Get your bikes out, it’s time to get back on the saddle! Bike Glendhu is open for the 2023.24 season which means that it’s time to check over your bike and dial your setup before you start ripping those dirt trails. We caught up with our in-house bike nerd, Operations Assistant Manager Ted to get some tips – keep reading for our list of what you need to check on your mountain bike before riding this season.
Why It’s Important
Some of you might be thinking: “If it worked fine the last time I rode it, why bother?” Well, knowing your rig means that you’ll be able to identify problems as soon as or even before they arise – you don’t want to come across them while you’re out on the trails.
Before looking over your bike and doing a safety check, make sure you give it a wash so you can see everything clearly.
Start from the front wheel and brake then move to the fork, headset and cockpit (handlebar and levers, shifters). From there look over the rear shock, drivetrain, seat post and seat. Then move on to the rear wheel, rear brake and gears. Make sure that all bolts are at the right tension, so you don’t notice anything wobbling when you’re riding. We included some main components to check out below!
Tyres & Wheels
- Tyre pressure: give ‘em a squeeze or check with a gauge. Your weight and riding style means that this will vary for everyone. As a starting point, tyres have minimum and maximum pressure written on the sidewall. Usually you want to run few PSI less in the front. Having your PSI in the mid-20s is a good average in general, but after 35PSI tyres start getting slippery, rather than grippy.
- Spoke tension: Spokes should have relatively even tension. They shouldn’t be rigid as they will snap, but too loose is no good either. Spin your wheels and if they look wobbly and you see side-to-side or up-and-down movement, the wheels will need to be trued. If you know what you are doing, straighten them up, otherwise take them to the mechanic as wheel truing requires specific tools.
- Check your wheel quick releases: make sure the levers are closed with proper tension
- Don’t forget to give your wheels a spin and check that they’re moving freely.
- If tyres are tubeless then add new sealant
- Make sure your saddle is tightly secured in place – you don’t want any wobbles while on the trails.
- For those who have a dropper seat post, check that it’s moving smoothly in both directions.
- Make sure your brakepads aren’t too worn: if they’re looking a little worse for wear, make sure to get them replaced before hitting any trails.
- Check that the brake rotors aren’t bent: this will cause your bike to be squeaky, that’s not what you want. Bent rotors won’t let the wheel run freely and will wear out brakepads faster. Check the thickness of the rotors: minimum thickness is written on most rotors.
- Check brake fluid: this is another crucial piece of your brakes, so make sure they’re looking tip-top. Squeeze the brake levers, if they come to the grips with ease or are uneven, it probably needs a brake bleed.
- Oil: a little bit of oil around your suspension is normal, but if you see a decent amount, come chat with us in the Workshop (roughly every 50hrs of riding new seals are needed)
- Air pressure: this will vary depending on your weight, riding ability and personal preference. Fork sag should be around 15-20% and shock around 25-30% when standing on the bike with their full kit.
- Bolts: make sure they’re all tight. You don’t want to notice a component on your bike wobbling when you’re on the trails and might not have the tools around to fix it. Buuuut here’s the catch – don’t overtighten the bolts as they will snap or cause other issues later on.
- Double-check for any cracks or frame damage.
- Cranks/pedals: make sure they spin freely. If they don’t, take it down to the workshop and get a bike mechanic to check it out for you. Make sure the cranks and pedals are tight while doing the bolt check.
- Chain: Double-check that there’s no rust or damage. You want this to be clean and lubed, but don’t use too much oil as it will pick up more dirt.
- Derailleur: clunky, unresponsive gears aren’t fun and aren’t the best for surrounding components of your bike.
It’s important to make sure you do a pre-season check of your bike for your safety, not to mention the enjoyment of your ride and longevity of your mountain bike. If you’re reading this thinking it’s a lot of jargon to follow, no stress! We have all the parts and pieces at our Workshop on-site at Bike Glendhu, plus a couple expert MTB mechanics that love to talk all things bikes, so come have a yarn and we’ll help you get going!