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Why Proper Lubrication Is Crucial In Mountain Bike Maintenance

Aug 17, 2007
More and more people are getting into mountain biking. Very few people, though, properly maintain their bikes. One of the most important aspects of mountain bike maintenance is lubrication. Keeping your bike's moving parts well-lubricated will help keep your bike in top shape for a long time. Failing to keep your bike properly lubed will lead to a shortened lifespan for your bike and its parts.

The most basic advice to heed when it comes to keeping your bike lubed, is that if there's a moving part, it needs to be lubricated. There are some parts which are best left to the experts. It's unlikely that you'll want to pull the bearings out of your headset or from inside the front crankshaft or hubs, but there are plenty of parts which are easy to access and which appreciate a regular and thorough lubing.

When purchasing lube for your bike, it's advised to buy a product specifically designed for bikes. They're perfectly formulated for the specific needs of bicycles. These lubricants typically come in drip or spray dispensers.

Now take a look at your mountain bike's derailleurs. If you're having trouble with shifting gears, then there's a good chance your derailleurs need some lubrication. In case you don't know, the derailleur is the part that moves the chain from gear to gear. Wherever there's a movable point on the derailleur, apply lubricant. This includes the little adjustment barrel. Some lube there will keep it from rusting and making it impossible to adjust.

Turn your bike upside down, move the pedals and shift gears. Wherever you see the derailleur moving and exposing sections, add some lubricant. Don't overdo it, though. Wipe up any excess drips.

Another important place to apply lube is the chain. A well-lubricated chain will last a long time and it will shift from gear to gear easier. Either turn the bike upside down or mount it on a rack if you have one, and slowly crank the pedals. As the chain cycles around, apply lubricant by either spraying it or dripping it on. Wipe off any lubricant which accidentally lands on the frame or anywhere else.

The pedals can also use a regular application of lubricant. Of course you don't want to put any on the pedal grips unless you have cartoon capers in mind, but you do want to apply some to where they attach to the cranks.

It may surprise you to hear that the brakes require lubrication. You don't want to get any grease on the brake shoes, though! Keep the lube away from the rims, too. Where you do want to apply lubricant is on the pivot points where the brakes move. Wherever there's a moving joint or metal on metal, you want to apply lubricant. The brake levers themselves can use some lube, too. Again, you'll want to apply it on the pivot points on the levers and not the lever itself.

A well-lubricated mountain bike will last longer than one that's neglected. It'll ride nicer, too. Remember to regularly lubricate the parts you can easily access and talk to your local bike shop about further mountain bike maintenance.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Beach, Florida. Find more about this as well as cycling gear at http://www.cyclinggearplus.com
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