Even the best quality bike can only withstand so much punishment. What’s more, if you are unable to properly maintain or repair your bike you may end up spending a fortune taking it to bike shops.
But with a little insight and determination, you can build a regular maintenance regime to keep your passion safe and enjoyable without having to shell out for expensive repairs.
Make Sure You Have the Right Tools
Any number of things can happen to a mountain bike so it’s always best to be prepared for any eventuality. Here are a few of the essentials we recommend purchasing from your local bike shop:
- Bike Pump -It should be sufficient enough to say that you are going to use it a lot, so make sure it is durable and has the right attachments to fit your valves.
- Multi-tool - The bonus of having a fully featured multi-tool is that you can take it with you when you ride. Look for those with a range of different-sized hex keys and screwdrivers, big enough for you to get leverage but small enough to slip into a kit.
- Puncture Repair Kit - It should contain: different sized patches; strong adhesive; chalk; crayon marker; bike tyre levers; and sandpaper.
- Lubricant - Your chain is in constant contact with other metal components. This can cause a lot of wear so you must get your chain well lubricated to reduce friction with your drivetrain.
Check Your Bike Regularly
Once you’ve got the right tools, you should make sure to check your bike regularly, ideally just before and just after a ride.
- Wheels - Here we’re looking at all aspects of the wheel, including the hubs, spokes, and rims. We are looking as well at the tyre and the inner tube. You should free pedal the bike for a while and check to see that the wheel runs straight, that there are no bulges in the tyre from over pumping or buckles in wheel frame.
- Cassette (Rear Gears) - Check for debris or dryness on the gears. Make sure there are no rough edges to them, otherwise you may end up damaging the chain.
- Chain - Keep it lubricated enough to move without friction off of the cassette but not so lubricated that it picks up every scrap of dirt.
- Grips - Essential for making your ride comfortable and the first line of control. Check that they aren’t sliding all over the place or degrading.
- Handlebars - Over time handlebars can become loose in the stem or they can drop in the headset. Make sure they are well tightened.
- Seat - Anyone whose done long-distance riding can tell you how important it is to have a comfortable and durable seat. If it is even a little uncomfortable, you might be doing your back damage, so lower it or heighten it and check that it is suitably covered.
- Pedals - They take an extraordinary amount of punishment and will need to be occasionally readjusted, tightened, or lubricated. The last thing you want is to lose a pedal if you are in the middle of nowhere!
- Brakes discs/pads - Most serious mountain bikes will have heavy-duty brake discs, but even these will eventually show signs of wear and might become a liability. Ignoring issues will only increase the chances of you having an accident.
- Decals - Personalising your bike with bright and interesting decals gives you a bit of a psychological edge when it comes to taking care of your bike. It is also an added security measure - a unique bike is easier to spot if someone tries to pinch it!
Keep Replacements and Spares on Hand
As soon as you can no longer repair an issue, or if it is structurally compromised invest in a replacement. If it is something that gets heavy use, such as a chain, an inner tube, or a tyre it is wise to have a spare on standby, as well as the nuts and bolts that keep the whole thing together.