Top 15 Mountain Bike Maintenance Tips (Do you know them)

Mountain bike maintenance can be a fun way to get to know your bike. It will also help your bike last longer and cost you less money. You may need your bike maintained right away and don’t have time to wait for a local bike shop to do it.

You will take more care of your mountain bike than anyone else. These are my top tips for maintaining your mountain bike.

1. Headset

You can check the headset by placing your fingers around it. Next, squeeze the front brake and move the bike forward to check for movement. If there is movement in the headset area, it is likely that the headset is loose.

You only need to loosen the stem bolts, which are one per side. You should also loosen the center cap on your headset. Now tighten everything and verify that there is no movement in your headset.

2. Axles

Both the front and rear axles of your wheels should be checked. You can bump your wheels on the trails and cause the axles of your wheels to wear over time. Although it is unlikely, it could happen.

Turn both the front and rear axles. It is possible to tighten the axle using the lever on the axle. Just make sure that the lever is in a safe location. The lever shouldn’t touch the frame. It should not touch the frame if it’s a quick release system.

Most forks are the same, but you’ll need an allen key to tighten up your mountain bike’s axle if it has a pinchbob system.

3. Suspension

  • Start by checking the suspension with the fork. Push down on the handlebars. The dampener should work as you expect it to. It should feel comfortable and stable and be able handle your body weight.
  • You should take a look at your stanchions to ensure that there is not excess oil. If oil is seeping from the stanchions, it is likely that there is excess oil. The seals could be damaged and need to be replaced.
  • Place your two fingers on top of the stanchion seal. Then, rock the fork back-and-forth. You want to check if the stanchions are still containing clay. The bushings may have worn out if there is clay in the stanchions. They should be replaced immediately.
  • Go to the back of the bike and inspect the DU bushings. The DU Bushing is the small bushing inside the shock. It can be found by going to shock mounting. They tend to wear out. You’ll know it if there is some movement in your pivot mount.
  • Place your fingers on the mounts and lift the bike slowly. If there is any movement, the DU bushing needs to be replaced. It is worth the effort and very inexpensive. This can cause shock damage if it is left out too long.
  • You can check the rear suspension by placing your elbow on your chair and pushing down on your bike using your body weight. Make sure the dampening is operating properly and it feels smooth. You should also make sure there isn’t any oil left on the shaft of your shock. If it does, it will blow and need to be replaced.

4. Gears

Verify that your gears index correctly. From the most difficult to the easiest bike gear, you should go through them all. Make sure they change gear smoothly, especially as you descend.

If you notice that your gears change slowly as you go down, this could indicate that there are some stitches in the cable. It might need to be lubricated or replaced, or both. Ask a friend to lift your seat so that you can use all the gears, both up and down.

5. Chain

  • Check your bike chain for stiff links. To check for stiff links, push the pedals with one hand and then cycle the chain. You want the chain to run smoothly through the derailleur and there are no gear slippages. You should replace the chain if it is damaged.
  • It is important to make sure that your chain stays clean and well-lubricated. You can quickly damage the cassettes and chains if your chain is left to get dirty. If you keep your chain clean and lubricated, these components will last longer.
  • A chain measuring instrument can also be used to measure the chain. You should replace your chain if it is stretched beyond 1/16th of an in. It is a good idea that your chain is changed regularly. This will ensure that your cassette and chain rings last longer.

6. Tires

A thumb check is an easy way to check your tires. To check if the tire has enough air pressure, simply push the tire with your thumb. It should feel very solid. With one thumb, you should be able barely to push the tire down.

A track pump, also known as a floor or floor pump, can be used in conjunction with an air pressure gauge. You can also use high-end pressure gauges that are digital and provide a precise number.

Check both tires to make sure there are no cracks in them or any damage to their walls. You don’t want to blow out while you are riding on the trail, which may cause an accident.

7. Spokes

  • Verify the tension of your wheel spokes. Your last ride might have caused a tiny buckle. Your thumb and the first two fingers of your other hand, squeeze two spokes towards each other using your thumb. Make sure they are both in good tension.
  • Make sure that there is equal tension across the whole wheel. You need to ensure that all spokes are properly tensioned. A wheel that has had a heavy impact will leave a small dent in its rim. The spokes will then become loose.
  • Use a spoke key to check the tension of each spoke relative to the rest. Don’t turn the spoke key too much, a quarter of a turn is enough to give the spoke enough tension.
  • The rear wheel is the one that takes the most impact while you’re riding. There is the majority of damage. There will be most damage to the spokes if they are not properly tensioned compared to the front wheel.

