form of regular tuning of the bike of scheduled complete maintenance. The rider has to understand the importance or else he may be forced to invest in a new bike even before he put the bike to the real test.
The Importance of Mountain Bike Maintenance
The sport of mountain biking requires a lot of stamina and agility owing to the rough nature of the sport. These bikes are subjected to a lot of hardship and thus tend to wear out sooner than expected. This rugged nature of the sport makes maintenance a very important concern for the many bike owners.
Owning Mountain bikes is not restricted only to professional bikers, some people prefer to use mountain bikes for the day to day use. The importance of maintenance to the mountain bike remains the same for all its users, not depending on what purpose the bike is used. So ignoring the maintenance part may result in the unwanted expenditure of purchasing a new bike.
Essential First Steps in Mountain Bike Maintenance
The heat, rains and rough use take their toll on the tires and rusting of metal parts can affect its performance if not maintained properly.
Performance of the mountain bike depends mainly on the fact that the parts function properly. So it is advised that the bike is given regular and scheduled tune-ups, missing even one secession might affect its performance. Simple check-up of all movable parts, nuts, and bolts can prove to be a great help in maintaining its performance.
Although the seat might be a small part when considering the mountain bike as a whole but can make the ride very uncomfortable if not kept in good condition, especially during rainy seasons. Adding seat protection might be the right thing to do as it will also help in increasing its life of the seat and so avoid unnecessary replacement expenses.
Regular and timely maintenance is all it takes to keep your bike in good condition, thus avoiding unnecessary expenditure of purchasing a new bike. Temporary checkups might be fine to keep the bike in a running condition, but it’s in no way a substitute to full bike maintenance.
Bicycle maintenance is vital to the performance and preservation of your ride. Without proper maintenance, your bike will quickly go from a lean, mean, two-wheeled machine, to a squeaky, rusty, pant leg munching mess. Keeping your bicycle in top condition requires regular protective and preventive maintenance, some of which can be done by you. Other jobs may require the skills of a professional cycle repairer.
When riding a bicycle, most of the load and pressure falls directly on the tires. Check your air pressure to be sure the tires are inflated as per the manufacturer’s specifications. Tires should be inspected on a regular basis for any signs of ripping, or wear and tear.
Wheels need regular tuning and adjustment and should be checked for dents and twists caused by collisions or falls. Spinning is the best way to check a wheel. If the wheel shakes from side to side as it spins, it will need to be tightened. Spokes also need to be tightened and fixed firmly to the rims as part of regular bicycle maintenance. The spokes transmit pressure, so if they’re damaged, they must be replaced immediately.
Similar to the steering wheel of a car, the handlebar is a key component in maneuvering the bicycle. A handlebar needs to be adjusted to produce the best results. Adjust the height so that you can comfortably hold the handlebar when seated. The handlebar should be properly aligned with the front wheel, to accommodate both quick swerves and smooth changes in either direction. A properly adjusted front fork is equally important. The front fork stabilizes the handlebar and should be securely fastened to the handlebar post. Also, be sure that your bicycle maintenance regime includes checking that the pedals are tightly secured.
The single most important part of the bicycle for rider safety is the brake assembly. Check the brakes by squeezing them and rolling the bike ahead. If the brakes work properly, the wheels will not roll and the brake pads will stay squarely on the rims without touching the tires. If the brake levers touch the handlebars when pressed, it means the brake cables are loose. Tighten them and check for wear. If the brake cables are frayed, have them replaced.
Proper bicycle maintenance includes regular lubrication of the chain, to produce smooth and swift movement. Use a de-greaser to remove accumulated dirt on the grease. Remember to put fresh grease on to replace the dirty grease that has been removed. Keeping your chain clean and well lubricated will keep it from getting stuck or jumping the gear teeth.
Keeping your bicycle in prime riding condition doesn’t take a lot of tools or a great deal of technical knowledge. Bicycle maintenance is a simple task that takes only a little time and effort. Keep your bike fit, and it will last many years keeping you fit.
For those of us who put our bikes away for the winter, the time has come to dust them off and get ready to ride. When bringing a bike out of storage, a mini tune-up is necessary. Pay special attention to the following four areas: chain, derailleur components, brakes, and wheels.
If you have been using an oil-based lubricant, consider switching to a wax-based product. The only advantage to an oil-based lubricant is that it needs to be applied less frequently, but in every other way, wax-based is superior. For instance, oil collects trail dust and other things abrasive to the chain, whereas wax sheds abrasives. A recommended wax-based lube is White Lightning.
If you’ve been using oil-based chain lube, whether you want to switch to wax or not, you should remove the chain and clean it with a solvent to degrease it before adding fresh lubricant. Depending on your typical riding conditions, using a solvent to degrease the chain needs to be done once a year at a minimum.
Lubricate the pivot points using a good petroleum-based lube. I use Tri-Flow. Next, lubricate and adjust the derailleur cables, which might have stretched over the winter. Adjust so that shifting is crisp.
Again, lubricate the cables. Use either petroleum- or wax-based lube depending on how dusty the expected typical riding conditions will be. Adjust the cables, which might also have stretched over the winter.
Check the pads: is there plenty of rubber; do the pads hit the rims evenly? If using fluid-actuated disc brakes, check the brake fluid level in the reservoir.
Spin the wheel slowly checking for true. The wheel should not wobble at all. If it wobbles a little bit and you have the tools and skill, you can make minor adjustments using a spoke wrench. But if there is substantial wobbling, take the wheel to a shop and have a professional true the wheel.
Check tire pressure, which is bound to be low after a winter of storage. Inflate to the manufacturer’s recommendations that are stamped on the tire.
Now give the bike a once-over. Is the seat adjustment still a good fit? Is there excess play or tightness in the bearings of the wheels, crank, pedals, and headset? Also, for full-suspension bikes, check the suspension joints.
From this once-over, you will be able to determine whether it is time for a major tune-up. This could range from a few adjustments to cleaning and replacement of some parts. Opinions differ on how often a major tune-up is needed. It depends on how much you ride, and how much maintenance you perform yourself.
Whether you do the major tune-up yourself or take the bike to a reputable bicycle shop, now and then the following maintenance is necessary for optimal performance and safety: repacking bearings and adjusting wheel axles, headset, crankset and pedals; replacing cables; truing the wheels; making overall adjustments, such as to the derailleur and brakes.