Now that the snow is thawing, and winter is in the rear-view, it’s time to pull your mountain bike out of storage and get it ready for the warmer months ahead! With the promise of sun filled days and mountain trails to ride, it’s time to think about what kind of tune-ups your bike might need. Go through this tune-up checklist and get your bike in tip top shape to ensure a great mountain biking season!
Wash Your Bike
The first thing to do when pulling your bike out of storage is to give it a thorough cleaning. Use a little bit of degreaser to clean off the chain, chain rings, jockey wheels, etc. Use a wet rag to clean off the braking surfaces on your bike rims and any dirt or grit that might have accumulated on your bike frame.
Check Your Brakes
Inspect your brakes and take care to look at the wear indicator line. Replace the pads if you notice that they are thin. Next, you will want to engage the brakes to ensure that they are working properly and engaging on the braking surface of the rims. Give the wheel a couple of spins and make sure that none of your brakes are rubbing.
Check Wheels + Tires
Check your wheels to make sure that they are true and have no wobbles. If you notice any irregularities, you can fix them on a truing stand with a spoke wrench, or take your bike to a local bike shop to be trued.
Check your tires for any splits, cracks, or tears, and keep an eye out for uneven tread or excessive wear. Replace if you notice any of these things because damaged tires are prone to burst—something that you won’t want to deal with on a trail day.
Make Sure Cables are in Good Condition
Inspect all shift and brake cables for any frayed ends or tension issues. Replace the cables if you find any nicks or fraying. Tighten them if they are stretched. These small adjustments will help your braking and shifting when you are biking on a trail.
Pro Tip: Add a couple of drops of chain lube to your cables to keep them sliding smoothly.
Inspect the Drivetrain
Your bike’s drivetrain includes its pedals, chain, chainring, derailleur, and rear wheel cassette. The drivetrain is important because it is what propels your forwards by the power generated by your legs.
To inspect the drivetrain, get a partner or a bike stand. Raise the rear wheel and spin the same way you did when you checked the wheels for any wobbles. While spinning, shift through all the gears. If everything is working properly, shifting should be smooth and easy. While you have your bike on the bike stand, inspect the chain, chainrings, derailleur, and cassette or any damage such as excessive wear, missing teeth, dents, and scrapes.
Check your chain length with a chain-checker tool and replace it if it is worn out. If your chain is stretched out, this can cause unnecessary wear to the chainrings and cassette which means you’ll have to replace those sooner than you need to. Get yourself a chain tool and get in the habit of checking chain wear. Also, make sure to lubricate your chain while you’re at it!
Pro Tip: Small chainrings wear out more quickly than large chainrings and chains are the most frequently replaced component of the drivetrain.
Before You Ride:
- Let your bike fall- Pick your bike up about 4-5 inches from the ground and let it fall. Check for any rattles or odd noises. This could indicate loose parts.
- Test the brakes- Engage the brake levers and make sure they are working properly. They should snap back after letting go.
- Tire Check– Check your tires and make sure that they are inflated to the specs on the sidewall. Do one last check for any tears or cuts. ( Do this before every ride!)
Follow these bike maintenance tips to ensure that your mountain bike is ready to hit the trails this season. If you have neither the tools, know-how, or desire to clean up and dial in your own bike, that’s no problem! Take your bike to a professional mechanic at your local bike shop and get it tuned up. Now put on your helmet, and go rip down a trail!
If you are still in need of a mountain bike, or are on the lookout for a new one, take a look at our easy lease to own mountain bike options. Fill out an application today! https://3radkids.com/apply/#new
image courtesy of redbull.com