Mountain Biking: Bike Maintenance

Any seasoned biker would agree that physical preparation is important to keep you going on the trial. But no amount of exercise and training is enough if you do not ensure the condition of your bike. As your body needs to be prepared, your bike has to be fit for the trip as well.

Bike maintenance is divided into 3 basic frames:

Pre-trip check
Just like checking your motorized vehicle before you go for your long trip, checking your bike before you ride is a very critical pre-trip procedure. Your aim is to find and if necessary, repair parts of the bike that need immediate attention so that you minimize the risk of breakdown while on the trail. Check the tire threads and pressure. Make sure that the wheels are aligned and the seat is at the right angle. Check the quick-release levers. Clean the bike. Lube the necessary parts.

Post-trip check
Before throwing your bike into your car and drive home, turn the bike upside-down and remove mud, twigs and other foreign objects using damp cloth. Pop off and clean the wheels. The key is removing everything that can be an avenue for moisture to enter. (Rust starts on moist parts of the bike.)

Long-term repairs and storage
Assuming that your bike performed well while on the trip, do not hang it yet. Clean it thoroughly and check for parts that might be damaged during the trip. This is a good time to take parts of your bike apart to make sure that they are properly cleaned. (Make sure that you remember which part goes where. Do not take your bike apart if you don’t know how to put them back.) Check the suspension, inspect the brake pads, tighten the cables, and check the chains and gears. After the whole procedure, dry the entire bike off with a clean cloth.

If you are using your bike regularly (at least 2 times a week) it may get a share of wear and tear. Routinely check your bike before and after your ride to stop problems and fix them if necessary.

If your bike spends most of its time in the garage and only gets a taste of dirt once in a while, make sure that you follow these storage and maintenance procedures to keep it in tip-top shape:

Take the gadgets (GPS, lights, bells, speed meters, etc.) off your handle bar before storage. Designate a box for these gadgets or store it with all your bike tools.

Store your bike in a dry place. Moist can enter your bike and start rust build-up if it is wet in storage.

Hang your bikes with wheels off.

Check the inner tubes of the wheels for leaks. Use patches to seal the tubes.

Clean the chains, gears and brake discs. Make sure that they are dry before storage. Lube the chains at least once a month.

If you are going to use your bike, follow the pre-trip check before riding. You have invested so much on your mountain bike and other upgrades; the last thing you want is a useless, rusty and cranking bike.

A well-maintained bike not only prolongs its service, it also ensures your safety while on the trial. Keep your bike working properly by doing everything that is mentioned above.