8. Bottom Bracket

Check if your bottom bracket has worn. Grab the crank arms and rock them. Rock the cranks from one side to the other. Your bearings are damaged if you feel any movement.

Spin the cranks to check if the bottom bracket has worn. If the cranks feel worn, turn them backwards. If you feel this, the bearings should be replaced.

9. Brakes

First, squeeze the lever to check your brakes. You want them to feel firm and smooth. If they have a spongy feeling to them or pull in towards the bar, you should be concerned. If they are pulling in towards the bar, then it is time to flush out and bleed the brake fluid. It is necessary to replace the brake fluid.

Next, check the brake pads. Next, take a good look at the brake pads. You should make sure that the pads are not completely worn out. Pads can quickly wear, especially if you ride in poor weather. It is important to inspect the pads every so often as they can damage the rotors.

The rotors should be checked by turning the wheel, making sure that the rotor is in line with the caliper. Next, run the caliper through the disc without rubbing it. The friction caused by the rotor rubbing on the disc will slow you down and make it harder to work.

10. Nuts & Bolts

You can check the bolts and nuts of your mountain bike with a set o torque keys or allen keys. Start at the top by the controls and handlebars. Then slowly work from the top, front to back so you don’t miss anything.

Slowly tighten the bolts as you tighten them. You don’t want to strip the inside of the bolt where you are turning it. It will make it difficult to remove them later if they need to be replaced. Same with the nuts, don’t strip the nut or later it will be more difficult to grip it.

If you need to be precise about how tight you turn it, you can use a torque wrench. Numerous items have torque indications that tell you how tight they should fit. It is best to turn the thing until it feels tight, but not too tight.

11. Use the right grease

  • There are many types of greases and other lubricants you should know about. You can’t just use one type for all of your lubing needs. Let’s begin with lubricants, there are basically 2 types, a wet lube and a dry lube. These lubricants are used on your chain.
  • Dry lube is intended for summer conditions. It is a thin lubricant that does not attract too many dirt particles and other particles. This will prevent your chain from wearing out.
  • Wet lubes can be used in wet conditions. It is thicker and viscous, so it is more dense than a dry. Even if it is saturated by rain or snow, it will remain on your chain. This is fantastic, but it will attract dirt. You will need to make sure it is maintained more often.
  • Generally when you need to use grease, you can use PTFE also known as Polytetrafluoroethylene, or you can use lithium grease. This grease is typically used for your bears and other moving parts.
  • This type of grease is not recommended for carbon. An assembly compound is recommended for carbon-based bicycle frames and seat posts. This is a carbon specific grease which has particles in it which helps to improve its grip so you don’t need to tighten the bolts too much.
  • Next, there are greases and lubricants that are suspension-based. There are delicate seals within the shocks and suspension forks that need to be lubricated. A silicon-based lubricant is recommended or a dedicated suspension grease.
  • There are many options available, including Slick Kick and Float Fluid. These substances are worth looking into as a small amount can make a big difference. Spray greases such as WD-40 should be kept. You do not want to use the expensive grease on smaller jobs like pedal axles, and jockey wheels, which don’t have expensive bearings.
  • 12. Make sure you have the right tools

Use the right tools. This is the best maintenance tip that I can give. You can’t maintain your bike without the correct tool for each job.

Here are 10 you should own.

Cone Spanner

  • A cone spanner can be a handy tool if you want to perform hub service on your bike. It is necessary to remove the hub axle from your bike.
  • Even if your bike does not use regular cone or cup bearings, you still need this tool in order to remove the end caps from the axle and access the cartridge bearings. Cone spanners come in many sizes so it is worth having a few.

Chain Checker

  • Eventually everyone’s chain will wear out and need replacing. This is especially true if your riding habits include riding in wet and muddy conditions. It is possible to replace your cassette’s chain more frequently than you do the cassette.
  • You will save money over the long-term, but you need to determine how worn your chain is. Use a chain tester to check the condition of your chain. It will let you know how worn your chain is.
  • Anything up to.75 will be acceptable if you have a 10-speed drive chain. You should replace your chain if it is stretched to.75. You should replace your 11- or 12-speed chain if it is stretched beyond.75.

Chain Pliers

  • You should remove your chain from time to time if you want to maintain your chain. Chain pliers can be used to remove the master linking from your chain.
  • Simply insert the chainpliers into the masterlink and pull the two links together. Then, you can split the chain. You can now degrease, clean and re-coat the chain. You must use the correct master or joining pin to join the chain.

Torx Multitool

  • Mountain bikers usually use a T25torx with a 6 point star-shaped pattern. This was typically used to tighten bolts that held the disc brakes on the wheels. Now we can see that the bike has more Torx options, such as in the rear mech.
  • Bolts are now only 3mm wide, making them easy to round. You will need the exact size. A Torx multi-tool will allow you to have all sizes at your disposal.

Cassette Tool & Chain Whip

  • This tool can be used to take the cassette off the bike. The cassette tool slides into your cassette. You hold it still using the chain whip, then you can use an adjustable spanner and remove the cassette. They can be used for up to 12 speeds.

Remove Bottom Bracket

  • Because it is often the first thing to be knocked around, you may have to replace or remove your bottom bracket. It is directly in line with the front wheel’s fire and suffers from full rotation.
  • To get the best grip, use a bottom bracket tool. It is not the crescent style but the fully enclosed type. One end has an enclosed grip, while the other has a wheel. This wheel is designed for Shimano cranks. It has a cap to preload.

Valve Core Removal

  • This tool is necessary to replace the valve core. This tool is useful for setting up your bike as a tubeless bike. Every now and again, valve cores can bend. It is a good idea that you take this tool along with some valves on the trail.

Pump Compressor

  • You may have used a CO2 cartridge or a regular pump to set up a tubeless tires. A compressor pump is now a faster and easier way to do this.
  • All compressor pumps are basically the same. The compressor pump has a track pump and a secondary chamber that you can charge by turning a knob.
  • It will charge up and allow you to release all of the pressure in one go. You can inflate all your tires at once. This pump will replace all other pumps.

Cable routing kit for internal cables

  • This internal cable routing tool will help you save time and frustration when fitting any type of internal cable. This kit contains 3 inner cables. Each cable has a different fitting at the end to attach the various styles.
  • Some have magnetic ones, others are screwbarbed, while some have a sheath design. You just need to put them through the strong magnet, connect them up with the cables you are pulling and then pull it right back through.

Torque Wrench

  • A standard torque wrench is made up of several bits that are located within the handle. You can also find torque settings inside. This will be required to operate your major controls. This includes your stem, clamp, bar and brake lever control.

13. Bleed your Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Your brakes should be bled at the very least twice per year. You will see a significant improvement in your brakes’ performance. Once enough time passes, dirt can get into your bike seals and contaminate fluid. To achieve optimal performance, you will need to flush out the old fluid.

To properly bleed your brakes, you will need to have a clean area and patience. While it’s not difficult, it does require some attention to detail. By filling a container near the brake levers, you are simply going to move the fluid down the system.

Different bike’s have different brake bleed kits. Follow the instructions. You should use the brake fluid to stop your brakes. Some brands use mineral oil, while others use DOT (Department of Transportation). This is automotive brake liquid. Follow the instructions to ensure your brakes are ready for action.

14. Keep Your Bike Clean

  • It will prolong the life of your bike and keep it from wearing faster. To clean your bike, you can use soap, water and sponges. Water and soap are both environmentally friendly and affordable.
  • You don’t need to use stronger solvents except when cleaning the drivetrain. Use a citrus solvent to clean the drivetrain.
  • A high-pressure sprayer is not a good idea. High pressure can push water into bearings, pivots and tube tubes. This can lead to damage. Start by cleaning the bike with a hose. You can then add or reduce pressure using your thumb.
  • Fill a bucket with warm water and liquid dish soap. Use a brush to scrub the bike and wheels. You can either rinse off the bike using a hose, or you can wipe it down with an old towel. Dry your bike with a dry towel, rather than drying it in the sun.

15. Maintenance Schedule

A maintenance plan is essential if you want your mountain bike’s longevity and to avoid costly repairs. It might seem like you should do the same things every week, or every month. But, a schedule that is time-based is not the best idea.

Mountain biking is more fun if you create a schedule that is based on how many times you have used your bike. For road bikes, you might create a schedule based on how many miles you’ve ridden. However, this is not appropriate for mountain biking since mountain bikers often ride on trails.

Road bikers prefer to ride in flat, dry conditions. Mountain bikers are able to ride in almost any kind of weather, depending on which trail they are riding. It is therefore more sensible to base maintenance on how many rides you have, rather than how much mileage.

Mountain bikers must do maintenance before each ride, and again after each ride. After every 5-10 rides, more maintenance checks need to be made. Then, you should perform additional maintenance checks after every 20-40 rides.

You should have a check every 80 to 150 rides. Time is only used to measure the bike’s age after 3 to 6 year. It is recommended that you replace damaged parts. This schedule should work if you keep a log or use a computer.

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