We all need to maintain our mountain bikes, regardless of how gnarly your trail preference is. Making sure that it’s well maintained keeps you safe, saves you money, increases longevity and makes your ride smoother. We caught up with our MTB mechanic Ted to pick his brains about why it’s so important to ensure you keep up with regular maintenance and servicing. Better yet, it’s even summarized into a few key reasons and some pro tips from the man himself.
1. It Keeps You Safe
Going out for a ride and realising on the first downhill section that your brakes don’t work properly, your tyre and suspension pressure are too low, or your cranks are so loose they are about to fall off, can be a scary moment. Sometimes it can even end up in a crash that keeps you off your bike for a while. A quick pre-ride bike check keeps you safe and avoids unnecessary damage to the bike.
2. It Saves You Money
Keeping up with a regular maintenance schedule can be cheaper in the long run. Having a trusty bike mechanic or keeping a small maintenance diary keeps you on top of wear ‘n’ tear. Changing brake pads and a chain at the right time prevents extensive wear on other components like brake rotors and cassettes which gives them a longer lifespan and saves you heeeaaaps of coin. Servicing the suspension at factory-recommended times means that your suspension will be working smoothly and prevents aggressive wear and tear on the expensive bits that are hidden inside that complex system.
3. It Increases Longevity
We all would like to live a long happy life full of adventures, and your mountain bike is an extension of your body on those delectable dirt trails. Although buying a new one can be quite exciting, it sucks when you break something that could have been avoided. Taking good care of your bike regularly keeps it running smoother for longer. It’s as simple as that.
4. Smoother (and More Enjoyable) Rides
Nothing sucks more than clunky gears and squeaky brakes. Regardless of what mechanical conundrum you’ve found yourself in, we’ve all been there at some point, and it really disrupts the enjoyment of your ride on the trails. Loud noise indicates that something is not 100% right and can bring down your confidence as it doesn’t sound safe to ride. Make every ride smoooooth by keeping up with regular maintenance – you’re guaranteed to enjoy the dirt way more!
MTB Maintenance Tips from Ted
Our MTB mechanic Ted has a few pointers for keeping the steed in tip-top shape. He’s our resident dirt fiend and knows pretty much everything there is to know about ‘em. Make sure you follow these tips to get the most out of every ride on the trails:
- Wash ‘em after every ride: Ted’s motto is “wash your bike like you wash your dishes.” That doesn’t mean let someone else wash your bike. It’s every rider’s own responsibility. If it’s dirty/dusty after use, wash it with a sponge and some foamy stuff, rinse it and dry it (and don’t just do a half wash either, do the full shebang – from derailleurs to chains, and everything in between). It’s done in 10 minutes! Washing your bike also gives you an overview of the current condition of it and works as a safety check. I like to use Muc-Off bike wash products to keep my bike smooth, shiny and quiet.
- Make sure you get regular services: How often you book a service will vary on how often you’re riding, the type of service you got last time and what kind of bike you’ve got (pro tip: e-bikes need to be serviced more frequently). A good rule of thumb is to always get one before the first ride of the season.
- Lubrication equals longevity: Your drivetrain should be running smoothly – it’s one of the most important components of a top-notch ride on the trails, it keeps you moving forward. You don’t want any old grease full of grit and mud clogging it up. After removing old grease and dirt with a bike-specific degreaser, make sure that you apply some fresh lubricant. Ted recommends not using spray lubricants. It can end up on the brake rotors and brake pads which will decrease the braking power and your bank account.
- Prep, prep, prep: Make sure you prep your bike for the winter months, whether that’s for storing it away or riding through the colder months. If you plan to stash it away, remember to run through a pre-season checklist and schedule a pre-season service with your MTB mechanic.
- If you’ve got a new bike for the season: Whether it’s fresh from the box or pre-loved, make sure it’s set up specifically for you by paying a visit to your friendly neighbourhood MTB mechanic – things you want to check out include handlebar width, brake lever angles, seat height, suspension setup, and tyre pressure. This is important for any rider, so you keep shredding with control and comfort.
- For the self-proclaimed gear nerds: Get the lowdown on the core components of your bike, and read up on our trusty mechanic tips while you’re at it.
Bike maintenance is key, but sadly it’s also something that most of us are guilty of neglecting sometimes. Go on – it’s worth it in the long run, you’ll reap the rewards if you put in a little mahi. If you’re a little time-poor, you can save both time and peace of mind by taking it to your bike mechanic.