Home » Recreation and Sports

Maintaining Your Mountain Bike - The Basics

Sep 12, 2008
Riding a mountain bike is great exercise and a lot of fun...and while it's hard on your legs, it's hard on the machinery itself. Keeping your bike maintained will keep you safe, and keep the bike in better condition for years to come. There are three basic time frames for maintaining your bike:

- Just before you ride,
- just after you ride,
- long-term storage and repairs.

Just before you ride, bike maintenance is fairly straightforward: Check the tire pressure, fill them up to the level you're comfortable with and so on. Make sure that the seat is canted at the right angle, make sure that the quick release levers on the wheels are locked tight, and run the pedals with your hands to make sure that the derailleur is working clearly. Your aim is to make sure that if anything is going to need attention, it gets it now, rather than after you're out on the trail.

After the ride, especially if it's been damp or muddy, you should set the bike upside down (so it's balanced on the seat and handlebars), and run a damp cloth over the derailleur, and the other moving parts that shift the chain around for shifting gears. The aim here is to get any mud, twigs, and brambles out before they provide an avenue for moisture to enter. This is also the time to pop the wheels off and clean them before throwing the bike into the car to drive back home.

After you get the bike home, give everything a thorough cleaning. If you use a dry lubricant on the chain, about once a month, break the chain and re-apply it. (We regularly boil our bicycle chains in paraffin, but that's because we ride in the winter, and it holds up better to snow and salt). It's also probably time to just take things partially apart, to the limits of your skills, and put them back together; this is great for adjusting shock absorber systems (and getting rid of annoying squeaks), and tightening cables for brakes, inspecting brake pads, and the like.

Mountain bikes in routine use get a fair bit of wear and tear. Always check to make sure that things are setting properly when you're off the bike and have it at home; again, the aim is to find anything that could break and fix it before you go on the trail rather than have your fun curtailed by equipment failure.

If you are not an all weather cyclist (and not many people are), its worth carrying out some steps to prepare your bike for storage and to take it out again for the road in the spring.

Firstly, when storing your bike, take the wheels off and hang the frame. When the wheels are off, its worth running the inner tubes through a bucket of soapy water to locate any slow leaks and patch them, and its worth tightening and tuning up anything you can reach.

A good book for this process is the Complete Bike Repair Handbook, which we use in our shop for getting bikes ready for sale. It's also a good time to true your wheels with a spoke wrench. (Some dedicated mountain bikers true their wheels after every ride...)

When you're putting the bike back into roadworthy condition, the top priority is checking the breaks, followed by running the gear shifts - cable housings can shift when the bike is in storage, which can make things a bit noisier than they should be. (Remember, if it's making noise, then parts that probably shouldn't be rubbing, are rubbing.)

With this advice, you should be well set for mountain biking fun!
About the Author
Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who writes for a number of UK businesses. For Mountain Bike specialists, he recommends Merlin Cycles.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 126
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources