Mountain Bike Parts
Simple But Effective Mountain Bike Maintenance Tips
By Nils Kirk
A lot of people veer away from maintaining their mountain bike in the fear of making it worse, but not all maintenance requires confusing tools and lots of mechanical knowledge! Here are a few simple maintenance tips that anyone can do to keep your bikes running smoother for longer! Obviously, unless you are capable of doing all of the work yourself, your bike will eventually need a service, but until that time comes, these few tips will keep your bike in tip top condition...
The first and probably most important tip of them all is to keep your bike lubricated, and not just your chain. It's super important to not only keep your chain and drivetrain components well oiled but you should also oil all of the moving parts on your bike as well, such as the pedals, the steering tube and if you have a bike with rear suspension, then all of the pivot points should be oiled. Here are a few diagrams of areas that should be lubricated for different types of bikes (blue spots for the KTM and red spots for the Kona). This is just to show the different points that need oiling depending on the type of brakes and cables you have.
You should try to oil the moving parts on your bike every three to four rides accept your chain. To keep the chain running smoothly and rust free, you should try to oil your chain and drivetrain area after every ride or before you go out on the bike.
What oil to use: Try to use lightweight oils specifically designed for bikes. Stay well away from motor oils as they're too heavy and not only attract mud faster but is a real pain to clean off as it gets EVERYWHERE!
As we are on the topic of keeping your chain well oiled, it's also important that when your chain becomes so full of mud and grit that even with oil it still won't run smoothly, then you clean it, preferably before it gets that bad, but either way it needs cleaning! You can easily do this by spraying the entire chain and cassettes with a solvent of some sort such as WD-40, and going over it thoroughly with an old toothbrush. Keep applying the solvent as you go along to make sure it's completely covered making the cleaning process easier. At this point it may look like your just making it worse but don't worry, it's supposed to look like that. It's easier to clean it in sections and once you're happy you've scrubbed it enough, apply some more solvent and take an old rag in your hand. Grab the cleaned area of chain and run it up and down through the rag. If it's not clean enough, then your going to have to keep scrubbing I'm afraid, but if your happy then move on to the next section! Make sure once you've finished that, you apply a lubricant onto the chain and it will look as good as new.
The second tip is to check your tyre pressures. It's one of the most overlooked aspects in bike maintenance but can make a huge difference to your riding performance. It's important to run the correct tyre pressures as it prevents damages to the rims, reduces the risk of getting flat tyres easily, increases the life of your tyres, allows more control over the bike and it will make pedalling easier, especially on roads. The proper level of air pressure is easy to obtain and you can normally find the recommended PSI on the wall or side of your tire. Pressures do change depending on the tyres so if you have more than one bike, it's a good idea to check what the recommended pressure is rather than just put the same in all of your bikes. Also a road bike or road tyre typically has a much higher PSI than say a mountain bike, so keep an eye out for that as well.
The last and most simple tip of them all is to just simply check that everything is done up nice and tight. Too many times people go out riding and things have broken simply because something was loose. You would be surprised at how often parts such as brake calliper bolts, stem bolts and suspension bolts come undone, especially on more demanding bikes such as mountain bikes that are thrown and bashed around a lot. So make sure you keep an eye on those bolts everyone!
Following these few simple tips will not only keep that dreaded service at bay for longer but increase your mountain bikes life and your riding enjoyment. Having a bike that doesn't let you down every time you go out always makes it more gratifying! Hopefully these tips have helped you, and remember, you can never have too much oil!
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